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Central High School


TONY CASTRO Hernando Today correspondent
Published:   |   Updated: May 7, 2013 at 07:40 PM

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Springstead appeared vulnerable at the start of this weekend’s 31st Kiwanis Invitational at Hernando High.
Weren’t the Eagles coming off their worst finish in seven years – placing eighth at Durant’s Cougar Invitational in Plant City – or 77 tournaments ago since finishing 27th in the Class 2A state finals in Lakeland in 2005?
Don’t blame the two-time defending state champion Eagles for looking over their shoulders at a loaded Lakeland-Lake Gibson mat squad bent on altering its fortunes.
Twice before the Polk County-based Braves – the state’s defending 2A state runners-up – departed Brooksville with a cache of hardware.
Both in 2008 and 2005, Lake Gibson returned home with five gold medals from the Michael A. Imhoff Gymnasium – yet were denied the tallest team trophy – losing twice to Springstead.
But the Braves’ eighth visit to Kiwanis since 1995 resulted in their seventh top 10 placing, finishing runner-up to (whom else?) Springstead on Saturday night, by 49.5 points, 215.5-166.0.
The Braves left the North Suncoast’s longest running mat tourney with six placers, including three champs.
Not bad for a 12-man squad that brought backups at 106 and 120 pounds and was not represented at either 182 or 195.
The difference was the Eagles responded to last week’s adversity with 12-of-13 grapplers securing wins featuring a meet-best nine placers.
At the conclusion of the two-day, 16-hour event Saturday night, Springstead’s mat men returned to Spring Hill from their 29th Kiwanis visit with their tourney-high 17th championship trophy including their seventh straight team title.
In the process, the Mariner Boulevard crew captured 41-of-56 bouts (73.2 percent) while posting 23 pins.
Like Lake Gibson, the Eagles were also not at full strength, with no one at 285, and filled in with two first-year grapplers at 132 and 195 – who combined to go 1-4.
What complicated matters for the Eagles was the loss Saturday of a 2012 state qualifier, senior Stephen Pavao at 120. Pavao could not perform after complaining of pink eye late Friday.
On Friday, the second seed Pavao opened Kiwanis by folding Lecanto’s Ruben Gonzalez (63 seconds) and solving ex-Citrus standout Michael Allan, who transferred this season to Crystal River, 10-7.
On Saturday, according to head coach Sal Basile, Pavao’s eyes were swollen shut. Due to the infection, Pavao dropped two matches – his first of the season – via forfeit.
Despite the adversity, Coach Basile earned his second tourney title in three weeks and his first IBT.
“This was much more of a team effort this week,” admitted Coach Basile. “We came in with a little deeper lineup and had 12 guys score. Even in our losses, we showed a lot of improvement from the week before.”
On the tourney highlights, “It started when we put four guys in the conso finals,” noted Basile. “Our big dogs (the team’s seven returning starters) wrestled tough. I thought Conor (Ross) deserved OSW (Outstanding Wrestler) for beating a very good Lake Gibson kid.
“When knew coming in that Lake Gibson was going to bring it,” acknowledged Basile. “Right now, we’re headed in the right direction. Any time you beat Lake Gibson, it’s a nice win. I thought we came into this as an underdog. Even though we beat them, they didn’t have all their kids here. They’ll be much better as the season goes on.”

