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2013-14 Hernando Today All-County Wrestling Team

Hernando Today correspondent

Published:   |   Updated: March 11, 2014 at 03:38 PM

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Co-Wrestler of the Year

Jordan Rivera

145 pounds

Springstead - Senior

COMMENTS: Rare four-year wrestling letterman . Uncommon four-time All-County selection . Atypical four-time state placer . Unique two-time Co-Wrestler of the Year . Extraordinary grappler with three team state championship rings as a starter prior to his senior year . Exceptional two-time state champion . Concluded his dazzling prep career ranked eighth all-time at Springstead in pins (84), fifth in matches (186) and second in victories (163) . In 35 career IBTs, he never finished below .500, placing in his last 34 IBTs (individually bracketed tournaments) in a row . In all, he finished 132-20 in IBTs featuring 67 pins - highlighted by 20 gold-medal performances . One of only two known grapplers to capture four Brooksville-Kiwanis Invitational titles (other is former Eagle Cody Ross) . Captured a school- and county-record four district titles . Reached four regional finals, winning twice . Concluded his prep career with more victories at states (17) than previous county record holders Ross and Corey Hill (15 apiece) . Rivera decisioned Brandon junior Troy Joyce for the second time in three meetings in the state final at 145, 5-4.

QUOTES: "Everybody wants to be the guy that dominates and always gets his hand raised. For us, that was Jordan. When you lose twice in four years at states - well, that pretty much sums him up. . There's no doubt he'll go down as not only one of the greatest wrestlers from Springstead, but one of the greatest-ever from Hernando County. . He can definitely wrestle at the next level. . He'll be extremely difficult to replace; you can't replace guys like Jordan with one person, we'll have to make it up with depth."

- Springstead head coach Sal Basile

"Any time you have to defend anything, let alone a state championship, everybody wants a piece of you. He made it through a tough patch to win a second state championship - that says a lot about his character and how much he worked to defend his crown."

- Nature Coast head coach Mike Lastra

"Athletically-gifted wrestler. Being a two-time state champion says it all. People should buy tickets to tournaments just to see him wrestle."

- Weeki Wachee head coach Joe Felice

"There aren't many two-time state champions from Hernando County. Jordan is a great athlete. When he was on there's no one who was going to beat him."

- Hernando head coach David Pritz

Co-Wrestler of the Year

Michael McDonald

120 pounds

Springstead - Junior

COMMENTS: Three-year letterman . Three-time All-County selection . First-time Co-Wrestler of the Year . Lean but athletic . Eagle captain . Three-time state qualifier . Two-time state placer . First-time state champion . In a terrific junior campaign, he captured his third straight district title and second straight regional crown en route to becoming the 10th Eagle grappler to garner a state championship behind an undefeated 44-0 won-lost run . Enters 2014-15 riding a 45-match win skein dating back to 2013 state tourney . Enters his senior year ranked 11th overall at SHS in victories behind a stout 128-16 (.889 winning percentage), highlighted by 87 pins . Has placed in 27-of-29 career IBTs (.931 percent) . Has a career 107-15 (.877 percent) slate in IBTs . Despite an ultra-rugged schedule, McDonald has captured the last 10 straight IBTs he's participated in and 12-of-13 overall . Has collected 19 IBT gold medals.

QUOTES: "Mikey's a special kid. Certain kids are gamers, others like to turn it on, but Mikey's got that something special. The guys on our team gave him the title of captain. . When you think it can't be done, Mikey's the kid who elevates his game. . He thinks he can win every time he steps on the mats, but more importantly he's the type of athlete that is willing to pay the price of success. He's the kind willing to take the risks with working even harder. . To me, Mikey's has what everybody wants - that will to win and finding a way to get the job done. . In winning his state championship in a come-from-behind fashion against a Brandon, you couldn't have asked for a better way for him to win his first state gold medal."

- Springstead head coach Sal Basile

"Mikey put together one of the best seasons I've seen in 10 years of coaching. What was most impressive was how he carried it out in such a dominating fashion. Every time I saw him he was just zoned in. It didn't matter if was an opening-round, district match or state championship, he came in ready to wrestle."

