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Weekend Statewide Roundup: Dec 29-30

North Florida Matmen staff report

KISSIMMEE — Compared to three weeks ago, 3A defending champion South Dade closed the gap against south Georgia powerhouse and a defending champion in its own right, Camden County.

After finishing, unofficially, around 20+ points behind Camden at Osceola’s Danny Byron Invitational (no official team scores were kept), a race for the 2017 Knockout Christmas Classic that came down to the last match of the tournament wound up with the Georgians on top and defending their Knockout title, as Camden County edged the Buccaneers, 226.5-223.5, Saturday evening at Osceola HS.

Six Florida teams finished in the top 10 in the 38-team tournament, led by the Buccaneers, with Fleming Island third at 181.5 points, Lake Gibson fourth (137), Southwest Miami sixth (103), Hagerty seventh (94) and the host Kowboys 10th (88).

A brief synopsis of each weight class follows:

106 — Fifth seed Luis Peraza of South Dade handled the drop down from 113 well, with three pins and two decisions en route to the title, with wins over #4 seed Chris Difiore of Wellington in the quarters (fall in 5:52), over top seed Louis Gagliardo of Fleming Island in the semis (6-4) and in the final over seventh seed Jaekus Hines of Osceola (2 majors & decision prior to the final), 4-2. Gagliardo stopped Camden County’s Nathan Orum, 9-2, in the third-place match, while 2 seed Chase Ayers of Lake Gibson decisioned Potomac VA’s third-seeded Matt Munoz, 12-5, for fifth.

113 — Second seed Nick Krug of Camden County didn’t allow a point scored in the tournament, with two falls in less than a minute and three shutout decisions, pinning Collins Hill GA’s Joseph Felix (57 seconds) in the quarters, decisioning 3 seed Connor Williams of Lake Gibson in the semis (6-0) and then holding down fifth seed Briar Jackson of Fleming Island (2 pins & 2 decisions prior to final), 1-0, in the final. Williams rallied back for third, with a 4-0 shutout over Felix in that match, with top seed Devin Sweeney of Potomac pinning Osceola’s Esau Bazilme in 4 minutes for fifth.

120 — Top seed Bretli Reyna of South Dade was the first of the top seeds to successfully defend the seed, with two falls, a major and two decisions in winning the title, with a fall in 1:47 over Cocoa Beach’s Michael Watson in the quarters, a 16-4 major over fifth seed Albie Snedaker of Fleming Island, and then a 4-1 win in the finals over 2 seed Tyler Crew of Camden County (2 pins & 2 majors prior to final). Fourth seed Dylan Kohn avenged a quarterfinal loss to Snedaker with his 6-1 win over Snedaker in the third-place match, with third seed Michael Bush of Sarasota also avenging an earlier loss, downing Springstead’s Tommy McCane (who beat Bush in double-overtime in the quarters), 3-1 for fifth.

126 — Top seed Malyke Hines of Osceola also defended his seed ably, with four first-period falls to get to the finals, including a 32-second pin over Jupiter Christian’s Eric Barnes in the quarters and a fall in 1:28 over Freedom’s Amstrong Lubin in the semis. In the final, Hines decisioned second seed Brandon Orum of Camden County (fall, tech and 2 decisions prior to final), 2-0. Lake Gibson’s Shannon Hanna decisioned South Dade 3 seed Tyler Orta, 3-2, for third place and Barnes pinned Lubin in 3:42 to take fifth.

132 — Second seed Jaquan English of Fleming Island battled through four decisions to win the title, with a 2-1 quarterfinal win over North Gwinnett GA’s Rex McDaniel, a 6-4 semifinal win over third seed Julian Hernandez of Southwest Miami, and a 5-3 win in the finals over top-seeded Bryson Neace of Union Grove, GA (2 pins & decision prior to final). Hernandez rallied for third place with an 8-2 decision over 4 seed Wyatt Kirkham of Jensen Beach, with Joshua Swan shutting out Potomac’s third-seeded Syed Moaz, 5-0, for fifth.

138 — Top seed Alex Urquiza of Southwest Miami had three falls on Friday, with a major and decision to take the title, pinning South Lake’s Ricky Dehnz in 2:41 in the quarters, majoring 4 seed Troy Nation of Tampa Prep, 12-3, in the semis, and then turning back 2 seed Jared Abramson of Wellington (2 pins, tech and decision prior to the final), 12-8, for the championship. Nation came back to take third with a 3-1 win over 3 seed Tyler Dahlgren of Camden County, while Springstead’s Chris Morales — who’d lost in the first round and won six consi-side matches — decisioned 5 seed Nicholas DeSola of American Heritage-Delray Beach, 3-1, for fifth.

145 — Top seed Raydan Wilder of Camden County was the first to win six matches to take his bracket, with a fall, two techs, a major and two decisions along the way, teching Springstead’s Tommy Barker in 5:38 in the quarters, then downing 4 seed Frankie Tal Shahar of American Heritage-Delray Beach, 1-0, in the semi, and Union Grove GA 6 seed Gabriel McDaniel (2 pins & 2 decisions prior to final), 5-2, in the final. Collins Hill 2 seed Lucas Desilva decisioned Tal Shahar, 3-1, for third place, with fifth seed Devin Kohn of Hagerty pinning Brookwood GA’s David Hornsby in 3:30 for fifth place.

