#NextLevel — Through End of Year

(Editor’s Note: Fibbed somewhat. ALWAYS more writing can be done).

Northeast Florida Matmen staff report

Kaleb Warner‘s had a chance to cut his college teeth thus far in open competitions this year.

Friday, while most of us are watching football and remembering not to write 2015 on our checks, Warner (Columbia ’15) will be butting heads with college wrestling’s finest at the Southern Scuffle, hosted by UT-Chattanooga through the weekend.

According to Kevin Warner, Kaleb’s dad and Columbia head coach, Kaleb is going to have his redshirt pulled and will be in line to fight directly for a starting job at 149 pounds. The Scuffle will be the first chance for him to state his case.

Kaleb’s coach at Campbell is legendary Pennsylvania prep and Lock Haven graduate Cary Kolat, a four-time all-American, two-time NCAA champ and 2000 Sydney Olympian in freestyle.

Flowrestling will have video of the Scuffle.

Campbell had two appearances on the mats in December since the last #NextLevel update, falling 31-12 to UT-Chattanooga at home on December 12 and taking sixth, with three placewinners, at the Reno Tournament of Champions in Las Vegas on December 20. Warner did not appear in either of those events, but was in place at the Tiger Duals in Lake City just before the Christmas break.

Follows is a summary of Matmen-area wrestlers (or alumni now coaching collegiate programs) and their December activity…apologies for the long time away on #NextLevel posts, the high school season consumes all of my free time.

South Dakota State (coached by Bolles alum Chris Bono) — Had three wrestlers, led by a runnerup finish from Cody Pack at 157, at the Midlands Championships in Evanston IL, which wrapped up Wednesday evening. David Kocer (174) was sixth and Nate Rotert (197) was seventh as SDSU placed 10th as a team…Jackrabbits improved to 5-5 in duals with a 24-15 victory over North Dakota State on December 13, taking the Border Bell traveling trophy…Jackrabbits are off until January 15 with a dual at Northern Colorado…

Coker College (coached by Clay alum Cy Wainwright) — Had three placers at the Midwest Classic in Indianapolis IN on December 19-20, where the Cobras finished 17th as a team. Former Winter Springs alum Jordon Tague (149) was the top placer, finishing sixth, while Charlie Huff (125) took seventh and Derrick Nelson (133) was eighth…Coker went 2-1 at the Newberry Duals on December 13th, with a 27-12 loss to Cumberland and wins over Spartanburg Methodist (43-6) and Brewton-Parker (48-0)…Coker swings back into action on Saturday, with a dual at in-state rival Newberry, Coach Wainwright’s college alma mater…

Ohio State University (Josh Fox, University Christian ’12) — Sixth-ranked Buckeyes have had just two duals in December. On the 18th, OSU kicked off Big Ten Conference dual action with a 27-16 victory over Northwestern at home, in a dual that included four bonus-point victories for the Buckeyes…OSU fell to then eighth-ranked Missouri on the road, 26-17, on December 12…Buckeyes jump back into the fray on Sunday with a Big Ten road dual at Illinois…

Edinboro University (Josh Calhoun, Bolles ’15) — Like Ohio State, the Scots only had duals since the last #NextLevel update, with mixed results. On December 19, Edinboro stopped Cleveland State, 25-10, in Cleveland, including a win from South Dade’s Pat Lugo, who’s undefeated at 149…Edinboro had less luck with Pittsburgh on the road on December 10, falling to the Panthers 24-9…Edinboro will be in the Southern Scuffle on Friday…

Nebraska-Kearney (Corey Van Dorn, Orange Park ’14) — Van Dorn was 1-1 as the Lopers took down Chadron State, 20-18, and York College 43-10 at Ogallala HS in Nebraska on December 18. Van Dorn won 10-0 over York while bumping up to 285, but then lost to Chadron State by injury-default…Van Dorn was 3-1 at the UNK Loper Open on December 13, losing only to Division I wrestler Derek White of Nebraska-Lincoln, 5-3, in the semis…UN-Kearney will be at Midland (NE) University for a dual on Friday and an open tournament Saturday…

Shorter University (Alfred Shavers, Flagler Palm Coast ’15) — Shavers participated in two tournaments in December, most recently at the Midwest Classic in Indianapolis, where Shorter was 22nd out of 31 teams. Shavers was 1-2 at 133 pounds, with a first-round fall over Wisconsin-Parkside in 2:26…At the Cleveland State Open on December 12, Shavers was 0-2 at 133, losing by tech fall to a Division I wrestler from Michigan and then 12-6 in the first round of consis to Cleveland State…Shorter will next be at the Coker Duals on January 8.

