BRANDON — With winning streaks nearly too numerous to count, the Brandon wrestling team kept yet another intact by winning the Tony Ippolito tournament on Saturday night. The host Eagles have not lost the event since 1993, though the Eagles from Springstead tried to make it interesting for a while.
Brandon crowned seven individual champions to top runnerup Springstead 373-284.5, and St. Thomas Aquinas (208.5) was the only other squad in the 29-team field to crack 200 points.
"The boys get five matches over a two-day period," Brandon coach Russ Cozart said. "This gets us ready for county and state."
Brandon always appears ready for state, and now Springstead is thinking big after it had four wrestlers win in the finals.
"They're a good team," said Cozart, whose team took three of five head-to-head matches against Springstead.
The individual finals remained close, at least halfway through the 14 weight classes. Brandon and Springstead each had three victories through seven matches.
Brandon, however, pulled away by winning the next two weight classes. Two-time state champion Clark Glass defeated Alex Pellecer of St. Thomas Aquinas 6-2 at 145 pounds. Then, at 152 pounds, three-time state champion Joe Cozart pinned Springstead's Shawn Landgraff in 4 minutes, 46 seconds.
Springstead's state champion, Richie Bliss, continued after a brief stoppage in the third round, for an 11-3 major decision over Brandon's Victor Fugate.
"My whole body got twisted, and I kind of stretched out my back," Bliss said. "Everybody on the team is looking at Brandon. When I wrestle a Brandon kid I don't look at the singlet. I just go out there and wrestle like I do every single match."
Brandon's Kevin Norstrem hung on for an 8-7 win over Springstead's Virgil Toms in a 125-pound battle highlighted by two reversals in the waning seconds.
In the quickest bout, Brandon 171-pounder Kyle Koziel pinned Lincoln's Josh Coleman in 46 seconds. Other Brandon champs were Ross Bruno (119) and heavyweight Henry Torino.
Team scores: Brandon, 373; Springstead, 284.5; St. Thomas Aquinas, 208.5; Manatee, 191.5; Alonso, 134; Sarasota, 116.5; Jupiter, 115.5; Jesuit, 114.5; Lincoln, 104.5; Liberty, 102; Newsome, 88; Wharton, 82; St. Cloud, 77.5; Barron Collier, 74; East Bay, 70; Plant city, 69.5; Pasco, 69; Chamberlain, 58; Osceola, 55.5; Tampa Prep, 53; Bloomingdale, 50; Poinciana, 40; Land O'Lakes, 39.5; Riverview, 33; Robinson, 31; Wesley Chapel, 29; Hillsborough, 22.5; Plant, 12; Bayshore, 10.
Individuals: 103: Bliss (Spr) 11-3 maj. dec. over Fugate (Br); 112: MacArthur (Jup) 11-7 dec. over Fitzer (Alo); 119: Bruno (Br) 17-8 maj. dec. over McKay (LOL); 125: Norstrem (Br) 8-7 dec. over Toms (Spr); 130: Liberatore (Br) pin 1:03 over Betancourt (Lib); 135: Ross (Spr) 14-4 maj. dec. over Eterno (STA); 140: Zimmerman (Spr) 4-1 dec. over Cotton (Man); 145: Glass (Br) 6-2 dec. over Pellecer (STA); 152: Cozart (Br) pin 4:46 over Landgraff (Spr); 160: Cousins (StC) pin 5:10 over Spiclar (STA); 171: Koziel (Br) pin :46 over Coleman (Lin); 189: Weiss (STA) 5-3 dec. over Ettore (Br); 215: Cox (Spr) 4-2 dec. over Baldwin (Br); HWY: Torino (Br) pin 3:17 over Dreggors (Spr).