152 — Third seed Justin Ruffin of Union Grove pulled off what might have seemed incredibly difficult for Florida fans, with three falls and two decisions. The third fall, in 1:37, came in the quarters against Freedom’s Alex Portorreal, but then Ruffin downed 2 seed Anthony Artalona of Tampa Prep, 4-2 in the ultimate tiebreaker in the semis, then turned back top seed Brevin Balmeceda of South Dade (fall, 2 techs & decision prior to final) in double overtime, 3-2, for the title. Artalona won by injury default in the third-place match against Carrollwood Day 4 seed Jacob Conrad, with Springstead’s Charlie Roche decisioning Hagerty’s Logan Perkins, 5-3, for fifth.

160 — Top seed Todd Perry of South Dade defended his seed with three falsl and a pair of shutout decisions, pinning Hagerty’s Ethan Lopez in 3:15 in the quarters, downing Camden County’s Michael Gibson 7-0 in the semi, and then outlasting 2 seed Miguel Hernandez of Lake Gibson (2 pins & 2 decisions prior to fina), 1-0, for the championship. Gibson came back to take third, decisioning Tampa Prep 3 seed Colin Nation, 7-4, with Southwest Miami’s Adrian Vidaud decisioning North Gwinnett 4 seed, Ross McDaniel, 8-1 for fifth.

170 — Second seed Paul Detwiler of Fleming Island had three first-period falls and two decisions en route to the championship, pinning Hagerty’s Justin Segarra in 1:51 in the quarters, decisioning 3 seed Justin Grant of Lincoln, 4-2, in the semis, and then taking down top seed Ashton Habeil of Lake Gibson (2 pins & decision prior to final), 10-6, for the title. Grant came back to finish third, pinning Segarra in 3:21 in the third-place match, with 4 seed Jack Sopotnick of Jensen Beach defeating 5 seed Gavin Venable of Union Grove for the second time in the tournament, this time with a 6-5 win in the fifth-place match.

182 — Second seed Cole Mitchell of Cocoa Beach pulled together two falls, two decisions and a major in winning the bracket, with an 11-5 win over Wellington’s Eric Saber in the quarters, an 11-3 major over third-seeded Will Haigler of Florida High in the semi and a 4-2 win over top seed Ben Deal of West Laurens, GA (3 falls & tech prior to the final), for the championship. Fourth seed Mikael Fundora of South Dade majored Haigler, 17-5, for third place, with Camden County’s Myles Starke shutting out Jensen Beach’s Blake Wiswell, 3-0, for fifth.

195 — Top seed Matthew Key of Brookwood, GA, had two pins and two decisions in winning the title, decisioning Melbourne’s Joseph Fields, 5-3, in the quarters, then pinning 4 seed Chad Nix of Jensen Beach in 2:28 in the semifinal round, and then outlasting Countryside 3 seed Anthony Burburija (3 falls & decision prior to the final), 13-10, in the final. Nix rallied back for third, decisioning Fields, 3-2, in the third-place match, with 7 seed De’Yaveyun Joseph of Lake Gibson knocking off second-seeded Ja’vonte Graves of Camden County for the second time, this time by a 6-2 count in the fifth-place match.

220 — Top seed Tomari Fox of Collins Hill had three decisions and a tech fall in winning the bracket, downing Riverview’s Evan Akel, 8-2, in the quarters, then teching Brookwood 4 seed Justin Oldknow in 4:59 during the semifinal round before turning back second seed Chase Sharp of Lakewood Ranch (tech, fall and major prior to the final), 4-2, for the championship. Akel would come back for third place, with a 6-4 win over Oldknow in that match, while Brookwood’s Ethan Quarshie — who lost in the first round and then won five matches on the back side — took fifth with a 4-2 sudden-victory win over Melbourne’s Jordan Consilio.

285 — Fourth seed Josiah McCallum of Bishop Kenny won the title with two Friday falls and three decisions, outlasting West Laurens 5 seed Joseph Horne, 3-1, in the quarters, taking down top seed Joshua Isaac of Potomac, 2-1, in the semis, and then finding a late takedown to overcome South Dade 2 seed Trayvonne Jackson (2 falls & 2 decisions prior to final), 2-1, for the bracket. Horne came back to take third, with a 5-2 win over Isaac, while 3 seed Jose Concepcion of Fleming Island battled past Osceola’s Dion Bergan in the ultimate tiebreaker, 3-2, his second win over Bergan in the tournament.

South Beach Duals: At Deerfield Beach, Olympic Heights was the only one of seven teams to go 4-0 in the inaugural version of this event Friday, held in conjunction with a college event of the same name that was contested over the weekend.

Olympic Heights took down Barron Collier (48-21), Palmetto Ridge (45-27), Merritt Island (51-24) and Miramar (74-6) en route to the perfect record.

Fabian Jaramillo (120, 3 pins), Marcus Rivera (132, 2 pins & decision), Ethan Davis (170, 2 pins & decision), Roger Leon (182, pin & 3 decisions) and Troy Jaffy (195, 3 pins & decision) were all 4-0 for Olympic Heights, while Evan Senior was 3-0 at 138, with 2 pins.

Barron Collier’s only loss was to Olympic Heights in round 1; Collier rallied for wins over Merritt Island (40-24), Nease (46-24) and St Thomas Aquinas (60-15). Likewise, Palmetto Ridge only lost to Olympic Heights, taking wins over Merritt Island (59-18), Miramar (66-16) and Nease (61-18). St Thomas was also 3-1, with dual wins over Miramar (60-24), Nease (42-33) and Merritt Island (54-24).

Hook ‘Em Holiday Clash: At Lambert, GA, Brandon held off Georgia’s North Forsyth, 224-212, to win the team title. Cypress Lake took fifth in the 30-team event, with 127 points.

