By Chuck Ballaro, SunCoast Sports
PUNTA GORDA — It was a tough weekend for the local teams at the Captain Archer Wrestling Tournament at Charlotte High School, as only one wrestler advanced to the finals.
However, Charlotte was able to put together enough decent finishes to reach the podium with a third-place finish behind champion Riverdale and runner-up Venice.
Nine Tarpons finished in the top five even though just one, Matt Gjerde in the 132-pound class, reached the finals before being pinned by Dan Stone of Venice in a match filled with takedowns and near falls for both wrestlers.
Coming off a second-place finish at the Gary Fries Duals in Fort Myers to open the season, Charlotte coach Evan Robinson was pleased.
“The boys wrestled well. We got a lot of thirds and fourths. They pushed themselves and I was proud of what they accomplished,” Charlotte coach Evan Robinson said. “Matt was ahead, but he got caught. He’s wrestled well. We’re expecting good things out of him this year and he’s done a good job working in the offseason.”
Donnie Cataldi (106) and T.J. Gjerde (113) reached the podium for the Tarpons with third-place finishes. Anthony Cavanaugh (152), Jose Valdez (170) and Tarvis Gonzalez (195) lost their third-place matches and settled for fourth.
The only semi-local team that had true success was Venice, which had three winners in Stone, Luke Veigel (170) and Kyle Johnson (220), along with a second from Jacob Mathis (152).
Lemon Bay’s weekend started quite well, as it went 7-1 in the first round with five pins. Unfortunately, it wasn’t able to build on the momentum, and was shut out of the finals. Only Albert Werden made it onto the podium, finishing third by pinning Dean Nunziato of Gulf Coast.
“We started getting paired up with really good wrestlers and it didn’t pan out,” Lemon Bay coach Mike Schyck said. “Am I happy with our performance? The answer is ‘no.’ Our goal is to have these guys in the finals and reach the podium. There’s a lot of work to be done.”
Brad Fuson (126) and Michael Morales (285) were fourth for the Manta Rays.
Port Charlotte brought only three wrestlers, but managed a fourth-place finish from Winston Buckley, who lost in overtime of the semifinals before losing by decision in the third-place match.
“We worked hard, but it didn’t go the way we wanted it to,” Port Charlotte coach Jamie Hazeltine said. “Winston wrestled a weight class higher and had to wait eight hours to wrestle his first match because he had a bye and his first opponent defaulted. That made it difficult to get started.”
Captain Archer Tournament
At Charlotte High School
Riverdale 216.5, Venice 164, Charlotte 155, Palmetto Ridge 145, Dixie Hollins 102.5, Palmetto 93.5, Cypress Lake 88, North Fort Myers 86, Lemon Bay 77, Dunedin 73, Gulf Coast 70.5 East Lake 67, Mariner 62, Fort Myers 60.5, Barron Collier 60, Cape Coral 41, Evangelical 22, Port Charlotte 13, Ida Baker 11.
106: Matt Malavsky (ECS) d. Travis Murway (PAL) 5-0; 3rd: Donnie Cataldi (CHS).
113: Lleyton Taylor (RIV) d. Ben McAllister (PR) 8-0; 3rd: T.J. Gjerde (CHS).
120: Chris Rivera (FM) pin Caleb Cavanaugh (RIV) 1:13; 3rd: Albert Werden (LB).
126: Drew Harrington (DH) d. Coleby Barnes (RIV) 17-4; 3rd: Ryne Rosenbaum (PR).
132: Dan Stone (VEN) p. Matt Gjerde (CHS) 1:50; 3rd: Keyvan Garcia (PR).
138: Christian Minto (MAR) d. Grant Caldwell (DUN) 9-2; 3rd: Terrence Clayton (RIV).
145: Jalen Soto (CL) d. Colby Singletary (PR) 5-0; 3rd: Nelson Ortiz (RIV).
152: Jesse Martinez (RIV) d. Jacob Mathis (VEN) 6-0; 3rd: Josh Felix (DUN).
160: Hunter Weeks (RIV) d. Dominic Bass (PAL) 8-3; 3rd: Noah Lopez (BC).
170: Luke Veigel (VEN) d. Jermaine League (CL) 4-3; 3rd: Joey Parmenter (PR).
182: Jack Simpson (BC) d. Brian Giminez (CL) 6-3; 3rd: Logan Snukis (NFM).
195: Nicholas Perovic (GC) d. Isaiha Torres (EL) 5-3 (OT); 3rd: Tyler Todd (CC).
220: Kyle Johnson (VEN) d. Jacob Stanbro (RIV) 8-2; 3rd: Jean Malivert (CL).
285: Jesse Smith (DH) d. Adolphus Taylor (NFM) 3-2 (OT); 3rd: Brian Ormsby (PAL).