Sixteen North Suncoast wrestlers, including 11 from Hernando County, qualified for next weekend's Class 3A state championships by placing fourth or better in the Class 3A, Region I meet at Springstead High.
After eight championship matches, the three-county North Suncoast had four individual region winners and two runners-up. The meet continued after press time.
North Suncoast champions were Hernando 125-pounder Chuck Deason, who beat Richie McManaway of Live Oak-Suwannee 4-3; Hernando's Brad Kuhl, who won with an escape in the final three seconds at 135; Central 140-pounder James Reyes, who beat Springfield-Rutherford's Tom Cherek 15-4; and Hudson's Tom Dougherty, who won at 145 with a takedown 11 seconds into overtime.
North Suncoast wrestlers competing in late championship matches were 189-pounder John Siddle of Springstead and Zephyrhills heavyweight Steve Green.
_ TIM BUCKLEY
Land O'Lakes' Creuz
wins region title at 160
AUBURNDALE _ Land O'Lakes' Brian Creuz won the 160-pound class at the Class 3A, Region III tournament at Auburndale High.
Creuz won by disqualification when Billy Carter of Osceola slammed Creuz to the mat 34 seconds into the match.
"He either dislocated or separated his shoulder," Land O'Lakes coach Charlie McBride said. "You don't want to be region champ that way."
Creuz (23-3) advanced to the final with a pin in 3:45, an 8-2 decision and an 18-5 major decision.
Creuz's injury jeopardizes his chances of competing at the state tournament next weekend at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton.
Gulf's Keith Drummond lost 13-10 in the 145 final to Bayshore's Allan Rhodes.
Matt Reed of Ridgewood was scheduled to wrestle Victor Johnson of Auburndale in the 171 final. The meet continued after press time.
The top four finishers in each weight division advance to the state tournament.
Gulf and Ridgewood qualified only their regional finalists for state. Land O'Lakes qualified two: Creuz and Mike McBride, who placed third at 275. McBride (27-3-1) took a 20-4 technical fall over Fort Myers' Mike Agel to end up third.
None of the North Suncoast teams were in contention for the championship trophy of the 30-team region. Auburndale led after the conclusion of the 160-pound match.
_ RICK GERSHMAN