South Florida Wrestling On A Roll
The University of South Florida wrestling team has had a pretty nice run the past few weeks of competition. They competed in the USF Duals, Citadel Open, and UCF Open in the fall, but lately have been on a roll.
The Bulls won the 2013 Tony Milanes Florida Classic held at the University of Florida on January 12th; this was their first individual team title in many years. Ryan Hall (133 lbs), Elliott Morales (149), and Zach Morales (157) led the team by winning their weight classes. Will Smith (235) claimed second and Josh Jeffries (165) earned bronze on the day as well. The first tournament in January, this was a pre-curser to the next weekend, the NCWA National Duals in Dalton, Georgia.
USF went into the tournament seeded 18th and finished the tournament in 18th place. The Bulls wrestled well, but lost a close match (24-18) to #15 Auburn and then lost to Lindenwood - St. Charles (the eventual champions) in the second round. South Florida recovered the next day by beating #19 South Carolina, in-state rival #13 North Florida, and then lost another close match to #17 Cincinnati (29-23). While they aimed for a better place finish, USF showed that they are on the rise - this was their second invite to the National Duals (first was in 2012), but their first placement in the tournament.
The next weekend saw the Florida teams battling each other in the Florida Dual Championship at the University of North Florida. USF lost a rough match in the first round to in-state rival Central Florida, but won the rest of their matches to clinch second place in the round-robin tournament. This is the team's highest finish in their history of competing in the Florida Duals.
Key tournaments for the Southeast Conference include the Classic City Championship at the University of Georgia on February 2nd, the Eagle Open at Georgia Southern University on February 9th, and the Seminole-Rattler Invitational at Florida A&M University on February 16th. The Southeast Conference Championship will be at Georgia Southern University as well on March 2nd.
The Bulls hope to continue on their roll for the rest of the season on the way to the National Championships in Allen, Texas on March 14-16.