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Wrestling: Ready to level playing field
The Kiwanis Invitational is loaded with talent, including defending champion Springstead.
By DEREK J. LaRIVIERE, Times Correspondent
Published December 6, 2007
Hernando assistant Billy Combs has been the one constant in a program that is perennially ranked and has true state title contenders year in and year out. Combs also is the main organizer of the Kiwanis Invitational and has been key to the tournament's success for more than a decade. Combs breaks down this year's tournament to correspondent Derek LaRiviere.
How does the field look at this season's Kiwanis Invitational?
I've been doing this for a while. I wouldn't say this is the toughest I've ever seen, but it is definitely one of the toughest. Last season was a good tournament, but I think this one is shaping up to be a lot better. There are some very good programs that are going to be (at Hernando).
Which weight class will be the most stacked?
I think that 189 (pounds) is going to be a handful. First, you have (Hernando's Nick) Pauliot. Then you have four really talented guys from Jesuit (Chris Kavouklis), Pasco (Ray Perez), Hudson (William Bentley) and Sunlake (Jarret Baker). Four of those guys are state qualifiers (Pauliot, Kavouklis, Bentley and Perez). Then you have (Baker) taking (Bentley) the distance a couple weeks ago.
Four state qualifiers in any one weight class are going to make it difficult, of course.
Then you have 125 pounds. That one might even be harder to deal with. (Brent) Jorge, the kid from Lake Gibson, he's one of the best in the state. Springstead usually dominates in the lower weight classes, too. They have (C.J.) Cook (three-time state qualifier) here. (Daniel) Pritz is going to have his hands full if he is going get anywhere against those guys. Danny doesn't have the same body type that his brothers had, so he has to rely a little more on the technical parts of the sport.
Which programs have a legitimate shot at winning?
Of course, you have Springstead (defending champs) and us (Hernando). I think we have seven guys that we expect to place in their weight classes: (Taylor) Rotunda (215 pounds), Pauliot, Chris Bishop (130), Max Morrell (140), Tim Ball (152), Jesse Graham (145) and Pritz (125). Lake Gibson is always a strong team. Jesuit, Gulf and Crystal River will also be in the mix.
26th annual Kiwanis Invitational
Where: Hernando High, Brooksville
Friday: Weigh-ins, 1 p.m.; first round, 3
Saturday: Restart, 10 a.m.; finals, 6 p.m.
Who: Springstead, Lake Gibson, Tampa Jesuit, Hernando, Zephyrhills, North Marion, Ocala West Port, Central, South Lake, Belleview, Crystal River, Lecanto, Gulf, Mitchell, Sunlake, Lake Weir, Dunnellon, Pasco, River Ridge, Ridgewood, Nature Coast, Tampa Bay Christian, Land O'Lakes, Sickles, Wiregrass Ranch
103 pounds: Dustin Soto, Springstead
112 pounds: Schuyler Swanton, Springstead
119 pounds: Anthony Borelli, Lake Gibson
125 pounds: Brent Jorge, Lake Gibson
130 pounds: Jordan Holding, Gulf
135 pounds: Vince Ramirez, Central
140 pounds: Joel Przybysz, Gulf
145 pounds: Jesse Graham, Hernando
152 pounds: Kevin Drawdy, Crystal River
160 pounds: Ryan Kuell, Lake Gibson
171 pounds: Jessey Lorentsen, Mitchell
189 pounds: Ray Perez, Pasco
215 pounds: Taylor Rotunda, Hernando
Heavyweight: Travis Tindell, Hudson
North Suncoast contenders
103 pounds: Jared Carpenter, Gulf
112 pounds: Dean Stupar, Ridgewood; Anthony Biondo, River Ridge
119 pounds: Skylar Huff, Springstead
125 pounds: C.J. Cook, Springstead; Daniel Pritz, Hernando; John Koney, Crystal River; Ken Supple, Central
130 pounds: Steven Bliss, Springstead; Chris Bishop, Hernando; Brian Scalise, Land O'Lakes
135 pounds: Allyn Williamson, Ridgewood
140 pounds: Max Morrill, Hernando
145 pounds: Dustin Panaccione, Crystal River
152 pounds: Tim Ball, Hernando; Thad Klenovich, Springstead
160 pounds: Pete Rauache, Mitchell
171 pounds: Jacob Ritter, Gulf
189 pounds: William Bentley, Hudson; Nick Pauliot, Hernando, Martin Levinson, Gulf; Jarret Baker, Sunlake
215 pounds: Ryan Cassidy, Mitchell; Josh Soto, River Ridge
Heavyweight: Carlos Ramirez, Springstead; Anthony Colello, River Ridge; J.J. Baker, Nature Coast