BROOKSVILLE — Despite a new coach and many new wrestlers, the train kept rolling for Springstead at Saturday's 31st annual Kiwanis Invitational at Hernando.
The two-time defending state champion Eagles (215.5 points) captured their eighth consecutive team title in the tournament, well ahead of Lake Gibson (166).
Led by first-year coach but longtime assistant Sal Basile, Springstead placed nine individuals in the top four, including four champions.
"We've set the bar so high that second place is no longer good enough," Basile said. "It's definitely different being the head coach now, but I'm just doing the same thing I always did."
Sophomores Mike McDonald (113 pounds) and Conor Ross (170) captured their second consecutive individual Kiwanis crowns with finals wins over Wiregrass Ranch junior Jarred Lanier (pin in 3:49) and Lake Gibson senior Dorian Spradlin (3-2 decision), respectively.
"There's a big difference this season because me and the other guys have been asked to take over a leadership role," McDonald said. "… We're working as a team to get back where we were last year."
Matt Landgraff (106) improved his runnerup finish of a year ago, winning 6-0 in his final over Pasco senior Kevin Tipton.
Junior Jordan Rivera (138) captured his third Kiwanis title in three years with a pin of Pasco senior Niko DeAugustino in 2:37.
The biggest upset was at 160 pounds, as Nature Coast senior Brandon Vovan knocked off Gulf's state placer, Spencer Baxter, with a 2-1 decision. Vovan is 12-0 and serving notice that he will be a contender in February after defeating the wrestler who won this tournament last year.
Wesley Chapel senior Tony Ruggiero (120), who placed fifth at state last season, beat a fellow state placer in Nature Coast senior Sean Nguyen, 7-5 in overtime. Nguyen is expected to compete at 106 pounds when the postseason rolls around.
Hernando senior Jesse Gaudin (220) moved to 9-0 with his 9-6 decision over Lake Gibson junior David Rudd. For Gaudin, it's his second straight win at the Leopards home tournament.
Pasco senior Skyler White (132) improved to 8-0 with a 16-1 technical fall.