Southeastern University (Zack Branning, Flagler Palm Coast ’15/Myckel Hutchinson, Buchholz ’15/Nathan Cleland, Bishop Snyder ’15) — In something of a prelude to Osceola HS’s Knockout Christmas tournament, Southeastern went 1-1 at duals hosted by Osceola, winning over St. Andrew’s 29-25 and falling to UCF, 20-16, with none of the Matmen-area locals in the lineup…Southeastern was 5-0 at the Cougar Duals, contested at the Florida State Fairgrounds in Tampa on December 12. Team website was unclear as to whether any Matmen wrestlers were in the lineup…Southeastern has three duals scheduled for Saturday in Marietta, GA…

Concordia (NE) University (Tristain Sichmeller, Clay ’15) — Has been off since December 5th, is competing at the Viking-Warrior Open at Midland (NE), where Van Dorn will also be…

Lindenwood (IL) University (Jon Whiting, Clay ’15) — Whiting participated in the Luther Hill Invitational, hosted by Simpson (IA) College on December 12th, going 1-2 at 184 pounds. Whiting lost to the bracket’s top seed and eventual champion by tech fall in the first round, but rallied for a 7-4 decision in the consolation bracket before losing by tech fall to Grand View (IA), the elite NAIA program in the country…Lindenwood travels to Calumet (IN) College for a dual meet on January 7…

Neosho (KS) CC (Josh Walker, Columbia ’15) — Placed 10th at the Jet Invitational on December 13th, with Walker not in the lineup for the Panthers…Neosho will swing back into action on Sunday with an away dual at Pratt (KS) CC…


Happy New Year from Matmen

As far as writing goes, I don’t have much to write right now. We have about 374,000 page views going into 2016, for both sites. Far better than I could have hoped 27 months ago. Still just a starting point.

For the Northeast folks, I just posted Knockout brackets. Think it’s not a tough tournament? Look at 145. A state champion was FOURTH after losing to state champions in the semis and the third-place match. Kids that placed last year at states did not place at this one. That’s just one weight class.

Working mostly on record-keeping and starting to sift through the next set of rankings. Assuming I can ever do another one. I’ve heard from 3 coaches out of 13 so far that were listed yesterday, and only got results from 2. There’s still time but it’s going to vanish quickly.

For the Northwest folks, I’m still needing the third- and fifth-place matches from Beast. If I don’t get those in my hands by end of day, I won’t be able to write it up. I’m also needing Andrews Invite brackets. Emailing Coach Alt about that right now.


Recap: Citrus Duals

Northeast Florida Matmen staff report

INVERNESS — Going 3-4 in the final competitive set of duals in 2015 for #5 Buchholz might have been just what the Bobcats need in 2016.

Buchholz went 2-2 on Tuesday and 1-2 on Wednesday at the Rob Hermann Hurricane Cup Duals, hosted by Citrus HS, and the Bobcats had the opportunity to get several new faces some varsity time.

On Tuesday, the Bobcats defeated Cypress Creek, 38-36, and Bayside, 46-24, but fell to Palm Bay 48-22 and Nature Coast (ranked 21st in 1A) 48-33.

Wednesday, Buchholz edged the hosts, 39-33, but then fell in succession to Lake Nona (55-19) and Lemon Bay in criteria, 40-39.

The top competitor for the Bobcats over the course of the two days was Tommy Howell (126/132), who was 7-0 with three decisions.

Gant Moore (132/138) was 6-1 with a pin, a tech fall and two decisions for Buchholz, with Erik Kverneland (160/170) picking up two tech falls and a pair of decisions in going 5-1. Andrique Broughton (120/126) went 4-1, with a fall, a major and a decision.

