SPRING HILL — The host Eagles might have cruised to their fifth straight team title Saturday at their annual Springstead Invitational, but they were probably more proud of the little achievements they picked up along the way.
The Eagles scored 251 points, easily outdistancing Gulf (179.5).
"I thought we wrestled well," Springstead coach Eric Swensen said. "I would've liked to see our guys wrestle their style more, but there are more distractions when you wrestle at home."
The Eagles had eight wrestlers in the championship finals, seven of them claiming titles. Richie Bliss (103 pounds), Nick Soto (135), Cody Ross (140) and Shawn Landgraff (152) each won gold at this event for the third consecutive season.
Bliss (30-1) had to rally from an 8-4 third-period deficit to beat Strawberry Crest's Abe Fernandez in overtime. The two-time state champion drew within 9-7 after Fernandez was called for stalling. A takedown with four seconds remaining gave Bliss the window he needed.
In overtime, two back points for the state's top-ranked 103-pounder gave him the win.
"Once I got thrown on my back, I thought I was out of it," Bliss said. "Something like that is really important because you never know how a match is going to turn out."
For the second time this season, Virgil Toms (30-2) defeated Gulf's Anthony Ayers (29-2) at 130 pounds in a bout between state champs from last season. Toms outlasted Ayers 3-1 in overtime.
Springstead freshman Jordan Rivera (27-5), who fell to Dunedin's Shaun Shakoor at the Gulf Holiday Duals last month, avenged the loss to win gold at 112 pounds.
"Jordan's showing so much maturity," Swensen said. "For a freshman to do that is awesome."
Gulf's Ladarious Jackson (171) and R.J. O'Connor (160) were the only other two North Suncoast wrestlers to take individual titles. Jackson, a defending state champ, continued his unbeaten season (22-0) with a 5-3 win over Hernando's Zach Pritz (24-3).
River Ridge's Andrew Herr (24-1) suffered his first loss at 189 pounds, losing 14-3 to Space Coast's Carlos Londano.
22nd annual Springstead Invitational
Springstead High, Spring Hill
Team Standings: 1. Springstead 251, 2. Gulf 179.5, 3. Dunedin 164.5, 4. Chamberlain 118, 5. Space Coast 101.5, 6. Jesuit 100, 7. Hernando 95, 8. Nature Coast 91.5, 9. Lennard 90, 10. Strawberry Crest 84, 11. River Ridge 78, 12. Wiregrass Ranch 76, 13. St. Cloud 69, 14. Central 64, 15. Hillsborough 62, 16. Fivay 61, 17. Mitchell 53, 18. Spoto 48, 19. Wesley Chapel 44.5, 20. Zephyrhills 44, 21. The Villages 38, 22. Jefferson 25, Land O'Lakes 10.
Individual Finals: 103: Bliss (SPR) dec Fernandez (SCR), 11-9; 112: Rivera (SPR) dec Shakoor (DUN), 6-3; 119: Patisaul (SCR) dec Monsegur (CEN), 9-8; 125: Barr (CHA) dec Dominguez (JES), 10-4-2; 130: Toms (SPR) dec Ayers (GUL), 3-1; 135: Soto (SPR) maj dec Plate (DUN), 16-3; 140: Ross (SPR) dec Prince (DUN), 3-2; 145: Phillips (LEN) dec Colon (SPR), 7-6; 152: Landgraff (SPR) dec Cimino (JES), 9-3; 160: O'Connor (GUL) dec Goodnow (DUN), 5-4; 171: Jackson (GUL) dec Pritz (HER), 5-3; 189: C; Londano (SPC) maj dec Herr (RVR), 14-3; 215: Richards (HIL) dec Palasky (GUL), 8-1; 285: Dreggors (SPR) pin Kruse (GUL), :48.