TAMPA — Eleven of 12 Brandon wrestlers won their finals bouts and the Eagles ran away with the Hillsborough County Championships on Saturday.
The Eagles scored 385.5 points, well ahead of second-place Robinson (162), and have won the event every year since its inception in 2002.
Brandon state title defenders James Flint (120 pounds), Dylan Lucas (126), Kevin Norstrem (138) and Jacob Haydock (160) cruised to decisive wins, but perhaps the most impressive of the Eagles was senior Travis Berridge (170). He improved to 52-2 by blanking defending Class 1A runnerup Luis Peguero of Robinson 5-0 in the final. Berridge pulled a 360-degree spin move to open the match and scored a takedown that took Peguero by surprise and set the tone.
"It's just one of those funky moves that they don't expect," Berridge said. "I can almost never pull it off in practice, but against guys that aren't expecting it — it's actually one of the first times I've pulled it off."
Aside from the expected Eagles rout, there were unexpected thrills. The 113-pound final was a clash of defending state champs in Brandon freshman Kyle Norstrem and Armwood sophomore Donoven Hough, who won 7-5 on an overtime leg takedown.
"That kid (Norstrem) is tough as heck, one of the best in the state but when it came down to it, it was about who wanted it more," Hough said. "I worked my butt off to get that last takedown."
In the 182 final, Durant senior Keith Watford scored a reversal in the second period then held on to Robinson senior Christopher Rodriquez throughout a furious third to win 2-1.
"Coach said, "Short time, short time,' so I knew if he got out it was over," Watford said. "It was time to just toughen up and squeeze tight."
Middleton's Emanuel Rivera, who has had only eight matches this season, faced Brandon heavyweight Darren Lester, who had pinned all four of his opponents at the event in the first round.
"I went in there with the mind-set that I was not going to get pinned," Rivera said. "I was either going to go all six minutes with him or I was going to pin him."
Rivera went the distance in losing an 11-3 major decision.