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Eagles exercise strength in numbers

Hernando Today correspondent

Published:   |   Updated: December 10, 2013 at 05:20 PM

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BROOKSVILLE - In an empirical sense, Hernando High head coach David Pritz's plan worked.

Entering the North Suncoast's longest-running wrestling tournament, Pritz beefed up the 32nd edition of the Brooksville-Kiwanis Invitational not by adding aircraft carriers like Brandon and Homestead-South Dade or even Kissimmee-Osceola.

He already had two carriers in port behind Class 2A's finest teams the past three winters: Springstead and Lakeland-Lake Gibson.

Instead, Pritz purposely brought in more teams with quality individuals to up the ante on individual matches.

The Brooksville event, which began modestly with Brandon winning the inaugural eight-team tournament in 1982, swelled to an all-time high of 30 entries this past weekend. The previous high was 27 teams in 2008.

As expected, Springstead and Lake Gibson finished 1-2 Saturday night.

The three-time defending state champion Eagles led wire to wire and concluded their 29th trip to Hernando's Michael A. Imhoff Gymnasium with 189.0 points while the Polk County-based Braves finished runner-up with 135.5 points.

The Mariner Boulevard mat men collected their 18th Kiwanis Invite team title and tourney-record eighth straight crown. They did so behind four champions in four finals bouts and a tourney-best six placers including: seniors Jordan Rivera (first at 145 pounds) and Corey Humphrey (fourth at 220), and juniors Matt Landgraff (first at 106), Michael McDonald (first at 120), Billy Swift (first at 160) and Vincent Buonanno (fourth at 170).

Locally, for the first time ever all five Hernando County mat programs had at least one placer.

Host Hernando reached its target goal of placing in the top 10 finishing ninth with 97.0 points behind three medalists: seniors Jesse Gaudin (first at 220), Brennan Ertl at (second at 160) and Sonnie Genberg (fourth at 152).

In its ninth Kiwanis event, Nature Coast Technical concluded the two-day, 17-hour IBT (individually bracketed tournament) in 12th place with 86.5 points, with three placers: juniors Adrian Rivera (third at 152), Mark Espinosa (fourth at 126) and Frank Ritchie (fourth at 195).

Besides not finishing in the top 10, the Sharks were further hindered when sophomore DeShawn Smith was ejected Friday from the tournament in his third-round match against Hernando's Brennan Ertl for unsportsmanlike behavior.

According to NCT's veteran mentor Mike Lastra, Smith will most likely be suspended by the FHSAA for six weeks. NCT is expected to appeal the punishment.

Weeki Wachee avoided any drama.

The Hornets, in their third Kiwanis tourney, finished 14th with 79 points and three placers: seniors Jesus Nieves (second at 132) and Anthony Vines (third at 285), and Dante Padilla (fourth at 120).

Despite arriving with three grapplers, Central finished 24th.

The Bears collected their first gold medal in this event since Bucky Solomon and Sergio Matos turned the trick in 2002 behind senior Brandon Brown's win at 195.


"Our goal was to finish in the top 10 and some of our guys stretched their limitations to do that," explained Pritz, whose squad went 25l-25 overall with eight pins. "I told our young guys that they had to win some matches.

"We felt pretty good that Jesse (Gaudin) and Ertl would place," added Pritz, a former two-time Kiwanis champion and the meet's only two-time Outstanding Wrestler Award recipient. "But Sonnie (Genberg) was a big surprise. We gave him Wrestler of the Week. He wrestled over and above what he's shown to date. He had a lot of family and friends rooting him on."

As far the tourney, "It went very smoothly and was one of the best we've ever had," noted Pritz. "Springstead won again, but they didn't run away with it. The competition was definitely here. I'd like to make this tournament one of the state's best."

Springstead's 29th visit resulted in second-year head coach Sal Basile's 11th team title in 12 events.

The most impressive portion of the win was the Eagles' ability for the second straight week to slam the door shut in the finals.

