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Brandon had to hold off stiff challenges to capture regional title

Brandon didn't dominate the Class 4A, Region II tournament in Winter Haven over the weekend, but when the points were tallied, the Eagles were regional champions for the 12th time in 15 years. The Eagles scored 149.5 points to edge out a strong Sarasota team, which placed second with 146.

Until the semifinals were contested Saturday morning, it was a tight three-way contest for first place among Brandon, defending state champion Sarasota, and Clearwater Countryside, but Countryside faltered in the semifinals and settled for third with 124.5-points.

"We came here ready to win," Brandon coach Russ Cozart said. "Every time we went on the mats this year, we did what we had to do to win. Our kids wrestled some super matches. Kenny Urguhart (130) did a great job to win a championship and Steve Guyton (189) won a hard fought match against an undefeated wrestler."

Guyton decisioned previously undefeated Keith Marcos of Chamberlain 8-5 in overtime for the 189-pound title.

Kevin Williams (160) of Bloomingdale was the Hillsborough County wrestler who most dominated his weight class.

Williams scored two falls and a 19-7 major decision before pinning Brandon's Jason Davis at 1:48 in the 160-pound championship match.

Bloomingdale stayed in the chase throughout the tournament and placed a strong fourth with 117-team points. Chamberlain was fifth with 74.

Hillsborough County will take 19 wrestlers to the state tournament this week to have to most wrestlers of the six counties in Region 2.

In addition to Williams, Urguhart, and Guyton, Leto's Eric Graffeo (103), Chamberlain's Mark Valdiviez (135), and East Bay's Paul Noble (152) won individual regional championship.

In the 3A-II tournament, at Auburndale, Springstead captured first place with 130 team points. Jesuit placed fifth with 65 points for the highest finish for Hillsborough County schools and Tampa Bay Vo-Tech was sixth with 60.

Malawi Hills (189) of Tampa Bay Vo-Tech and Matt Rametta (220) of Jesuit won championships.

"I was surprised when I got past districts," Hills said. "I just came into regionals hoping to do my best and I didn't plan on winning."

Jesuit's Jeff Riscigno (119), Plant's Keith Palaez (275), and Robinson wrestlers Donald Crosser (135) and Yang Yi all were runners-up.

Other local teams scoring included Robinson, tied for 10th place with 46 points; Plant, 23rd with 20; and Tampa Catholic, 26th with 13.5.