Prep wrestling: Bears gain revenge, earn Titan Duals title; Pallante wins at Brandon

Palmetto Ridge wrestling team celebrates after winning the Titan Duals at Golden Gate High School on Saturday. Courtesy photo

Courtesy photo

Palmetto Ridge wrestling team celebrates after winning the Titan Duals at Golden Gate High School on Saturday. Courtesy photo

Barron Collier senior Brady Pallante with his championship trophy after winning the heavyweight class at the prestigious Tony Ippolito Memorial Tournament at Brandon High School on Saturday. Courtesy photo

Courtesy photo

Barron Collier senior Brady Pallante with his championship trophy after winning the heavyweight class at the prestigious Tony Ippolito Memorial Tournament at Brandon High School on Saturday. Courtesy photo

Palmetto Ridge wanted this one bad.

At last year's Titan Duals, Key West upset the Bears in the championship match, costing Palmetto Ridge an undefeated season.

On Saturday, at Golden Gate High School, the Bears got their revenge.

Palmetto Ridge met the Conchs again in the 27-team Titan Duals championship match. The Bears led just 30-27 with three matches remaining.

In those bouts, Joey Nadotti (138 pounds) and 145-pounder Matias Wajner scored a technical decision and a pin for the Bears. Junior Theo Curto (152) then added an exclamation point to the event by slamming the Conchs' Kendal Hettle to the mat in their match's opening seconds before pinning him at the 1:11 mark.

The three wins gave the Bears a 47-27 victory, and the tournament's championship trophy.

"We definitely wanted to get our payback," said Curto, who is 35-7 on the season. "One of our main goals for the year was to beat Key West. It was about getting the pin and getting out of here."

The Titan Duals was the last big tournament for the Bears before the district championships in two weeks.

Seven Palmetto Ridge wrestlers finished the two-day event undefeated: Gabe Torres (113), Andre Sanchez (170), Dylan Jones (160), Wajner, Curto, Nadotti, and Ashani Brown-Knight, who wrestled in the 182-pound division, instead of his normal 170.

"Ashani took one for the team," Bears coach Laz Rua said. "He helped us get (Key West) back. It got intense there for a while."

Lely's Claudel Alix continued to perform like the area's best wrestler. The senior went 8-0 for the fifth-place Trojans, pinning all his opponents except one. Making the undefeated Alix's weekend all the more impressive was that the 220-pounder wrestled in the 285-pound class.

In his last match, Alix took on Ida Baker's mountainous Levi Walton, who easily outweighed the Trojan by 70 pounds, if not more.

Alix, who has not given up a takedown all season, earned an 8-1 decision over Walton and almost pinned the giant, but time expired to end the second fall.

"Claudel is fearless," said Lely assistant coach Thom Popoli. "He doesn't notice size. He just says, 'Gotta win, Coach.'"

Estero bested host Golden Gate 40-36 in the third place match.

Despite the loss, the Titans were feeling good about winning their pool, led by 182-pound sophomore Lavanda Warren, who went 8-1 in the tournament with seven pins.

Warren was coming off last week's individual title performance at the Collier County Athletic Conference championships.

"That was the best feeling ever," Warren said. "But a better feeling for me would be to win states as a sophomore."

Barron's Pallante wins heavyweight title at prestigious Ippolito in Brandon

Barron Collier Brady Pallante decisioned Tampa-Jesuit's Jack Taylor 3-1 to win the heavyweight title at the 29th annual Tony Ippolito Memorial Tournament at Brandon High School on Saturday.

Considered by many as the top tournament in Florida, the 32-team Ippolito serves as a preview for the state tournament.

"I came in here with high expectations and I capitalized on it," said Pallante, who missed last week's CCACs with the flu. "It's an amazing feeling to walk off the mat with a title at a tournament like this. There's no feeling like it."

The Cougars' Mike Blasucci finished third at 126 pounds.

* * *

Titan Duals

Golden Gate High School

Friday-Saturday

Pool A: 1. Palmetto Ridge; 2. Ida Baker; 3. Mariner; 4. North Fort Myers; 5. Mater Academy; 6. East Lee; Pool B: 1. Estero; 2. Lely; 3. Cape Coral; 4. Archbishop McCarthy; 5. Port Charlotte; 6. Naples; 7. Lehigh; Pool C: 1. Key West; 2. Lemon Bay; 3. American Heritage; 4. Gulf Coast; 5. Immokalee; 6. Clewiston; 7. Gateway Charter; Pool D: 1. Golden Gate; 2. Southeast; 3. Doral Academy; 4. Southwest Florida Christian Academy; 5. Dunbar; 6. LaBelle; 7. Evangelical Christian

Semifinals

Palmetto Ridge def. Golden Gate 52-12

Key West def. Estero 41-27

Championship

Palmetto Ridge def. Key West 47-27

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