#NextLevel: December 29-30

Northeast Florida Matmen

EVANSTON, IL — In the chill of the near-north Chicago suburbs, the 2016 portion of the college wrestling season came to a close for South Dakota State University, coached by Bolles alum Chris Bono.

The Jackrabbits placed eighth at the 54th annual Ken Kraft Midlands Championships, hosted by Northwestern University at Welsh-Ryan Arena Thursday and Friday.

With top seed Nate Rotert (197) reaching the individual finals, SDSU scored 66.5 points as a group. Iowa won the team title, 150.5-136.5, over Nebraska.

Rotert fell 4-1 in the finals to Nebraska’s Aaron Studebaker, who scored a first-period takedown during the course of the match. The win avenged an earlier loss Rotert handed Studebaker in the Daktronics Open final.

Seth Gross (133), the third seed in that weight class, finished third after taking a 2-0 loss to eventual champion Eric Montoya in the semis. Gross teched Rutgers’ Scott Delvecchio, 19-3, and then majored Floridian Earl Hall, 13-1, in the third-place match. Gross’ first victory in the bracket came on Thursday over Lake Gibson graduate Sa’Derian Perry, who wrestles for Eastern Michigan.

The Jacks’ Henry Pohlmeyer (141), David Kocer (174) and Brady Ayers (184) all finished one match short of the Midlands podium at their respective weights.


Knockout Christmas Classic Day 2 Recap

Northeast Florida Matmen

KISSIMMEE — There’s one thing that Avery Holder and Jason Davis will have to get used to in 2017.

Being targets.

Holder (Northeast Matmen’s #1 at 126) and Davis (#1 at 182, same poll, just released Dec. 30) both won championships at the 2016 Knockout Christmas Classic hosted at Osceola High School Thursday and Friday.

Davis and Holder led their teams, respectively, to fourth- and sixth-place team finishes in the two-day IBT. Fleming Island (#2 in the Northeast’s team poll) finished with 140 points, while Northeast top-ranked Flagler Palm Coast was sixth with 115.5 points. Perhaps unsurprisingly, their main 3A-Region 1 rivals, Winter Springs, finished fifth at 122.

Camden County (GA) was the team champion with 259.5 points, with South Dade finishing second at 227. Southwest Miami was third, well back of the Buccaneers, at 143.5. Clay took 12th in its first year in the 32-team tournament, with 87.5 points, while #1 (Northwest poll) Florida High — also making its Knockout debut — was 18th, with 53 points.

Holder, the 3 seed in the the weight class, advanced to Friday’s final at 126 with a 6-3 decision over Wellington’s Jared Abramson. In the final, against former Georgia state champion Lucas Nelson of Camden County, Holder got his offense going and — at the same time — didn’t allow Nelson to score, winning by an 11-1 major decision.

“I want to keep coming and I want to be dominating (opponents). I want to win every match like this — by pin, by tech, by major,” Holder said. “I lost two weeks ago (at Lyman), and it really motivated me to get back to work to get better.

“There is still a lot for me to do, to know that I’m the best in the state. I need to get my weight right. Just get it to a place where it’s right and I can work on other things.”

Top-seeded Davis continued to hold on well to 182, a weight at which he hasn’t competed since his sophomore year at Oakleaf, taking the title over a pair of North Forsyth, GA wrestlers, majoring Brantley Little 11-2 in the semis and then downing Ned Anthony, 9-5, in the final. The pair have — even with the early-ness of the season — 49 wins between them already. The Knockout bracket victory was the first in Fleming Island program history.

“At 182, I feel good, and I feel quicker. The cut was tough at first, but my body is regulated to where I’m getting everything back now,” Davis said. “It was great competition as always, toughest tournament in the state.

“Winning this tournament is an accomplishment, yes, but there’s always room for improvement. My team wrestled well and we should be seeing some Fleming Island guys in the state finals, for sure.”

A recap of each of the 14 weight classes follows:

106 — Unbeaten South Dade freshman and top seed Bretli Reyna won four times, three of those with bonus points, going on to take a 9-1 major in the finals over Camden County sophomore Nick Krug. Carrollwood Day’s Jonathan Conrad edged Northeast Matmen #1 Briar Jackson of Fleming Island, 5-4, for third, with Clay’s Lou Gagliardo (NE Matmen #2 at 113) taking fifth, 3-0, over Hagerty’s Ryan Rowland.