- Nature Coast head coach Mike Lastra

"The kid is probably the hardest worker in Hernando County. I like that he's hard-nosed. He deserves everything he receives - just a great kid."

- Weeki Wachee head coach Joe Felice

"McDonald is probably the most aggressive wrestler I've seen all year. I love that style - that's what I coach. His style is perfect for college."

- Hernando head coach David Pritz

Co-Wrestler of the Year

Jesse Gaudin

220 pounds

Hernando - Senior

COMMENTS: Four-year letterman. .Rare four-time All-County wrestling selection . Two-time state placer . In 2014, became HHS' 14th state champion across 42 seasons . Multi-sport student/athlete, who also excels at football, weightlifting and wrestling. . Has been named All-County in all three sports . Posted a career-best 49-3 with a personal-best 30 pins . A model of consistency by placing in all seven IBTs he competed in . Captured gold medals at Brooksville-Kiwanis (a school-record tying third) and 18th Cougar Invitational . Concluded his prep career on a 11-0 state series run .In the process, he captured his third district title and second straight regional crown . Decisioned Fort Myers-Southwest Florida Christian senior Noah Huxley, 3-2, for Hernando County's 45th individual state championship . Closed his HHS career eighth in matches (165), third in pins (86) and wins (143), and second all-time in winning percentage (.885).

QUOTES: "Jesse is a grinder, who outworks the other guys. Jesse is as great a kid off the mat as he is on the mat. . I'd say he's a technician who does everything well. . With so many young guys on the team, we had to beef up the schedule this year for guys like Jesse and (Brennan) Ertl. The proof is in the pudding. He wrestled a really tough schedule that certainly prepared him for states. . Obviously, next year we've got huge shoes to fill when you lose a state champion."

- Hernando head coach David Pritz

"Jesse's a great kid and with a great style. We took him to Virginia Beach with us. He's one of these rare guys that has his head on straight and knows what he wants. He's got a tremendous work ethic - that's what pays off in the end."

- Springstead head coach Sal Basile

"He's a really different 220-pounder. Most of those guys in that weight class are just plodders and are very defensive. For a big man, Jesse's athletically gifted. He's got a nonstop motor which I like - I just wish a lot more of our littler guys would wrestle like Jesse. The best part is when Jesse's off the mats, he's a really good kid, too."

- Weeki Wachee head coach Joe Felice

"Jesse is a real good technician. Probably what I like most is he always keeps his cool and finds a way to get the job done. He kind of reminds me of a bigger version of (2013 state champion) Brandon Vovan."

- Nature Coast head coach Mike Lastra

Matt Landgraff

106 pounds

Springstead - Junior

COMMENTS: Three-year letterman . First-time All-County selection . Two-time state placer, in 2011-12 (sixth) and 2012-13 (fifth) . Rare three-time district champion . Ranks 16th all-time at SHS with 118 career victories . This winter, Landgraff (36-4, 27 pins) placed in all eight IBTs he participated in until failing to make weight prior to the 2A-II Tourney . Landgraff had placed in 26 straight IBTs - since not placing in his first-ever event as a freshman, the Cougar Invitational at the Tampa Convention Center.

QUOTES: "(Prior to not making weight at Brandon) everything was right on track with Matt. His consistency was there all year. . He's like a son to me. I've coached him since he was 6-7 years old; that's why it hurt so bad not to see him wrestling (in regionals). And Matt's family is my family; they've been so supportive over the years. . It's been said, 'What doesn't kill you makes you stronger' - I hope that's exactly Matt's case. He's got enough talent; he's got all the tools in the toolbox; I see him on a mission next year."

- Springstead head coach Sal Basile

Richie Rivera

113 pounds

Springstead - Freshman

COMMENTS: First-time All-County selection . With no wrestling background and weighing 105 pounds, the first-year and cat-quick Rivera posted a successful 16-11 inaugural campaign, featuring 11 pins . As a mat rookie, he placed in three of the five IBTs he participated in . His finest finish was third at the Wildcat Invitational at Ocala-Forest . By coach's decision, was held out of the state series for academic reasons.