Brandon had 10 wrestlers place in the top five, led by champions Trey Lane (120), Andreus Bond (145) and Noah Ridley. Lane pinned his way through the 120 bracket, with his fourth fall in the final over North Hall GA’s Matt Glenn in 3:27, while Bond had three pins and two decisions, the second of those a sudden-victory win over Cypress Lake’s Jalen Soto, 3-1. Ridley had three pins, a tech fall and 8-3 win over Wyatt Sladek of Flowery Branch GA in the finals.

Tyler Forrest was second at 113 for the Eagles, with Alex Rosario (132), Easton Tobia (138) and Onid Olavarria (160) all finishing third. Connor Crinigan was fourth at 106, while Jose Berdecia (106) and Hunter Lefevre (126) both took fifths.

Jermaine Teague (182) also reached the finals for Cypress Lake, losing by fall to North Forsyth’s Brantley Little in 2:13, with Brian Gimenez (195) and Cole Lewis (285) both taking thirds and Jean Malivert (220) finishing fifth.

Powerade: At Pittsburgh, Lake Highland Prep’s Nic Bouzakis won the 113-pound title, leading the Highlanders to a second-place team finish in yet another elite field against the nation’s strongest teams.

Bouzakis decisioned Reynolds’ Beau Bayless by a 10-4 count in the 113 finals. Joey Silva (132, loss in ultimate tiebreaker, 3-2 to Wyoming Seminary, PA’s Carson Manville) and Ben Goldin (220, 4-0 loss to Parkersburg South, WV’s Braxton Amos) both were second.

Additionally, Erich Byelick (160) placed fourth, with quarterfinal appearances in the tournament from Noah Castillo (138), Max Cosmides (170) and Curtis Ruff (285).

Prep Slam: At Atlanta, Tampa Jesuit had seven placewinners — led by 145-pound champion Ethan Basile — in taking seventh as a team in the 45-team event, scoring 135 points. Clearwater Central Catholic was tied for 38th place, with seven points.

In addition to Basile, Jesuit got a third from Mason Arnold at 220, fourths from Patrick Eberly (170) and Ryan Nelson (285) and sixths from Luke Surak (120) and Eli Davenport (195).

St. Christopher’s of Virginia won the tournament with 247.5 points, with Brother Martin of Louisiana second with 210.

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Aggie Invitational: Crestview Edges Hosts For 4th

North Florida Matmen staff report

CANTONMENT — Tate has been known over the past few seasons to have a healthy dose of Alabama competition on its docket.

So it comes as no or little surprise that Alabama teams swept to the top three team finishes in Saturday’s Aggie Invitational.

Crestview was the top Florida team in attendance, taking fourth place with 152 points, one-half point behind third-place Baldwin County, ALA and 1.5 points ahead of the host Aggies.

Dora AL won the tournament with 209 points, 35 ahead of runnerup Fultondale, AL.

Mosley was seventh in the 16-team tournament, with 94.5 points, while Arnold was eighth (66), Milton ninth (64), Pace 11th (58), Tate’s B group 14th (21) and North Bay Haven 16th (11).

A brief summary of each weight class follows:

106 — Crestview’s Noah Kryfka pinned his way through the tournament, with three first-period falls, the last of those in 48 seconds over Mosley’s Dawson Bevens (3 pins prior to final). Dora AL’s Samari Harris took third with a 9-3 win over Fultondale’s Daniel Farias.

113 — Tate’s Jacob Cochran also pinned his way through the tournament, with three falls all coming in the second period, the last in 3:43 over Dora’s Carlos Chavez (2 pins prior to final). Tate B’s Marcus Virgin reached the third-place match against Cameron Holder of Daphne AL, but no result was recorded on the official brackets.

120 — Fultondale’s Macon Edwards had two falls to get to the final, where he decisioned Gulf Shores AL’s Brady George (2 falls prior to final). Tate’s Brandon Biello and Gulf Shores’ David Callaghan were slated to wrestle for third, where Biello should have won by walkover (brackets don’t reflect) due to Callaghan already wrestling five matches earlier in the tournament day.

126 — Baldwin County’s Michael McKinley had two first-period falls to get into the finals, where he turned back Pace’s Owen Moore (2 falls of his own prior to final), 7-4, in the final. Dora’s Drake Norris advanced by rule for third place over Tate’s Kenneth Pedicord, who’d had five matches earlier in the tournament day.

132 — Dora’s Zach Clayton won four matches to take the title, with two pins and two decisions, the second of those over Fultondale’s Chase Cunningham (2 pins and medical forfeit), 7-4, in the final. Tate’s Matthew Blalock won by medical forfeit over Arnold’s Justin Ivy in the third-place match.

138 — Crestview picked up its second title of the tournament, as Angel Ortega had three pins to get to the final, then decisioned Gulf Shores’ Garrett Brasher (3 pins of his own prior to final), 7-2, in the championshp match. Fultondale’s Nathan McKinley pinned Daphne’s Nolan Whiteis in 1:03 for third place.

145 — Arnold’s Drew St Amant had a very solid tournament, with two first-period falls before the final, where he majored Pace’s Ethan Billhimer (3 pins prior to final) by an 8-0 score. St Amant won the lower-weight Outstanding Wrestler award for his tournament. Dora’s Jagger Bahrik advanced by walkover to third place past Baldwin County’s Tabarro Reed, who’d wrestled five times earlier in the tournament day.

152 — Nate Golmon gave Tate its second championshp, with a fall and major prior to the finals, where he teched Gulf Shores’ Will West (major & decision prior to the final) by a 16-1 count, picking up the upper-weight Outstanding Wrestler award as a result. Dora’s Jordan Tyree pinned Pace’s Anthony Root in 1:43 for third place.

