Wrestling: Springstead wins another Kiwanis Invitational

BROOKSVILLE — Hernando hosts the Kiwanis Invitational every season, but Springstead proved again Saturday why it owns the tournament.

The Eagles (302.5 points) won their seventh consecutive title at the 30th annual event, easily outpacing Nature Coast (207).

"We asked the boys to step up their intensity this weekend," Springstead coach Eric Swensen said. "And I think we saw that."

Springstead put nine in the finals. It did not include state runnerup John Dreggors (285 pounds), who missed his second straight meet due to personal issues, Swensen said.

Cody Ross (152) led the way, winning his fourth straight Kiwanis title. The senior earned a 12-3 major decision over Wesley Chapel's Nick Popolillo for the title.

"It means a lot to come out and set a precedent for Springstead," Ross said. "I feel like I am little undersized for my weight class right now, but I have to go above and beyond."

Seven other Eagles won titles. Jordan Rivera (126) and Sean Redman (145) won their second while Mike McDonald (113), Josh Herrera (132), Conor Ross (182), Thomas Gupton (195) and Joe Russo (138) won their first.

Nature Coast, whose previous high in the tournament was four finalists, got seven.

Although the Sharks failed to win one, Greg Jarque (285) was involved in one of the top matches of the tournament when he went three overtimes with Hernando's Austin Neff. In the third, Jarque believed he won when he escaped. But the decision was reversed by the head referee. Neff took advantage when the period was replayed and escaped for the win.

"I probably should have argued it more," Nature Coast coach Mike Lastra said. "But I'm proud of how we did here. Five years ago, we were blanked by Springstead in a dual. And (Saturday night), we had seven in the finals going head to head with them."

After three seasons of coming up short, Pasco senior J.P. Gamez got his first Kiwanis title by beating defending champion Forrest Swartsel of Gulf.

Wrestling: Springstead wins another Kiwanis Invitational 12/10/11 [Last modified: Saturday, December 10, 2011 10:21pm]

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