QUOTES: "Definitely had his moments of brilliance, but there's more to high school wrestling than wrestling. He learned a valuable lesson of keeping his schoolwork at a certain level. . He's got some athletic ability; the key is he has to keep everything in balance. He definitely has a bright future with our program."

- Springstead head coach Sal Basile

Dante Padilla

126 pounds

Weeki Wachee - Senior

COMMENTS: Three-year letterman . First-time All-County selection . Two-time state qualifier . In an outstanding senior campaign, Padilla notched a school- and county-record 54 wins in 66 bouts, highlighted by 29 pins . He placed in all seven IBTs he participated in . Reached the top of the podium for the first-time ever in back-to-back meets at Ed Kilpatrick Classic at Citrus and 1A-District 6 Tournament at Hernando . Finished 3-3 at states in Lakeland to place sixth overall . In doing so, Padilla became the school's first-ever state placer . Departs WWHS as the school record-holder for most career matches (156), wins (120), pins (66) and most wins in a row (18).

QUOTES: "Dante is a rare person because he's so athletically gifted. . His athleticism took him to higher places as a sophomore and junior. . I'm super proud of all the things he's accomplished in a Hornet singlet - he's set the standards for others. . With him setting the county record for wins (in a single season) it's great for the school and exciting for him."

- Weeki Wachee head coach Joe Felice

Andrew Smith

132 pounds

Springstead - Junior

COMMENTS: Third-year letterman (second-year starter) . Repeat All-County selection . Two-time state qualifier . Two-time district champion and two-time regional runner-up . After a slow start (due to a preseason tweaked knee) Smith (44-8) finished with a flourish - capturing 24 of his final 27 bouts . In 10 IBTs, he placed in eight . He reached the top of podium at the Wildcat, Cougar, and Suwannee Invitationals along with the 2A-5 Tournament . He completed his second state series at 10-2 highlighted by a third-place bronze medal at states.

QUOTES: "There's a fine line between being on the top and being in the hole. Andrew is very close to being on top. . If you ask him, he thinks he can win a state champion - so do I. This past year he had some peaks and valleys. Hopefully, next year, he'll wrestle more consistently and have less highs and lows. I know anything less than a state title won't be enough for him."

- Springstead head coach Sal Basile

Jeramie Jazikoff

138 pounds

Nature Coast Technical - Junior

COMMENTS: Three-year varsity letterman . This past winter, Jazikoff improved behind a personal-best 33-13 slate, highlighted by 15 pins . Pieced together a pair of seven-match win skeins . Similar to the year before Jazikoff struggled in IBTs, placing in one (second in the 1A-6 Tourney at Hernando).

QUOTEs: "Jeramie was teetering on breaking out this season. Overall, he had a solid year. . Was in a loaded 138-pound weight class in regionals. . I'm looking for him to put it all together next season."

- Nature Coast head coach Mike Lastra

Vincent Buonanno

152 pounds

Springstead - Senior

COMMENTS: First-year letterman . First-time All-County selection . Was academically ineligible to compete in 2012-13, but began attending offseason workouts . As an Eagle rookie, Buonanno finished 28-16 overall (64 percent) with 11 pins . In eight grueling IBTs, he placed in six . His highlight arrived during the state series finishing runner-up in the 2A-5 Tourney and the "Region of Doom" at 160 pounds . Went 1-2 at states including a 13-2 major decision over Palm Bay sophomore Jerry Vail.

QUOTES: "I can sum up Buonanno's season in one word: desire. He's living proof that some people will do whatever it takes to succeed. The kid was struggling at school until he found wrestling. Wrestling gave him guidance. . Buonanno's a neat story of desire and determination. . (U.S. Olympian) Dan Gable once said, 'Once you wrestle, everything else is easier.' I remember what Gable said when I think about Buonanno. His season was like a fairytale."