During the Wildcat Invitational finals at Ocala-Forest the previous week and Kiwanis, Spring Hill mat men have finished 9-of-9 in the pressure-packed finals bouts.

"Going 4-for-4 on Saturday night was a big deal," emphasized Basile, a previous Kiwanis champion in 1992. "Kiwanis was much tougher than it's been in the past. The quality was a lot better across the board.

"There were a lot of tough weight classes. In year's past, this has been more of a good little local tournament, but Coach Pritz did a good job of beefing it up," added Basile.

After SHS collected 40 wins in 58 matches (69 percent) with 27 pins, "We got hit with so much adversity so early this year, it's like we started the season with our backs to the wall," detailed Basile. "Our younger guys grew up a little bit. Quentin (D'Alessandro) lost his first match and came back with three pins. And Vincent (Buonanno) is giving up nearly 20 pounds, but came in here and won four matches and finished fourth."

On Springstead's four champions, "I thought Billy (Swift) was a wrecking machine. He pinned four guys to get to the finals and never looked challenged," described Basile. "He and Mikey (McDonald) looked really dominant.

"A lot of credit has to go to Jordan (Rivera). After football he practiced for three days and met a real dangerous guy in the semis to reach the finals again. It was good for him to get tested."

Landgraff was one of three Springstead champions to repeat at Kiwanis. The two-time state placer made it back-to-back gold medal trips behind a 4-0 run, featuring three pins.

The top-seeded Landgraff strafed his first three opponents folding Wesley Chapel's Matt Steinoff (0:08), St. Cloud's Jacob Bell (2:38) and Lakeland Senior's Gage Hollingsworth (3:20).

The eight-second pin landed Landgraff the event's plaque for Fastest Fall.

In the finals, Landgraff tangled with a 2013 1A state qualifier: Tampa Bay HEAT eighth-grader Cullen Telfer.

Last winter, Landgraff solved Telfer twice: 9-1 at Kiwanis and 7-3 at St. Cloud. This time, the diminutive Telfer spent most of the match rolled up into a ball, not attempting to score. As a result, Landgraff won the tactical match, 3-0.

"I felt so much better than last week," detailed the 16-year-old Landgraff, who was battling a chest cold at Forest. "After my finals, I felt like I could go another six minutes.

"It was hard to score because the other kid (Telfer) was trying not to get pinned. He didn't even try to shoot," admitted a frustrated Landgraff, who improved to 11-1 lifetime at Kiwanis. "I look at this as just another steppingstone to states. After tonight I start preparing for next week."

While Landgraff reached the top of the podium for the second time at HHS, McDonald completed his third gold-medal effort.

In four bouts, the 2013 state placer responded with four pins over St. Cloud's Tristan Cuatchon (1:17), Lennard's David Kirk (1:24), Weeki Wachee senior and 1A state qualifier Dante Padilla (1:45), and Durant senior and 3A state qualifier Austin Haley in the finals (3:19).

With the tourney win, the top-seeded McDonald climbed to 12-0 lifetime at Kiwanis.

"Tournaments like Kiwanis are good, but to me, they're just steppingstones to states," pointed out the 17-year-old McDonald. "My goal last year was to win a state championship. I fell short of that goal. My only goal is to return to states and be a state champion."

Rivera also went 4-0 with three pins for his school-record tying fourth Kiwanis title. With the win, he tied Cody Ross's 2012 mark of going undefeated at Kiwanis.

The top-seeded Rivera crunched his first two foes, pinning Hernando's Ricky Swain (1:08) and NCT's Raivyn Alicea (1:08).

In the semis, Rivera plodded past unseeded Lakeland senior Gino Cerna, 7-5. In the finals, Rivera folded third-seeded Erich Byelick of Indian Rocks Christian in 1:47.

"This was huge," said the 18-year-old Jordan, who completed his Kiwanis career at 16-0 with 14 pins. "I did pretty good for only a couple of days of practice plus cutting weight. My team was behind me 100 percent."

