BRANDON - State champion David Mason is proving himself as the county's top wrestler. Now he's seeking another title and leads Bloomingdale with 10 wins.
Returning state champion David Mason, might be the best wrestler in Hillsborough County.
The county's only returning state champion, Mason is working his way to another title, gaining the respect of opponents and coaches across the state.
Mason was recently voted most valuable wrestler by coaches at the Jerry Mita Tournament in Pinellas Park, where he won the title match in his weight class.
``He was in by far the toughest weight class, with five state qualifiers, and he breezed through it,´´ Bloomingdale coach Scot Tipton said.
At 10-0, Mason is on the fast track to his goal of going undefeated and winning the state championship at 119 pounds. And he knows exactly what it will take to get there.
``I practice everyday and run when I go home,´´ Mason said. ``I take it one match at a time. There are lots of good guys out there, so I can't overlook anyone.''
And then Mason follows his coach's advice.
``He tells us if we can go through practice and win everyday, no person should be able to beat us in a six-minute match.''
Mason and fellow Bloomingdale standout Joe Dinzeo (9-1) run together to keep in shape - two miles in practice and two-and-a-half more in the evenings.
Tipton said his young team not only looks up to Mason for his outstanding performance, but Mason also commands respect.
``He´s a verbal, fiery leader. He´s very verbal when the team is not working as hard as they can,´´ Tipton said.
When the wrestling season started in November, Tipton said his team was young and had a lot of growing up to do. But the team was not without weapons.
With Mason's power and Dinzeo's style, Bloomingdale has been a commanding force.
``Joe [Dinzeo] is a complete wrestler. Unlike most guys who are brawlers, Joe is a finesse wrestler,´´ Tipton said.
Tipton also credits Travis Cochran (9-1), Justin Diaz (8-2), Gabriel Bartolomei (8-2), Robert Hagin (8-2) and Dan Butierries for contributing to the team's fast start. Though Tipton is pleased, the Christmas break will be used for fine tuning skills at three holiday tournaments.