113 — The Buccaneers made it back-to-back titles, as unbeaten senior and top seed Elijah Varona had three falls, a major and 12-5 decision in the finals over Tampa Prep junior Ben Buhler. Camden’s Tyler Crew shut out SW Miami’s Julian Hernandez, 11-0, to take third place, with Springstead’s Richie Rivera winning 8-1 over Northeast Matmen #6 John Johnson to take fifth.

120 — After trailing for most of the match, unbeaten Osceola sophomore Malyke Hines — while locked in a whizzer with top-seeded Flagler Palm Coast junior and Northeast Matmen #1 Michael DeAugustino — draped a leg over and was awarded two in the final second to take a 4-2 decision for the championship. Lake Gibson’s Diamonte Perry edged North Forsyth GA’s Paul Watkins, 3-2, for third, with Northeast Matmen #3 Deandre Demus of Fleming Island winning 3-1 over St. Thomas Aquinas’ Stephen Moreno for fifth.

126 — Coral Park’s Marcus Abreu downed Freedom’s Marcus Jean Baptiste for the second time in the tournament (the two faced off in the quarters Thursday night) to take third with an 11-2 major. Union Grove GA’s Brady Massey turned back Wellington’s Abramson, 3-0, for fifth.

132 — Unbeaten SW Miami junior and top seed Alex Urquiza won his final three matches by a combined total of four points, including a 3-2 win in the final over Union Grove GA senior Davion Fairley. Pigeon Forge TN’s Gavin Hutchens won 9-1 over the hosts’ Jose Cuevas for third, with Alyis Mursuli of South Dade winning by injury-default over Vinny Sessa of St. Thomas Aquinas to earn fifth.

138 — Top-seeded junior Grant Aronoff of St. Thomas Aquinas pinned his way to the final, and shut out SW Miami senior Franco Valdes, 5-0, in the final, handing Valdes his first loss of the season. American Heritage-Delray’s Frankie Tal Shahar had to go to ultimate tiebreaker to turn back Camden County’s Raydan Wilder, 4-3, for third, while Northeast Matmen #3 Michael Martins of Flagler Palm Coast won 4-1 over South Dade’s Joel Ramirez to take fifth.

145 — South Dade sophomore Brevin Balmeceda had a pair of tight decisions, becoming the only wrestler in the tournament to knock off a top seed prior to a final with a 5-4 UTB decision over previously-unbeaten Justin Ruffin of Union Grove GA in the semis, then giving Camden County’s Denton Spencer his first loss in the final with a 4-2 win. Ruffin shut out Lake Gibson’s Ashton Habeil, 4-0, for third, while Kyle Kirkham of Jensen Beach majored Northwest Matmen #1 Jake Richardson of Florida High — who’d won four backside matches to earn a podium spot — by a 10-0 score.

152 — Top-seeded Tampa Prep junior Anthony Artalona had a pair of decisions Friday, taking down St. Thomas Aquinas senior Bryce Marcus, 12-8, in the final. South Dade’s Todd Perry won by a 6-2 decision in the third-place match over Northeast Matmen #1 Paul Detwiler of Fleming Island, with Winter Springs’ Dimitri Alicea winning by injury-default over Lake Gibson’s Christian Febus.

160 — Winter Springs senior and top seed Max Wohlabaugh had to go a full six minutes for a decision win in the semis, then nearly that long again to record a fall in 5:59 over SW Miami senior Angel Del Cueto, handing Del Cueto his first loss of the season. Camden County’s Anthony Carter pinned the hosts’ Ethan DeLong in 2:11 for third place, with Blake Wiswell of Jensen Beach pinning Springstead’s Chase Landgraff in 2:55 for fifth.

170 — Unbeaten Camden County senior and top seed Sangobunmi Smith had four bonus-point victories in the tournament, pinning Southridge senior Luis Rios in 3:18 for his fourth bonus win and the title. Winter Springs’ Cole Mitchell shut out Lee Davis VA’s Andrew Anthony, 3-0, to take third in the weight class; in the fifth-place match, Lake Brantley’s Nathan Ferkovich pinned Mikaelle Fundora of South Dade. The pair had met in the round of 16 on Thursday.

182 — North Forsyth’s Little pinned Northwest Matmen #1 Will Haigler of Florida High for third place, with the fall time coming in 1:54. Winter Springs’ Jason DeGroat decisioned a third North Forsyth wrestler in the bracket, Andy Leggett, by a 7-4 count for fifth place.