Though Rivera was bypassed as the meet's Outstanding Wrestler (Wesley Chapel's Jon Galvan won that honor at 126) he explained the significance of the win, "This was the first high school tournament I ever won," beamed Rivera. "This place is special for me. My friends, my parents and family were all here tonight. It's kind of cool never losing in this house.

"I came in with a mindset to dominate," added Rivera. "I didn't have a great semifinal, but I had a great warm-up prior the finals. I was ready to go. The last kid (Byelick) didn't even want to look at me. I knew I had it."

Unlike Landgraff, McDonald and Rivera, Swift was a first-time Kiwanis champ. It also marked the first time Swift had ever captured back-to-back IBTs.

The top-seeded Swift stormed through his bracket unleashing a furious 5-0 run featuring four pins.

Swift opened the tourney by folding Lennard's Lloyd Staine (5:45), Wesley Chapel's Emmanuel Orengo (2:18), Lakeland's Damon Black (5:54) and Auburndale's Logan McCafferty (1:21).

In the finals, Swift tripped third-seeded Pasco junior TJ Maple, 9-3.

"This (winning) is a result of all the hard work during the offseason," said the 17-year-old Swift. "It's weird. Last year, nobody knew me. This year, everybody knows me."


The top-seeded Gaudin went 4-0 this weekend to complete his Kiwanis career 14-2 - featuring 11 straight wins highlighted by three gold-medal efforts.

Gaudin earned his top-of-the-podium medallion behind four tactical decisions.

The four-year starter and three-time All-County selection solved Sunlake's Oasin Speicher (7-2), Crystal River senior and 2013 1A state qualifier Carlos Sanabria (9-3), Springstead senior and 2013 2A state qualifier Corey Humphrey (5-3), and Lake Gibson senior and 2013 state qualifier David Rudd (2-1).

Last winter, Gaudin defeated Rudd in the Kiwanis finals, 9-6.

Weeki Wachee's best-ever Kiwanis trip was highlighted by Vines' five pins. He tied Pasco's heavyweight Andrew Ivie in falls with five.

Vines' school-record 15-match win skein was halted in the Kiwanis semifinals by Lennard junior Rowdy Driggers, 7-2. Vines bounced back to flatten Lake Gibson's Chris Davis (1:47) and edge Lakeland's Kyle Schleicher (5-4) to place third.

He'll enter next week's Belleview Duals with a county-leading 17-1 won-lost slate, featuring a county-high 14 pins.

The Hornets' first-ever Kiwanis finalist was Nieves. Nieves, who had never placed at Kiwanis, was seeded second.

The 2013 2A state qualifier last season at Central opened the meet by pinning Chris Wickoff of The Villages (1:09) and Spoto's Willie Marshall (2:58) before trimming Wiregrass Ranch's Max Quinones (8-4).

In the finals, Nieves was upset by unseeded Evan Ratliff of Lennard (8-4).

"In the finals, I missed two golden opportunities on pass-bys and I gave up two late takedowns which really hurt," pointed out the 17-year-old Nieves. "On my lessons learned, I've got to be more aware of my hips. This (finishing second) really hurts right now; I came up a little short."

Brown has very quietly pieced together an undefeated 11-0 campaign.

At Kiwanis, the fourth-seeded Brown pinned Hernando junior Jamon Avery (0:30), decisioned Wesley Chapel's Robert Valentine (6-1), and upset top-seeded Crystal River senior Andrew Bilby (9-2) before edging Durant's Alex Rubio (2-1).

With 30 seconds left, Brown benefitted from a second stalling call against Rubio for a one-point penalty violation that snapped a 1-all deadlock.

"This (win) was big, very big," described the 17-year-old Brown. "I've been training all summer for this. I'm trying to get better and better. Right now, I feel like no one can stop me. But that last kid was pretty strong.

"I want to dedicate this win to my dad (Central head coach Tim Brown). He's always pushing me in practice."

