By SHANNON HEATON
North Florida Matmen
JACKSONVILLE — In the question of whether firepower is a stronger asset than weight-class coverage, the answer came through crystal clear Saturday at the 2A-District 3 traditional tournament.
Experience trumps all. And Orange Park’s experienced wrestlers saw the Raiders through to a return to the top of the heap in 2A-District 3, as contested at Terry Parker HS.
Orange Park held off Englewood, 161-140, for the team title, as both teams moved 10 wrestlers through on a day at a tournament where every team in the field got at least five wrestlers out to Friday’s 2A-Region 1 meet at Chiles.
“A lot of it comes down to experienced kids setting the tone for us and the younger kids following their lead,” Raiders coach Justin Daniels said. “We have kids that have high goals for themselves and when the younger kids see that those kids make it, they believe they can set those goals, too.
“We still struggle in some situations, because we have new kids that aren’t quick with their shots and quick to readjust shots, but we’re getting more confident in shooting and controlling the pace on top.”
Orange Park had three champions Saturday, with four runners-up, one third and one fourth, sending 10 of its 11 kids to Chiles.
Englewood qualified 10 of 12 Saturday, with two champions, four runners-up, two thirds and two fourths. Not bad for a team that struggled to find qualifiers in the very recent past.
“We’ve gotten kids out and gotten kids excited for the sport again,” Rams coach Joseph Stetzer said. “We started out with `let me show you’ what the sport is about and now kids have learned what will work for them. They’ve found success, which will help with retaining kids in the program.”
Ridgeview finished third with 122 points. The 2018 district champions had the most individual weight-class titles this year (four), qualifying seven wrestlers out, with two runners-up and one fourth.
“I just told them all to believe in their stuff and whatever happens, happens,” Pangthers coach Bart Rodriquez said. “Kids are working hard for it and want to get to the next round. Just keep fighting, and we’ll be proud of your effort, whatever the result.”
Host Terry Parker edged Middleburg for fourth, with 98 points to the Broncos’ 93. Both got seven wrestlers out to regions, with the Braves taking two titles, one runnerup, three thirds and one fourth.
Middleburg qualified everyone it brought Saturday, going 7-for-7, with three champs, two thirds and two fourths.
Stanton finished sixth with 64 points and seven qualifiers (two runners-up, two thirds, three fourths), while Ed White moved five wrestlers onward, with 61 points behind one runnerup and four thirds.
Below follows a complete recap of eligible competitors, qualifying or otherwise, at Saturday’s tournament:
106 — In a four-person bracket, Ridgeview sophomore Matthew Rodriquez (2nd in 2A, 47-0) needed just 1:21 to claim his third district title and second with the 2A Clay County Panthers, with falls in the semis over Englewood sophomore Rayquan Staples (:12) and a pin in the finals in 1:09. Middleburg freshman Riley Girgis (30-12), who lost 9-0 in the semis, came back to take third with a 9-7 sudden-victory decision over Staples (21-15).
113 — In a four-person bracket, Ridgeview junior Gabe Guzman (8th, 42-2) won his second district title after finishing third in 2017, with a pin in the semis (:40) over Terry Parker senior Amber Goodbread and 6-4 decision in the championship match over Orange Park sophomore Davon Bailey (17th, 29-5). Bailey advanced to the final with a medical-forfeit win in the semis over Stanton sophomore Jack Walsh, and Goodbread (17-37) did the same in the third-place match against Walsh (9-11).
120 — In a three-person bracket, Englewood freshman Ricardo Resto-Rivera (15-17) got a bye into the finals, where he falled Ridgeview freshman Clay Propes (13-24) in 5:59 for the title. Propes pinned Stanton sophomore Artin Rezael in 36 seconds in the semis; Rezael (12-21) received a bye in the third-place match.
126 — In another three-person bracket, Ridgeview freshman Shawn Tahir (9-7) needed just one win to take the title, with a bye into the finals, where he pinned Englewood junior Hunter Padgett (7-6) in 3:12 for the bracket win. Padgett advanced to the finals with a fall in 3:25 in the semis over Stanton sophomore Matthew Mock (6-20), who received a bye in the third-place match.
132 — In a four-person bracket, Orange Park senior Dean Ganci (20th, 34-6) won twice for his second district title, winning by fall in the semis (3:56) and then taking an 8-1 decision in the final over Englewood senior Dairo Guerra (25-11). Guerra got to the finals with a fall in 2:45 over Ridgeview freshman Logan Champion in the semis. Champion (15-19) lost by fall in 4:50 in the third-place match.
138 — Middleburg senior Storm Mercado (16th, 30-3) got through four other competitors to win his first district title after finishing second in 2018 and fourth in 2016. Mercado pinned Stanton senior Gabriel Navarro (frontside pigtail pin over Terry Parker’s Danielle Farmer in 2:35) in 3:59 in the semis, then controlled the action in the final over Orange Park junior Cameron Broughton (15th, 29-10) with a 9-2 decision. Broughton reached the final with a pin in 2:50 in the semis over Englewood freshman Lynden North. North (32-8) came back for third with two wins on the back, first a fall in 1:34 over Farmer in the consi semis, then taking a 10-3 decision over Navarro (31-16) for third. Farmer was 0-2 in the tournament.
