Class 2A, District 7
Where: Springstead High, Spring Hill
When: Saturday, first round, 11 a.m.; finals, 4 p.m.
Teams: Central, Citrus, Hudson, Land O'Lakes, Lecanto, Ridgewood, Springstead
Outlook: With six consecutive district championships under its belt, don't expect Springstead to ease up now that it's hosting its first postseason tournament since 2007. The Class 2A state runnerup expects to qualify most of its lineup for the region meet the following weekend in Sebring. Among the Eagles wrestlers looking to repeat as district champs will be Richie Bliss (103 pounds), Virgil Toms (130), Nick Soto (135), Cody Ross (140), Sammy Colon (145), Shawn Landgraff (152) and John Dreggors (285). Jordan Rivera (112) and Sean Redman (125) should also take individual titles. Central, which qualified all 14 of its competitors for region a season ago, only to see none of them reach state, comes in with a different goal in mind. Robbie Monsegur (119) and Puerto Rico Nieves (160) have had solid seasons, and this is the stage where they intend to excel. Citrus is always a program to watch out for, but Springstead has had its number in the past.
Match of the tournament prediction: 152 pounds — Shawn Landgraff, Springstead vs. Casey Whitton, Citrus Class 2A, District 8
Where: Dunedin High
When: Saturday, first round, 12:30 p.m.; finals, 5:30 p.m.
Teams: Dunedin, Mitchell, River Ridge, Sunlake, Tarpon Springs, Wiregrass Ranch, Zephyrhills
Outlook: Dunedin is another program hosting a tournament it should win. The Falcons enter with a deep lineup, including favorites Shaun Shakoor (112), Kane Plate (135), Austin Prince (140) and Kyle Goodnow (160). R.J. Luth should also have a competitve match with Zephyrhills' Frank Morrison to decide the crown at 215 pounds, if Morrison heals from a left knee injury. Wiregrass Ranch also has some depth, but not the overall talent of the Falcons. The Bulls should have no trouble qualifying several wrestlers for region, just like they were able to do when they advanced 10 there a season ago. Another name to watch is River Ridge's Andrew Herr (189). Before a rib injury kept him out of the Sunshine Athletic Conference meet, the senior had a lot of momentum. He is expected to be back.
Match of the tournament prediction: 140 pounds — Austin Prince, Dunedin vs. Elliot Morales, Wiregrass Ranch Admission for all district tournaments: Two sessions, $5 per session; one session, $6
Class A, District 8
Where: Hernando High, Brooksville
When: Saturday, first round, 10 a.m.; finals, 7 p.m.
Teams: Anclote, Crystal River, Dunnellon, Fivay, Gulf, Hernando, Nature Coast, Pasco, Trinity Catholic, The Villages, Weeki Wachee, Wesley Chapel
Outlook: The defending Class A state champs reside in this district, and Gulf also has four straight district titles to go with that honor. The usual suspects will be in the running for individual titles for the Bucs: Anthony Ayers (130 pounds), R.J. O'Connor (160), Ladarious Jackson (171), Chris Palasky (215) and Jeff Kruse (285). The largest district in the area got bigger with the addition of Fivay and Weeki Wachee this year, and the Falcons are no slouch. Featuring state-ranked Sean Speer (119), the program may walk away from its inaugural postseason tournament with at least one weight-class champion. The finals in every class should be tough here. Nature Coast, the runnerup to the Buccaneers last season by 37 points, has worked hard on its depth to push its rival. The Sharks' lineup includes Sean Nguyen (103) and Carter Bolesta (135). Wesley Chapel's Nick Popolillo (152) and Pasco's J.P. Gamez (112), both district runnersup last season, should get shots at avenging those results this time.
Match of the tournament prediction: 171 pounds — Ladarious Jackson, Gulf vs. Zach Pritz, Hernando
Derek J. LaRiviere, Times correspondent