- Springstead head coach Sal Basile

Brennan Ertl

160 pounds

Hernando - Senior

COMMENTS: Rare four-year letterman and four-year starter . First-time All-County selection . In an outstanding senior year, Ertl finished with a personal-best 42-12 campaign with 16 pins . Ertl was much more consistent placing in 6-of-7 IBTs (86 percent) . His lone top-of-the podium performance arrived at Durant's Cougar Invitational . Ertl reached a milestone at the Springstead Invitational with his 100th career win with a pin over Wesley Chapel's Manny Orengo . Finished with a flurry placing runner-up in districts, regionals and states . Live Oak-Suwannee senior Shawn Brown denied Ertl a gold medal at the Jenkins Arena via a 13-6 decision . The unheralded Ertl concluded his prep career ranked fifth at HHS in career matches (173) and 12th all-time in wins (117).

QUOTES: "We all knew what Ertl was capable of because we saw him in the (wrestling) room every day. My job was to build up his confidence level. To me, what he did in the state series was no surprise. . Ertl worked hard to get there (states) and deserves everything he gets."

- Hernando head coach David Pritz

Billy Swift

170 pounds

Springstead - Junior

COMMENTS: Remarkable two-year letterman . Two-year starter . Two-time state placer . First-time All-County selection . Similar to the other "Big Dogs" in the SHS kennel, Swift's calling card has been his consistency . This winter, Swift again placed in 9-of-10 IBTs (that's 18-of-20 or 90 percent over his career) . Swift finished 38-9 overall featuring 14 pins . He attained the top of the podium at the Wildcat, Brooksville-Kiwanis and Suwannee Invitationals . In his second trip to The Lakeland Center, Swift reached the state final losing to Brandon's athletic junior Dontae McGee for the third time in three meetings, 8-7.

QUOTES: "Had a bit of an inconsistent year (surprised many by not placing at the Springstead Invitational), but Billy is a tremendous wrestler. . What I like most is when it's Showtime, he definitely brings it. Great wrestlers, like great athletes, show up during money time - that's Billy. . What's scary is Billy's only been with us for two years. He leads our guys by example; I can't wait for Billy's senior year."

- Springstead head coach Sal Basile

Brandon Brown

182 pounds

Central - Senior

COMMENTS: Three-year letterman . First-time All-County selection . Enjoyed an outstanding senior year behind a team-best and career-high 26-4 slate, featuring 11 pins. . Opened the season riding a 17-match win skein . Became the first Bear grappler to earn a gold medal at the Brooksville-Kiwanis Invitational since Bucky Solomon and Sergio Matos turned the trick in 2002 . Brown concluded the season third at districts, first in regionals and third in 1A at 182 at states . Brown's regional crown was Central's first in 13 winters . Brown became the 12th Bear grappler to place in 50 attempts at states. He was the first Bear to place at states since 2003.

QUOTES: "Brandon is a big, strong guy. The key was he started opening up his offense. . He's really improved his game. . It was nice to see a Central kid back at the podium at states. Without Brandon they really didn't have a team or a program. It was nice to have that one hammer."

- Nature Coast head coach and former Central wrestler Mike Lastra

Corey Humphrey

195 pounds

Springstead - Senior

COMMENTS: Three-year letterman . First-time All-County selection . In a personal-best senior season, Humphrey (38-9 overall, 81 percent) was a model of consistency placing in nine straight IBTs before states . Posted his first-ever top-of-podium efforts at the Wildcat and Suwannee Invitationals, and the 2A-5 Tournament . Finished runner-up at the grueling 2A-II Tourney before finishing 1-2 at states.

QUOTES: "Had a great career here. Corey will tell you he didn't finish the way he would have liked. . To me, he was a late bloomer. I thought he was going to be like Buddha (Sean Redman) and win a gold medal during his senior year. . I'm so proud of his effort; Corey continually improved his level of wrestling."