Eagle standouts

Springstead captured 4-of-5 finals matches. Springstead’s Kiwanis champs included: sophomores Matt Landgraff at 106, Michael McDonald at 113 and Ross at 170, and junior Jordan Rivera at 138.
Rivera enjoyed another outstanding tournament in Brooksville.
For third straight time the two-time All-County selection finished 4-0.
Counting last year’s 2A-7 at Hernando, Rivera climbed to 15-0 lifetime at the Michael A. Imhoff Gymnasium.
The top-seeded Rivera folded four opponents: Jefferson’s Phil Vogel (62 seconds), Land O’ Lakes’ Edwin Rodriguez (2:46), Robinson’s Kionte Crocker (4:28) and Niko DeAugustino (2:37) to earn the gold medal and tournament plaque for Most Pins in the Least Amount of Time (by a champion), in 10:13.
“I love this place,” smiled the 17-year-old Rivera. “No one in our family had ever won this (Kiwanis) three times. This gives me some ammo when all my brothers and cousins come in for the holidays
“It’s neat winning this for the third time. I don’t how many guys have, but it’s nice to be included in that company.”
On his MVP-like performance, “It went great,” understated Rivera, who climbed to 14-2 on the season. “I felt like I was the most dominant guy on the mat in my four matches. What I liked most was I felt like I improved from last week. It’s really nice to be king for a day. Come tomorrow, it doesn’t really mean anything.”
As one of the team’s leaders, Rivera remarked on solving Lake Gibson, “It’s cool to beat Lake Gibson – they’re a great team, too. This was really a huge tournament for our young guys like Billy (Swift), Andrew (Smith) and Robert (Holdway).”
The top-seeded McDonald finished 4-0 with three pins to improve to a team-best 14-0 on the season. The highly anticipated rematch with Sean Nguyen of Nature Coast never materialized when fourth-year Shark opted instead to compete at 120.
It marked the first time in his varsity career that the 2012 All-County performer earned back-to-back IBT gold medals. It was also the first time McDonald captured any tournament twice.
In the semis, McDonald rallied past Tampa Bay Christian’s talented seventh-grader Anthony Artalona, 5-3, before folding second-seeded Jarred Lanier of Wiregrass Ranch in the finals in 1:48.
The pinfall over Lanier enabled McDonald to tie Rivera and Hernando’s Brennen Ertl for the county lead (10).
“Winning back-to-back here feels good,” beamed the 16-year-old McDonald. “I got pushed in that semifinal. It reinforced that I can’t take anybody for granted. I really like wrestling here; I’ve never lost at Hernando. I want to keep this (unbeaten streak at Hernando) going.”
On the Eagles’ rebound from last week’s dismal eighth-place finish, “Our younger guys stepped up,” noted McDonald. “And our leaders did what they’re supposed to be doing. Our biggest surprise was Holdway. He always gives 100 percent in the room. He got fourth today, but he should have gotten third.”
Another repeat Kiwanis champion was Ross. The top-seeded Ross opened the tourney with the meet’s fastest pin over Trinity Christian’s Ronnie Fernandez in 12 ticks.
After pinning Wiregrass Ranch’s Christian Campo (3:39), Ross crumpled Land O’ Lakes senior Bobby Austin in the semifinals, 9-2.
In the finals against second-seeded Dorian Spradlin of Lake Gibson, Ross never trailed fashioning a 3-2 tactical victory.
“The final was one of those tactical matches,” described the 15-year-old Ross, who climbed to 14-1. “He tried to upper-body me and I just wanted to wrestle my way; the kid never shot.”
On winning Kiwanis for a second time, “Counting districts, I’ve never lost here, either,” said Ross. “I’m still not where I want to be conditioning-wise. I’ve got to get a lot better.”
Unlike Rivera, McDonald and Ross, Landgraff earned Kiwanis gold for the first time.
Last winter, Landgraff won one IBT event – the 2A-7 Tournament at Hernando – when Nguyen injury defaulted in the finals.
In his 11th IBT tourney, the top-seeded Landgraff completed the circuit 5-0 with two pins.
After securing two pins in his first three bouts, Landgraff earned a forfeit in the semis when Land O’ Lakes’ Dominick Telesco failed to make weight on Saturday.
On Saturday night, a well-rested Landgraff blanked number three seed Kevin Tipton of Pasco, 6-0.
“The tournament went great,” smiled the 15-year-old Landgraff, who improved to 13-2 on the season. “I expected to do this. I came in with revenge on my mind after Durant. The key was I stuck to basics. Coach Sal and I went over the tape of Durant. All the mistakes I made, I corrected this time – even from my setups to my shots to my finish.”
Eagles senior Joe Russo, who did not compete at Durant, finished runner-up at 145.
The second-seeded Russo, a defending Kiwanis champ, captured his first three bouts before losing in the finals to top-seeded Lake Gibson senior Chase Krutzky, 6-1.
The sophomore Swift at 160 and junior Corey Humphrey at 220 – who did not place at Durant – each finished third behind 4-1 won-lost records.
Two other first-year varsity starters: sophomores Smith at 126 and Holdway at 152 – who also did not place at Durant – placed fourth behind solid 4-2 slates.
In one of the most vocal matches at the event with the fans cheering loud until the end, Holdway lost in the consolation finals to Hernando junior Ertl, 12-11.

