#TheRecap: Sharks Rule At Optimist Invite

Ponte Vedra wrestlers brought home a team championship Saturday afternoon, winning the Arlington Optimist Invitational at Terry Parker (Photo submitted by Josean Gonzalez).

North Florida Matmen staff report

JACKSONVILLE — This was for Zander. And also for so many Ponte Vedra wrestlers that had toiled in obscurity, only to never chase down team success.

On Saturday, the Sharks — in their first wrestling competition following the late-spring passing of teammate Zander Laurin — rolled to victory at the 2019 Arlington Optimist Invitatonal, hosted by Terry Parker — which is going to become a familiar haunt for the Sharks over the next three years.


Ponte Vedra had three individual titles and scored 174.5 points, outdistancing runnerup Palatka, which finished with 130. The gap between third and seventh was just 13.5 points, with Mandarin at the front of the group (117 points), followed by Sandalwood (114), Englewood (106), Robert E. Lee (105) and Fernandina Beach (103.5).

The Braves, with 59 points, were eighth, followed by Stanton (51), Paxon (23), Gainesville (17) and Baldwin (two).

Here is a summary of the tournament:


106 — Palatine’s Mikada Harvey had two bonus-point wins for the title, with a fall in the semis and 15-7 major in the final over Lee’s Ricky Hicks (pin & forfeit prior to final). After losing to Hicks in the quarters, Fernandina’s Nik Saldana had a pin and forfeit to place third.


113 — Mandarin’s Nathan Bremer pinned his way through the bracket, three pins in all, with the last in the final over Englewood’s Jeffrey Parker (pin & major prior to final). Ponte Vedra’s James Richie, who lost by fall to Bremer in the quarters, had four bonus-point wins to claim third, the last of those a 16-6 major over Fernandina Beach’s JB Sellers for third place.


120 — Sandalwood’s Hunter Milner also pinned his way thorugh the draw, with three second-period falls. Milner’s third pin came at 2:17 in the finals over Fernandina Beach’s Caden Kubatzke (forfeit win prior to final). Ponte Vedra’s Michael Stephens, who lost to Milner in the semis, had a bye in the consi semis and then decisioned Mandarin’s Marc Saunders, 4-1, for third.


126 — Fernandina Beach’s Jeremy Mahoney picked up a tech and pin in getting to the finals, where he took a 13-6 decision over Sandalwood’s Juvens Augustin (2 pins prior to final). Palatka’s Ontarriyus Reid, who’d lost by fall to Augustin in the quarters, had three pins on the back for third place, falling Gainesville’s Brennan Kade in 4:27 for third.

132 — Palatka’s Drevon Wallace bagged two majors for his bracket, with the second of those a 16-8 win over Ponte Vedra’s Jackson Shewey (2 pins prior to final). Englewood’s Lynden North, who fell to Wallace in the semis, pinned twice to take third, with a fall in 2:50 over Mandarin’s Tristan Garcia for third (North had also pinned Garcia in the quarters).

138 — Ponte Vedra’s Alex De Almeida won the Sharks’ first bracket, with a major in the semis and fall in the final (3:10) over Sandalwood’s Lavaughn Brown (3 pins prior to final). Palatka’s Brandon Lewis, who’d lost to De Almeida in the semis, won twice on the back for third, decisioning Stanton’s Gabe Navarro by a 4-0 count.

145 — Palatka’s DJ Nealy pinned his way through the bracket, three pins in all, with the third coming in 3:33 in the final round against Robert E Lee’s Ty’Juan Jones (pin prior to final). Mandarin’s Xaine Evans had a pin to get to the third-place match, where he edged Sandalwood’s ben Peterson, 5-4 (after winning by fall over Peterson in the quarters).

152 — Ponte Vedra’s Austin Schottel nearly max-pointed through the bracket, with only a tech fall getting in the way of that. In the finals, Schottel pinned Robert E Lee’s Savion Johnson (2 pins prior to final) in 2:59 for the championship. Robert E Lee’s Jeramiah Stevens, who lost to teammate Johnson in the semis, had two pins to take third, with a pin over Mandarin’s Titus Hightower in 2:55 during the place round.


160 — The hosts’ Ashley Saddler max-pointed into the final with a pin and forfeit, but then had a tough battle with Sandalwood’s Joshua Brown (pin & major prior to final) before taking a 5-4 decision in the final. Ponte Vedra’s Joseph Skinner, who’d lost by fall in the quarters, had three max-point wins (two by pin) to come back to third, pinning Paxon’s Logan Holman in 2:28 in the place match.

170 — Ponte Vedra’s Rett Maritato collected two first-period pins to get to the final, where he took a 10-6 decision for the championship over Fernandina Beach’s Jeremiah Giedrys (decision & 2 pins prior to final). Terry Parker’s Darius Farmer, who lost by fall to Maritato in the semis, got a forfeit into the third-place match, where he decisioned Stanton’s Avery Debelen, 14-9.


182 — Englewood’s Jordan Mitchell also had two pins (both in the second period), then overcame Stanton’s Timothy Sinclair (2 pins prior to final) in an 8-7 decision for the title match. Mandarin’s Tony Carter, who’d lost to Mitchell in the quarters, made his Mustangs debut with two pins and a 10-3 decision for third over Fernandina Beach’s Kolby Kidd.

195 — The Rams’ Justin Mendez had three first-period falls, with the third of those achieved in 1:30 in the championship match against Sandalwood’s William Rosenberger (2 pins prior to final). Robert E Lee’s Keshawn Waters, who’d lost to Mendez in the semis, had two pins to take third, falling Ponte Vedra’s Max Henry in 49 seconds in the place match.

220 — Palatka’s Jack Tilton picked up a decision and two pins, with the second of those in 2:51 in the title match against Ponte Vedra’s Harlan Nikolov (pin/injury default/forfeit prior to final). Terry Parker’s William Gray, who went six minutes with Tilton in a 14-9 loss, won four times on the back side to come back to third, with a pin in 2:17 over Robert E Lee’s Jeremy Porter.

285 — Mandarin’s Nick Wilbur collected three first-period pins in 2:42 for the title, needing just 25 seconds to fall Robert E Lee’s Edward Peterson (pin & injury-default prior to final) in the final. Englewood’s Eric Moore, who lost by fall to Wilbur in the semis, had two pins on the back to take third, falling Ponte Vedra’s Christopher Stewart in 44 seconds in the third-place match.

Complete brackets from the tournament can be found HERE.

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