Run date: 12/2/12. Original article
FORT MYERS — Before Charlotte High School’s wrestling match, Anthony Molieri knew that the championship round of the Gary Freis Duals was going to come down to him.
He knew how strong Christopher Columbus High has been, and its ranking of third in the state this season is no exception.
Molieri was right in every sense of the word.
But when his Tarpons teammates needed it most, the senior stepped up, delivering a crucial 11-2 win in the 182-pound weight class over the Explorers’ Carlmichael Leiva to power a 37-29 victory Saturday night.
“It’s a monument in my life,” Molieri said. “It’s gonna be a moment that I’ll never forget.”
Charlotte was leading by four until the final match but had lost five of the previous six individual matches.
The win by Charlotte capped an 8-0 weekend that left the squad — and coach Evan Robinson’s vocal cords — completely drained.
“It was a long two days,” a happy Robinson joked. “… They really passed up my expectations, and I was very impressed with our young guys. The future is bright.”
Cody Cope at 195, Bucky Dennis at 285, Ethan Goff at 106, Jordan Fountain at 113, Dylan Mooney at 120, Ethan Tenney at 126 and Joey Marques at 160 all picked up wins in the final match.
Robinson called the match, and the weekend as a whole, a “complete team effort.”
“Everybody this weekend did their job,” Robinson said. “Heavyweight to our light guys. Every one of them really just performed well and steady.”
Among Charlotte’s wins on the weekend was a 56-10 victory against local rival Lemon Bay, which went 5-3 on the weekend and finished sixth behind Columbus, Palmetto, Manatee and Ida Baker.
After Friday, the Manta Rays found themselves 3-0 and tied atop the standings, but fatigue set in and the school went 2-3 on Saturday.
Lemon Bay coach Gary Jonseck compared the tough schedule to playing five basketball games in two days, but he was still happy his squad picked up the experience.
“We have a lot to take to the chalkboard but you always know that when you have a two-day tournament,” Jonseck said. “The physical stress on the kids is pretty high but we see a lot of things we have to work on. I think they enjoy it.”
Jonseck was optimistic about his team’s chances later in the year thanks to having various football players back practicing with the wrestling squad.
“We’re about where we should be,” Jonseck said. “The big thing is keeping everybody healthy and academically eligible.”