Rugged tests await Eagles, Leopards, Sharks

Springstead’s Chris Morales vs Citrus High’s Jesse Pounders. Photo by JOE DiCRISTOFALO

WRESTLING

Springstead zips to Lake Gibson,

Hernando off to Clay High Rotary,

while NCT visits Countryside

By TONY CASTRO

HernandoSport.com

Two weeks shy of the state series, three Hernando County teams await rugged mat exams this weekend.

F.W. Springstead returns to action at the Braves Invitational at Lakeland’s Lake Gibson High School “Reservation“ gymnasium.

Hernando returns to the loaded Green Cove Springs Clay High Rotary Invite while Nature Coast Technical travels to Pinellas County’s Countryside High School gym for the Palm Harbor-University Logan Kushner Memorial.

This event was moved at the last minute when a pipe broke flooding PHU’s gym floor.

All three events are two-day affairs beginning Friday afternoon.

Braves Invite

Lake Gibson, which had never captured a state title, has reeled in three over the past 18 months.

The Braves Invitational is expected to feature 21 teams and 236 wrestlers featuring: host Lakeland-Lake Gibson, Apopka, Auburndale, Celebration, Clearwater, Dade City-Pasco, Fort Myers-Riverdale, Haines City, Lakeland-Tenoroc, Ocala-Lake Weir, Orlando-Boone, Orlando-Freedom, Spring Hill-Springstead, St. Petersburg-Admiral Farragut Academy, St. Petersburg-Dixie Hollins, Miami-Doral Academy, Naples-Palmetto Ridge, Dunedin, Tallahassee=Lincoln, Tampa-Carrollwood Day School, and Winter Haven.

Springstead, which hasn’t competed since the St. Cloud Duals, is expected to tow 11 grapplers.

Mike LaRocca

It would have been 12 but senior Christian Reynolds at 220 pounds will miss the event due to ACT Testing.

“We’re healthy and ready to go,” explained fourth-year mentor Mike LaRocca of Springstead. “I’d like us to perform to the best of our abilities.”

Since splitting the 2A-II Duals at Harmony followed by the two-day event at St. Cloud, the Eagles have been training.

“We‘ve stressed toughness and conditioning,” explained Coach LaRocca. “After this weekend, the intensity goes through the roof as we get closer to districts.”

Despite a solid field in Polk County, LaRocca says the host Braves are that team to beat.

“Lake Gibson is loaded. It will be a battle for second,” predicted LaRocca. “If Riverdale comes, it’ll be an even better tournament.”

On the Eagles’ goals, “I just want to see where we’re at,” stated LaRocca. “Hopefully, we’re not making the same silly mistakes we’ve made in the past. We’ve been preaching progress since Day 1 but some of the guys haven’t taken that next step. It’s time.”

On walking in without Reynolds, who is having a splendid season, “It would have been nice to have Christian, but getting into college is a little more important than one tournament..

Kris Ortiz

“Individually, I’d like to see guys like Luis (Perez at 138) and Kris Ortiz at 120, do well. They both have the ability to place.”

SHS walks in led by senior Chris Morales at 152 (29-0, 22 pins).

Chris Morales

Right behind Morales is senior James Spencer at 285 (25-2, 18 pins) and sophomore Dominic Nardini at 106 (25-5, 7 pins).

Of the three 2018 Class 2A state qualifiers attending the Lake Gibson event, Spencer enters with 90 career wins. He’s 10 wins shy of becoming the 32nd Eagle to reach 100 career wins in 39 winters.

Sixteen teams are expected to compete in the two-day event featuring: host PHU, New Port Richey-River Ridge, Bradenton-Braden River, Brooksville-Nature Coast Technical, Clearwater-Countryside, Dover-Strawberry Crest, Gulfport-Boca Ciega, Sarasota, Sarasota Military Academy, Sarasota-Riverview, Holiday-Anclote, Lecanto, Pinellas Park, Port Charlotte, St. Petersburg-Northside Christian, Tampa-Freedom and the five-time defending tourney champion is Palm Harbor-University.