Gerald Rushing (170/182) had two pins and two decisions in going 5-2, with Bryan Perkins (106) and William Green-Churca (113) both collecting 4-3 records.

Buchholz (8-7) is now off until the O-Town Duals in Oviedo on January 9.


Recap: Osceola Knockout

Northeast Florida Matmen staff report

KISSIMMEE — Every wrestling team has been to tournaments where earning a medal doesn’t require maximum effort in every match.

Maximum effort isn’t enough even to get close to the podium at the Osceola Knockout Christmas tournament, as multiple-time state champions and fresher faces alike walked away from the podium knowing that, whatever the color of their medal, they’d performed far beyond the normal call of duty.

#3 Fleming Island didn’t win this tournament — their first tournament the Golden Eagles didn’t win in 2015-16 thus far — but they did finish in sixth place with 117.5 points and medals at eight different weights, as everyone that made it to the second day did enough to pick up very hard-won medals.

Camden County’s A team won the tournament with 246 points, followed by top-ranked (1A, and arguably the best team in Florida) Lake Highland Prep with 216.5, 3A’s top-rated South Dade at 161.5, Southridge (#5 in 3A) fourth at 121.5 and host Osceola (#3 in 3A) fifth at 118.5. The Golden Eagles finished ahead of 3A’s #2, Southwest Miami, Region 1 rival Winter Srprings, and 2A’s #2, Tampa Jesuit.

Two Fleming wrestlers brought home third-place finishes to lead the way individually.

At 195 pounds, Jason Davis brought home a third after falling in the semifinals to the top-ranked wrestler in 3A, South Dade’s Chei Hill (who went on to win the tournament), by a 7-3 score. Davis then advanced to third with two 9-2 decisions over Palm Harbor’s Austin Wirth in the consi semis and Camden’s Matt Wall in the third-place match.

Davis was joined by Jose Concepcion at 220. Concepcion lost by fall in the semis to eventual bracket champion Darius Hamilton of Southridge, but came back to take third with a pair of pins, sticking Freedom’s Adrian Pinheiro in the consi semis and then Sarasota’s Austin Gould in 4:25 in the third-place match.

John Martorano (170) took fourth place in his weight class after reaching the semis, running into 2015 1A state champion Elijah Cleary of Lake Highland Prep, falling 10-0 there. Martorano took care of business in the consi semis against Osceola’s Ethan DeLong, winning by an 11-2 major, but then fell to Sarasota’s Jared Hardinger, 8-4, in the third-place match.

Tracy Davis had to win three matches on the backside to take fifth place at 126. Davis decisioned Johnathan Fanfan of Lake Gibson, 6-0, in the consi fourth round and then Palm Harbor’s Joe Capone, 5-3, to secure a medal. He then lost to 2015 3A state runnerup Franco Valdes of Southwest Miami, 3-1, in the consi semis, but then pinned St. Thomas Aquinas’ Vinny Sessa in 4:57 for fifth.

Ryan Smenda also took fifth at 182 after winning twice to clinch his medal. Smenda pinned Winter Springs’ Devon Quesinberry in 3:35 and decisioned Jensen Beach’s Cole Podaras, 3-0, to get to the consi semis, where he fell 4-2 to Lake Highland Prep’s Kevin Ford, 4-2. Smenda then pinned Springstead’s Brandon Burgess in 2:30 for fifth.

At 113, Deandre Demus wound up sixth after reaching the semis, where he fell to Georgia state finalist Lucas Nelson of Camden, 6-2. Demus then sustained a 10-8 loss to Lake Highland Prep’s Noah Castillo in the consi semis, and then battled to a standstill against Manatee’s Marshall Craig, falling 1-0 to take sixth.

At 138, Paul Detwiler also finished sixth after winning twice in the consi rounds to earn his medal, with a fall over John C. Bridlebough (NY)’s Dylan Harrington in 3:14 and three-overtime thriller (6-5) decision over Christian Rivera of Freedom to earn his podium spot, Detwiler lost 3-1 in the consi semis to Southridge’s Jesse Acedo, and then lost 9-4 in the fifth-place match to Winter Springs’ Dimitri Alicea.

