Springstead wrestling looking for familiar ending
JOSEPH GARNETT JR. | Times
Jessey Lorentsen, who wrestled for Mitchell last season, joins a potent Springstead squad that has expectations of placing at the state tournament every year.
SPRING HILL — For years, the motto of Springstead wrestling has been: "We don't rebuild; we reload." That seems to be the case all over again this season.
Following in the footsteps of senior transfers who made significant impacts, like Seth Metz, Andy Leavine and Jerrod Reynolds before him, Jessey Lorentsen hopes to lead the Eagles to a strong postseason showing.
"Jessey has the chance to be a more accomplished version of Andy and Jerrod," Springstead coach Eric Swensen said. "They were both huge for us when they came here and, hopefully, Jessey can give us that same edge."
Lorentsen, a 171-pounder who previously attended Mitchell, qualified for state last season, but his family moved to Spring Hill during the summer. Coincidentally, he fell into the district of the best wrestling program on the North Suncoast.
The Eagles already reloaded with young stars like Nick Soto, Richie Bliss, Cody Ross and Devean Huff. Swensen also returns three other state qualifiers in Dustin Soto, Thad Klenovich and Scott Wern.
While he has gone far before, there is much Lorentsen can learn from his new teammates. The reason Springstead is the elite program in the area is because of the intense practice regimen the coaching staff enforces during the season. Along with learning technique on the mat, the team runs and lifts weights together.
"We expect him to place at states," Swensen said. "We have high expectations for all of our wrestlers, and he is no exception."
If Lorentsen can make the same leap Wern and Klenovich made midseason in 2007, he has a realistic shot at winning a state title. The usual contenders will stand in his way with grapplers from Brandon, Dunedin and Gainesville as his main competition throughout the winter, but he is saying all the right things heading into the season.
"This team is full of phenomenal, strong wrestlers," Lorentsen said. "I am just one of 14 guys that get to go out there and represent Springstead, and I am excited to do that."
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Wrestling quick hits
• Wiregrass Ranch is the only program on the North Suncoast never to advance a grappler to state. Last season, Sunlake and Nature Coast accomplished the feat for the first time.
• Springstead's Schuyler Swanton and Pasco's Eric Stroud won state titles last season. It was the second time in a row two North Suncoast wrestlers won titles in the same season. Swanton and Gulf's Michael Califiore accomplished the feat in 2007.
•Springstead has placed in the top 10 programs in the state the past three seasons. Before this run, the Eagles hadn't accomplished a similar streak since Hall of Famer Bob Levija led the program from 1995-2001.
• In his 11th season, Pasco's Mark DeAugustino is the longest-tenured coach on the North Suncoast. Hudson's Dana Bentley, who had one season on DeAugustino, resigned this past spring. There will be six first-year coaches with Mitchell's Justin Fenton, Land O'Lakes' Jason Carpenter, Hudson's James Jubran, Ridgewood's Matt Bullwinkel, Wesley Chapel's Abel Robinson and Sunlake's Matt McDermott.
Dustin Soto, Springstead (112): Finished last season 38-10 while getting knocked out at state earlier than expected. Along with brother Nick and graduate Schuyler Swanton, is one of three All-Americans in school history.
Nick Hynes, Zephyrhills (119): Finished 37-13 last season and placed sixth (112) at state.
Nick Soto, Springstead (125): First season wrestling varsity; garnered freshman All-America honors at Virginia Beach, Va., and All-America honors at Fargo, N.D., in the postseason.
Vince Ramirez, Central (130): Struggled with injuries last season but has talent, as evidenced by his freshman All-America status from two seasons ago.
Daniel Pritz, Hernando (140): Was 44-10 last season on his way to joining older brothers Robbie and David as a state placer for the Leopards with his third-place finish at 125 in Class A.
Billy Kostakis, Mitchell (145): At 23-9, was arguably the best 145-pounder on the North Suncoast.
Thad Klenovich, Springstead (152): Went 36-9 last season, state qualifier.
Jessey Lorentsen, Springstead (171): Mitchell transfer went 34-7 while qualifying for state last season.
Jarrett Baker, Sunlake (189): Went 31-11, became Sunlake's first state qualifier season.
Saturday: Pasco Tough Team Duals
Saturday: Second annual Solomon Classic at Central
Dec. 6: Bear Duals at Central
Dec. 6: 10th annual Swamp Challenge Duals at Land O'Lakes
Dec. 12-13: 27th annual Kiwanis Invitational at Hernando
Dec. 19-20: 10th annual Gulf Holiday Duals
Jan. 3: First annual Springstead Duals
Jan. 9-10: 20th annual Springstead Invitational
Jan. 23-24: 25th annual Ippolito Memorial Invitational at Brandon
Jan. 31: SAC championships at Wiregrass Ranch