Cavaliers take to mats in holiday tourney

Published 10:18 pm Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Lakeland’s Colin Rice beat his first round opponent, Mckinis Spadoni of Princess Anne, 16-1 in the 135-pound division Wednesday evening during the Mike Duman Toys 4 Tots Holiday Invitational at Lakeland. The tournament continues Thursday at 10 a.m. with the final round set for 5 p.m.

Lakeland hosted the opening rounds of the Second Annual Mike Duman Toys 4 Tots Holiday Invitational wrestling tournament Wednesday with hundreds of wrestlers from 18 schools doing anything but lounging around on their first couple days of Christmas break from school.

The Cavaliers had nine wrestlers in action throughout the brackets. The double-elimination tournament with team scoring is a close match to what all the teams will see come postseason time.

“This is the toughest invitational tournament we’ve had since I’ve been here,” said Lakeland head coach John Bostwick. “In some of the weight classes we have some of the top-ranked wrestlers in the state for those classes.”

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Lakeland went 0-2 in its first Southeastern District matches of the season last Wednesday, losing to Hickory and Indian River.

“Honestly, those results were about what we thought would happen at this point,” Bostwick said.

“We’re looking down the road, trying to get ourselves in the best position possible to peak for the postseason. We have a lot of ninth- and tenth-graders. With mat time everyone on our team will get better,” Bostwick said.

Lakeland’s gym and cafeteria held two mats each of simultaneous action as the tourney moved through hundreds of matches. Everything will resume Thursday at 10 a.m. with the final two matches, the first- and third-place matches, in each weight class set for 5 p.m.

Colin Rice, one of the few returning veterans the Cavs have, won his first round match in his 135-pound class. He rolled to a 16-1 technical fall win over Princess Anne’s Mckinis Spadoni. Rice had enough points to end the match seven seconds into the third period.

“It’s valuable to have a high-caliber event, with great competition, for our own guys in their own building,” Bostwick said.