The Sharks have been slowly, but surely making progress. The Brooksville mat men do not have a senior in its starting lineup.

Second-year NCT skipper Chance Phillips won’t have his 11 grapplers from a week ago.

Sophomore Tristan Paneson at 170 injured his elbow at the Palmetto Pride IBT and has not practiced since.

According to Phillips, he may be sidelined until 1A-6 Tournament at Hernando High.

Also freshman Dylan Craine at 106 will not be making the trip.

Chance Phillips

“We’re healthy, except for Paneson,“ said Phillips. “There will be four pretty good teams at Countryside including Palm Harbor-University, athletic Pinellas Park, Strawberry Crest and Sarasota Military Academy.

“I just want to see how our kids match up. This week is about sustaining what we’ve done up to this point,” noted Phillips, a two-time Georgia state qualifier. “Guys like Jaxson (Morris) and Aaron (Gentz0 are beginning to make up some ground in new weight classes.

“… (Billy) Fetzner just had a poor day last week at Palmetto, I’m looking for him to return to form,” added Phillips.

Billy Fetzner

NCT walks in led by Fetzner’s 32-9 slate, highlighted by 21 pins.

There’s a close battle for second place on the squad.

Sophomore Jonathan Dominguez is 25-6 at 113 with 16 pins, just ahead of Morris at 132 (24-13, 17 pins) and sophomore Chris Spellman at 182 (24-11, 15 pins).

Hernando at Clay

As tough as the Lake Gibson Braves Invite is shaping up, the 21st Green Cove Springs Rotary Invitational is brimming with mat talent.

Thirty-six teams and 419 wrestlers in a double-elimination IBT (individually bracketed tournament) format at expected at Clay including: Brooksville-Hernando, Clearwater Central Catholic, Crawfordville-Wakulla, First Baptist, First Coast, Fleming Island, Jacksonville-Bolles School, JAX-Bishop Kenny, JAX-Bishop Snyder, JAX-Ed White, JAX-Episcopal, JAX-Mandarin, JAX-Lee, JAX-Raines, Key West, Live Oak-Suwannee, Middleburg, Palm Coast-Matanzas, Orlando-Bishop Moore Catholic, St. Augustine, Niceville, Oakleaf, Palatka, Pensacola-Pace, Pedro Menendez, Ponte Vedra, St. Johns-Bartram Trails, St. Johns-Creekside, Gainesville-Buchholz, Punta Gorda-Charlotte, Lake City-Columbia, South Walton, Tallahassee-Florida High, Tallahassee-Godby, Tampa-Carrollwood Day School, Tampa Prep, and host Clay High.

The defending tourney champion is Clay.

Springstead finished runner-up in this meet a year ago while Hernando placed eighth.

This time, the Leopards are expected to tow 14 grapplers but will not be at full strength.

Seventh-year HHS mentor David Pritz walks in minus a season-high three starters – J. Lisk at 126, Michael Brown at 132 nor Qwenton Coney a 220.

Lisk (20-5) is out of state, Brown (28-11) will be attending a funeral while Coney (26-9) is taking the ACT.

David Pritz

Coach Pritz is expecting to utilize first-year sophomores Joe DeLuca, Justin Fabela and Jason Perez.

Though the Leopards are coming off its third tourney title of the season last weekend at Timber Creek, the Purple and Gold will not have enough ammo to confront Class 2A bully Charlotte nor 1A powerhouse Wakulla.

Charlotte was third in this event last winter while Wakulla did not compete.

“It’s a dominantly 1A field,“ described Coach Pritz. “But with three starters out, we’re not looking to win the team trophy. We’re really looking for individual success this weekend.”

In crystal balling the tourney, “Charlotte is the team to beat, but Wakulla will be right there, too,“ said Pritz.

One stacked weight division is 138.

Josh Pritz

That’s where three of state’s top five Class 1A grapplers will converge including HHS sophomore Josh Pritz (29-4, 21 pins).

Pritz added, “Our other guys need to learn how to place in IBTs. Most of the guys have done a good job of that all season.”

Fernando Valdez

HHS is led by senior Fernando Valdez at 170.

