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Seven area grapplers still standing

One step closer to glory. That is where some locals stand after the second day of the state championships.

The finals are now set. Seven competitors from Pasco, Hernando and Citrus counties are one match from the highest individual honor in the state.

For some , including Hernando's Michael Combs (160), Springstead's Seth Metz (160) and Pasco's John Clarke (171) … all seniors … this is their last shot.

Citrus' Mike Musto (152) fell short after suffering a cut below his left eye early in his semifinal match. He was then thrown into the barricade by his opponent, resulting in a concussion and his other eye swelling shut. Musto did finish out the match, losing a 5-4 decision. The senior refused to quit despite obvious disorientation.

Then you have an underclassman such as Springstead sophomore Schuylar Swanton. Swanton's brother, two-time state champion Dustin, created a legacy that almost no one could live up to, but Dustin did not win a title in his sophomore season. Schuylar's chance to break new ground while carrying on a school and family legacy are important to him.Gulf junior Michael Calafiore (119) also has had an exciting run on his way to the championship match. He pinned both of his opponents in the first two rounds and won a convincing decision in the semifinals.

Springstead is in the running for team honors, too. After impressive showings, the Eagles could find themselves among Florida's elite with a top five finish.

"I could not be happier with the way things turned out here," Springstead coach Eric Swensen said. "We're sending two hard-working guys to the finals, and the guys who are in consolations have given everything they have here."

The Class 2A Eagles have not dropped below sixth in the standings, and on the strength of two finals participants and three consolation seeds, the team is in prime position for its top five goal. With five competitors left in the tournament, Springstead was in fifth with 59.5 points, eight points behind fourth-place Cape Coral.