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Eagles' streak broken; Bears' long wait over

Central's four-year quest for a district title ended Saturday with a single slap of the mat.

When 220-pounder Doug O'Hara pinned Springstead's Dan Housel at 1:19, it clinched the Class 3A, District 4 title and gave the Bears their first-ever district title.

Central edged host Springstead, 171-161.5, and in the process broke Springstead's six-year district reign. The Eagles finished third in the state in Class 3A last year.

Central will send all 10 of its seeded wrestlers to next week's 3A-Region I tournament, also at Springstead.

The top four wrestlers in each weight class qualified for the regionals. Springstead led the way with 12 wrestlers qualified for regionals, while Hernando placed 11.

Five Central wrestlers claimed district titles, but the team crown was perhaps decided in the consolation round. Springstead was ahead by half a point, 136.5-136, following wrestlebacks, and had six wrestlers in the consolation finals, while Central had only three.

However, the Eagles failed to gain a single point on Central in the consolations, remaining half a point up, 146.5-146. The Eagle wrestlers were only 2-4 in the consolations, while Central was 2-1 with two pins.

"We knew we were going to have to have help in the consolations," said Central coach Barry Gardner. "We got it, and then we got the two pins to put us in position."

Then, in the championship finals, Central and Springstead went head-to-head three times, and the Bears came out on top twice, including a 10-second pin in the 112-pound class by John Lovaglio over Luis Matos.

"Lovaglio has done a great job all year for us," Gardner said. "That (win) sure did give us a boost."

Springstead had three wrestlers win individual titles, including Ray McDowell (25-4), a regional title contender, at 160 pounds, and John Siddle at 189.

"Central's a good team," Springstead coach Bob Levija said. "We knew it would be nip-and-tuck all the way."