Brandon High School is a day away from winning its 11th region wrestling title.
Host Brandon, the defending Class 4A, Region II champion, advanced nine wrestlers into the semifinals and captured a 68-53 lead over second-place Countryside at the 4A-II tournament Friday.
Bloomingdale was third with 38 points, followed by Chamberlain with 37 and Sarasota and Lakeland Kathleen with 28.5 each.
"The thing about regionals is that you can't go into it saying, "Hey, I'm going to get this kid through or that kid through,'
" said Brandon coach Russ Cozart. "It's unpredictable."
Brandon, which won the 4A-District 6 crown, advanced Stein Edwards (112 pounds), Dennis Kitko (119), Darrell Tabor (125), Eric Trout (130), Derek Tabor (135), Mike Sumnick (145), Mike Reynolds (160), Charles Guyton (189) and Cory Churchill (275).
The semifinals are set to begin at 10 a.m.
Countryside, which won the 4A-7 district last week, advanced seven wrestlers into today's semis.
Some matches to watch today: Sarasota's Mark Thacker against East Bay's Darin Westbrook at 140, Kathleen's Ray Lewis against Brandon's Guyton at 189, and Largo's George Maafu against East Bay's Eric Rivera at 275.
Crusaders advance two into 2A state semifinals
NEW PORT RICHEY _ Tampa Catholic is fifth in the Class 2A state wrestling tournament after the first day with two wrestlers reaching today's semifinals.
The Crusaders have 27 points, trailing leader Jacksonville Bolles which has 53. The Crusaders' Boni Tejedor defeated Berkeley Prep's Albert Kaplan 6-5 in overtime in the 189-pound class. And 275-pounder Brian Calzon advanced to the semifinals by pinning Pine Crest's Christopher Chen with 3:11 left in the match.
Tampa Prep's 103-pounder D.J. Scherer won a 7-6 decision over Cardinal Newman's Mark Jaworski to advance into the semifinals. Tampa Prep has five points in the tournament.
Berkeley Prep, which has eight points, didn't advance any wrestlers into today's action.
_ DON LEE