Leopards: 4 placers

Traditionally, Leopard grapplers wrestle well at home. This weekend was no different.
The Purple and Gold, who opened the season losing at second-year Weeki Wachee, 51-27, turned heads with a fine sixth-place effort.
Head coach David Pritz’s grapplers captured 22-of-39 bouts (56 percent) while notching 16 pins.
Hernando enjoyed a fine tournament behind four placers: junior Jesse Gaudin at 220 (first), junior Nick Brewer at 182 (second), Ertl at 152 (third) and senior Canaan Swackard at 285 (third).
Gaudin went 4-0 with two pins to climb to a team-best 9-0.
In the finals, top-seeded Gaudin decisioned second-seeded David Russ of Lake Gibson, 9-6.
That win not only cemented Gaudin’s second straight Kiwanis title, but also helped seal his selection – voted on by the tournament coaches – as the meet’s Outstanding Wrestler.
“It feels good to win,” said the sweat-covered Gaudin. “Everybody on the team looks forward to wrestling at the house. I know a lot of my family and friends were here.”
On winning his finals match, “The Lake Gibson kid was strong and had good defense,” admitted the 16-year-old Gaudin. “But he never attacked. I did what I wanted to do.”
Brewer, who arrived at Kiwanis unseeded, won three matches – including two via pinfalls – before being denied the top of the podium as Tampa Bay Christian’s Joe Marcano pinned him in the finals in 57 seconds.
Ertl finished with a team-best 5-1 slate, featuring two pins.
Lake Gibson’s Alex Destra spoiled Ertl’s run behind a 14-3 trashing in the semis.
“The toughest guy I wrestled was the Lake Gibson kid,” said the 16-year-old Ertl. “I learned a lot; he was really good. I wanted to keep coming hard. I know I gave it my best.”
On edging Holdway for third, he said, “This is our house; I had a lot of support. To me, this was the best tournament I’ve ever had. I know I’ve been training hard. The coaches believe in me. I got to give credit to the Springstead kid, he just wouldn’t give up.”
Swackard, who went 2-3 last season, may have turned a corner with his weekend performance.
The unseeded Swackard won four matches – all via pinfalls – to improve to 6-4.

NCT: 2 placers

Last season, Nature Coast enjoyed its best-ever Kiwanis finish as runner-up.
This time, Nature Coast slipped to eighth behind two placers.
Head coach Mike Lastra’s mat men won 26-of-45 bouts (58 percent) with 15 pins.
Senior Brandon Vovan paced the Sharks with a perfect 5-0 run highlighted by three pins at 160.
The second-seeded Vovan edged top-seeded Spencer Baxter of Gulf in the finals, 2-1.
The upset nod enabled Vovan to snap his team’s seven-year gold-medal drought – featuring 92 grapplers – at Kiwanis.
With the win, Vovan improved to a team-best 11-0 with six pins.
Nguyen, who was expected to snap the gold-medal drought, allowed a takedown 45 seconds into overtime of the 120-pound final to lose to Wesley Chapel’s Anthony Ruggiero, 7-5.
With the loss, the top-seeded Nguyen settled for his third straight silver medal at Kiwanis.
“I’m not OK with second,” calmly explained the 17-year-old Nguyen. “But sometimes in a loss, you win. You learn more from every match out there. I learned he was too big for me on my reshots.
“I’ve got to go down,” said Nguyen, who weighed in at 115. “My goal remains the same – I want to win the next tournament. You learn and you move on.”
Lastra focused on the tourney’s silver lining.
“It was a tough tournament,” said Lastra. “We didn’t wrestle to our capabilities. There were a lot of young teams here. Our younger kids didn’t step up. Beginning Monday, we’ve got a lot of work to do.
“One of our younger pups, Kam Faulkenberry, went 3-2 and wrestled tough,” added Lastra. “We need more efforts like that. It didn’t help that we lost one guy on Saturday to ACT testing and lost two guys on Friday to (mat) officials who couldn’t accept doctor’s notes. Coming in here with two less guys was a huge blow.
“Our 106-pounder hasn’t even wrestled yet; that hurt.”
The Shark highlights surrounded Vovan.
“This was a coming-out party for Brandon,” noted Lastra. “He’s the type of kid you model your team after. He’s a great student, super kid and works hard every day in the room.”

Bears: 1 placer

Central entered Kiwanis with nine grapplers and left in 15th place.
The Bears, under first-year skipper Tim Brown, won 16-of-34 matches (47 percent) with 10 pins.
Though junior Jesus Nieves posted Central’s finest record at 4-2 with two pins at 160, he failed to place.
Instead, the Bears’ lone medalist was senior Josh Marquez at 113. Marquez, who is competing for the fourth winter, finished 3-2.
In the consolation finals, Marquez was denied third when Artalona decisioned him, 12-5.
“For this being our first IBT, I feel pretty good,” explained the 17-year-old Marquez. “I’m not real happy with fourth. There’s always room for improvement. I know I could have done better.”
Weeki Wachee’s nine-member squad left Brooksville in 19th place and without hardware.
The second-year Hornets captured 9-of-27 bouts (33 percent) behind nine pins.
Junior Anthony Vines (10-5 overall) at 285 came the closest to placing finishing 3-2 with a team-best three pins.