2013 32nd Brooksville Kiwanis Wrestling Invitational Team Standings:


1. Spring Hill-Springstead (SPG) 2A-5 189.0

2. Lakeland-Lake Gibson (LG) 2A-7 135.5

3. Dade City-Pasco (PAS) 1A-6 131.5

4. Plant City-Durant (DUR) 3A-8 129.0

5. Harmony (HARM) 2A-6 116.5

6. Largo-Indian Rocks Christian (IROC) 1A-11 116.0

7. Crystal River (CR) 1A-5 98.5

8. Tampa-Robinson (ROB) 2A-8 97.5

9. Brooksville-Hernando (HER) 1A-6 97.0

10. Wesley Chapel (WC) 1A-6 93.0

11. The Villages (TV) 1A-5 91.0

12. Brooksville-Nature Coast Technical (NCT) 1A-6 86.5

13. Auburndale (AUB) 2A-7 80.0

14. Weeki Wachee (WW) 1A-6 79.0

15. St. Cloud (STC) 3A-5 74.5

16. Wesley Chapel-Wiregrass Ranch (WGR) 2A-8 73.5

17. Lakeland Senior (LAK) 3A-6 73.0

18. Ruskin-Lennard (LENN) 2A-10 70.0

19. Land O' Lakes- Sunlake (SNL) 2A-8 54.0

20. Brandon-Tampa Bay HEAT (TBH) 1A-10 46.0

21. St. Petersburg-Northside Christian (NSC) 1A-11 33.0

22. Lecanto (LEC) 2A-5 29.0

23. Land O' Lakes (LOL) 2A-8 28.5

24. Brooksville-Central (CEN) 1A-6 24.0

25. Tampa-Freedom (FREE) 2A-8 22.0

26. Riverview-Spoto (SPOT) 1A-10 18.0

27. Coral Springs Charter (CSC) 1A-14 16.0

29. Tampa-Citrus Park Christian (CPC) 1A-10 9.0

28. Ocala-Trinity Catholic (OTC) 1A-5 8.0

30. Bradenton Christian (BC) 1A-11 0.0

2013 Finals Results:

106 - Matt Landgraff (SPG) dec. Cullen Telfer (TBH), 3-0.

113 - Jarred Lanier (WGR) pin Kai Cook (LAK), 0:48.

120 - Michael McDonald (SPG) pin Austin Haley (DUR), 3:19.

126 - Jon Galvan (WC) dec. Se'darian Perry (LKG), 10-8.

132 - Evan Ratliff (LENN) dec. Jesus Nieves (WW), 8-4.

138 - Skylar White (PAS) pin Daniel Soto (TV), 4:48.

145 - Jordan Rivera (SPG) pin Erich Byelick (IROC), 1:47.

152 - Conner Allshouse (IROC) dec. Nick Hooper (CR), 9-2.

160 - Billy Swift (SPG) dec. TJ Maple (PAS), 9-3.

170 - Colton Jackson (TV) pin Ryan Robinson (WC), 1:20.

182 - Sawyer Root (HAR) pin Cody Craven (DUR), 3:25.

195 - Brandon Brown (CEN) dec. Alex Rubio (DUR), 2-1.

220 - Jesse Gaudin (HER) dec. David Rudd (LKG), 2-1.

285 - Andrew Ivie (PAS) pin Rowdy Driggers (LENN), 0:48.

2013 Consolation Finals

106 - John Quinones (LKG) dec. Lukas Twardosky (PAS), 6-5.

113 - Noah Ridley (TBH) pin JP Andiarena (STC), 2:25.

120 - Caleb Smith (LKG) dec. Dante Padilla (WW), 8-2.

126 - Jared Wolfenbarger (IROC) dec. Mark Espinosa (NCT), 6-3.

132 - Zac German (HAR) dec. Max Quinones (WGR), 7-5.

138 - Kamen Wilmington (NSC) dec. Michael Gingras (IROC), 8-6.

145 - Kionte Crocker (ROB) dec. Gino Cerna (LAK), 5-3.