Finally, Brandyne Mackey secured his hardware at 285 with falls in the consi rounds over Sarasota’s Austin Chrzoczonowski (1:11) and Matthew Westbay of Palm Harbor (3:20), but then fell 12-2 in the consi semis to potential region rival Tahj Glemaud of Dr. Phillips. Like Detwiler, who’d faced Alicea on the championship side of the bracket on Tuesday, Mackey had a rematch with Winter Springs’ TJ Boyd for fifth, with Boyd winning again but by a much closer 9-7 score.

Complete brackets will be posted to the website on Thursday.


Next Set of Rankings

Thought that might grab some attention.

With Fleming the only Matmen-area team still on the competitive mats between right this second and January 6th, the hope was to start the work of building a new set and publishing them on or before that January date.

That will not be possible until the following teams’coaches get with me:

  • Middleburg
  • Eastside
  • Lee
  • Westside
  • Raines (Heard from Coach Gilbert, but still need Raines v. Yulee dual).
  • White
  • Paxon
  • Stanton
  • Bishop Kenny (RECEIVED ALL, entering sometime this weekend)
  • Menendez
  • Yulee
  • West Nassau

That’s a quarter of the coverage area, folks. I have to know that what I have for these teams at Backyard Bash is everything they’ve wrestled (for the 10 teams I’ve listed here that were there) plus the missing Middleburg/Eastside results from December 19. All I know for sure right now is that most of the Bash duals are on the duals page (go there right now to get a look at what I do have, and that not all of them are. I also need Terry Parker from Harmony, but I think it’s just a matter of just connecting up on that one.


1st Day Recap: Osceola Knockout

Northeast Florida Matmen staff report

KISSIMMEE — Osceola’s Knockout Christmas tournament just might be tougher than any one of the three individual state tournaments it hosts two months from now.

#3 Fleming Island is using this tournament to get better — and get ready — for the post-season, as the Golden Eagles have eight of their nine entered wrestlers still alive. Currently, Fleming Island is eighth in the 27-team tournament — universally regarded in Florida as its toughest in-season event — with 57.5 team points.

Camden County (GA)’s A squad leads the first day with 137.5 points, with top-ranked (1A) Lake Highland Prep second with 110.5 and top-ranked (3A) South Dade third at 98.5.

The Golden Eagles have four wrestlers in today’s semifinal round and four in the consolation round.

Deandre Demus (113) reached the semis with two pins in his first two matches and then knocked off the state’s top-ranked 2A wrestler at 106, Diamante Perry of Lake Gibson, by an 8-6 decision. Demus will face Camden County’s Lucas Nelson, a 2015 state finalist in Georgia, in Wednesday’s semifinals.

John Martorano (170) became Fleming’s second semifinalist behind three pins — all coming in the first period — in order to reach the semis. Martorano will face 1A defending state champion Elijah Cleary of Lake Highland Prep in the semis on Wednesday.

At 195, Jason Davis set up a rematch with South Dade’s Chei Hill — who handed Davis his only regular-season loss a year ago at the Flagler County Rotary tournament. Davis had a pin and tech fall to get to the semis, with the tech coming against potential 3A-Region 1 rival Justin Marotta of Freedom.

Finally, at 220, Golden Eagle sophomore Jose Concepcion needed just one point to get to the semis, but it was a big point, as Concepcion — after a first-round bye — edged Camden’s Knute Jones, 1-0, in the quarters. Concepcion will face 2015 3A state runnerup Darius Hamilton of Southridge in the semis.

Tracy Davis (126), Paul Detwiler (138), Ryan Smenda (182) and Brandyne Mackey (285) are all alive in the consi rounds and need to win two matches in order to earn a podium spot like their semifinalist teammates.

Davis fell to two-time 1A state champion Joey Silva of Lake Highland Prep by technical fall in the 126 quarters, while Detwiler lost a 6-4 quarterfinal to Winter Springs’ Dimitri Alicea. Smenda was stopped by Camden’s Domonique Hargrave, 10-2, in the 182 quarters, while Mackey lost in the first round and then won his consi first-round match to stay alive.