Valdez enters 34-4 with 19 pins.

The third-year grappler arrives with 99 career triumphs. With one more he’ll become the 26th Leopard to reach triple digits.

Senior Boston Tafelski at 145 enters with 113 career wins while his twin brother, Bronson at 152, arrives with 105.

Hornets sitting it out

Weeki Wachee will be sitting this weekend out.

The Hornets are coming off Wednesday’s 78-6 Senior Night annihilation over Class 3A New Port Richey-Mitchell.

Behind seven pins, the Hornets climbed to 31-6 overall.

The US-19 mat men stand one win shy of tying the Hernando County record it set last winter for most dual meet wins (32) in a single season.

WWHS will close its regular season competing in the Feb. 16 T.D. Talbott Duals at The Villages.

02-06: New Port Richey-Mitchell at Weeki Wachee

Weeki Wachee (WW) 78,

Mitchell (MIT) 6

106 – Keith Germain (WW) pin Logan O’Leary, 1:01.

113 – Dominic Scaffedi (WW) won by forfeit.

120 – Simon Molina (WW) won by forfeit.

126 – Lane Beck (WW) won by forfeit.

132 – James Fournier (WW) pin Faith Mitchell, 0:45.

138 – Cole Vedder (WW) won by forfeit.

145 – Michael Reidinger (WW) pin Reese Key, 1:41.

152 – Justin Garvin (WW) pin Adam Butler, 1:37.

160 – Jacob Danner (WW) pin Cameron Mills, 1:21.

170 – Brian Strickland (WW) won by forfeit.

182 – Klebert Charles (WW) pin Hunter McFarland, 1:21.

195 – Jason Schmidt (WW) won by forfeit.

220 – Brock Vance (WW) pin Jaden Chambers, 1:32.

285 – Evan Brennan (MIT) [in Jahikye Facey, 5:42.

Records – Weeki Wachee (31-6 overall).

AT A GLANCE

WHAT – 21th annual Green Cove Springs Rotary Invitational.

Green Cove Springs-Clay Blue Devils

WHO – Thirty-six teams and an estimated 419 wrestlers in a double-elimination IBT (individually bracketed tournament) format including: Brooksville-Hernando, Clearwater Central Catholic, Crawfordville-Wakulla, First Baptist, First Coast, Fleming Island, Jacksonville-Bolles School, JAX-Bishop Kenny, JAX-Bishop Snyder, JAX-Ed White, JAX-Episcopal, JAX-Mandarin, JAX-Lee, JAX-Raines, Key West, Live Oak-Suwannee, Middleburg, Palm Coast-Matanzas, Orlando-Bishop Moore Catholic, St. Augustine, Niceville, Oakleaf, Palatka, Pensacola-Pace, Pedro Menendez, Ponte Vedra, St. Johns-Bartram Trails, St. Johns-Creekside, Gainesville-Buchholz, Punta Gorda-Charlotte, Lake City-Columbia, South Walton, Tallahassee-Florida High, Tallahassee-Godby, Tampa-Carrollwood Day School, Tampa Prep, and host Clay High. Defending tourney champion is Clay.

WHERE – Clay High School’s gymnasium, 2025 Florida 16, Green Cove Springs.

WHEN – Friday-Saturday, Feb. 8-9. Friday’s action begins at 2 p.m. Saturday’s action starts at 10 a.m.

AT STAKE – Team trophies for the first two teams. Individual medals for the top-four placers.

HHS @ 20th Green Cove Springs Rotary

Invitational @ Clay High

Josh Pritz
 

WGT

 

NAME

 

YR

 

W

 

L

 

PINS

 

PL.

 

113

Britton, Jonothon

10

1

2

1

 

120

Gould, Billy

9

0

2

0

 

132

Hulse, Josh

12

4

2

0

5th

 

138

Pritz, Josh

9

4

2

3

4th

 

145

Tafelski, Boston

11

5

2

0

5th

 

145

Ertl, Will

10

0

2

0

 

152

Tafelski, Bronson

11

4

2

0

 

170

Valdez, Fernando

11

3

3

0

6th

 

182

Espinal, Alex

11

2

2

2

 

195

Cheverie, Nick

11

0

2

0

 

220

Coney, Qwenton

10

3

3

2

6th

 

285

Platt, Matt

10

2

2

1

 

TOTALS (12)

 

28

 

26

 

9

 

5

2018 20th Clay Rotary Team Standings:

Green Cove Springs-Clay Blue Devils
 

PL

 

TEAM

 

CLASS

 

PTS.

