St. Petersburg Times Online: Sports
Place an Ad Calendars Classified Forums Sports Weather

printer version

Zephyrhills' Hand captures a title

By GREG AUMAN, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published February 24, 2002

LAKELAND -- Every other state champion had been crowned, so Shane Hand found himself the last wrestler in the Lakeland Center, fighting to avoid a pin in the first period as volunteers rolled up the mats on the circle next to him.

The workers stopped to watch as the Zephyrhills junior got out of the jam, took control of the Class A heavyweight final and beat Cardinal Gibbons' Leon Harrington 8-4 to earn his school's second state championship.

"The conditioning paid off for me. My coaches ran me to death and I hated them for it, but now I love them," said Hand (51-1), who needed to go the full six minutes only four times before Saturday's final. "Speed and conditioning, that's all that won it tonight."

Hand clung to a 5-4 lead in the final period, got an escape point with 41 seconds left, then clinched the win with a takedown with 15 seconds remaining. Fans in the crowd counted down the final seconds of his championship.

"He's a really good kid, and he's worked so hard," said Bulldogs coach Kevin Epifanio, whose team finished 12th, two points behind Pasco for best on the North Suncoast. "You want good things to come to kids that put all they have into something like he has."

Pasco's Nate Engel, the only other North Suncoast wrestler to reach his final, came agonizingly close to a title of his own, losing an 11-9 decision to Miami Belen Jesuit's Jason Machado.

After trailing 4-1 in the first period, Engel rallied to take a 7-5 lead in the second period. The two were tied 9-9 for most of the final period, but Machado got a takedown with 35 seconds remaining for the deciding points.

Springstead's Matt Booker, a defending state champion who took his first loss of the season Friday, went through the consolation bracket with a vengeance Saturday.

After a 6-5 decision, Booker pinned his next opponent in 1 minutes, 40 seconds and earned a technical-fall victory in the consolation final with a 17-2 win against Fort Pierce Central's Bobby Ledbetter.

Pasco County had two state medalists in the 119-pound class, where Hudson's Luke Jubran beat Zephyrhills' Nick Spine 7-3 in the consolation semifinals and went on to finish fourth. Spine lost a 3-2 decision in his next match and took the podium at sixth.

Hernando's Billy Woods (130 pounds) won his final consolation match to finish fifth, one spot better than last year. Pasco's Juan Trevino (152) and Lecanto's Billy Simmons (189) also finished fifth when their final opponents took injury defaults.

Pasco had a third medalist in 140-pounder Devon Bryant, who tried to wrestle with a hyperextended elbow but took a 10-3 loss and took an injury default in his last match to finish sixth.

Land O'Lakes' Chris Bowen won his first consolation match to lock up a spot on the podium, then took an injury default on his last two matches to take sixth as well.

Eight other wrestlers advanced to the final day of competition but lost their first match, still finishing among the top eight in their class: Wesley Chapel's Kevin Boyd, Hernando's Billy Combs, Lecanto's Mike Duca and Terence Hollis, Central's Sergio Matos, Springstead's David Kachiroubas, River Ridge's John Gilmore and Land O'Lakes' Matt Embry.

Back to Sports
Back to Top

© 2006 • All Rights Reserved • Tampa Bay Times
490 First Avenue South • St. Petersburg, FL 33701 • 727-893-8111
Contact the Times | Privacy Policy
Standard of Accuracy | Terms, Conditions & Copyright

From the Times sports desk

  • Growing up Gruden

  • Olympics
  • Brooks' words key U.S. run
  • A bad day? Blame Ohno
  • North American rivalry to grow, Gretzky says
  • Bettman attempts to quash talk of revenge
  • Bronze is bittersweet for Lightning goalie
  • Miller: No medal and no regrets
  • U.S. medals in 500, finishes 4th in relay
  • U.S. athletes give sites a personal feel
  • IIHF supports officiating in U.S.-Russia game
  • Americans end 46-year drought

  • Devil Rays/Spring Training
  • Rays' Kennedy 'on a mission'
  • Alderson presses for more profit sharing among teams
  • Wells feels good on the mound
  • McRae ready for righty-lefty games
  • Dome occupied; it's back inside

  • College basketball
  • In one second, Tide turns against Gators
  • NCAAs keep slipping away
  • Clemson bids to climb out of basement

  • Lightning
  • 4 years later, Lightning player observes from afar
  • Grit, goals on agenda

  • Colleges
  • FSU trio teams up for two-hitter

  • Letters
  • The hiring of Gruden gets mixed reviews

  • Outdoors
  • Daily fishing report

  • Preps
  • CCC, PHU celebrate state titles
  • Bounces go against Marauders
  • Marauders claim championship
  • Palm Harbor University takes title
  • Bishop Moore wins battle
  • Zephyrhills' Hand captures a title
  • Brandon is on top again
  • Lake Gibson finally a champion
  • Clearwater's record run moving to state
  • Countryside pair get lift in finals

  • From the wire

    From the state sports wire
  • Jacksonville's Spicer placed on IR after leg surgery
  • FIU-Western Kentucky game postponed because of Jeanne
  • Brown anxious to face old team for first time
  • Dolphins' desperate defense readies for Roethlisberger
  • Former Sarasota lineman sheds tough-guy image with Michigan
  • Rothstein rejoins Heat as assistant
  • No. 16 Florida has history on its side against Kentucky
  • FSU and Clemson QBs both off to slow starts