Wrestling continues on Wednesday. Full brackets will be posted to the IBTs page on Thursday.


Recap: Fleming Island Runs Table At FPC Duals

Northeast Florida Matmen staff report

PALM COAST — First it was Kiwanis. Then Lyman. Clearly, #3 Fleming Island had turned a corner in IBT-formatted events to start the 2015-16 wrestling season.

But would the Golden Eagles hold up over two days in a grueling duals format, against some of the stronger competition not only in the area, but also against some tougher teams statewide?

Fleming Island (6th statewide in 3A) answered that with an emphatic yes just before the holidays, sweeping to an unbeaten pair of days at the Flagler Palm Coast Christmas Duals tournament, and going 10-0 over the course of the tournament.

The Golden Eagles didn’t fatten up against short-handed or inexperienced teams, either, winning every dual by double-digit margins. With one exception (New Smyrna Beach, which was 7th at 5-4), Fleming Island took down every team finishing in the top 10 in the team standings.

On Tuesday the 22nd, the Golden Eagles defeated — in succession — Matmen #7 Sandalwood (57-6), HM Orange Park (66-12), Matmen #1 and tournament runnerup Flagler Palm Coast (43-30, in a dual that essentially decided the tournament champion), Sebastian River (66-18) and Seabreeze (75-6).

In the victory over the host Bulldogs (fourth statewide in 3A), contested in the third round of the tournament and starting at 152, Flagler jumped out to a 12-0 lead, but the Golden Eagles won six of the next seven matches and never trailed after the 220 match.

Fleming didn’t let up on Wednesday the 23rd, hammering Palmetto Ridge (#9 statewide in 2A), 61-9, to start the day. From there, the Golden Eagles took down Palatka (58-18), St. Augustine (70-12), First Coast (72-12) and state-ranked Astronaut (#7 in 1A), 63-12.

As would be expected from such solid team strength throughout the tournament (and that’s with giving up a forfeit at 152 in each round), individual performances were also exceptional for the Golden Eagles, with six wrestlers going undefeated over the two-day tournament.

Leading the charge with 10-0 records on the weekend were Albie Snedaker (106), who had seven pins, a major and a decision at his weight, and Ryan Smenda (182), who had five falls and three decisions at his.

Deandre Demus (2 pins & 2 decisions at 113), Xaiver Sampsel (6 falls at 132), and Paul Detwiler (6 falls and a decision at 138) were each 9-0 for Fleming Island, with Jason Davis (195/220, 3 pins and a major) going 8-0.

Five wrestlers had just one loss, with Tracy Davis (pin, tech and two decisions at 126), John Martorano (4 pins & a major at 170) and Brandyne Mackey (6 falls, a major & decision at 285) all going 9-1. Martorano’s lone loss was to defending 2A state champ Joey Nadotti of Palmetto Ridge.

Jacob Sandoval (3 pins at 120) and Jose Concepcion (4 pins at 220) were both 8-1, with Gabe Lear (5 pins at 160) contributing a 6-4 tournament. Ian Kincaid added a 4-2 record after only seeing one match on the 23rd, but had three falls at 145.

The host Bulldogs finished the 22nd at 4-1, with wins over Pedro Menendez (78-6) and Sebastian River (72-9) early and Orange Park (70-12) New Smyrna Beach (69-9) late bookendng the loss to Fleming Island.

On the 23rd, FPC was 5-0, sweeping past Sandalwood (57-18), First Coast (80-0), Astronaut (57-15), North Florida Christian (84-0) and Palmetto Ridge (54-12) en route to a 9-1 finish, with the rout over the Naples-based Palmetto Ridge side enough for the Bulldogs to take second as a team in the tournament.

Wrestlers at 13 weights put together solid tournaments for Flagler Palm Coast, with three 10-0 wrestlers leading the charge. Avery Holder (120) had a pin and two tech falls, Tariq Johnson (145) had six falls and a tech, and Kaz Maia (160) had five pins, two techs and a major.

Michael DeAugustino (pin and two decisions at 126), Evyn Insalaco (2 pins/2 techs at 152), and Justin Haaf (four pins and a decision with time at both 220 and 285) were all 9-1 for the Bulldogs. Eddie Bryant was 8-1 at 182/195, with three pins and two decisions, and Vincent Ebanks was 6-1 at 285, with two falls and a decision.

