The Bulldogs defeated their crosstown rivals 42-18 on Jan. 17 at Flagler Palm Coast High School.
The Bulldogs’ heavyweight wrestler, Anthony Cinelli, was pressed hard against the mat by Matanzas’ own bruiser, Cecil Bermudez.
For two periods, the 285-pounders lumbered, rumbled and tumbled their way to a 2-2 match. The match was evened in the second period following an escape by Bermudez and an illegal hand locking by Cinelli.
Bermudez held down Cinelli with all of his might in the third period.
If Cinelli couldn’t stand up, the match would proceed into overtime.
Cinelli stood up to win the match 3-2.
“All I was thinking was just to stand up. Get him off of me,” Cinelli said. “When you’re in that situation, it’s almost like an instinct. You don’t want to have someone on top of you. In your head, you go over everything you’ve done in practice, all the drills and workouts and everything you’ve learned to just get up.”
Cinelli is on Flagler Palm Coast’s football team, where he plays along the offensive line. He was also on the Bulldogs’ weightlifting team last year. This year — his sophomore year — is his first wrestling.
“I basically almost walked in the room and got a varsity spot,” he said.
But of all the sports Cinelli has competed in for FPC, wrestling has been the most difficult by far.
“It’s a lot of hard work, a lot of hours,” he said. “You can’t go in there thinking it’s easy. It’s just incredible how demanding — physically and mentally — this sport is.”
After FPC's 42-18 win over crosstown rival Matanzas on the night of Wednesday, Jan. 17, at FPC High School, Cinelli and his teammates are feeling confident and ready for the postseason, which starts in early February with the conference championship.
“It’s always good beating our crosstown rivals. It's a big confidence booster,” he said. “It took a lot of focus and determination to get through some of those matches. But sometimes, you’ve just got to dig deep to get those wins.”