195 — Unbeaten Camden County senior and top seeded Antonio Stewart earned bonus points in every round of the tournament, including the final, where he pinned Union Grove junior Camden Johnson, a fellow Georgian, in 5:59 to win the bracket, giving Johnson his first loss of the year in the process. In a battle of Matmen #1s, Northeast got the upper hand, as Fleming Island’s Ryan Smenda decisioned Florida High’s Cam Brown, 3-1, for third place, with Freedom’s Justin Marotta edging Northeast Matmen #3 Kaleb Collins of Clay, 3-2, for fifth.

220 — Unbeaten South Dade senior and top seed Chei Hill pinned or teched his way through the Knockout draw, needing just 19 seconds to give Northeast Matmen #1 Kurt Jackson of Clay his first loss of the year in the title match. Sarasota’s Austin Gould decisioned Northeast Matmen #4 Brandyne Mackey of Fleming Island, 3-1, to win third place, while SW Miami’s Michael Mireles edged Camden County’s Chris Jackson, 3-2, for fifth.

285 — Unbeaten South Dade senior and top seed Kyron Taylor didn’t allow anyone to complete a scoring move throughout the weekend, shutting out Winter Springs’ TJ Boyd, 3-0, in the finals. Southridge’s Melchisedek Jeudy needed extra time to earn a takedown in the third-place match against Northeast Matmen #1 Jose Concepcion of Fleming Island, winning 3-1 in sudden victory, while Camden County’s Andre Bissanthe pinned Northeast Matmen #3 Vincent Ebanks in 4:25 to take fifth.

Brackets will be posted on both Matmen platforms as a PDF is made available.

(The Orlando Sentinel’s Brant Parsons provided additional reporting that was used in the creation of the story. Matmen thanks our friend and partner).


Writing Is Promised

Recaps for Deep South (Northwest only) and Knockout (both) coming later today. Lot of stuff to do to get ready for my holiday trip. Looks like Tate’s recap won’t be done until they clear up a couple of weights.

Brackets — unless I get PDFs from Knockout and Tate — won’t be up on the sites until Thursday.


Prep Slam Day 2 Recap: UC 32nd

Northeast Florida Matmen staff report

ATLANTA — The second day of competition at Prep Slam IX saw University Christian finish 32nd out of 40 teams in the two-day IBT tournament, which invites private-school teams from all over America.

UC finished with 14 points for the tournament, won by Brother Martin of New Orleans with 215.5 points and eight medalists.

The two Christians that reached Friday’s second day of wrestling were unable to find medals, however.

Daniel Porter (T-3rd in the Matmen poll at 113) was 1-1 on Friday. His 6-0 quarterfinal loss Thursday, against Trinity Christian’s Noah Miller, was to the eventual bracket runnerup. On Friday, Porter pinned Tampa Jesuit’s William McGill in 7 minutes, but fell just one match short of the medals, losing by major decision to St. Paul’s (LA) Brandon Stein, 13-3. Stein went on to finish fourth in the bracket.

Likewise, Derrick Stumph (HM at 160) was 1-1 on Friday. Stumph decisioned Montgomery Bell Academy’s Doug Gaw, 12-6, but then lost in his second consolation-round match to eventual fourth-place finisher Jer’miah Fantroy of Marist, losing by fall in 54 seconds.


Dixie Nationals Youth Recap: Two 1sts For Beverly

Northeast Florida Matmen staff report

ATLANTA — The Georgia World Congress Center was the place where the Beverly family rang out 2016 with a pair of weight-class brackets.

Yulee middle-schooler Kevin Beverly won two different weight-class titles on Thursday at the Dixie Nationals America Crown youth tournament at the GWCC.

Beverly was 2-0 in the 12-and-under weight class at 190, pinning Georgia’s Evan Thomas in 2:30 and then decisioning Thomas, 7-0, to claim the weight class.

In the 12 & 14-under division, at 190-205, Beverly faced a few more opponents, but the result was the same — gold. He pinned Alabama’s Riley Dunn in 2:26, pinned Thomas in 1:15, in-state rival Donnie Shoup in 1:49, Georgia’s Braden McGee and then won by forfeit over Georgia’s Chase Horne.

Jacksonville’s Jaylen Clark was 0-2 in the 12-and-under 130-pound weight class.

Clark lost by fall in the first round to Alabama’s Hunter Jones in 1:28 — the eventual fifth-place finisher in the bracket — and then fell to Florida’s Dylon York by fall at 1:44.