Trace Insalaco (3 pins & decision at 132) was 8-2, as was the combination of Nathan St. Pierre (4-2, 3 pins) and Michael Martins (4-0, pin/major/decision) at 138. Steve Canidate (170/182, 4 pins) and Eric Rosso (170/182, 2 pins/decision) were 6-2, with Andrew Jones going 6-4 with three pins at 113. In a part-time starting stint, Tyler Ingoyen went 3-2, with one fall, at 195.

Sandalwood put together a solid tournament in tying for third place with state-ranked Palmetto Ridge, going 8-2, with the Saints’ only losses coming against Fleming Island and Flagler Palm Coast.

Aside from the sizable losses taken against Fleming and Flagler, Sandalwood had otherwise a solid tournament, taking all eight of their duals by double-digit margins.

The Saints defeated Astronaut (41-30), Palatka (45-30) First Coast (48-15), St. Augustine (47-27) on the 22nd, and Sebastian River (42-30), Seabreeze (48-30), Pedro Menendez (60-6) and Interlachen (48-12) on the 23rd.

Four Saints finished the tournament with just one loss. Jacques Hale (113/120, four pins, two majors, one decision), Cameron Bell (138 (five pins and a decision) and Blake Delapaz (145, four pins) all were 9-1, while Chris Shauman (five pins at 285) was 8-1.

Alex Barie (4 pins and a major at 106) was 8-2, as was Dillon Morency at 170 (three falls & two majors), while Hayden Raulerson was 7-3, with six falls, at 132, and Cole Friend was 5-5 with a pin and two decisions at 182. Leonardo Alonzo added a 6-2 tournament at 220 for Sandalwood.

Following is a breakdown of each Matmen-coverage area teams that fell outside of the top four teams follows, complete with performances of each wrestler that performed at or above a .500 record (must have wrestled at least 5 matches or one full day) during the tournament:

Palatka (6-4): The Panthers had a solid tournament, tying for fifth overall with Astronaut. Palatka opened with a pair of wins over St. Augustine (42-36) and North Florida Christian (45-7), picking up wins 3 and 4 over Seabreeze (54-12) and Interlachen (52-12) to start the first day solidly.

The 23rd was a bit rougher for Palatka, but it started well with a 48-30 win over First Coast. The Panthers also topped Orange Park, 45-18.

Leading the charge for Palatka was unbeaten Shade Ward (120/126), who was 9-0 with two pins, a major and two decisions. The 220/285 combination of Ira Dixon and Bryan Smith led to both going 9-1, with Dixon earning two falls and Smith three, plus a major and a decision.

Dean Lowe (126/132) was 8-2 with two pins and a major, with Kedrick Davis (195) going 7-3 with five falls. Jason Gullet (182) was 5-5 with two pins.

St. Augustine (3-6): Finishing 10th, the Yellow Jackets struggled to find their footing against strong competition on the 22nd, but did pick up a win over eighth-place Sebastian River (31-15). On the 23rd, St. Augustine fared better, with wins over Pedro Menendez (57-18) and North Florida Christian (48-18).

Kristopher Smith (106/113) was St. Augustine’s top performer during the tournament, going 8-1 with five pins, two majors and a decision over the two days. Jacob Linden (mixing and matching at anywhere from 145 through 160) was 7-2 with a pin and a major, and Tracey Beshara (same at 152 through 170) was 6-3 with four pins.

Pedro Menendez (2-7): The Falcons were short-handed throughout the tournament in tying for 11th, sending out just six wrestlers on the 22nd and five on the 23rd, making dual wins difficult. Menendez’s first win came in the initial round on the 23rd, over Interlachen (24-18) and the Falcons also edged out North Florida Christian on criteria, 25-24.

Limuel Mallari (106) led the charge for Menendez, going 7-2 over the two days, and collecting five falls. Avery Samples (152/160) went 6-3, with three pins and a decision during the tournament.

