Eagles dominate tourney

Published December 10, 2006

BROOKSVILLE - Springstead went wire-to-wire at the 25th annual Kiwanis Invitational this weekend, and with a 90.5-point margin between the Eagles and second-place Hernando, dominant is the only adjective to describe it.

With a tournament-leading seven finals participants and six individual winners, the Eagles (234 points) were vindicated after dropping a close tournament to Gainesville last season.

"It always nice to win local tournaments like this," said Springstead coach Eric Swensen. "Our guys gain a lot of confidence and take a lot of pride when we get to compete against these programs."

Gainesville (137 points) took third behind host Hernando (143.5 points). Jacob Harmer at 160 pounds defeated Hernando's Brandyn Kuhn for an individual crown. Kuhn was seeded first in the original brackets.

Two matches involving the Leopards stole the show in the finals though. In the 145-pound final, Hernando's Jesse Graham was caught in a close match with Pasco's Chance Finlay. Graham finally escaped after three extra periods for a 7-5 win.

At 215 pounds, hometown favorite Taylor Rotunda took on Springstead newcomer Jarrod Reynolds. Reynolds, an Ohio state qualifier last season, has been a boost to the Eagles' depth.

Rotunda took a 2-0 lead early after Reynolds was called for a couple of controversial stalling penalties. Reynolds bounced back with a takedown in the third period and held on for a 4-2 win.

Springstead's Skylar Huff (119) earned his first tournament title and also snagged the award for most pins in the shortest time. He was one of three grapplers to earn a pin in every match, joining teammate Keith Hansen (152) and Pasco's Eric Stroud (275).

Belleview's Dex Christmas (112) won the Outstanding Lightweight Wrestler Award for the event, and Harmer took the Outstanding Heavyweight Award.