Brooksville-Kiwanis Tournament Champions
2012 Spring Hill-Springstead  215.5
2011 Spring Hill-Springstead   302.5
2010 Spring Hill-Springstead   287.5
2009  Spring Hill-Springstead   317.5
2008  Spring Hill-Springstead   252.5
2007  Spring Hill-Springstead  228.5
2006  Spring Hill-Springstead  234.0
2005  Gainesville      243.0
2004  Bunnell-F. Palm Coast   209.5
2003  Brooksville-Hernando    203.0
2002  Tampa-Sickles     156.0
2001  Spring Hill-Springstead  179.0
2000  Spring Hill-Springstead  208.5
1999  Spring Hill-Springstead  209.0
1998  Lecanto      189.0
1997  Spring Hill-Springstead  252.0
1996  Spring Hill-Springstead  214.5
1995  Spring Hill-Springstead  241.0
1994  New Orleans, LA-Jesuit   226.0
1993  Lakeland Senior    173.0
1992  Spring Hill-Springstead  210.0
1991  Mechanicsburg, PA    178.0
1990  Spring Hill-Springstead  175.0
1989  Spring Hill-Springstead  206.5
1988  Spring Hill-Springstead  211.5
1987  Land O'Lakes      147.0
1986  New Orleans, LA-Jesuit   162.5
1985  Leesburg   157.0
1984  Englewood-Lemon Bay   215.0
1983  Tampa-Leto      213.0
1982  Brandon      206.5

2012 Final 31st Brooksville Kiwanis Wrestling Invitational Team Standings:
PL. TEAM,       CLASS  PTS    
1.   Spring Hill-Springstead (SPG)      2A-7  215.5
2. Lakeland-Lake Gibson (LG)   2A-6  166.0
3.  New Port Richey-Gulf (GF)     1A-10   142.0
4. Ruskin-Lennard (LENN)    2A-9  122.5
5.  Tampa-Robinson (ROB)      1A-9    115.0
6.   Brooksville-Hernando (HER)     2A-7    112.0
7.  Dade City-Pasco (PAS)      1A-8    103.5
8.  Brooksville-Nature Coast (NCT)    2A-7    101.0
9. Tampa Bay Christian (TBC)   1A-9  97.5
10. Wesley Chapel (WC)       1A-9    91.0
11. Land O’ Lakes (LOL)    2A-7  84.5
12.  Belleview (BELL)       2A-4    80.0
13.  Crystal River (CR)       1A-8    79.5
14. Wesley Chapel-Wiregrass Ranch (WGR)  3A-6  74.5
15.  Brooksville-Central (CEN)     2A-7    53.0
16.  Ocala-West Port (WP)      2A-4    49.0
17.  Lecanto (LEC)        2A-7    48.0
18. Orlando-Central Florida Christian (CFCA) 1A-9  44.0
19. Weeki Wachee (WW)    1A-8  39.0
20.  Tampa-Jefferson (JEFF)     2A-10    32.0
21.  Tampa-Freedom (FREE)      3A-7    27.0
22. Riverview-Spoto (SPOT)    1A-9  25.0  
23.  Ocala-Trinity Catholic (OTC)     1A-8    22.0
24. New Port Richey-Ridgewood (RW)   1A-10  21.0
25.  Ocala-Vanguard (OV)       2A-4  7.00

2012 Finals Results:
106 – Matt Landgraff (SPG)dec. Kevin Tipton (PAS), 6-0. 
113 – Michael McDonald (SPG) pin Jarred Lanier (WGR), 1:48.
120 – Anthony Ruggiero (WC) dec. Sean Nguyen (NCT), 7-5 (OT). 
126 – Darrian Mills (LENN) dec. Forest Swartsel (GF), 6-1.
132 – Skyler White (PAS) tech. fall Ryan Guthrie (WP), 16-1.
138 – Jordan Rivera (SPG) pin Nick DeAugustino (PAS), 2:38.
145 – Chase Krutzky (LG) dec. Joe Russo (SPG), 6-1.
152 – Alex Destra (LG) dec. Dylan Ayala (CR), 13-10.
160 – Brandon Vovan (NCT) dec. Spencer Baxter (GF), 2-1.
170 – Conor Ross (SPG) dec. Dorian Spradlin (LG), 3-2.
182 – Joe Marciano (TBC) pin Nick Brewer (HER), 0:57.
195 – Dylan Meeks (CFCA) pin Alex Reay (ROB), 4:51.
220 – Jesse Gaudin (HER) dec. David Russ (LG), 9-6.
285 – Jason Foster (LG) dec. Zack Rodefer (BELL), 2-1.

