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 within reach of top spot

LAKELAND — Since before the season began, it has been speculated that this would be Springstead's best shot at a state title in the program's history.

As Day 1 of the state wrestling finals wrapped up at the Lakeland Center on Friday night, the Eagles were within striking distance of first-place Oviedo in the Class 2A standings. Springstead has six of the eight competitors it brought to the tournament in the semifinals.

"We knew going into this that it was going to come down to (the finals)," Springstead coach Eric Swensen said. "There are just too many variables."

Springstead, a perennial state placer behind powerhouse Brandon in years past, found itself in position to compete for the title when Russ Cozart's dynasty was reassigned to Class 3A this season. Brandon leads the team standings in 3A heading into today as well.

One of the combatants to get through for the Eagles was top-ranked Cody Ross at 135 pounds. In his second-round match, he narrowly escaped with a win over Palmetto Ridge's David Tanguma. After falling behind 2-1 in the third period, Ross found himself on the verge of being locked out of the finals already. He fought back to tie the match with less than 30 seconds remaining and won with a takedown in overtime.

"It might help me, it might wake me up," Ross said. "No one's going to let me win just because I'm Cody Ross."

In addition to Springstead's Richie Bliss (103 pounds), Virgil Toms (125), Nick Soto (130), Ross, Shawn Landgraff (152) and Kenny Cox (215), a handful of other North Suncoast hopefuls scrambled their way to the semifinals.

While a run at a Class A state team title hasn't materialized for Gulf as it originally had hoped, the Buccaneers do have two favorites in the semifinals with their eyes on gold and one more who has worked his way into the fray. However, the program is still in third place, behind Suwannee and Northside Christian.

Ladarious Jackson (152), who made the championship final last season, and Anthony Ayers (119), who continues to maintain an undefeated record, have yet to be challenged in the tournament. R.J. O'Connor (135) placed at state last season as well, but after not being in the lineup for disciplinary reasons for the first month of the schedule, he now finds himself two matches away from a state crown.

Hernando's Daniel Pritz (145) continued his march toward the podium in Class A with strong performances on the first day. The two-time state placer hopes to gain another medal after convincingly sweeping his first two bouts.

fast facts

State wrestling

At the Lakeland Center

Admission: $8 per session; parking is $7

Today: Wrestlebacks,

9 a.m.; semifinals, 11; championship finals, 6:35 p.m.

State wrestling: Springstead within reach of top spot 02/19/10 [Last modified: Friday, February 19, 2010 11:25pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Crosstown rivals Bloomingdale-Newsome kick off season

    Footballpreps

    LITHIA — In a week filled with area football rivalries, there is a game on the east side of Hillsborough County — Bloomingdale vs. Newsome — that has matured into a classic crosstown battle, complete with classic cliches.

    Bloomingdale wide receiver Ed Amos charges through a drill a few days before the big rivalry game against Newsome on Friday night.
  2. Bucs Cannon Fodder podcast: Several key players still sidelined

    Bucs

    Greg Auman gives an injury update, with several key players still sidelined from practice three days before the Bucs play the Cleveland Browns in Tampa, and a full recap of your favorite scenes from Tuesday …

    Bucs wide receiver Mike Evans was held out of practice Wednesday at One Buc Place. [CHARLIE KAIJO | Times]
  3. Playoff ambitions evident in opener for Zephyrhills, Wiregrass Ranch

    Footballpreps

    WESLEY CHAPEL — A new football season in Pasco County begins Friday night, but this one promises to be like none before it — with more math than ever. A new playoff system emphasizes schedule strength, making non-district tilts particularly important.

    Wiregrass Ranch wide receiver Jordan Miner catches a pass in spring practice at Wiregrass Ranch High School in Wesley Chapel on Monday, May 1, 2017.
  4. Dirk Koetter says Bucs used team meeting to discuss social issues

    Bucs

    During a 20-minute team meeting Tuesday, Bucs coach Dirk Koetter decided to turn the discussion to social issues and whether players are expected to stand for the national anthem.

    "The main thing is we have to respect everybody's opinion," Dirk Koetter said, "because everybody is not going to agree." [AP photo]
  5. Rookie tight end Antony Auclair making case to stick with Bucs

    Bucs

    Don't let his modest preseason stats fool you: Antony Auclair, the undrafted rookie tight end from Canada is making a strong case to stick around on the Bucs' 53-man roster this season.

    Bucs tight end Antony Auclair (82) collides with a defender following a catch during training camp. [CHARLIE KAIJO   |   Times]