160 — Tate went back-to-back for titles, as Juan Alvarez had a fall and then two decisions, the second of those in the finals over Dora’s David Williams (2 decisions prior to final), 8-6. Both wrestlers that advanced to the third-place match, Fultondale’s James Adams-Smith and Satsuma AL’s Jeffery Trawick, had wrestled five times earlier in the tournament day, resulting in a double-walkover.

170 — Dora’s Chance Thompson had two pins and a medical forfeit win to get to the finals, where he added a third fall over Pace’s John Gunther (2 pins prior to final), in 2:24. Mosley’s Parred Pitts pinned Gulf Shores’ Jean Tinoco in 1:30 for third.

182 — Baldwin County’s Braiden Williams had a decision in the quarters, but then pinned thereafter, needing 33 seconds to fall Crestview’s Kennard Madden (2 pins prior to final) for the title. Fultondale’s Eric Gonzalez pinned Dora B’s Josef Wallace in 2:46 for third place.

195 — Tate earned its fourth title of the tournament, as Azaya Purifoy sandwiched a 9-1 semifinal win with two first-period falls, the second of those in 1:55 over Fultondale’s Khalil Yow (2 pins prior to final) for the championship. Baldwin County’s Kale Carlton decisioned Dora’s TJ Lindsay, 10-5, for third.

220 — Crestview took home its third bracket of the event, as Coleman Young had a decision and then a 21-7 major over Baldwin County’s Caleb Goddard (2 pins prior to final) in the championship match. Arnold’s Casey Peppers pinned Mosley’s Landon Harris in 2:50 for third.

285 — The Bulldogs made it back-to-back titles, and four in all for the day, as Xavier Molina had three falls in succession, the third of those in 5:24 over Milton’s Connor Saint (pin & decision prior to final) for the title. Dora’s Ronny Henderson pinned Baldwin County’s in 2:50 for third place.

Complete brackets, with team scores, from this event can be found here.

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Knockout Day 2 Recap: Three Local Champs, Fleming 3rd

Knockoutchamps
Crowned champions at the 2017 Knockout Christmas Classic, hosted by Osceola Friday and Saturday, pose in their champion singlets, including Fleming Island’s Jaquan English (132, front row, third from right), Paul Detwiler (170, back row, third from left) and Bishop Kenny’s Josiah McCallum (285, back row, farthest right). (Photo submitted to Florida Wrestling News via Facebook).

North Florida Matmen staff report

KISSIMMEE — It’s progress, and at the highest levels of Florida high school wrestling, that takes on a very different meaning.

Last year, Fleming Island was a very distant fourth at the 2016 Knockout Christmas Classic, with one champion, and their Region 1 rivals right on their heels in the team classification.

Saturday, the top-ranked (NE) Golden Eagles were in the team race at least until the morning semifinals, brought home two brackets this year, and finished third — 44.5 points ahead of fourth-place Lake Gibson, 74.5 ahead of fifth-place Union Grove, GA, and 78.5 ahead of Southwest Miami, which finished above Fleming Island a year ago.

Progress.

But Fleming Island’s goals aren’t measured by just progress. Chasing down South Dade is, and although the Buccaneers didn’t win the team title — thanks in some part to a Matmen-area competitor who bagged a Knockout bracket of his own — they were in the hunt to do so, falling just short to defending Georgia state champions Camden County, 226.5-223.5, when the smoke cleared Saturday evening.

Jaquan English was Fleming’s first champion on the night, bringing home the 132 bracket. English turned back Southwest Miami’s Julian Hernandez, 6-4, in the semis, setting up a finals match with top seed Bryson Neace of Union Grove in the final. There, English had enough offense to extend his season record to 36-1, with a 5-3 decision and the title.

Paul Detwiler won the Golden Eagles’ other title, competing at 170. Like English, Detwiler entered the tournament as the second seed, and, like English, he had a pair of decisions on Saturday, starting with a 4-2 win in the semis over Lincoln’s Justin Grant. That put Detwiler into the finals against Lake Gibson’s Ashton Habeil, a 2A state champion in 2017. Unfazed, Detwiler put together enough combinations to stave off Habeil, winning by a 10-6 count.

Briar Jackson (113) was the first finalist for the Golden Eagles, but his bid for a Knockout title was just one point short. After winning 8-3 over top-seeded Devin Sweeney of Potomac, VA, in the semis, Jackson found his offense shut down by Camden County’s Nick Krug, who took a 1-0 decision in the championship match.

Fleming Island had three additional semifinalists that placed on Saturday.

At 106, Louis Gagliardo fell in the semis, 6-4, to eventual champ Luis Peraza of South Dade, rallying for two wins on the back side to take third, setting the pace in a 9-2 decision over Camden’s Nathan Orum in the third-place match. Albie Snedaker (120) lost to eventual champ Bretli Reyna of South Dade, 16-4, in the semis, came back with a win in the consi semis, but took a 6-1 loss to Hagerty’s Dylan Kohn in the third-place match. Finally, Jose Concepcion (285) lost by fall in the semis to South Dade’s Trayvonne Jackson, dropping a consi-semi match, but then edging Osceola’s Dion Bergan, 3-2, in the ultimate tiebreaker.

Four Fleming Island wrestlers in the consis — Jacob Sandoval (126), Dalton Williams (138), Jeffrey Lascano (182) and Jalyn Robinson (195) — all were 1-1 on Saturday, losing in the blood round. Trace Insalaco (160) lost his only Saturday match in the wrestlebacks.

