Sports notebook: County wrestlers advance to states

Photography by Cheryl Clanton

A week after both collected district championships, both Hernando and Springstead’s wrestling teams had to tangle with state title contenders in Friday and Saturday’s regional meets.
With that in mind, each squad had to be satisfied with its performance and all four Hernando County programs will have some representation at the FHSAA Finals next weekend at Kissimmee’s Silver Spurs Arena.
At the Class 1A, Region 2 meet held at Eastern Florida State College in Titusville, Orlando-Lake Highland Prep ran away with the team title scoring 336.5 points, but the Leopards were a solid second at 151.5, way ahead of third-place Orlando-Bishop Moore Catholic with 119.
Hernando will send six to states, headlined by regional champion Josh Hulse. The junior used three straight pins to reach the final at 120 pounds, where he knocked off Lake Highland Prep’s Vincent Menozzi, 6-2.
Senior Codey Maniates also made his final at 152, falling to Max Cosmides in overtime, 3-1. Dakota Ellerbee at 132, Devin Dennis at 170 and Harry Williams at 182 each won their consolation finals to place third. Fernando Valdez took fourth at 195, rounding out the state qualifiers. The top four in each weight class moved on.
Weeki Wachee (ninth, 77) had three fourth-place finishers: Devin Horton at 106, Hunter Gibson at 138 and Joshua Coley at 152. Jordan Gibson (160) and Michael Weston (220) both took third for Nature Coast (12th, 54.5). Foster Hawthorne came in fourth at 152, as Central scored 15 points for 20th.
Springstead garnered third with 133 in the 2A-2 meet, behind host Brandon (186) and Lakeland-Lake Gibson (183.5). The Eagles are sending seven to states.
“Kind of what we expected. Our goal was to take third. Brandon and Lake Gibson are the two best teams in the state, so taking third behind them, we felt pretty good about ourselves,” Springstead coach Bob Levija said. “Some of our kids could have done better. They lost some real close matches.
“But putting two in the finals and winning two, we felt good about that. But this region is so darn tough.”
Senior Richie Rivera captured first place at 113, collecting a 3-1 win in overtime over Brandon’s Trey Lane in the final. Junior Trenton Shenefield won at 195, via an injury default over Michael Porcelli of Citrus in the finals.
Consolation finalists for the Eagles included Thomas McCane (fourth, 106), Ean Morales (third, 138), Charles Roche (fourth, 145), Chase Landgraff (third, 160) and Travis Williams (fourth, 170).
While wrestling season winds down, baseball got underway this week. Hernando dropped two county rivals to start things out, beating Weeki Wachee on Tuesday, 5-4, and Nature Coast on Friday, 4-1.
Nature Coast's Brandon Santiago throws a pitch against Hernando on Friday night. Photo by Cheryl Clanton

Jackson Short got the win against the Hornets, giving up a run on two hits and three walks in five innings, striking out five. Logan Flood drove in two runs, while Jacskon Zammit had a double and three runs batted in for Weeki Wachee.
Hernando's David Hale Bronson steals second base.against Nature Coast on Friday evening. Photo by Cheryl Clanton

Carson Lashley limited the Sharks to a run over five innings, yielding four hits and three walks against five whiffs. Austin Legg went 2-for-4 with a RBI, and Morgan Ashton, Brad Ellis and Cameron Price also knocked in a run.
Hernando's Brad Ellis digs in at the plate versus Nature Coast on Friday night. Photo by Cheryl Clanton

Springstead also went 2-0, notching a 5-1 triumph over Bishop McLaughlin Catholic on Tuesday and a 4-1 nod against Citrus on Friday. In the first game, John Oliveira went 3-for-4 with a run scored and a RBI, and Joey Delgatto had a home run and three RBI. Jack Jasiak and Dominic Marone combined to give up an unearned run on three hits and four walks while striking out nine.
Dakota Blevens homered and drove in three against Citrus, and Delgatto was 2-for-3 with a run, in addition to tossing 4 1/3 scoreless, no-hit innings, walking one and fanning seven.
Nature Coast (1-1) had beaten Fivay on Tuesday, 9-1, and Central also went 1-1 with a 15-0 thumping of Ridgewood on Tuesday followed by a 3-1 loss in eight innings against Fivay on Friday. Jonathan Allion and Dalton Lewis were both 2-for-2 with three RBI in the opener versus the Rams, and Matthew Voda threw four shutout frames giving up two hits and a walk with three strikeouts.
In softball, Nature Coast moved to 4-0 thanks to a 7-4 victory over Hernando in nine innings on Tuesday and a 9-0 blanking of Gulf on Friday. Abbey Primavera plated three runs against the Lady Leopards, who had Ali Bronson with three RBI that night.
Alanis Berrios was 2-for-4 with three RBI and Cerina Brooks went 2-for-4 with two RBI in the game against Gulf, backing Primavera’s two-hit shutout with no walks and 13 strikeouts.
Springstead (3-1) blanked Groveland-South Lake on Thursday, 5-0, to go with a 13-1 drubbing of Citrus on Friday. Abby Oliver and Emily Kolwicz each went 2-for-4 and combined to drive in three runs against South Lake, as Kayla Cruz struck out 10 while walking none and giving up four hits in a complete game.
Against the Hurricanes, Paige Pfent had a 2-for-2 night at the plate, with a double, a homer and five RBI. Kama Woodall notched 11 strikeouts in a 1-hitter that went five innings due to the mercy rule.
Nature Coast’s boys and girls track and field teams both came in fourth at Thursday’s South Sumter Raider Invitational, scoring 47 and 57 points respectively. Kaitlyn Pierce came in second in the 400 meter (1:02.47), third in the 200 (26.97) and third in the triple jump (33-1).
Follow Chris Bernhardt Jr. on Twitter @cpbernhardtjr.

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