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Springstead wrestlers jump out to big lead on opening day

SPRING HILL — While Springstead holds a commanding lead after Day 1 of the Springstead Invitational, most of the notable news involves other programs and individual wrestlers.

The Eagles (150.5 points) haven't had any issues defending the title they have won the past three years. All 13 grapplers Springstead entered into the field advanced to the semifinals.

Gulf (94.5 points), which is in second place, unveiled a change in its lineup Friday with 2009 state placer Anthony Ayers moving from 119 pounds to 125. At this weight class he is projected to face Springstead's Virgil Toms in the final. Toms was also a state placer last season.

According to Gulf coach Travis DeWalt, the shift is temporary, with Ayers apparently ready to go back to 119 for the Buccaneers' trip to Dallas next weekend.

"This is a switch just for this tournament," DeWalt said. "The plan is for Anthony to be at 119 for the rest of the season."

There were a couple notable matches in the quarterfinals. Land O'Lakes Brennan Stack (135 pounds) was unseeded despite placing at this tournament last season. He fell in a 13-6 decision to Jesuit's Anthony Cimino with a berth in the semifinals on the line.

Stack is coming off a right arm injury, but according to Gators coach Jason Carpenter, he has made significant strides recently.

"Brennan was throwing (Cimino) pretty easily," Carpenter said. "He just got caught a few times. It'll be interesting to see how he responds."

Gulf's Ladarious Jackson (152), who was runnerup at Springstead last season and state runnerup in 2009, came into the field as the favorite in his class. His quarterfinal pitted him against Wesley Chapel's Nick Popolillo, a state-ranked contender. Jackson seemed to be completely focused as he pinned the formidable Wildcats grappler in only three minutes, 37 seconds.

Springstead wrestlers jump out to big lead on opening day 01/08/10 [Last modified: Friday, January 8, 2010 10:56pm]
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