Bishop Kenny finished tied for 20th in the 38-team field with 51 points, but came back to Jacksonville with a Knockout bracket, as fourth-seeded Josiah McCallum had a pair of 2-1 victories to take the championship. McCallum stopped top seed Joshua Isaac of Potomac, VA, in the semis, to set up a final against second seed Jackson in the final. There, too, McCallum did enough for a 2-1 win in the final, and in accomplishing the feat, allowed Camden County to preserve defense of its team championship.

The Crusaders’ Jack Delaney (120) was 1-1 on Saturday, falling just short of a Knockout medal, while Joey Cusick (152) was 0-1 in the consis.

The Tallahassee area finished the day with two medalists, as top-ranked (NW) Lincoln was tied for 25th at 38 points and third-ranked (NW) Florida High was 33rd with 24. Both teams had one Knockout medalist.

For the Trojans, Grant at 170 finished third, with a pair of falls following his loss to Detwiler in the semis. The second of those came in 3:21 in the third-place match over Hagerty’s Justin Segarra. Likewise at 182, Florida High’s Will Haigler was fourth after an 11-3 semifinal loss to eventual champ Cole Mitchell of Cocoa Beach. Haigler came back with a major in the consi semis, but then lost 17-5 in the third-place match to South Dade’s Mikael Fundora.

Two Tallahassee wrestlers in the 113 consis — Lincoln’s Mark Munroe and Florida High’s Brooks Dyer — lost their initial matches on Saturday.

Complete brackets, with team scores, can be found here.

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Category V Recap: Columbia Wins 2nd Duals Title

Columbia 1st
Columbia wrestlers and coaches congregate with team and individual honors taken at this weekend’s Category V Duals, hosted by Gainesville Friday and Saturday. The Tigers won their second consecutive duals tournament with an unbeaten weekend (Photo by Shannon Heaton).

By SHANNON HEATON
North Florida Matmen

GAINESVILLE — Single duals haven’t been the kindest format for Columbia this season.

On December 6, the Tigers lost to now-ranked Buchholz. Before the Christmas holiday, Columbia fell to Suwannee in the inaugural “Battle for the Paddle.”

But put Columbia in a one-day, or a two-day, duals tournament, and the Tigers seem to figure things out. That was true when they won their own Tiger Duals back on December 16 and just as true this weekend, as Columbia ran the table without a defeat to win the second annual Category V Duals, hosted by Gainesville HS Friday and Saturday.

“We didn’t walk in there with a great attitude,” Columbia coach Peter Whittington said of the Suwannee dual. “We’ve got to come out ready to go every time.

“We used this weekend as a redemption weekend. This proves to the kids that they can do this every time. If we keep doing that, we believe we can hang with the best teams in the state.”

But there were some anxious moments, particularly on Saturday in the Tigers’ last dual against 3A south Florida side Cypress Bay, which had had its only loss earlier in the day against Oakleaf. The south Floridians jumped out to an early 12-0 lead, but Columbia would win five straight matches between 126 and 152 — with a couple of them featuring Tigers getting off their backs and turning the tide for pins themselves — and would not trail again.

That run included pins from Chace Curtis (126), Matt Ross (138), Matthew Arango (145) and Jonathen Sobczak (152). Arango’s and Sobczak’s falls, in particular, could have gone the other way, so the fact that they didn’t was crucial.

“Sobczak is a freshman who plays an intricate role for us. He came out and performed. And Arango, I can’t say enough about, because he took a beating pretty much all weekend. He had to win that match for us to mathematically win this,” Whittington said.

Columbia had contested wins over Eastside (78-6), Westside (52-21) and Oakleaf (42-36), plus team forfeit wins over Ocala Forest and Ocala West Port, both of which were no-shows on Friday. On Saturday, the Tigers followed up with wins over Middleburg (46-27), Leesburg (72-6), Interlachen (72-0), Gainesville (53-21) and Cypress Bay, for a perfect 10-0 weekend.

“The belief is there, which is the important part. Once the kids understand they can do these things, it becomes just a matter of taking care of business,” said Whittington, whose team will host FHSAA 2A-District 2 duals next. “We truly believe we have a shot at Lincoln. We’re coming.”

Columbia had four all-tournament performers, three of them going undefeated, in Curtis (5-0 at 126, 2 pins, 2 techs & decision), Daniel Mann (7-0 at 132, 3 pins) and Zion James (8-0 at 182, 5 pins). James was named as the tournament’s outstanding heavier-weight wrestler.

Ian McGuigan (120, 2 pins, 2 techs & major) was 7-1 for the Tigers and earned all-tournament honors with a loss only to another all-tournament performer, while Sobczak (152, pin & decision) compiled a 6-1 record.

After finishing second to the Tigers in pool action Friday, Oakleaf didn’t lose a dual on Saturday, taking second place as a result.

Oakleaf 2nd
Oakleaf wrestlers, managers and coaches are mostly all smiles after taking second place in team competition at this weekend’s Category V Duals, hosted by Gainesville Friday and Saturday (Photo by Shannon Heaton).

The Clay County Knights had contested wins over Eastside (78-6) and Westside (60-24) Friday, in addition to the loss to Columbia, adding Saturday wins over Interlachen (72-0), Leesburg (72-6), Middleburg (47-24) and Gainesville (57-24) for an 8-1 weekend.

“Our heavyweights are getting better, and hopefully we get our 195 back soon, but we plugged a hole at 106, so we’re not giving up points there now,” Oakleaf coach Wes Champ said. “But our young kids are getting better and that’s what matters.

“I try to get our kids good competition and some mat time, which is what they need most. Get eight or nine matches that way, get on the mat and get experience. That’s why we didn’t go to Knockout.”