152 - Adrian Rivera (NCT) dec. Sonnie Genberg (HER), 7-2.

160 - Brennan Ertl (HER) dec. Zack Logan (TV), 13-6.

170 - Levi Williams (DUR) dec. Vincent Buonanno (SPG), 3-1.

182 - Chris Ewing (LEC) dec. Nathan Love (WC), 9-6.

195 - Andrew Bilby (CR) pin Frank Ritchie (NCT), 2:19.

220 - Kendonte Nichols (ROB) pin Corey Humphrey (SPG), 2:44.

285 - Anthony Vines (WW) dec. Kurt Schleicher (LAK), 5-4.

2013 Kiwanis Individual Awards:

Most Pins, Least Amt. of Time (by a champion) - Andrew Ivie (PAS) 5 pins: 5:04.

Fastest Pin - Matt Landgraff (SPG) - 8 seconds.

Outstanding Wrestler - Jon Galvan (Wesley Chapel).

2013 Springstead Individual Results


106 Landgraff, Matt 4 0 3 1st

113 Rivera, Richie 3 2 2 -

120 McDonald, Michael 4 0 4 1st

126 D'Alessandro, Quentin 3 2 3 -

132 Voisinet, Jonathan 2 2 2 -

138 Smith, Andrew 3 2 1 -

145 Rivera, Jordan 4 0 3 1st

152 Holdway, Robert 2 2 2 -

160 Swift, Billy 5 0 4 1st

170 Buonanno, Vincent 4 2 0 4th

195 Wiggins, Shane 2 2 1 -

220 Humphrey, Corey 4 2 2 4th

285 Erwin, Daniel 0 2 0 -

TOTALS (13) 40 18 27

2013 NCT Individual Results


120 Davis, Keegan 1 2 0 -

126 Espinosa, Mark 3 2 2 4th

132 DeFranco, Joey 2 2 2 -

138 Jazikoff, Jeramie 1 2 1 -

145 Alicea, Raivyn 3 2 3 -

152 Rivera, Adrian 4 1 0 3rd

160 Smith, DeShawn 2 2 1 -

170 Gray, LeShaun 1 2 1 -

182 Young, Travis 2 2 2 -

195 Ritchie, Frank 3 2 1 4th

220 Contegiacomo, Anthony 2 2 1 -

285 Brooks, Dean 2 2 1 -

TOTALS (12) 26 23 15

2013 Hernando Individual Results


106 Watson, Jordan 0 2 0 -

113 Hester, Matt 2 2 0 -

120 Mosher, Bailey 3 2 2 -

126 Fouts, Johnny 2 2 1 -

132 Watson, Austin 0 2 0 -

138 Maniates, Cody 0 2 0 -

145 Swain, Ricky 3 2 1 -

152 Genberg, Sonnie 3 2 0 4th

160 Ertl, Brennan 4 1 1 3rd

170 Webber, Austin 1 2 1 -

182 Listebarger, Michael 3 2 2 -

195 Avery, Jamon 0 2 0 -

220 Gaudin, Jesse 4 0 0 1st

285 Graves, Robert 0 2 0 -

TOTALS (14) 25 25 8

2013 Weeki Wachee Individual Results


106 Smith, Brandon 4 2 2 -

120 Padilla, Dante 4 2 3 4th

126 Gibson, Hunter 0 2 0 -

132 Nieves, Jesus 3 1 2 2nd

145 DeJesus, Nathaniel 0 2 0 -

152 Beck, Gavin 1 2 1 -

160 Wilson, Jake 1 2 1 -

220 Gathright, Kyle 0 2 0 -

285 Vines, Anthony 5 1 4 3rd

TOTALS (9) 18 16 13

2013 Central Individual Results


106 Brackrog, Selena 0 2 0 -

132 Morales, Steven 0 2 0 -

285 Brown, Brandon 4 0 1 1st

TOTALS (3) 4 4 1

Past Brooksville-Kiwanis Tournament Champions


2013 Spring Hill-Springstead 189.0

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

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