SPRING HILL — Springstead did everything it could to bolster the opponents scheduled for the second annual Combs Duals this season, and the programs on hand were impressive.
Even with Georgia power Lowndes County and Jesuit in the mix, the Eagles remained unblemished, going 5-0 to win its second straight championship.
The six-team field included Nature Coast (2-3), Fivay (1-4) and North Marion (0-5) in addition to Lowndes (3-2) and Jesuit (4-1). Springstead topped the Vikings (41-30) and Tigers (36-33) in the last two rounds.
In the fourth round, the Eagles trailed Lowndes 30-25 with three bouts remaining. But then Matt Landgraff (106 pounds) got one of his four pins against Travvon Rutledge in only 47 seconds, scoring six points, and the Eagles led 31-30. Richie Rivera (113) and Quentin D'Alessandro (120) put the match out of reach with wins.
In the fifth round, the Eagles trailed again, 31-30, before D'Alessandro won his match and Mike McDonald (126) clinched the overall title against Jesuit's Anthony Zucco.
"We gave up too many pins, and that will kill you in these dual meets," Springstead coach Sal Basile said, "But there were a lot of good things, too. Our good guys wrestled (the opponents') best guys, and we won."
Fivay was without state-ranked Nicco Lightfoot (170), who suffered a shoulder injury in practice earlier this week. Andrew Scherer (160) pulled off one of the more impressive individual efforts of the tournament when he pinned Springstead's Billy Swift in the first round.
Nature Coast's Mark Espinosa went 4-1 in the tournament, his loss coming against Fivay's Cole Manion.
According to Sharks coach Mike Lastra, he did his best to line up his wrestlers with the most difficult opponents possible. "We compete in these tournaments to get better," he said. "The only way you can do that is by challenging yourself. The guys responded."