Wednesday, Nov 26, 2014


Hernando Today correspondent
Published:   |   Updated: May 7, 2013 at 05:16 PM

The most successful prep mentor at Springstead – eight-year wrestling skipper Eric Swensen – announced Tuesday via email that he and his family were relocating to Minnesota.

The announcement indicated that Swensen's longtime assistant coach and former Eagle alumnus Sal Basile was promoted to head coach.

Swensen and Basile had teamed up to etch 41 tournament titles – including back-to-back Class 2A state championships – for the North Suncoast's finest mat program.

Over the past eight years, the Eagle mat men have produced 59 individual district champions, 21 individual regional champions and 16 of its county record of 25 state champions.

During Swensen's reign, his teams posted a combined 101-11 dual-meet mark – featuring back-to-back-to-back unbeaten seasons.

From 2004-12, SHS qualified 14 wrestlers to regionals five times, including the past four straight seasons. Before that, the Spring Hill team had qualified 14 members three times in 24 seasons.

After collecting five regional runner-up trophies from 2004-10, SHS has registered back-to-back regional titles.

The Mariner Boulevard club set a county record by qualifying 12 wrestlers to states this past winter and by having eight medalists among the top six.

All told, 38 of Swensen's 62 state qualifiers (county record of 61 percent) placed during the past eight FHSAA Finals.

Swensen took over after former Central standout Roy Reyes was relieved of his head coaching position following the 2003-04 campaign.

Reyes' two teams went 11-10 and 8-3 overall – and neither captured a district championship. Moreover, the 2004 club was the last SHS team not to have at least one grappler reach states.

Before that, 22 straight state tourneys featured at least one Springstead state qualifier.

Swensen's email was filled with emotion.

"It is with mixed emotions that I announce that I am leaving Springstead H.S.," he wrote. "My family and I have decided to move closer to family, and my wife Deb has accepted a job that we could not pass on. We will be moving away from the warm state of Florida to the cold of Minnesota."

On his Springstead experience, "I have had an incredible time over the past eight years and Springstead Wrestling has reached the pinnacle of high school wrestling success. I really believe that the success of this program was not because of me but because of WE."

Swensen took the time to thank many involved, including his entire coaching staff, as well as former Springstead Hall of Fame coach and current athletic director Bob Levija, and Principal Susan Duval.

According to Swensen, "Springstead Wrestling has a great tradition that was started in 1979 under Coach Levija and it has continued over the years. The program will be in great hands as Coach Sal will take over as the fourth head coach in SHS Wrestling history. Sal is a great coach and friend and I am positive the program will be stronger than ever with Sal leading the charge.

"Thank you all and God bless."

By the Numbers: Springstead's Eric Swensen (2004-12)

- Compiled by TONY CASTRO


2004-05 14 4 .778

2005-06 16 2 .889

2006-07 16 1 .941

2007-08 12 3 .800

2008-09 10 1 .909

2009-10 13 0 1.000

2010-11 13 0 1.000

2011-12 07 0 1.000

TOTALS 101 11 .902

Tournament Titles: (41)

2004-05: (1)

Class 2A, District 9 Tournament @ CEN

2005-06: (4)

4th Gulf Duals Tournament @ New Port Richey

County Championship Tournament @ SPG

The Villages Tournament

Class 2A, District 5 Tournament @ SPG

2006-07: (5)

25th Brooksville-Kiwanis Invitational @ Hernando

5th Gulf Duals Tournament @ New Port Richey

17th Springstead Invitational

Hernando County Athletic Conference Duals Tournament @ SPG

Class 2A, District 5 Tournament @ Dunedin

2007-08: (3)

26th Brooksville-Kiwanis Invitational @ Hernando

18th Springstead Invitational

Class 2A, District 5 Tournament @ Ridgewood

2008-09: (6)

3rd Ocala-Forest Invitational @ Ocala-Forest

27th Brooksville-Kiwanis Invitational @ Hernando

7th Gulf Duals Tournament @ New Port Richey

19th Springstead Invitational

23rd Flagler Rotary Club Invitational @ Bunnell

Class 2A, District 5 Tournament @ Dunedin

2009-10: (7)

3rd Deltona Duals @ Deltona High

14th Cougar Invitational @ Plant City-Durant

28th Brooksville-Kiwanis Invitational @ Hernando

8th Gulf Duals Tournament @ New Port Richey

20th Springstead Invitational

24th Flagler Rotary Club Invitational @ Bunnell

Class 2A, District 7 Tournament @ Lecanto

2010-11: (8)

4th Deltona Duals @ Deltona High

29th Brooksville-Kiwanis Invitational @ Hernando

9th Gulf Duals Tournament @ New Port Richey

21st Springstead Invitational

25th Flagler Rotary Club Invitational @ Bunnell

Class 2A, District 7 Tournament @ Springstead

Class 2A, Region II @ Avon Park's South Florida Community College

47th annual Class 2A State Championship @ The Lakeland Center

2011-12: (7)

5th Deltona Duals @ Deltona High

30th Brooksville-Kiwanis Invitational @ Hernando

22nd Springstead Invitational

26th Flagler Rotary Club Invitational @ Bunnell

Class 2A, District 7 Tournament @ Hernando

Class 2A, Region II @ St. Cloud

48th annual Class 2A State Championship @ The Lakeland Center


Part of the Tribune family of products