SPRING HILL — Springstead used its home tournament Saturday to make statement after statement as the postseason nears.
The Eagles won the 21st annual Springstead Invitational in convincing fashion, posting 328.5 points and crowning eight individual champions. And it was a couple of these champions that opened some eyes.
On its way to its fourth consecutive team title in its home event, Springstead had four repeat champions from last season, including Richie Bliss (103 pounds), Nick Soto (130), Cody Ross (135) and Shawn Landgraff (152).
Landgraff and Colton Zimmerman (145) scored upset victories in the finals over previously undefeated opponents.
Gulf's Ladarious Jackson, a state runnerup in 2009 who came into the final 26-0, faced Landgraff (now 27-4) in the final. In two previous bouts, Jackson had gotten the best of the Springstead junior. This time, Landgraff looked motivated in front of the home crowd and seemed to be in better shape down the stretch as he beat Jackson 15-12.
"(Jackson) came out like a wild animal, and then he started to slow down," Springstead coach Eric Swensen said. "Shawn can't just be satisfied with this."
Zimmerman (18-5) achieved his upset over Hernando's Daniel Pritz, a two-time state placer who came into the final 21-0. After falling behind 1-0 early, the scrappy junior seemed to wear down Pritz and tied it up. The match went through three overtimes, then sudden death, where Zimmerman rode out the Leopard senior for a 2-1 win.
"This is a stepping-stone to state being only five weeks away," Zimmerman said. "For the first time, I feel like I wrestled a full match without making a mistake."
Gulf (201.5 points) finished second, boasting three individual champions, including Anthony Ayers (125).
Other notable champions included Land O'Lakes' Justin McKay (119), who defeated Zephyrhills' Nick Hynes, a former state placer, 10-6, and River Ridge's Landon Vannata (171), who scored a major decision.
Team standings: 1. Springstead 328.5, 2. Gulf 201.5, 3. Jesuit 147, 4. River Ridge 143.5, 5. Nature Coast 111.5, 6. Gainesville 106, 7. Dunnellon 103, 8. Zephyrhills 95.5, 9. Wiregrass Ranch 88.5, 10. Hernando 77, 11. Gaither 69, 12. Jefferson 61, 13t. Hillsborough 55.5, 13t. Mitchell 55.5, 15. Steinbrenner 47, 16t. The Villages 46, 16t. Sunlake 46, 18. Land O'Lakes 44, 19. Strawberry Crest 38, 20. Wesley Chapel 26, 21. Hudson 25.
Individual finals: 103 - Bliss (SPR) pin Van Dam (ZPH), 2:41. 112 - Carpenter (GUL) maj. dec. Forand (NCT), 13-1. 119 - McKay (LOL) dec. Hynes (ZPH), 10-6. 125 - Ayers (GUL) dec. Toms (SPR), 9-2. 130 - Soto (SPR) t-fall Sanford (JES), 18-2. 135 - Ross (SPR) pin Cimino (JES), 1:53. 140 - Brooks (GNS) pin Colon (SPR), 0:40. 145 - Zimmerman (SPR) dec. D. Pritz (HER), 2-1. 152 - Landgraff (SPR) dec. Jackson (GUL), 15-12. 160 - Ellerbee (SPR) dec. Mesagno (GUL), 10-3. 171 - Vannata (RVR) t-fall Quinn (SPR), 19-3. 189 - Herr (SPR) dec. Gilbert (NCT), 5-3. 215 - Palasky (GUL) dec. Lamoureux (JES), 5-3. 285 - Dreggors (SPR) pin Kruse (GUL), 1:09.