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. Alex Faedo, Florida advance to face LSU in College World Series finals

    College

    OMAHA, Neb. — Alex Faedo pitched three-hit ball for 71/3 innings in a second straight strong performance against TCU, and Florida moved to the College World Series finals with a 3-0 win Saturday night.

    Florida’s Austin Langworthy scores on a single by Mike Rivera in the second inning during a 3-0 victory over TCU.
  2. Jones: Bucs need success to get national respect

    Bucs

    Tampa Bay Times columnist Tom Jones offers up his Two Cents on the world of sports.

    No respect

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Dirk Koetter walks the field during the second day of mandatory minicamp at One Buccaneer Place in Tampa, Fla., on Wednesday, June 14, 2017. LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times
  3. Rays journal: Jumbo Diaz falters after getting within a strike of ending rally

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Saturday's game got away starting with a leadoff walk in the seventh inning by Rays LHP Jose Alvarado, who was brought in exclusively to face Baltimore's lefty-swinging Seth Smith.

    Rays reliever Jumbo Diaz wipes his face as he walks off the mound after the Orioles score four during the seventh inning to give them a 7-3 lead. Diaz was one strike away from working out of the jam before he allowed a two-run double and a two-run homer on back-to-back pitches.
  4. Rookie Jake Faria dissatisfied with performance in Rays' loss to Orioles

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — The rookie pitcher walked to his locker Saturday after tossing the fourth quality start in as many tries to begin his career. He held the potent Orioles bats to three runs and for six innings gave his team a chance to win.

    Orioles third baseman Manny Machado tags out the Rays’ Mallex Smith at third after a rundown in the first inning.
  5. Roger Mooney's takeaways from Saturday's Rays-Orioles game

    The Heater

    It was refreshing to see RHP Jacob Faria take the blame after the loss even though he gave the Rays a chance to win. Too often young pitchers are encouraged by what they did and not necessarily the outcome, but Faria, making just his fourth big-league start, came to the Trop to win, didn't, and pointed the finger …