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Wrestling: Springstead settles for runnerup at invitational

SPRING HILL — Springstead had been unbeatable the past seven years in its home wrestling tournament, which it has won 16 times. That changed Saturday as Flagler Palm Coast pushed the Eagles a notch down at the Springstead Invitational for the first time in eight years.

The Bulldogs put six wrestlers in the finals, with two champions, and placed 10 in the top four slots overall for 240 points, easily outpacing the Eagles (189). Hillsborough was third (107.5) and Fivay was the top North Suncoast finisher at fifth (97).

Springstead placed just four wrestlers in the finals, the lowest total for the program since 2005, and only six placed in the top four overall. The silver lining came with individual titles from 106-pounder Matt Landgraff (27-1), 120-pounder Mike McDonald (28-0) and 145-pounder Jordan Rivera (20-3).

"Mikey continues to impress me on a weekly basis," coach Sal Basile said. "The problem is we have young, inexperienced guys, and we're starting to see guys we can't count on."

Landgraff and McDonald were repeat champions from a year ago, while Rivera joined an elite group with three titles at this tournament. Only nine other Eagles had accomplished the feat, including current North Carolina standout Cody Ross, who did it four times.

Landgraff scored an 18-3 technical fall against Armwood's Kyree Kelly. McDonald stayed unbeaten this season with a 16-1 tech fall over Flagler's Alfred Shavers. Rivera scored a 6-2 decision against Gulf's Robert Napolitano.

"When you get on a roll, you gain a lot of confidence," said McDonald, who won most outstanding lightweight. "I thought we had our best week of practice all year, but we have a lot of work to do as a team."

Weeki Wachee posted the program's best major tournament finish in school history by taking ninth. Heavyweight Anthony Vines (35-2) made the first-ever finals appearance by a Hornet at the event, though he lost via pin to Chamberlain's Robert Mosley.

Hornet teammate Dante Padilla (120) took third, while Brandon Smith (106) and Jesus Nieves (132) were both fourth.

Padilla joined Armwood's Kelly and Hernando's Brendan Ertl in winning their 100th career bouts during the event.

Fivay, bouncing back from early season difficulties, put two wrestlers in finals. Defending champion Andrew Scherer (160) was upended by Edgewater's Jordan Mainer 6-4 for his first loss of the season (27-1). Falcons teammate Nicco Lightfoot (182) got his second Springstead title in three finals appearances, this time pinning River Ridge's Max Reynolds.

Wesley Chapel's unbeaten Jon Galvan (126), who took third at the state last season, won his first Springstead title by pinning Flagler's Evan Insalaco. Galvan is 23-0.

Wiregrass Ranch had two finalists: Jarred Lanier (113) lost 6-5 in three overtimes to Flagler's Jake Kosachiner, but Max Quinones (132) scored a 3-2 win over Flagler's Kaz Maia.

Wrestling: Springstead settles for runnerup at invitational 01/04/14 [Last modified: Saturday, January 4, 2014 9:03pm]

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