Orange Park (2-7): The Raiders also — uncharacteristically — struggled with numbers all weekend in tying for 11th, sending out only eight wrestlers on the 22nd and just five on the 23rd. Both of Orange Park’s wins came on the 22nd, over Interlachen (30-15) and Sebastian River (30-27).

Nartorian Lee (160/170) was the brightest light for the Raiders during the tournament, going 8-1, with four pins and two decisions. Dean Ganci (106/113, making his first varsity appearance this season) and Dashner St. Vilus (138) were both 5-4 with three falls each.

First Coast (2-8): The Buccaneers did pick up two wins in the tournament, but not until near the end of the day on the 22nd, with wins in round 5 against a pair of short-handed teams in Interlachen (48-18) and North Florida Christian (42-24). THe second day was far more difficult, with only a close match with Seabreeze (36-30 loss) not turning into a rout for a young FCHS side.

Top performer over the two days for First Coast was Joshua Rivers (152/160), who was 7-2 with three falls and a decision. Jason Schwartz had three pins and a decision in going 6-4 at 106/113, with Quentin Jones collecting one fall in going 5-5 at 132/138. Erik Sirmans (126) was 4-1 with a fall, competing only on the first day.

Interlachen (0-9): With just three wrestlers in the lineup, it was virtually impossible for the Rams to win a dual, but Interlachen was competitive with other short-handed teams, as all three wrestlers had much better than .500 records.

Leading the charge was Lance Hastings (195/220), who was 9-0 in the tournament with seven pins. Twin and teammate Logan Hastings (182/195) was 8-1, with five pins and a tech fall, while Cade Mason (132) put together a solid 6-3 record, with four pins and a decision.


Some Extra Info

If you happen to be a fan of a 1A or 2A team you might want to slide over to my companion site — cleverly called Northwest Florida Matmen — and sift through the buku duals posted on the duals page there from the Beast of the Beach event at Ft. Walton Beach Monday and Tuesday. A good chunk of the solid teams in District 1 or 2 (not all, mind you, but a good chunk, were there).

Took me quite a little bit of time to hammer out those duals, let me tell you. Most were pulled off my phone via text message.


Recap: Smoky Mountain Duals

Northeast Florida Matmen staff report

GATLINBURG, TN — It’s a Clay tradition every year to go out-of-state, during the Christmas break, and seek out some new competition to face.

And the #3 Blue Devils ran into some very tough competition indeed early this week, as Clay went 6-2 at the Smoky Mountain Duals on Monday and Tuesday, taking sixth out of 24 teams in the tournament.

The Blue Devils’ dual losses in the tournament were to Gilmer GA, the AAAA dual and traditional state champions six years running, in pool play, and to Commerce GA in the 5th-8th “silver” bracket, by a combined total of 19 points. And, it’s worth pointing out, Clay faced an unusual scenario of forfeiting three weights in every dual — partially necessitated due to injuries and a long football run.

Clay opened Monday’s Pool D competition with a 38-36 victory over Ringgold GA, a team that was 11-1 going into the tournament. The Blue Devils then routed two Tennessee sides — Harpeth (64-12) and Seymour (54-21, against a team that was 9-3 going into the tournament) before facing off with Gilmer in a 36-23 loss. Gilmer went on to finish second overall in the tournament, falling only in its final match to Jefferson TN.

Clay then closed out Pool D with a 45-22 victory over Alcoa TN, a team that was third in both the A-AA dual and traditional state tournaments, to qualify for the silver bracket and go for fifth place.

The Blue Devils opened the bracketed round of competition with a 45-30 victory over Lumpkin County GA, which finished third a year ago in this same tournament and was a state runnerup in 2015. Clay then had little trouble dispatching of Heritage TN, 48-27, before falling to Commerce GA, 38-32, for sixth place.

Clay finished the tournament undefeated at three weights.

At 120 pounds, Dylan Taylor was 8-0 with three pins, a tech fall, a major and a decision, with a major against Gilmer and pin against Commerce.

In seven matches, Derek Miller (132) went 7-0, collecting one fall, three techs, a major and a decision, with a tech against Commerce and major against Gilmer.

The combination of Chris Merring and Peyton Hughes at 113 went 8-0 in the tournament, with Merring earning two falls en route to a 5-0 pair of days, while Hughes was 3-0 with a pin and a tech.

