AVON PARK — In the last Class 2A, Region 2 match of the night, heavyweight John Dreggors won his championship final to rally Springstead past Lake Gibson 222 to 218.50 on Saturday, giving the Eagles their first region team title in a decade.
Springstead trailed Lake Gibson by one point as Dreggors lined up to face the Braves' Devonte Terrell. The Eagles junior defeated Terrell 4-0 and erased last year's disappointment at the Class 2A state event.
"I didn't even place at state last year, and that hurt a lot," Dreggors said. "This feels great to win this for the team and to take home a regional title. But now that it's over, my eyes are set on next week and winning state."
The top four wrestlers in each weight class advance to the state meet that begins Friday in Lakeland.
The reason the region team title came down to the final match was because Citrus sophomore Taylor Jackson defeated Lake Gibson's Pat Pauleus for the 171-pound title. Had Pauleus won, the Braves' lead would have been insurmountable.
Springstead coach Eric Swensen and his Eagles were cheering Jackson on. Afterward, Swensen said, "I definitely owe him at least a Coke, probably more than that. He kept us alive."
Springstead had five others win region titles — Richie Bliss (103 pounds), Virgil Toms (130), Nick Soto (135), Cody Ross (140) and Shawn Landgraf (152). Also advancing to state for the Eagles are Jordan Rivera (112, second place), Sean Redman (125, third) and Thomas Gupton (160, fourth).
"We came in here and wrestled well, and all of our guys contributed to this team win," Swesen said. "But now our focus turns to state. When we started the season, our goal wasn't 'Let's go out and win a regional title,' it was 'Let's win a state title.' It's right in front of us now, but in order to accomplish it we've got to be as solid and consistent as we were this weekend."
Dunedin advanced four wrestlers to state — Austin Prince (140, fourth place), Kyle Goodnow (160, third), Mike Hogan (171, third) and Robert Luth (215, fourth). Central will send Robert Monseguer (119, third) to state while River Ridge will send Andrew Herr (189, second) and Wiregrass Ranch has Dylan Koesling (130, fourth).
3A-2: Brandon wins 30th region title
KISSIMMEE — Perennial state contender Brandon earned its 22nd straight region championship and 30th overall Saturday at the Class 3A, Region 2 meet. Brandon finished with 318 points, well ahead of host Kissimmee Osceola (172.5).
"It's tough competition. Osceola has a great team," Brandon coach Russ Cozart said. "Things are going right down to the end and looking good."
Brandon's individual champions were: Devan Berrian (103 pounds), James Flint (112), Victor Fugate (119), Kevin Norstrem (125), Tyler Liveratore (135), Clark Glass (152), Wally Figaro (160), Kyle Koziel (171) and Mike Ettore (189). In all, the Eagles qualified 14 wrestlers for the state meet.
Steve Lee, Times correspondent