HUDSON — It had been a long time since the Pasco wrestling team had held the Sunshine Athletic Conference championship trophy aloft.
In fact, the Pirates have crowned four individual state champions since they last won the conference team title more than a decade ago.
That drought ended Saturday as Pasco (208 points) emerged with a dominant team victory, dethroning two-time defending champion Fivay, which hosted the event.
Mitchell (158.5) took runnerup honors despite not having an individual champion.
“We’ve been close a few times, but we always seem to have some things go against us,” Pasco coach Mark DeAugustino said. “This is just a stepping-stone to district, but as long as this group stays together, we can win a lot more of these.”
The Pirates sent eight wrestlers to the finals, highlighted by three individual winners, including Lukas Twardosky (106 pounds), Skyler White (138) and Andrew Ivie (285). White’s title gives him two SAC golds and one runnerup finish from his freshman season.
Fivay, which held off River Ridge and Pasco a year ago in this tournament, didn’t have the depth to do the same again this year. The Falcons still boasted some of the elite wrestlers in the event, with Cole Manion (120) and Andrew Scherer (160) capturing titles. The only other members of the Fivay lineup to reach the finals were Joey Zizzo (106) and Nicco Lightfoot (182).
Lightfoot, the favorite to win a third straight SAC crown, had to injury default in the middle of the first period against River Ridge’s Max Reynolds because of a foot injury. The 182-pound class is one of the most difficult as it boasts four wrestlers who could potentially place at the state tournament.
Wiregrass Ranch came away with two individual champions when Jarred Lanier (113) and Max Quinones (132) both won their championship bouts.
Jon Galvan (126), a state placer a year ago, supplied Wesley Chapel with its lone conference title.
Robert Napolitano (145), repeating his crown from last year, and Kenny Hayes (220) brought back gold for Gulf.
Anclote scored one individual title as well as the Sharks’ Jonte Scott (152) upset Pasco’s T.J. Maples using his athleticism.
Sunlake took home multiple titles thanks to Calab Dixon (170) and Oasin Speicher (195).
Mitchell’s Storm Schenk, who qualified for the championship round against Scherer, was unable to compete after suffering a collarbone injury in the semifinals. Schenk, a potential contender at the district tournament next weekend, is day- to-day, according to his coach and father Russ Schenk.
“We’re going to get him some rest and do enough to try to get him into district next week,” the elder Schenk said. “Hopefully, we can qualify for region, and get him some more rest before then, too.”