LAKELAND — Although Day 1 of the state wrestling championships didn't go according to plan for Springstead at the Lakeland Center on Friday, the Eagles are far from out of the mix for today's team title.
Of the 26 North Suncoast grapplers to make the trip this weekend, nine of them wore Springstead's red and blue. Of the 20 still alive, seven are Eagles. The area will have 13 representatives in today's semifinals, six of which come from the vaunted program.
Springstead (74 points) lies in second behind Lake Gibson (79) in Class 2A standings, but the team has more individual title contenders and could easily make a move down the stretch if everything goes its way.
Defending champions Richie Bliss (103 pounds), Virgil Toms (130), Nick Soto (135) and Cody Ross (140) went undefeated in addition to Shawn Landgraff (152) and John Dreggors (285). However, the championship hopefuls lost Jordan Rivera (112) from the top side of the bracket and Sean Redman (125) and Thomas Gupton (160) altogether with two losses.
Before the tournament, Springstead coach Eric Swensen made it clear that he believed key contributions from his role wrestlers would provide a charge for the lineup.
Gulf (38 points), which won the Class A championship in 2010, is finding success on an individual level, but the team is far back in the points chase.
Anthony Ayers (130) and Ladarious Jackson (171) have been dominant on their paths to the semifinals yet again, but favorites R.J. O'Connor (160) and Jeff Kruse (285) have been moved to the consolation bracket and injured respectively. Anthony Agazarm (103) and Austin Hayes (152) were eliminated in their first trips to Lakeland.
State veterans such as Hernando's Zach Pritz (171) and Pasco's J.P. Gamez (112) have reached the semifinals, looking to bring home state gold. River Ridge's Andrew Herr (189), who transferred from Springstead before this season, is also in the semifinals. Nature Coast's Carter Bolesta (130) and Sunlake's John Ortiz (112) are first-time participants, too.
Class 3A: 1. Brandon 116.50; 2. Winter Springs 56.00; 3. Homestead South Dade 47.50; 4. Kissimmee Osceola 40.00
Class 2A: 1. Lake Gibson 79.00; 2. Springstead 74.00; 3. Riverdale 51.00; 4. Oveido 50.00; 25. (tie) Wiregrass Ranch 9.00; 28. (tie) River Ridge 8.00; 31. (tie) Sunlake 7.00; 54. (tie) Central 2.00
Class A: 1. Fort Lauderdale Cardinal Gibbons 60.00; 2. Clay 57.00; 3. Orlando Lake Highland Prep 51.50; 4. Orlando Bishop Moore 32.50; 7. Gulf 25.50; 20. (tie) Nature Coast 13.00; 31. (tie) Pasco 10.00; 40. (tie) Hernando 8.00; 48. Wesley Chapel 6.00; 53. (tie) Fivay 5.00