Like Columbia, Oakleaf had three unbeaten all-tournament award winners and an outstanding wrestler winner.

Ethan Gustilo (138) was one of three Knights who went 8-0, with four pins and a tech fall, earning the middle-weight OW in the process. Joining him as all-tournament was Trenton Carroll (145, four pins) and Demonte Richmond (285, five pins).

Jacob McKee (106, 1 pin), Ryan Rosano (126, 3 pins) and David Parkes (132, 3 pins) all were 7-1 on the weekend for the Knights.

Cypress Bay won its pool on Friday, with contested wins over Interlachen (60-6), Leesburg (66-0), Gainesville (56-18) and Middleburg (48-36), adding wins Saturday over Eastside (66-0) and Westside (45-36) for a 7-2 weekend.

Cypress Bay left with four all-tournament performers and an OW, as Santiago Portilla (113) was the choice for the lower weights, handing Columbia’s McGuigan his only loss of the tournament after bumping up a weight to 120 for that dual. Thomas Spurlock (160), Simon Jee (170) and Matthew Toribio (220) were also all-tournament after unbeaten weekends.

Middleburg finished the weekend at 6-3, losing only to Cypress Bay, 48-36, on Friday, with wins that day over Interlachen (60-0), Leesburg (60-18) and Gainesville (54-30). After opening Saturday with the loss to Columbia, the Broncos rallied with wins over Eastside (60-18), and after falling to Oakleaf, closed out with a 42-30 win over Westside.

“We’re solid, but our youth keeps showing up, and so sometimes we’re losing those 50-50 matches and those same kinds of duals,” Middleburg coach Richie Dusinberre said. “But everything we’re doing wrong is fixable. We’ll just keep working at it.”

The Broncos had two all-tournament wrestlers in unbeaten Gabriel Burch (8-0 at 106, with two pins and a decision), and Bryce Williams at 152, who was 6-1 in the tournament with four pins. Williams’ only loss came on Friday against Cypress Bay, when he bumped up to 160 to face Spurlock.

Four other Middleburg wrestlers had just one loss on the weekend, including Tazz Hampton (7-1 at 113, 3 pins), James Benton (7-1 at 120, 4 pins), Storm Mercado (7-1 at 138, 4 pins) and Dustin Tollison (6-1 at 145, 2 pins).

The host Hurricanes were third in pools on Friday, with contested wins over Leesburg (42-18) and Interlachen (48-6), adding Saturday wins over Westside (30-28) and Eastside (48-6), for a 5-4 weekend.

Gainesville had one all-tournament performer in Corey Ryan (8-0 at 195, 4 pins). Alex Anzivino (220) was 7-1, with four falls on the weekend.

Westside (5-5 overall) also was 3-2 in pools Friday, with a contested win over Eastside (66-0). The Wolverines added victories Saturday over Interlachen (60-6) and Leesburg (48-18). Angelo Philpot (152, 2 pins & tech), John Jones (160/170, 2 pins & 2 majors) and Calvin Altman (182, 5 pins) were all 7-1 for Westside.

Eastside didn’t have a contested victory on Friday, but that would come for the Alachua County Rams on Saturday, as Eastside would defeat Interlachen, 36-6. The Putnam County Rams, with just one wrestler in attendance, only had one team forfeit victory on the weekend.

Complete dual results from the weekend can be found here.

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Showdown Recap: Pickren Takes Title

North Florida Matmen staff report

SODDY DAISY, TN — With just six wrestlers, South Walton was not going to be able to challenge for team honors this past weekend at the Soddy Daisy Showdown.

But four Seahawk wrestlers — led by champion Ethan Pickren at 126 — would earn top-three finishes in their weight classes, as South Walton finished sixth in the 10-team tournament with 69 points, ahead of four teams that had at least three more wrestlers, if not close to a full team.

The host squad won the team title, 269-209.5, over Chicago west suburban Downers Grove South.

Pickren pinned his way through the 126-pound draw on Saturday, with three falls, all coming in the first period. In the finals, Pickren needed just 44 seconds to finish off his Farragut, TN, opponent, Zachariah Garabrandt, for the title.

At 170, Harris Barton would reach the finals, behind a quarterfinal fall and 8-2 decision in the semis, but fell in the finals to Gibbs TN’s Isaiah Brooks, 13-6, to come in second.

Seth Weinthal (126) and Gunnar Nebel (160) would each take thirds in their weight classes. Weinthal went into sudden-victory time with Farragut’s Garabrandt in the semis before falling, 4-2, but Weinthal rallied with a fall and decision to place third.

Nebel also fell in the semifinals to a Downers Grove South wrestler, but had a decision and romped to a 12-1 major to rally back for his third.

The Seahawks are now off until next Saturday, January 6, when they’ll appear at Suwannee’s Billy Saylor Invitational.

Complete brackets from this tournament, including team scores, can be found here.

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Holiday Classic Recap: Wewa Finishes 8th

Wewa at ShreveportWewahitchka wrestlers take a group picture over the weekend during competition at the 2017 Holiday Classic in Shreveport, LA. The Gators finished eighth in the 11-team IBT event (Photo by Chassidy Calhoun).

North Florida Matmen staff report

SHREVEPORT, LA — Wewahitchka’s short-handed (just seven wrestlers) squad finished eighth out of 11 teams on Saturday at the 2017 Holiday Classic, hosted by Evangel Christian Academy.

The Gators scored 94 points in the two-day tournament. Jefferson City, MO, had a comfortable 76.5-point lead for the victory over Poteau, OK, 289-212.5, with Arkansas’ Little Rock Central in third at 210.

