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By JAMAL THALJI
© St. Petersburg Times, published February 16, 2001
All weigh-ins are Friday at 10 a.m. and preliminaries begin at noon. Saturday's weigh-ins are at 8 a.m., the semifinals start at 10 and the wrestlebacks being at 12:30 p.m. The consolations are at 6 and the finals start at 7:30. The top four finishers in each weight class will advance to the Florida Finals, held Feb. 22-24 at the Lakeland Center.
WHO: Top four individuals from districts 5, 6, 7 and 8 in Class 3A
WHERE: Orlando Cypress Creek
DIRECTIONS: Take Interstate 4 to Orlando and the Central Florida Parkway exit (the SeaWorld exit) to Highway 441 and take a right. Take a left onto Weatherby Road, head 1.8 miles until the stop sign at South Orange Avenue and turn right. The school is 1 mile down the road at 1101 Bear Crossing Drive. For information call the school at (407) 852-3400.
OUTLOOK: The Royal Knights' path to Lakeland gets no easier in this tough regional. Nate Way (215) is River Ridge's lone district champion, so look for him to secure a return trip to state Saturday evening.
WHO: Top four individuals from districts 9, 10, 11 and 12 in Class 2A
DIRECTIONS: From U.S. 19, head south and merge off onto State Road 580. Take a left onto 580 and head east. The school is at the intersection of 580 and McMullen Booth Road. From McMullen Booth Road, take a right at 580. The school's address is 3000 SR 580. For information call the school at (727) 725-7956.
OUTLOOK: Land O'Lakes won the district in a tight race over Countryside on its home court, but now the stakes are higher as the venue shifts to the Cougars' home mat. Barring a surprise, these two should again battle for top honors. Pasco County is sending several state hopefuls to this regional, and at the head of the class is Hudson senior and defending state champion Robb Philippus (215). Other state hopefuls to watch include: Gulf's Davin Spaulding (140) and Harold Payne (160); Hudson's Dana Bentley (171); Land O'Lakes' Derek Schiffer (125), Paul Yarbrough (130), Ron Crotty (140), Jimmy Tuttle (189) and Jason Carpenter (275); and Ridgewood's Sean Byrne (140), Anthony DeSantis (145), Bobby Shields (160), Pete Weinstein (189) and Rudy Arce (275).
WHO: Top four individuals from districts 5, 6, 7 and 8 in Class A
DIRECTIONS: Take U.S. 41 north to State Road 50 (Cortez Boulevard) and make a left. Head west to the Sunshine Grove Road intersection and take a right. The school is less than a mile down the road. From Interstate 75, take the SR 50 exit and head west. From the Suncoast Parkway (free tolls until Sunday), take the Brooksville exit and head west on SR 50. The school's address is 14075 Ken Austin Parkway. For information call the school at (352) 797-7020.
OUTLOOK: Springstead is the story of this regional as the Eagles continue their quest for a state title. But Pasco County should be well represented in the finals, starting with a Pasco squad that has won more district titles than any other county team. The Pirates' Tye Reedy (189) and Brad Alford (145) headline the county's state hopefuls, along with teammates Roger Carroll (171), Jonathan Hancock (140) and Alvaro Moreno (152). Zephyrhills' Doug Burden (130), Ryan Hall (125), Charlie Helm (215) and Nick Spine (112) are also contenders along with Wesley Chapel's Gape Lopez (119), Nathan Reichner (171) and Jason Boyd (189). Mitchell could make history by sending its first wrestler to state.