- Springstead head coach Sal Basile

Anthony Vines

285 pounds

Weeki Wachee - Senior

COMMENTS: Three-year letterman . First-time All-County selection . After committing himself to year-round wrestling, the return on his investment showed as a senior . This past winter, Vines erected an outstanding personal-high 53-7 campaign . Placed runner-up in districts (1A-6) and in regionals (1A-II) to make his first-ever trip to states . Vines' remarkable run concluded at The Lakeland Center at 0-2 . Teammate Padilla edged Vines in Polk County for the county record for most wins in a single season with 54.

QUOTES: "He still had the glass slipper on when he reached states. I really thought Anthony was going to reach the state semis. I don't care if you're 100-0 going to states; winning in that building is tough. I thought the nerves finally caught up with him. . Regardless of how it ended, Anthony had a great season. He's the poster child for our program. If Anthony Vines can do it, anyone can - he proved that. To me, he's just an everyday person who became a great wrestler. . He was a jovial guy, too. I'm going to miss that personality in the room."

- Weeki Wachee head coach Joe Felice

Coach of the Year

Sal Basile

Springstead - 2nd Year

COMMENTS: Repeat Coach of the Year . Voted Florida Dairy Farmer's 2A Coach of the Year in 2012-13 . Recognized in 2011-12 as USA Wrestling's National Assistant Coach of the Year . In 2012-13, the Mariner Boulevard mat men became the first Hernando County athletic program to ever capture back-to-back-to-back state championships . This year's Eagle team (5-0) extended its county record dual-meet winning skein to 49 wins in a row . Basile's squad claimed five tournament championships: Wildcat Invitational at Ocala-Forest, Brooksville-Kiwanis Invitational, Combs Duals 6-Way Duals II, Billy Saylor Invitational at Live Oak-Suwannee and the 2A-5 Tourney . The Eagles won their 10th straight district championship and county-record 28th overall . The seasonal highlights included the Eagles' ninth straight top-10 state finish in Lakeland (third in 2A).

QUOTES: "A lot of programs would gladly accept third place at states. We're the program that believes it can beat Brandon - maybe not next year or the year after, but eventually we will. . The title for this past year is, 'What if?' Even if we would have had two state placers from the year before (injured junior Conor Ross and Landgraff), would we have surpassed Brandon? Probably not. But with one of those two guys, we might have gotten second. At this point, if we can't beat Brandon as a team, then we'll have to pick off as many as we can. We won 2-of-3 state titles against Brandon kids and the third we lost by one point. . With all the adversity we faced, I walked away from Lakeland feeling much better than I did the year before even when we won. I can't bellyache about the things I can't control."

- Basile

"Sal keeps turning out state champs. He always seems to have a group of solid kids. His program is what I'm pushing our guys to be."

- Hernando head coach David Pritz

2013-14 Hernando Today All-County Wrestling Team


106 Matt Landgraff%% 11th Springstead

113 Richie Rivera 9th Springstead

120 Michael McDonald$%! 11th Springstead

126 Dante Padilla&^ 12th Weeki Wachee

132 Andrew Smith&^ 11th Springstead

138 Jeramie Jazikoff 11th NCT

145 Jordan Rivera$$%% 12th Springstead

152 Vincent Buonanno= 12th Springstead

160 Brennan Ertl& 12th Hernando

170 Billy Swift&% 11th Springstead

182 Brandon Brown& 12th Central

195 Corey Humphrey=% 12th Springstead

220 Jesse Gaudin$% 12th Hernando

285 Anthony Vines= 12th Weeki Wachee

Co-Wrestler of the Year - Michael McDonald (Springstead)

Co-Wrestler of the Year - Jordan Rivera (Springstead)

Co-Wrestler of the Year - Jesse Gaudin (Hernando)

Coach of the Year - Sal Basile (Springstead)

$ Denotes 2014 state champion.

& Denotes 2014 state placer.

= Denotes 2014 state qualifier.

%% Denotes 2012-13 state placer

% Denotes 2013 state placer

^^ Denotes 2012-13 state qualifier

^ Denotes 2013 state qualifier

! Denotes 2012 state qualifier

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