By JAMAL THALJI
© St. Petersburg Times, published February 23, 2001
LAKELAND -- Springstead's ambitions for a state title are still intact after the first day of the state championships Thursday at the Lakeland Center.
Meanwhile, Land O'Lakes' dreams took a tumble.
The Eagles' hopes in Class A stayed on track with a third-place finish with 251/2 points. University Christian took the lead in Class A with 31, just a point ahead of Fort Lauderdale Cardinal Gibbons.
Matt Booker (135 pounds), Gerard DeCristofaro (140), Louis Kachiroubas (145), Tim Cook (160) and Steve Garofano (171) will represent the Eagles in the second round today at 10 a.m. Teammates Tommy Walker (103), Jason Faucher (119) and Reggie Pena (152) made it to wrestlebacks.
Brandon ran away from the Class 2A field, scoring 35 as all 12 wrestlers stayed alive. Lake Region finished a distant second with 17 and Land O'Lakes tied Palatka and Clay for third place with 15.
The Gators' hopes of at least a state runner-up title took on water as just five of seven advanced. Derek Schiffer (135), Ron Crotty (140) and Jimmy Tuttle (189) are still in contention. Paul Yarbrough (130) and Chris Bowen (152) are in wrestlebacks.
In Class A, Pasco was tied with Chaminade for fifth place with 17, sending Devon Bryant (135), Brad Alford (145), Alvaro Moreno (152) and Tye Reedy (189) to the second round while Jonathan Hancock (140) and Roger Carroll (171) made it to wrestlebacks.
Zephyrhills advanced four as Nick Spine (112), Ryan Hall (125), Charlie Helm (215) and Shane Hand (275) put the Bulldogs in seventh place with 14. Lecanto advanced Jimmy Rodriguez (112), Harold Skidmore (130) and Ishmael Brown (189) and sent Mike Duca (125) to wrestlebacks.
Central advanced Alan Solomon (103) and Bobby Vasquez (189). Hernando's Drew Innes (160) advanced and Billy Combs (125) and Billy Woods (130) made it to wrestlebacks along with Crystal River's A.J. Davis (125), Brian McErlain (130) and Josh Stone (152).
In Class 2A, defending state champion Robb Philippus (189) advanced for Hudson and Eric Zul (189) is in wrestlebacks. Ridgewood's Anthony DeSantis (145) and Rudy Arce (275) both advanced, as did Gulf's Davin Spaulding (140). In Class 3A, River Ridge advanced Nate Way (215) and John Gilmore (189).