1.

Green Cove Springs-Clay (CLAY)

1A-3

262.5

 

2.

 

Spring Hill-Springstead (SPG)

 

2A-5

 

199.5

3.

Punta Gorda-Charlotte (CHAR)

2A-10

157.0

4.

Niceville (NICE)

2A-1

119.0

5.

Palm Coast-Matanzas (MAT)

2A-4

111.0

6.

Jacksonville-Bishop Kenny (BK)

1A-4

102.5

7.

Tampa Prepatory (TP)

1A-10

99.0

 

8.

 

Brooksville-Hernando (HER)

 

1A-6

 

88.5

9.

Gainesville-Buchholz (BUCH)

3A-1

88.0

10.

Lake City-Columbia (COL)

2A-2

81.5

11.

Key West (KW)

1A-16

80.5

12.

Jacksonville-Creekside (CREE)

2A-4

80.0

13.

St. Augustine-Nease (NEASE)

2A-4

78.0

14.

Live Oak-Suwannee (SUW)

1A-2

72.0

15.

Neptune Beach-Fletcher (FLET)

3A-1

70.0

16.

The Villages (TV)

1A-7

60.5

17.

Tallahassee-Florida HIGH (FLA)

1A2

59.0

18.

Marianna (MAR)

1A-1

57.0

19.

Middleburg (MIDD)

2A-3

51.0

20.

Jacksonville-Mandarin (MAN)

3A-1

49.5

21.

Orlando-Bishop Moore (BM)

1A-7

45.5

22.

Panama City Beach-Arnold (ARN)

1A-1

45.0

23.

St. Johns-Bartram Trails (BT)

2A-4

44.0

24.

St. Augustine (STA)

2A-4

40.0

24.

Jacksonville-Bolles (BOL)

1A-4

40.0

26.

Palatka (PAL)

1A-5

39.0

27.

St. Cloud (STC)

3A-5

38.5

28.

Tampa-Carrollwood Day School (CDS)

1A-10

31.0

29.

Starke-Bradford (BRAD)

1A-4

25.5

29.

Jacksonville-Episcopal (EPIS)

1A-4

25.5

31.

Ponte Vedra (PV)

2A-4

25.0

32.

Jacksonville-Raines (RAIN)

1A-3

24.0

33.

Jacksonville-Lee (LEE)

3A-1

23.0

 

TEAMS (33)

Finals Results

106 – Xander Kirkland (SUW) dec. Dominic Nardini (SPG), 4-3.

113 – Daniel Porter (CLAY) dec. Kyle Hopkins (EPIS), 6-2.

120 – Stevie Chopek (CLAY) dec. Nick Vugman (BT), 4-0.

126 – Luke Hopkins (MAN) dec. Jake Wheeler (BM), 4-3.

132 – Lucas Willis (CHAR) pin Gannon Janssen (NEAS), 3:27.

138 – Troy Nation (TP) major dec. Peyton Hughes (CLAY), 11-3.

145 – Tyrone Jones (MAT) pin Grayson Fisher (CDS), 5:44.

152 – Anthony Artalona (TP) pin Drew St. Amant (ARN), 1:14.

160 – Colin Nation (TP) dec. Jack Johnson (NICE), 9-3.

170 – Armando Acosta (BUCH) dec. Ryan Hatcher (TV), 5-1.

182 – Will Haigler (FLA) dec. Jose Valdez (CHAR), 3-2.

195 – Kurt Jackson (CLAY) major dec. Cole Maddox (MAR), 11-3.

220 – Fidel Lara (STC) pin Mason Yost (BOLL), 3:34.

285 – Josiah McCollum (BK) pin Stervens Dor (KW), 3:17.