Lou Gagliardo (106) and Dale Browning (126) both were 7-1 for the Blue Devils, while Julian Summa went 5-1. Clay is off now through the holidays until January 7, when the Blue Devils tune up for the 1A Somerset Scuffle with a home dual against Columbia.


Recap: Columbia Tiger Duals

Northeast Florida Matmen

LAKE CITY — Kevin Warner grew up a Suwannee Bulldog, wrestled for Suwannee, and currently has Suwannee kids working with his Columbia wrestlers.

So it was perhaps fitting that Warner’s Tigers had to overcome Suwannee to wrestle for third place in the Tiger Duals at Columbia on Saturday, and overcome them Columbia did, winning 44-24 in the 10-team, one-day dual tournament.

Florida High, which handed the Tigers (5-1) their one loss of the day in pool competition, went on to take the title (see related story on their day on the Northwest Florida Matmen site), defeating West Port of Ocala, 45-36.

Bradford continued to make significant progress, taking fifth with a 39-25 decision over St. Augustine, while Oakleaf outpaced Nease, 48-27, for seventh. Ocala Forest decisioned Lake Weir, 46-18, for ninth.

There isn’t much distance between Lake City and Live Oak, Suwannee’s home base, but the Tigers tried to separate themselves early in the third-place match, jumping out to a 26-6 lead.

Suwannee (3-2) tried to come back, cutting the Columbia lead to 26-18, but pins at 120 from Chace Curtis and at 132 from Matt Ross sealed the deal in the Tigers’ favor.

Curtis — who was named as lower-weight Outstanding Wrestler for the tournament — had a three-pin, two-tech day at 120, while Ross had three pins and a decision while seeing time at both 126 and 132. Marcus Zeighler (285) also went 5-0, with three pins and a decisio nthere.

The Bulldogs had two unbeatens during the course of the day. At 106, Brandon Trask had a pin, a tech, a major and a decision in going 5-0, while Tanner Clark had three falls on a 5-0 day at 138.

Columbia had pool wins over Lake Weir (53-0), St. Augustine (53-24) and Oakleaf (45-24), while falling to Florida High, 55-18. Suwannee took care of Nease (58-12), Ocala Forest (49-15) and Bradford (63-18), falling 46-27 to West Port.

For the Tornadoes (5-6) in the fifth-place match, it was never quite put away until late, and it was clinched with a loss at 132. Falls by Eddie McCormick at 220 and Jordan Luke at 285 gave Bradford enough separation that the Yellow Jackets (5-10) never could close.

Bradford had two undefeated Wrestlers on the day, as Jason Griffis had three pins on a 5-0 day at 126, while McCormick also had three falls at 220. The Tornadoes defeated Forest (42-40) and Nease (51-24) in pool play, falling to Suwannee and to West Port (47-36).

St. Augustine saw Kristopher Smith take wins at three separate weights, recording three pins and two decisions along the way, with Malik Hicks at 132 going 5-0 with two falls and a major. The Yellow Jackets downed Oakleaf, 45-31, to start the day, and also defeated Lake Weir (45-24), with pool losses to Columbia and Florida High (56-24).

In the seventh-place match, Oakleaf (7-6) finally found some footing after only managing to take down Lake Weir (42-16) in pool play, getting out to a 24-6 lead over Nease, more or less trading punches the rest of the way. Isaiah Graham (160), Elias Magloire-Martinez (170) and David Thompson (220) had pins to start the Knights’ early surge.

Oakleaf had three unbeatens on the day. At 113, Ryan Rosano went 5-0 with one pin, one major and one decision, while Luke Karl (152) had four pins in a 5-0 day and Thompson, who also saw time at 285, had three pins and won all five of his matches.

Nease, which was short-handed two starters from Thursday night, did not have an unbeaten wrestler.

For the Northeast Matmen-area teams, only St. Augustine still has an event on their schedule in 2015, as the Yellow Jackets travel to Palm Coast for the FPC Christmas duals. Bradford and Columbia start things up on January 7, with Nease and Suwannee restarting on the 8th and Oakleaf on the 11th.