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.