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North Suncoast: Springstead rolls to Kiwanis Invitational wrestling meet crown

Springstead’s Andrew Herr, on top against River Ridge’s Jake Horning in a semifinal, goes on to win the 189-pound title.

WILL VRAGOVIC | Times

Springstead’s Andrew Herr, on top against River Ridge’s Jake Horning in a semifinal, goes on to win the 189-pound title.

BROOKSVILLE — Springstead is no stranger to success at the Kiwanis Invitational.

The Eagles have twice won three consecutive team championships at the annual tournament hosted by Hernando.

Saturday marked the first time in the 28-year history of the tournament that any program, including Springstead, had ever won four straight titles. The Eagles topped the 23-team field with 317.5 points — 137 more than second-place Gulf (180.5 points).

"(Four times in a row) has never been done, so that makes this special," Springstead coach Eric Swensen said. "To be so dominant doing it, that makes it extra special."

After winning only three individual titles last season, the Eagles marched 11 wrestlers into the championship matches, with nine of those finalists standing atop the medal stand at the end of the night.

Among those winners were state champion Richie Bliss (103 pounds), state runnerup Cody Ross (135) and state placer Nick Soto (130). Bliss, Ross and Kenny Cox (215) all repeated their titles from last season's tournament.

Gulf, one of the teams expected to compete for a Class A state title later this season, placed second thanks in large part to individual titles from Ladarious Jackson (152) and Anthony Ayers (119).

In arguably the best match of the tournament, Jackson came back in the final period of his championship match to best Springstead's Shawn Landgraff 9-7. A state runnerup, Jackson was down 6-4 at one point late.

Hernando (110 points) had its best finish (third) as a team since 2007. Daniel Pritz (145), who won by injury default over Pasco's Trevor Drake in the final to capture his first Kiwanis gold, led the host Leopards. Pritz, a senior, was competing in his final Kiwanis tournament.

"To me, this is second only to the state tournament," Pritz said. "I really would've liked to wrestle it out though."

Another notable title winner was River Ridge's Landon Vannata (171), who pinned Springstead's Casey Quinn early in their final to capture his title.

Fast Facts

Team Standings

1. Springstead 317.5, 2. Gulf 180.5, 3. Hernando 110, 4. Nature Coast 98.5, 5. Pasco 93.5, 6. Sunlake 88, 7. Mitchell 85, 8. Belleview 84, 9. Crystal River 82, 10. River Ridge 81, 11. North Marion 80, 12. Dunnellon 72.5, 13. Bloomingdale 71, 14. Jefferson 69, 15. Zephyrhills 65.5, 16. Lecanto 64, 17. Robinson 63.5, 18. Ocala-Trinity Catholic 46.5, 19. Land O'Lakes 32, 20. Hudson 24, 21. Ridgewood 18, 22. Wesley Chapel 17, 23. Ocala-West Port 6.

Individual Finals

103: Bliss (Springstead) tech. fall Vreeland (Crystal River), 18-3. 112: Portillo (Belleview) d. Carpenter (Gulf), 10-5. 119: Ayers (Gulf) maj. dec. Hynes (Zephyrhills), 8-1. 125: Toms (Springstead) p. Cronin (Nature Coast), 4:50. 130: Soto (Spingstead) p. Hoppel (Ocala Trinity), 1:06. 135: Ross (Springstead) maj. dec. Hurst (North Marion), 17-6. 140: Colon (Springstead) p. Peterson (Sunlake), 1:09. 145: Pritz (Hernando) inj. def. Drake (Pasco). 152:Jackson (Gulf) d. Landgraff (Springstead), 9-7. 160: Ellerbee (Springstead) d. Mesagno (Gulf), 3-2. 171:Vannata (River Ridge) p. Quinn (Springstead), 1:45. 189: Herr (Springstead) d. Gilbert (Nature Coast), 5-1. 215: Cox (Springstead) p. Brosnan (Mitchell), 1:54. 285: Dreggors (Springstead) p. Pringle (North Marion), 2:40.

North Suncoast: Springstead rolls to Kiwanis Invitational wrestling meet crown 12/12/09 [Last modified: Saturday, December 12, 2009 11:07pm]
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