2012 Consolation Finals
106 – Callen Tellfer (TBC) dec. John Quinones (LG), 4-3.
113 – Anthony Artalano (TBC) dec. Josh Marquez, 12-5.
120 – Ty Lucas (TBC) pin Jeremy Andujar (ROB), 2:28.
126 – John Galvan (WC) dec. Andrew Smith (SPG), 6-3.
132 – Herminio Camacho (LENN) dec. Damien McKenzie (ROB), 5-4..
138 – Robert Napolitano (GF) dec. Landen Delk (BELL), 4-2.
145 – Tyler Sierra (LENN) dec. Patrick Hill (WGR), 4-2.
152 – Brennen Ertl (HER) dec. Robert Holdway (SPG), 12-11.
160 – Billy Swift (SPG) major dec. Kaileo Cruz (LENN), 11-2.
170 – Luis Peguero (ROB) dec. Bobby Austin (LOL), 5-1.
182 – Jared Kruse (GF) pin Nick Pitts (ROB), 0:45.
195 – Gary Garcia (LOL) dec. Jonah Nightengale (LEC), 6-3.
220 – Corey Humphrey (SPG) pin Othniel Romero (LENN), 2:56.
285 – Canaan Swackard (HER) pin Theodore Johnson (WC), 0:24.
2012 Kiwanis Individual Awards:
Most Pins, Least Amt. of Time (by a champion) – Jordan Rivera (SPG) 4 pins: 10:13.
Fastest Pin – Conor Ross (SPG) – 12 seconds
Outstanding Referee – Todd Rushing.

2012 Springstead Individual Results
106  Landgraff, Matt  5 0 2 1st
113 McDonald, Michael 4 0 3 1st
120 Pavao, Stephen  2 2 1 -
126 Smith, Andrew  4 2 3 4th
132 Richards, Michael 0 2 0 -
138 Rivera, Jordan  4 0 4 1st
145 Russo, Joe  3 1 2 1st 
152 Holdway, Robert  4 2 0 4th
160 Swift, Billy  4 1 1 3rd
170 Ross, Conor  4 0 2 1st
182 Stock, Austin  2 2 2 -
195  Curl, Jesse  1 2 0 -
285 Humphrey, Corey  4 1 3 3rd
 TOTALS   41 15 23

2012 NCT Individual Results
120  Nguyen, Sean  3 1 1 2nd 
126 Espinosa, Mark  0 2 0 -
132 Reeger, Shane  4 2 2 -
138 Jazicoff, Jeramie 1 2 0 -
145 Faulkenberry, Kam 2 2 2 -
152 Rivera, Adrian  2 2 0 -
160 Vovan, Brandon  5 0 3 1st 
170 Gregory, Cody  1 2 1 -
182 Savoury, Dylan  2 2 1 -
220 Richey, Frank  3 2 3 -
285 Sicilano, Anthony 3 2 2 -
 TOTALS   26 19 15

2012 Hernando Individual Results
106 Fouts, Johnny  2 2 2 -
113 Mosher, Bailey  0 2 0 -
120 Lewis, Robert  0 2 0 -
132 Richards, Kyle  0 2 0 -
152 Ertl, Brennen  5 1 2 3rd 
160 Ulloa, Mike  2 2 2 -
170 Haitz, Connor  2 2 2 -
182 Brewer, Nick  3 1 3 2nd
195 Herebia, Jesus  0 2 0 -
220 Gaudin, Jesse  4 0 2 1st 
285 Swackard, Canaan 4 1 4 3rd
 TOTALS   22 17 16

2012 Central Individual Results
106 Mestres, Austin  1 2 1 -
113 Marquez, Josh  3 2 1 4th
126 Goins, Austin  0 2 0 -
152 Keister, Adam  1 2 1 -
160 Nieves, Jesus  4 2 2 -
182 Brown, Brandon  2 2 1 -
195 DeFranco, Anthony 2 2 1
220 Cromwell, Taylor 3 2 3 -
285 King, Diven  0 2 0 -
 TOTALS   16 18 10

2012 Weeki Wachee Individual Results
106 Smith, Brandon  1 2 1 -
120 Padilla, Dante  1 2 1 -
126 Enoch, Brandon  0 2 0 -
132 Wilson, Jake  1 2 1 -
138 Johnson, Matt  0 2 0 -
152 DeWayne, Wyatt  2 2 2 -
182 DeJesus, Nathaniel 0 2 0 -
220 Verdi, Zac  1 2 1 -
285 Vines, Anthony  3 2 3 -
       TOTALS   9 18 9


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