The Buzz Hill State Farm Invitational has an out-of-state guest in 2013, a tournament first, Chartiers-Houston High School (Pa.) located just outside of Pittsburgh.
The annual event is back at Gulf Coast High School for the second year and the 32-team individual bracket is possibly the toughest field put together.
“We have 10 guys ranked in the top three in their respective divisions,” co-tournament director Jeff Mustari said. “There are a few different 3A schools that have some really tough kids.”
Mustari stepped down as Barron Collier’s wrestling coach after eight years in February but wanted to stick around as tournament director.
The two-day tournament is in its fourth year under the sponsorship of State Farm and insurance agent Buzz Hill, a former high school wrestler in Ohio and National Junior team wrestler.
“We appreciate all he does as a sponsor and for the wrestling community in Naples,” said Barron Collier athletic director Mark Rosenbalm, who along with Mustari runs the event. “He promotes the sport any way he can.”
The tournament begins today at 1 p.m. and should wrap up around 8 p.m. Day two gets started at 9 a.m. with the finals expected to start at 5 p.m.
Lee County schools Ida Baker, Fort Myers, Cypress Lake, Gateway Charter, Cape Coral and Evangelical Christian will be wresting this weekend.
Cape Coral features one of the top 126-pound wrestlers in the state in Nick Anthony. The junior won the Super 32 qualifier in September at Kissimmee Osceola High School but didn’t wrestle in the national event, which was held in October in Greensboro, N.C. and featured more than 1,000 wrestlers from around the country.
That’s because Anthony stepped away from outside competition for three months to focus on his studies. He wrestled twice in December, winning both matches.
“I’m kind of excited to see where our guys are at right now,” Cape Coral coach Trevor Elliot said. “This is going to be like a mini-state tournament. If they can do well here they should be all right at state.”