2022 All-Area Athletes & Teams

All-Area Athletes and Teams

All-Area Athletes & Teams

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Page 26 www.yoursun.com By PATRICK OBLEY SPORTS EDITOR Even without a team state champion, the area experi- enced a banner year among its wrestling programs with a whopping 33 wrestlers reaching the state championships and 22 ultimately standing on the podium. Included in that number: Four girls, including two who brought home some hardware. As they often do, Charlotte led the way among the locals, with an area-best nine wres- tlers reaching the podium, earning the Tarpons a sec- ond-place finish in Class 2A. Lemon Bay sent an area-best 11 wrestlers to Silver Spurs Arena with six bringing home medals. North Port brought three boys and three girls. All three boys placed while Hope Eastes became the first area girls wrestler to ocially medal, with girls wrestling becoming a sanctioned sport this season. North Port (3A) and Lemon Bay (1A) each finished seventh in their respective team com- petitions. Earlier in the season, the Mantas and Tarpons also made the final four of the state dual championships. We're sort of saving the best for last — three local wrestlers won state titles, all three doing so with unique stories to tell their grandchildren. Andrew Austin became a three-time state champion for Charlotte, joining his coach, Evan Robinson. It was Austin's final bow before heading to Central Michigan to continue his wrestling career. Lance Schyck became a two-time champion, doing so by going undefeated for the second consecutive year despite tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee as a junior and struggling with post-surgery recovery as a senior. Dominic Joyce lost his father — and biggest fan — in October and spent the season competing in his memory and to help heal his grieving family. He accom- plished the goal he and his father had set, winning a state crown after falling just short a year ago. All in all, it was a special season, made even more mem- orable by the contributions from the area's budding girls' programs. For the first time, two of those girls are being honored in this year's Daily Sun All-Area teams. For Lemon Bay's historic sea- son, Mike Schyck was named Coach of the Year. FIRST TEAM CHASE ALDEN LEMON BAY, JUNIOR Alden got a taste of the bright lights at state a year ago and parlayed that into a strong 54-5 junior season. He powered his way into the Class 1A 170-pound title match, where he ran into region foe Christian Moder. The second-place finish should fuel a title run during his senior season. ANDREW AUSTIN CHARLOTTE, SENIOR Austin closed out his storied Tarpon career with a 14-0 major decision in his 126-pound title match against Brandon's Darrell Tabor. He graduates with three consecutive state crowns, joining some of Charlotte's greatest wrestlers. KAIDEN BALLINGER CHARLOTTE, SOPHOMORE Ballinger entered the Class 2A state championship as the No. 4 ranked wrestler at 113, according to Kabra Wrestling. He lived up to that billing, finishing fourth at the state championships earlier this month. He battled his way to the third-place match after losing in the quarterfinals. JAMES BALTUTIS CHARLOTTE, JUNIOR Baltutis flew under the radar for most of this season, but began climbing the ranks when it mattered most. Competing in Class 2A's 160-pound division, he exceeded expectations by finishing fourth in a stacked weight class. ISAAC CHURCH CHARLOTTE, SENIOR Church attempted something quite gutsy this season. Early on, Church abandoned the 138-pound weight class and opted to wrestle at 152. It was a strategic move on his part, both to aid his team and his own chances. It paid dividends with a fourth-place finish at state. HOPE EASTES NORTH PORT, SENIOR The definition of true grit, Eastes wrestled with the boys' team until the girls' district tournament. From there, she roared all the way to third place in the 100-pound division. This, despite suering a serious enough leg injury in regionals to require help getting o the mat. CAMREN FRENCH CHARLOTTE, SOPHOMORE French is probably the most unflappable wrestler in the area, never fazed, often eager, to take on seemingly huge challenges. He went 40-8 this season and battled his way to Class 2A's 106-pound final. A return to the title match seems obvious for French next season. SEAN-MICHAEL GONZALEZ NORTH PORT, SENIOR Gonzalez had a dominant senior season, wrestling at 126 in Class 3A. His only losses while compiling a 47-3 record came against Palmetto Ridge state champion Anderson Heap, who unfortunately was in Gonzalez's own district. Still, he caps his career with a second-place finish this season. KOEN HOFFMAN LEMON BAY, JUNIOR Homan is another example of the talent Lemon Bay will return next season. After fin- ishing fourth a year ago at 152, Homan reached the Class 1A 160-pound title match in 2022. His second-place finish aided Lemon Bay's seventh-place team finish. DOMINIC JOYCE NORTH PORT, JUNIOR After losing his father in October, Joyce became just the second Bobcat in school history Area squads dominated the state podium SUN PHOTOS BY TIM KERN Lemon Bay's Lance Schyck works quickly during the Region 1A-3 meet at Lemon Bay High School. Schyck capped an undefeated season with his second consecutive state title. SEE WRESTLING, 27A SUN PREPS ALL-AREA WRESTLING

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