145 — In the fullest bracket thus far (six), Middleburg senior Chris Burch (18th, 26-8) won his third title, with a 9-5 semifinal win over Terry Parker junior Tijuan Boyance (pigtail win by fall in :53 over Ridgeview’s Isaac Gaeta) and 11-3 major in the finals over Stanton sophomore Grant Kelsey (31-13). Kelsey reached the final with a 38-second semifinal pin over Orange Park junior Arlo Wilson (pigtail win by fall in 3:04 over Englewood’s Ernest Rodriguez). Boyance (14-10) came back for third with a 9-4 consi-semi win over Rodriguez and 17-7 major in the third-place match over Wilson (15-12). Wilson punched his Chiles ticket with a fall in 1:16 over Gaeta. Gaeta and Rodriguez were both 0-2 in the tournament.
152 — Middleburg senior Bryce Williams (14th, 21-6) won his third district title, with a fall in 1:15 in the semis over Orange Park junior Vincent Walker (pigtail win by 16-7 major over Stanton’s Liam Salem), then decisioning Ridgeview senior Reed Propes (20th, 33-11), 5-1, for the bracket win. Propes reached the final with a 54-second pin over Terry Parker senior Lonnie Sanders. Walker (12-11) came back for third, with a bye in the consi semis and 10-8 third-place win over Sanders (24-16). Sanders punched his Chiles ticket with a fall in 4:13 over Salem, who was 0-2 in the tournament.
160 — Terry Parker junior Ashley Saddler (37-13) won his first district title, with three wins in a full seven-person bracket. Saddler falled Ridgeview’s Rae Barger (:53) in a pigtail match, then decisioned Middleburg sophomore Alex Nayfack, 9-4, in his closest match of the tournament, and took an 11-2 major in the finals against Englewood sophomore Sam Howard (23-13). Howard also had two prior wins, both by fall (1:17 in pigtail over Stanton’s Khoi Nguyen, 3:09 in semi). Nayfack (19-26) would finish fourth, punching his Chiles ticket with a 14-7 win over Nguyen, then losing by fall in the third-place match, in 3:43. Orange Park’s William Evans was 1-2 in the tournament, with a backside fall over Barger (4:28), then losing by fall in 38 seconds in the blood round, while Barger and Nguyen were each 0-2.
170 — Orange Park junior Jacob Campbell (5th, 44-1) won his second district title, reaching the finals for the third time for the Raiders. Campbell pinned his way through a full bracket, with falls in the semis (3:33) and again in the championship match (5:35) over Englewood junior Jordan Mitchell (30-11). Mitchell had two prior pins, with falls over Middleburg freshman Ethan Larsen (5:04) in the quarters and Terry Parker’s Estaban Lenhardt (pigtail pin in 2:45 over Ridgeview’s John Tiedeman) in the semis (1:31). Larsen (7-7) would win three times on the spin for third, with pins over Tiedeman (19th, 4:29) in WB round 1, 2:12 in the consi semis and 2:26 over Stanton junior Avery Debelen in the third-place match. After a pigtail loss by fall, Debelen punched his Chiles ticket with a 13-8 decision over Lenhardt in the consi semis. Lenhardt was 1-2 in the tournament, while Tiedeman was 0-2.
182 — In a four-person bracket, Terry Parker senior Landon Dains (4th, 59-0) won twice for his second district title and fourth region appearance after finishing second in 2017 and fourth in 2016. Dains needed just 15 seconds to fall Englewood junior Shammy Augustin and then turned back Orange Park junior Jacob Moore (5th, 35-3), 7-4, for the title. Moore reached the finals with a fall in 1:42 over Middleburg sophomore Chris Conaway, while Augustin (11-15) pinned Conaway (9-16) in 57 seconds for third place.
195 — Orange Park freshman Julian Moore (22-6) won his first district title, bonus-pointing his way through the tournament, with a pigtail fall (2:23) over Englewood junior Eric Moore, semifinal pin in 3:30 and 14-4 major in the championship match over Stanton junior Charles Woo (29-19). Woo reached the final with a semifinal pin in 5:07 over Terry Parker’s Emily Mills. Moore (10-13) punched his Chiles ticket with a consi-semi pin over Mills (1:38) and then lost by fall (2:35) in the third-place match.
220 — Ridgeview senior Od’juan Whitfield (28-5) won his first district title after finishing one match short of the 3A-Region 1 tournament for Oakleaf in 2017. Whitfield pinned his way through the draw, with falls in the pigtail (:18 over Englewood’s Darryl Sam), 4:14 in the semis and 1:55 in the championship match over Terry Parker senior Ben Sabella (26-5). Sabella reached the finals with a 42-second pin over Orange Park sophomore Jonothan Garcia. Garcia (12-13) punched his Chiles ticket with a consi-semi pin in 1:48 over Sam and then lost by fall in 1:34 in the third-place match.
285 — In a three-person bracket, Englewood senior Chris Lands (8-3) won his second district title after placing fourth in 2017. Land received a bye into the finals, where he pinned Orange Park sophomore Reese Sheehan (16-12) in 1:03. Sheehan got to the final with a fall in 1:36 over Terry Parker junior Marquis Walton (2-5), who received a bye in the third-place match.
Editor’s Note: Not all eligible qualifiers and competitors could be completely recapped due to missing regular-season results not submitted to Matmen. Matmen will accept those results, or win-loss records for the events that are missing, even after the end of the season.
Complete brackets for this tournament and all other contested 2A brackets can be found here.
All statewide rankings as created by Brant Parsons and as updated February 18.
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