As it turned out, senior Malachi Davenport (195) would be Wewa’s only champion, clinched with his wrestling on Friday, but junior Jonathan Harvey came close, finishing second at 126.

After taking third in his pool on Friday, Harvey avenged one of his pool defeats, against pool champion Johnny Baldwin of Glen Rose, AR. After losing 8-0 in pools on Friday, Harvey majored Baldwin, 13-5, on Saturday, finishing second in a loss by fall in the finals in 1:05.

Dylan Jacobs (132) took third place, with all of his Saturday matches concluded via pin. Jacobs pinned his Little Rock Central opponent in 2:49 in the third-place match.

Conner Roberts (113) and Jaden Moseley (120) each took fifths at their weights for the Gators.

Wewahitchka is now off until this coming Friday, when the Gators will travel to the Scott Rohrer Invitational in Hoover, ALA.

Complete brackets from this event, including team scores, can be found here.

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Knockout Day 1 Recap: Fleming 3rd Place

North Florida Matmen staff report

KISSIMMEE — Two defending state champions and two teams that would like to be able to say that about themselves in the very near future set the pace in Friday’s first day of wrestling at the 2017 Knockout Christmas Classic, hosted at Osceola HS.

Defending Florida 3A state champion South Dade holds the first-day lead after a 131.5-point performance, three points ahead of defending Georgia AAAAAAA state champion Camden County.

Matmen’s top-ranked Northeast team, Fleming Island, stands third at 118.5 points in the 38-team field, with Lake Gibson — one of the early 2A team favorites — fourth at 85.

Wrestlers still alive in the consi rounds after Friday’s wrestling must win twice more today in order to assure themselves of medals, while semifinalists can finish no lower than sixth.

Fleming Island lost just four of its 15 wrestlers entered in the tournament, even with a slightly short-handed team brought to Kissimmee.

The Golden Eagles have six wrestlers in today’s semifinal round, with another five still alive in the wrestlebacks.

First of the semifinalists was top-seeded 106 Louie Gagliardo, who had three bonus-point victories on Friday without giving up a single point. Gagliardo majored Riverview’s Lane Keck in the quarters, and will face South Dade fifth-seed Luis Peraza in the semi. Gagliardo’s workout partner, 113-pound Briar Jackson, pinned Peraza at Danny Byron earlier in the month.

Speaking of Jackson, he also reached the semis at 113. Seeded fifth in the weight class, Jackson had two falls to reach the quarters, where he knocked off fourth seed Ben Buhler of Tampa Prep, 4-2. Jackson will face top seed Devin Sweeney of Potomac, VA, in the semis.

Albie Snedaker (120) also reached the semis at his weight class. The fifth seed there, Snedaker had a pair of first-period falls to reach the quarters, where he took down Hagerty’s fourth-seeded Dylan Kohn, 3-1. Snedaker will face top seed Bretli Reyna of South Dade in the semis.

Jaquan English (132) reached the semis in his first Knockout appearance. Seeded second in his weight class, English knocked out a pair of decisions, including a 2-1 win over North Gwinnett’s Rex McDaniel in the quarters. English will take on sixth seed Julian Hernandez of Southwest Miami in the semis.

At 170, second seed Paul Detwiler pinned his way into the semis, all in the first period, incluidng a fall over Hagerty’s Justin Segarra in 1:51 in the quarters. In the only all-local semifinal Saturday morning, Detwiler will face Lincoln’s third-seeded Justin Grant.

Last among the semifinalists was Jose Concepcion at 285. The third seed at 285, Concepcion had a fall and decision to get into the semifinals, downing Osceola’s Dion Bergan, 3-2, in the quarters. Concepcion will face second seed Trayvonne Jackson of South Dade in the semis.

In the wrestlebacks for Fleming in the lighter weights are Jacob Sandoval (126) and Dalton Williams (138). Sandoval lost to South Dade’s Tyler Orta, 8-6 in sudden victory, in the quarters, while Williams lost in the round of 16, but stayed alive with a pair of major decisions in the consis.

Upperweight Eagles in the consis are Trace Insalaco (160), Jeffrey Lascano (182) and Jalyn Robinson (195). Insalaco and Robinson both fell in the round of 16, but won twice in the wrestlebacks to remain alive. Lascano fell in the first round, and responded with three wins at the back.

Among local teams in competition in the tournament, Matmen Northeast #4 Bishop Kenny is 22nd, with 35 points, while Northwest top-ranked Lincoln is 28th with 27. Northwest #3 Florida High is 31st, with 18 points.

Bishop Kenny has three wrestlers left in the tournament, led by 285 semifinalist Josiah McCallum. The fourth seed at 285, McCallum had two first-period falls and a 3-1 decision in the quarters over West Laurens, SC’s Joseph Horne. McCallum faces top seed Joshua Isaac of Potomac, VA, in the semis today.

Jack Delaney (120) and Joey Cusick are still alive in the consis. Delaney reached the quarters, falling there via 8-0 major to Camden’s Tyler Crew. After dropping a first-round match, Cusick won three on the back side to stay alive into today’s wrestlebacks.

Lincoln has two wrestlers left in the field, including 170 semifinalist Grant. Grant had a pair of tech falls and then a quick fall in 1:06 over Southwest Miami’s Michael Fernandez in the quarters, setting up the matchup with Detwiler in the semi.

Mark Munroe (113) is still alive in the wrestlebacks after reaching the quarters, falling 13-0 to Sweeney in that round.