Consolation Finals Results

106 – Justin Byler (CLAY) won by forfeit over Jonathan Dominguez (SPG).

113 – Vincent Grimaldi (CHAR) dec. Luke Davis (CREE), 4-3.

120 – Zachary Hartzog (NICE) pin Jack Delaney (BK), 2:28.

126 – Ted Gjerde (CHAR) pin Tanner Kublick (SPG), 2:38.

132 – Isaac Mann (COL) dec. Lawrence Russo (MAT), 7-5 (OT).

138 – Chris Morales (SPG) pin Josh Pritz (HER), 5:09.

145 – Tommy Barker (SPG) won via injury default over Andrew Slade (BK).

152 – Dylan Taylor (CLAY) dec. Bailey Howes (NICE), 6-2.

160 – Yvens Candido (CHAR) dec. Jordan Mobley (BUCH), 3-2.

170 – Tracey Beshara (STA) dec. Jesse Burch (BRAD), 9-4.

182 – Brandon Dickman (CREE) dec. Abbott Taylor (CLAY), 3-2.

195 – Anthony Andou (CHAR) dec. Trenton Shenefield (SPG), 3-1.

220 – Christian Reynolds (SPG) dec. Darrius Pena (NICE), 3-2 (OT).

285 – James Spencer (SPG) dec. Stanley Hollenbeck (FLET), 6-4.

AT A GLANCE

WHAT – 21st Logan Kushner Memorial.

Palm Harbor University Hurricanes

WHO – Sixteen teams are expected to compete in the two-day event featuring: host PHU, New Port Richey-River Ridge, Bradenton-Braden River, Brooksville-Nature Coast Technical, Clearwater-Countryside, Dover-Strawberry Crest, Gulfport-Boca Ciega, Sarasota, Sarasota Military Academy, Sarasota-Riverview, Holiday-Anclote, Lecanto, Pinellas Park, Port Charlotte, St. Petersburg-Northside Christian, Tampa-Freedom and Five-time defending tourney champion is Palm Harbor-University.

WHERE – Countryside High School’s gymnasium, 3000 Florida-580, Clearwater.

WHEN – Friday-Saturday, Feb. 8-9. Friday’s action begins at 2 p.m. Saturday’s action starts at 10 a.m.

AT STAKE – Team trophies for the first two teams.

2018 Final 13th Logan Kushner

Memorial Team Standings

 

PL

 

TEAM

 

CLASS

 

PTS.

1.

Palm Harbor-University

3A-8

260.0

2.

Bradenton-Lakewood Ranch

3A-8

201.5

3.

Weeki Wachee

1A-6

196.0

4.

New Port Richey-River Ridge

2A-9

182.0

5.

Sarasota

3A-8

179.0

6.

Clearwater-Countryside

3A-8

136.0

7.

North Port

3A-8

126.5

8.

Zephyrhills

2A-7

101.0

9.

Brooksville-Central

1A-6

74.0

10.

Holiday-Anclote

1A-6

70.5

AT A GLANCE

WHAT – Braves Invitational.

Lakeland-Lake Gibson Braves

WHO – Twenty-one teams and 236 wrestlers are expected to compete in the two-day event featuring: host Lakeland-Lake Gibson, Apopka, Auburndale, Celebration, Clearwater, Dade City-Pasco, Fort Myers-Riverdale, Haines City, Lakeland-Tenoroc, Ocala-Lake Weir, Orlando-Boone, Orlando-Freedom, Spring Hill-Springstead, St. Petersburg-Admiral Farragut Academy, St. Petersburg-Dixie Hollins, Miami-Doral Academy, Naples-Palmetto Ridge, Dunedin, Tallahassee=Lincoln, Tampa-Carrollwood Day School, and Winter Haven.

WHERE – Lake Gibson’s “Reservation” gymnasium, 7007 N. Socrum Loop Rd., Lakeland.

WHEN – Friday-Saturday, Feb. 8-9. Friday’s action begins at 2 p.m. Saturday’s action starts at 10 a.m.

AT STAKE – Team trophies for the first two teams.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

+ forty seven = fifty five