Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

State wrestling: Springstead finishes third as Richie Bliss claims 103-pound title

LAKELAND — On the shoulders of an individual championship by 103-pounder Richie Bliss, Springstead finished third as a team in Class 2A at the state wrestling finals Saturday at the Lakeland Center, equaling the program's highest-ever finish.

The Eagles, who sent three wrestlers to the championship finals, finished third for the fifth time in program history — last accomplished in 2001. The finish and 108-point total were the program's best marks under current coach Eric Swensen.

"We wrestled great here, but we squandered some opportunities to do better," Swensen said. "Right now, it's always going to be disappointing to not win them all, but after it's passed, I'll look back and be happy about how we did (this season)."

Bliss, a sophomore who went 49-4, became the 12th state champ in Springstead history, recording a pin against Lake Gibson's Brandon Jorge in 5 minutes, 29 seconds.

Senior Scott Wern's run at 189 pounds came to an end against Brandon's Mike Ettore. Ettore won the championship finals match 8-4, and Brandon went on to win the Class 2A team title for the ninth consecutive season.

Springstead freshman Cody Ross (119) lost in the championship finals but has established himself as legitimate team leader. Ross, who demolished the school record of 35 wins by a freshman with a record of 47-10, fell 6-0 to Brandon's Rossi Bruno, now a two-time state champion.

Nick Soto (125) and Thad Klenovich (160) both placed fourth for Springstead, and Jessey Lorentsen (171) was sixth. Soto lost a semifinal to Manatee's Jacob Gregory, the eventual state champ, then lost to Brandon's Tyler Liberatore, a 2008 state champ.

Of the 32 wrestlers the North Suncoast sent to state this season, 14 placed.

Sunlake's Jarrett Baker had his undefeated season and run at the Class A 189-pound state title end in the semifinals against Jacksonville Episcopal's Billy Kartsonis, dropping major decision 10-2. Feeling under the weather, Baker salvaged a fourth-place finish to his senior season and ended with a 41-2 record.

In 10th place, Gulf (41 points) was the top North Suncoast placer in Class A thanks to a phenomenal performance from Ladarious Jackson (152). Jackson became the first Buccaneer wrestler to reach the finals since Michael Calafiore won the state title in 2007.

Jackson, wrestling in a difficult weight class, came up short, however, getting pinned by Clay's Kyle Mills in 2:23. He finished 50-5 on the season.

"Ladarious is explosive and volatile," Gulf coach Travis DeWalt said. "He has grown and developed so well over the course of this year."

The Buccaneers also got good finishes from Anthony Ayers (fifth at 119) and R.J. O'Connor (sixth at 112). Ayers fell in the semifinals. Meanwhile, O'Connor's result was impressive because he was dropped by pin to Wewahitchka's Jacob Taylor in his first match, but he battled his way back from there.

FAST FACTS

North Suncoast state placers

Class A

R.J. O'Connor, Gulf (112), sixth

Anthony Ayers, Gulf (119), fifth

Daniel Pritz, Hernando (135), fifth

Ladarious Jackson, Gulf (152), second

James Johnson, Sunlake (160), fourth

James Davidson, Hernando (171), sixth

Jarrett Baker, Sunlake (189), fourth

Class 2A

Richie Bliss, Springstead (103), first

Cody Ross, Springstead (119), second

Nick Soto, Springstead (125), fourth

Thad Klenovich, Springstead (160), fourth

Jessey Lorentsen, Springstead (171), sixth

Scott Wern, Springstead (171), second

Class 3A

Billy Kostakis, Mitchell (140), fifth

State wrestling: Springstead finishes third as Richie Bliss claims 103-pound title 02/21/09 [Last modified: Saturday, February 21, 2009 11:19pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Bucs raise prices for single tickets to marquee games

    Blogs

    The Bucs will have single-game tickets for 2017 home games on sale July 28, with a new wrinkle: the best games will cost more for fans.

    Bucs fans cheer Jameis Winston after a victory in their final home game of the 2016 season. Individual tickets for the Bucs' three most coveted home games (against the Patriots, Bears and Giants) will cost more in 2017.
  2. RHP Alex Cobb feeling safer as Rays make playoff push

    The Heater

    Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Alex Cobb (53) throwing in the fourth inning of the game between the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Tampa Bay Rays at LECOM Park in Bradenton, Fla. on Tuesday, March 21, 2017.
  3. HomeTeam 100: Players 61-70

    Footballpreps

    Jefferson wide receiver Dontavius Smith during the game between Jefferson High School and Jesuit High School at Jesuit on Friday, Sept. 16, 2016, in Tampa, Fla.
  4. A second chance at life, away from the game he loved

    The Heater

    Dylan Delso, a catcher for the Tampa Bay Rays' Gulf Coast League team, displays his scar at Charlotte Sports Park in Port Charlotte, Fla., on Tuesday, June 20, 2017. On June 25, 2016 Delso fell backward down a flight of stairs, suffering a nearly fatal head injury that put him in a coma for eight days. He's finally back on the baseball field after a miraculous recovery.
  5. Rays morning after: Steven Souza Jr.'s status is a major concern

    Blogs

    The Rays will know more about the status of RF Steven Souza Jr. later today after reviewing results of a scheduled MRI and exam of the left hip he strained in Wednesday's game on an awkward slide into second.

    Steven Souza Jr. strained his left hip in Wednesday's game on an awkward slide into second.