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Eagles' day best ever

By MIKE READLING, Times Staff Writer

© St. Petersburg Times, published March 2, 2003

Saturday was a day like no other Brandon High -- or any other high school in the state for that matter -- has ever experienced.

The Eagles' boys soccer team won the Class 2A state title 3-1 over St. Augustine Nease in the afternoon and then the Eagles' vaunted wrestling team added another state title to the trophy case in the evening. For the wrestlers, who were competing in Lakeland, it was state championship No. 14, which is a state record.

It is believed to be the first time in state history a school has won state titles in two different sports on the same day.

"It's unprecedented as far as I know," Brandon athletic director Mike Burnett said. "I couldn't be prouder of both teams right now."

The wrestling team is a favorite any time it shows up at the state tournament and showed why Friday when it virtually won the title with one day to go. The Eagles qualified wrestlers for the finals in 12 of 14 weight classes.

The soccer team is a different story.

The Eagles had never advanced past the region final until this season and entered the final four ranked 20th in the nation. Their only loss came to top-ranked Santa Margarita (Calif.) as the Eagles finished 23-1-1.

"This put us on the soccer map for sure," Burnett said. "We've got some tremendous athletes. Now the soccer team is right up there with the rest of our programs that have performed at this level."

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