This Is No Time For Panic…Or Pitchforks

The first in-season Northeast rankings are about to be posted on the website. They will be on the Local page. WHEN I have the time to address the question about state rankings, I will do one of two things with the Statewide page: Add rankings or delete the page. Right now, I have too much on my plate and the folks in decision power on the state rankings have too much on theirs. Trust me on that.

OK. So. Disclaimers and notes.

  1. Results are as wrestled through the Bobcat Duals on December 22. Knockout results are not covered by these rankings, TEAM OR INDIVIDUAL.
  2. The primary — although this is strictly speaking not absolutely true for one weight class (those in it will see it immediately) — variable is head-to-head matchups THIS year.
  3. If #2 isn’t helpful, I do look at last year, particularly in the event of what looks like would be a tie at the top. Finalists get an edge over placers. Placers get the edge over non-placers.Hopefully that explains a couple of decisions at the top.
  4. Being undefeated does not automatically put you in at #1. I am really trying to encourage teams to wrestle more competitive schedules going forward. Kids on teams that have softer schedules found themselves lower in the ranking, or out of it, while kids on teams that grind especially hard got bumps based on simple win/loss.
  5. We have added a new feature this year. “Good wins” and “tough losses” (which translated to all of them). Hopefully, this minimizes the “well my kid beat the higher-ranked kid, why is he lower” thing. Except at the one weight class. All I will say is that there was a five-way logjam that would not resolve itself easily. I did ask for help and got it from a disinterested observer.
  6. I’d like you to wait at least two or three days before sending me any hate mail and the like. I have tons of writing to do tonight and an actual work thing I do on a weekly basis had to go by the boards temporarily because I wanted you to have these.

As I did with the Northwest site, I will announce the #1-ranked kids on Twitter first. Then I will update the Local Rankings page. They should be there for your review in less than a half-hour.

And, oh yeah, Happy New Year. Next year HAS to be better than this one. Unless you won state in March, in which case, this year was pretty good.


Prep Slam Day 1 Recap

Northeast Florida Matmen staff report

ATLANTA — With two wrestlers still left alive, University Christian is in a tie for 33rd place, with 10 points, at Prep Slam IX, hosted by Holy Innocents School.

Daniel Porter (113) is in the second Consi of 8 round and Derrick Stumph (160) has advanced to the first Consi of 8 round. Both wrestlers are eligible to earn medal finishes in the event, which concludes Friday.

Porter lost in the 113 quarters, winning his first match over St. Francis’ Alex Racheneur by fall in 1:37. In the quarters, Porter fell by a 6-0 decision to Trinity Christian’s (not the one in Jacksonville) Noah Miller.

Stumph lost to St Pauls LA’s Cole Ulfers by fall in the 160 in the first round, in 2:37. After a bye, Stumph won by forfeit in his first consolation match over St. Anthony’s Joe Schultz.

Cameron Wiley was 0-2 at 106, losing by fall in the first round to Lovett’s Jackson Borden, and then to Gonzaga College HS’ Harrison Snyder by fall in 2:33. Additionally, Shane McManus (170) was 0-2, losing by fall to St. Pius’ Jack Marsh in 1:22 and then to Woodward’s Michael Debose in 4:52 in the consis.


Knockout Christmas Classic Day 1 Recap

Northeast Florida Matmen staff report

KISSIMMEE — Wrestlers have done something special to simply — assuming simply is the right word — get as far as the second day of the Knockout Christmas Classic tournament.

Generally considered to be the state’s toughest in-season tournament, the Knockout does a number on almost every team that competes in it.

The four north Florida local teams competing in the Knockout got 27 wrestlers through to Friday’s second day.

Leading the way for the north is Fleming Island, which stands tied for sixth place with Winter Springs at 74 points. The Golden Eagles have four semifinalists and four more wrestlers alive in the consolation rounds.

Flagler Palm Coast is in 10th place after the first day, with 64.5 points, two semifinalists and five more in the consi rounds. Clay is 11th with 59.5, one semifinalist and five in the consis. Florida High stands in 19th place, with 37 points, two semifinalists and four on the backside.

Camden County’s A squad leads the event with 141 first-day points, followed by South Dade at 118.5 and Southwest Miami at 94.5.

Here’s a breakdown on the nine local semifinalists and their path to the semis:

Briar Jackson (Fleming Island, 106): Won two matches as the fifth seed, teching American Heritage-Delray’s Vincenzo Napolitana in 5:05 in the round of 16 and then downing Clay’s Louie Gagliardo, 7-3, in the quarters. Jackson faces top seed Bretli Reyna of South Dade in the semi.

