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North Suncoast state wrestling preview

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Thu. February 13, 2014 | Derek J. LaRiviere

North Suncoast state wrestling preview

A look at the North Suncoast teams and wrestlers who hope to find their way to the podium at this weekend's state wrestling tournament in Lakeland:

State assignments
Class 2A: Fivay, Land O'Lakes, River Ridge, Springstead, Wiregrass Ranch
Class A: Anclote, Central, Gulf, Hernando, Hudson, Nature Coast, Pasco, Weeki Wachee, Wesley Chapel

Fab Five
The five North Suncoast wrestlers with the best shot at an individual state title:
1. Michael McDonald, Springstead (120 pounds): The lone undefeated wrestler on the North Suncoast at 40-0, the Eagle junior is making his third trip to state. His best finish was fifth last year.
2. Jordan Rivera, Springstead (145): Rivera (34-4) has already cemented his legacy as one of the best to come through the program, placing third at state twice and winning a crown at 138 last year. He played football for the first time in his high school career this past season, so the senior took a couple of weeks to round into wrestling form.
3. Jesse Gaudin, Hernando (220): The Leopards haven't had a state champion since Daniel Pritz in 2010, but Gaudin (45-3) is poised to end the string. After placing third in Class 2A last year, the senior is primed to tackle Class A competition.
4. Andrew Ivie, Pasco (285): Ivie (42-2) cruised to his region title with four consecutive pins in a combined 2 minutes, 36 seconds. The junior will have his hands full with University Christian's Jamal Fiffer and Bradenton Southeast's Kane Takacs.
5. Max Reynolds, River Ridge (182): The best description for Reynolds (36-2) is battle-tested, as the senior wrestles in a weight class deep in talent. He beat Fivay's state placer Nicco Lightfoot in the region final and could see him again or run into Robinson's Luis Peguero.

Other qualifiers
Anclote: Brandon McQuinn, Sr., 113, 36-7; Jonte Scott, Jr., 152, 40-5
Central: Brandon Brown, Sr., 182, 28-3
Fivay: Cole Manion, Sr., 120, 43-10; Andrew Scherer, Sr., 160, 49-2; Nicco Lightfoot, Sr., 182, 36-7
Gulf: Robert Napolitano, Sr., 145, 35-8; Jarred Kruse, Sr., 182, 26-6
Hernando: Brennan Ertl, Sr., 160, 39-11
Hudson: Drake Carson, So., 195, 17-10
Land O'Lakes: Luis Casado, Fr., 126, 41-18
Nature Coast: Mark Espinosa, Jr., 126, 45-19; Le'Shaun Gray, Jr., 170, 36-12; Anthony Contegiacomo, So., 220, 51-12
Pasco: Lukas Twardosky, Jr., 106, 37-5; Skyler White, Jr., 138, 32-6
Springstead: Andrew Smith, Jr., 132 pounds, 40-7; Vincent Buonanno, Sr., 160, 27-14; Billy Swift, Jr., 170, 34-8; Corey Humphrey, Sr., 195, 37-7
Weeki Wachee: Dante Padilla, Sr., 120, 51-9; Jesus Nieves, Sr., 132, 49-8; Anthony Vines, Sr., 285, 53-5
Wesley Chapel: Jon Galvan, Sr., 126, 41-2; Nathan Love, Sr., 182, 43-8
Wiregrass Ranch: Jarred Lanier, Sr., 113, 44-5

State meet
Where: The Lakeland Center
Admission: $9 per session; $8 for parking.
Friday: First round 10 a.m. with wrestlebacks and second round to follow.
Saturday: Wrestlebacks 9:30 a.m. with semifinals to follow; championship finals 5:30 p.m.

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