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Wrestling: Brandon rolls to Class 2A, Region 2 meet crown as Springstead takes second

During the semifinal round of the Class 2A, Region 2 wrestling meet Saturday, Brandon locked up its 20th consecutive regional team championship and recorded its 29th win in the past 30 seasons.

The Eagles took the title with 284 points, eight champs, one runner-up and will send 12 wrestlers to the state championships next weekend in Lakeland.

Springstead was second, followed by Lake Gibson, Dunedin and St. Cloud. Wharton was 10th.

Springstead crowned a champion at 189 pounds when Scot Wern scored a 16-5 major decision over George Jenkins' Trevor Brown, and got a runner-up at 160 in Thad Klenovich.

The Eagles had a slew of third-place finishers: Richie Bliss (103), Cody Ross (119), Nick Soto (125), Colton Zimmerman (135), Shawn Landgraff (145) and Jessey Lorentsen (171). Finally, Ken Cox qualified for the state meet after losing his 215-pound consolation final.

Russ Cozart, Brandon's head coach, said the two-day tournament was tough, but he was pleased with his wrestlers.

"This was a grueling couple of days," he said. "On the road, living in a motel, going back and forth to compete; it was rough, but all my guys did their best. Some of the losses were in overtime or by one or two points. I am proud of them."

Ryan Renkey (112), Rossi Bruno (119), Tyler Liberatore (125), Clark Glass (130), Eric Grajales (135), Kevin Timothy (140), Joey Cozart (145) and Wally Figaro (152) won individual titles for the Eagles.

Glass, one of Brandon's starting freshmen, won his first individual regional and state tournament as a seventh grader at Tampa Bay Christian. He said this time it is different.

"It is really cool being part of such a great team," Glass said. "Hopefully, this is the next successful step toward winning another individual title and being part of my first team championship. Our workout room is hard, but with such great partners, I have to improve. Next week, we have to wrestle smart and tough and pray everyone stays healthy and does well."

Zaq Berridge placed second for Brandon at 171. Armwood senior James Gray (112) was the only other second placer from Hillsborough County.

Brandon's Kyle Koziel (160) and Mike Ettore (189) placed third. Finishing fourth were Brandon's Keith LeFevre (103), Wharton's Daniel Rodriquez (130) and Josh Drake (140) of Newsome.

Part of the Brandon story ended with close losses. Sophomore Lorenzo Martinez (215) and senior Robert Holzer (285) wrestled undersized all season, but helped their team all year.

"These two guys wanted to wrestle and the only openings were at the top," Cozart said. "They worked hard, was always at practice and gave it everything they had all season. In each match, Lorenzo gave up 35 pounds, and Robert gave up 85. Overall this has been one of the best teams I have ever coached."

Martinez finished 41-20 and Holzer was 35-12.

Wrestling: Brandon rolls to Class 2A, Region 2 meet crown as Springstead takes second 02/14/09 [Last modified: Saturday, February 14, 2009 11:34pm]

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