Michael DeAugustino (Flagler Palm Coast, 120): Picked up three wins as the bracket’s top seed, decisioning Wellington’s Robert Saldarriaga in the first round, 11-4. DeAugustino then pinned Hagerty’s Mathieu Byers in 33 seconds in the round of 16 and decisioned Fleming’s Deandre Demus, 5-3, in the quarters. DeAugustino faces #5 seed Stephen Moreno of St. Thomas Aquinas in the semi.

Avery Holder (Flagler Palm Coast, 126): Collected three bonus-point wins as the 2 seed, majoring Winter Springs’ Matt Phillips 17-5 in the first round, then winning by fall in 1:14 over Sarasota’s Kaden Harris in the round of 16. Holder then pinned Lake Gibson’s Austin Hosegood in 3:48 in the quarters and will face third seed Jared Abramson of Wellington in the semi.

Jason Davis (Fleming Island, 182): Won three times as the top seed. Davis decisioned Winter Springs’ Jessiah Contreras, 7-3, in the first round, then got to the quarters with a 41-second fall over Jake Pilat of Wellington. In the quarter, Davis majored North Forsyth’s Andy Leggett 12-4, and will face 4th seed Brantley Little, also of North Forsyth, in the semi.

Will Haigler (Florida High, 182): Gained three decisions en route to reaching the semi, with wins over Braddock’s Lucas Zamora in the first round (10-4), University-Orange City’s Jorge Betancourt (5-4) in the round of 16 and 6 seed Jason DeGroat of Winter Springs in the quarters (6-3). Haigler will face Ned Anthony of Lee Davis, VA, the 2 seed, in the semi.

Cam Brown (Florida High, 195): Won twice as the 5 seed to get to the semis, majoring South Dade’s Kenneth Crouse, 11-2, in the round of 16 and then going double-OT to turn back Freedom’s Justin Marotta, 3-2, in the quarter. Brown will face top seed Antonio Stewart of Camden County in the semis.

Ryan Smenda (Fleming Island, 195): The third seed, Smenda had two pins and a decision, falling first-round opponent Hunter Beck of Lee Davis in 3:38 and then University-Orange City’s Antonio Liberti in 38 seconds in the round of 16. Smenda then downed Winter Springs’ Montana Lewis, 4-3, in the quarters. He’ll take on 2 seed Camden Johnson of Union Grove, GA in the semis.

Kurt Jackson (Clay, 220): Jackson had two pins as the 2 seed, pinning Lee Davis’ Sari Maksad in 44 seconds in the round of 16, and then falling Osceola’s Boris Espinosa in 2:26 in the quarters. Jackson takes on 6 seed Michael Mireles of Southwest Miami in the semis.

Jose Concepcion (Fleming Island, 285): The 5 seed in the weight class, Concepcion won twice to get to the semis, both by decision. Concepcion decisioned Clay’s Ryan Rivers, 3-2, in the round of 16 and then picked up an ultimate-tiebreaker 4-2 decision over 4 seed Christian Gomez of Hagerty in the quarters. Concepcion will face South Dade’s Kyron Taylor in the semis.

Alive in the consis are: Gagliardo, John Johnson (Flagler, 113), Demus, Chris Merring (Clay, 120), Peyton Hughes (Clay, 126), Jacob Sandoval (Fleming, 126), Bryan Metcalf (Florida High, 132), Michael Martins (Flagler, 138), Max Harris (Florida High, 138), Jake Richardson (Florida High, 145), Keath Sawdo (Clay, 145), Paul Detwiler (Fleming, 152), Noah Perdue (Florida High, 160), Steve Canidate (Flagler, 182), Kaleb Collins (Clay, 195), Brandyne Mackey (Fleming, 220), Tyler Irigoyen (Flagler, 220) and Vincent Ebanks (Flagler, 285).


What We’re Up To

So the record-keeping is up to date and yes, we’re doing comparisons for a top 10 in the area, with honorable-mentions. I hope the remaining weights are easier than 113 was.

Expect a Knockout first-day story later today. We’re updating Deep South Bayou Duals on the Northwest site, with a story on that as well.


Westside I Own Florida Flyer

The first 2017 I Own Florida event for Northeast Florida is scheduled for Westside High School on January 7, 2017. Note that although the first three events were held on Sundays, this one is scheduled for Saturday. Details all follow in the attached flyer here –> WESTSIDE IOF FLYER