Gold is the goal for FPC's five state wrestling qualifiers

First-year Bulldogs coach David Bossardet is holding his wrestlers and himself accountable.


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  • | 7:49 p.m. February 27, 2023
FPC's state wrestling qualifiers: Back row, Kole Hannant, Dalton Schell and Kelton Howard. Front row: Ana Vilar and Johnny Hald. Photo by Brent Woronoff
FPC's state wrestling qualifiers: Back row, Kole Hannant, Dalton Schell and Kelton Howard. Front row: Ana Vilar and Johnny Hald. Photo by Brent Woronoff
Photo by Brent Woronoff
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Flagler Palm Coast wrestling coach David Bossardet expects all five of his state qualifiers to earn a spot on the podium.

That’s what the Bulldog wrestlers like about their first-year coach.

“I think Coach Boss is harder on us and expects more,” said senior Johnny Hald. “Last year, making it to the state tournament was the goal. This year, placing is the goal.”

Bossardet placed fourth at state in 2001 when he was a junior at FPC.

First-year FPC wrestling coach David Bossardet says he has the best job in the world.
Photo by Brent Woronoff

“I expect them all to place,” he said. “You don’t go to a tournament to go to a tournament. You go to a tournament to win. We’re not going to walk out with five champions, but that’s the goal — gold medals.”

Kole Hannant (132 pounds), Hald (138), Kelton Howard (160) and Dalton Schell (195) qualified for the Class 3A boys state tournament, while Ana Vilar (130) will wrestle in the girls tournament. The tourneys will run concurrently March 2-4 at the Silver Spurs Arena in Kissimmee.

“They’re a good group,” Bossardet said. “They're all kind of different in their wrestling, but they’re all good kids, and I think that’s important. I’m excited they have a chance to compete this week.”

Hannant (43-8) placed sixth last year as a junior. He is committed to improving on that finish this year.

I think I’ve wrestled a good majority of the wrestlers in (the bracket). I think I should beat them. — KOLE HANNANT

“I think I’ve wrestled a good majority of the wrestlers in (the bracket),” he said. “I think I should beat them.”

Hald and Vilar also qualified for state last year. Schell came up one match short, losing in the blood round (consolation semifinals) at region. This year, the senior was a runner-up at the Region 1-3A tournament. Winning in the semifinals to clinch a spot at state was a relief, Schell said.

Hald finished fourth at region last week with two close losses to Johnathan Dishman of Oviedo. Hald (40-10) is matched up in the first round at state with Harmony’s Shawn McCallister (45-2). Hald wrestled McCallister in the Flagler Rotary Tournament on Jan. 27, losing in the semifinals by an 8-2 decision.

Howard, a junior, is a first-time qualifier. He was a JV wrestler last year before suffering a season-ending injury around mid-season.

“My skill level is definitely much better than it was before the injury,” said Howard, who has a 38-9 record.

Vilar is one of two girls on FPC’s wrestling team. She practices daily against the boys.

“Their strength helps you get stronger,” she said. “But you just have to wrestle. It’s the same sport, the same technique.”

Last year, FPC sent nine wrestlers to state, but six were seniors. Bossardet will be losing three more accomplished seniors in Hannant, Hald and Schell. After the season, Bossardet said, he will be shifting to recruiting mode, going to the middle schools.

He has also been working on building the program from the ground up through the Flagler Wrestling Club.

“We have about 15 to 20 middle-school aged kids,” he said of the club. “We need to have a very busy spring and summer.”

Bossardet is quite familiar with the storied history of FPC wrestling. He and his brother, FPC principal Bobby Bossardet, have their names on the wall of the wrestling room.

“To be the wrestling coach at FPC comes with a lot of accountability and expectations, and I need to be prepared to meet those expectations,” he said.

It’s been 11 years since David Bossardet was a wrestling coach — he was an assistant for five seasons at Labette Community College in Kansas — and he feels like he’s home, back on the wrestling mat in his alma mater.

“I feel I have the best job in the world,” he said. “I love doing what I’m doing, and I love doing it here.”

 

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