Like Lincoln, Florida High has two wrestlers left in the tournament, led by 182 semifinalist Will Haigler. Seeded third, Haigler had two decisions in reaching the semis, including a 7-4 win over Union Grove’s Camden Johnson in the quarters. Haigler will face Cocoa Beach second seed Cole Mitchell in the semis.

Brooks Dyer (113) is alive in the wrestlebacks, taking two wins on the back after falling in the round of 16 to Sweeney.

Complete brackets and team scores will be posted to the site later in the weekend or early next week.

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Category V Duals Recap: Columbia, Cypress Bay Win Pools

North Florida Matmen staff report

GAINESVILLE — After the first day of competition in the Category V Duals, hosted by Gainesville HS, nearby Columbia and not-so-nearby Cypress Bay enjoyed the strongest finishes.

The Tigers and Cypress Bay were both 5-0 in the first day of competition, which will continue Saturday with teams wrestling across from their slotted pools.

Columbia had contested wins over Eastside (78-6), Westside (52-21) and Oakleaf (42-36) to take first in Pool B. Two Ocala teams, Forest and West Port, that were slated to appear and were no-shows, prompting tournament organizers to give two forfeit victories in Pool B.

Oakleaf won over Eastside (78-6) and Westside (60-24) to go second in Pool B, with Westside taking third on a 66-0 win over the Rams.

In pool A, Cypress Bay survived unscathed with wins over Interlachen (60-6), Leesburg (66-0), the host Hurricanes (56-18) and Middleburg (48-36), plus a team forfeit win over Ed White, which also was slated to appear but did not on Friday.

Middleburg was second in the group, with contested wins over Interlachen (60-0), Leesburg (60-18) and Gainesville (54-30). The hosts won against Leesburg (42-18) and Interlachen (48-6; was sent as 78-6 but there were several double forfeits based on other Hurricane appearances earlier in the day). Leesburg was fourth in the group with a 24-6 win over the Rams.

Weigh-ins for Saturday begin at 8 a.m. Results from the first day can be found here, and a fuller recap of the weekend’s action will be posted to the site on Saturday night.

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Holiday Classic Recap: Wewa’s Davenport Wins at 195

North Florida Matmen staff report

SHREVEPORT, LA — Wewahitchka is in sixth place after the first day of the wrestling at the 2017 Holiday Classic, hosted by Evangel Christian Academy Friday and continuing into Saturday.

The Gators stand with 37 points in the in the 11-team tournament, taking seven wrestlers to the tournament, located in the northwest corner of the state.

The wrestler that could well wind up with Wewa’s best individual finish will get to watch his teammates complete their quest for place finishes on Saturday, as Malachi Davenport (195) completed Friday with a first-place medal.

Davenport was 2-1 at 195, as were wrestlers from Jefferson City, MO, and Poteau, OK, with each wrestler going 1-1 against the other and each collecting two pins in round-robin competition.

However, Davenport completed his two falls in 1:43, compared to 4:34 and 5:56 for the other two wrestlers, and that criterion may have been sufficient to provide him the gold.

Dylan Jacobs (132) was second in his pool, with a 2-1 day. All of the other Gator wrestlers have both pool competition and a second-day IBT component to their weekends.

Jefferson City, MO, leads the field with 93.5 points.

Complete brackets will be posted to the site later in the weekend or early next week.

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Deep South Bayou Duals: Niceville Finishes 10th

North Florida Matmen staff report

GONZALES, LA — Finishing in the top third of almost any tournament is a solid accomplishment.

In the 30-team Deep South Bayou Duals, Niceville wound up the two-day dual tournament in 10th place Friday afternoon, going 1-2 in duals Friday and 5-3 overall for the event.

The 2A Eagles opened the day with a round-of-16, 42-34 loss to Sulphur, LA. After a bye into the consi semis, Niceville took down Arlington, TN, by a 36-24 count before running into a solid DeLaSalle, LA team in the ninth-place match, falling there by a 45-19 count.

Three Niceville wrestlers were unbeaten on the day, as Zachary Hartzog (120) and Bailey Howes (152) were both 3-0 at their weight classes. Hartzog had two pins and a decision, while Howes scored maximum points throughout the tournament. However, DeLaSalle, in forfeiting to Howes at 152, was able to stop his run of pinning his way through the event.

Jack Johnson had two appearances, with a major and a decision at 160/170, to go 2-0 on Friday.

The Eagles had double-digit leads (18-6 and 24-12) early on in the Sulphur dual, but the Louisiana side swept to the lead behind a 24-0 run that included falls at 220 and 285. Hartzog, Howes, Jackson Schoener (170) and Morgan Causey (195) won by fall for Niceville, with Keane Creager (132) taking a 10-2 major. Sam Williams (9-8 at 145) and Johnson (11-6 at 160) added decision points.

In the Arlington dual, the Eagles broke open a 9-6 matchup through three weights thanks to five consecutive wins between 182 and 120 — taking out double-forfeits at 106 and 113. Howes had Niceville’s only pin, with Collin Lentz (4-0 at 160), Causey (16-12), Hartzog (7-6) and Creager (6-3) all winning by decisions.

That set up the ninth-place match with DeLaSalle, and this time it would be the Louisianans that would string together the wins, as DLS won at each weight between 182 and 106 to pull away after a slight early lead, turning 6-4 into 36-4. Hartzog had Niceville’s only pin, with Johnson taking a 14-2 major and Williams with a 13-10 decision.

Niceville is now off until January 5, when the Eagles will prep for 2A-Region 1 duals competition with an appearance at the Scott Rohrer Invitational in Hoover, Alabama.

A complete list of scores from the tournament, along with Niceville’s eight duals contested over the last two days, can be found here.