#TheRecap: I. McGuigan, Rice Reach Braves Invite Finals

Columbia placewinners gather for a partial team photo Saturday at the conclusion of wrestling at the Braves Invitational, hosted by Lake Gibson over the weekend (Photo submitted to Columbia team Facebook page).

North Florida Matmen staff report

LAKELAND — The main reason for the four teams in the north that traveled to the near-Tampa suburb and competed in this weekend’s Braves Invitational is simple: the field provides a pretty good look at the shape of what next month’s FHSAA 2A state tournament will feel like.

Columbia took sixth (126 points) in the 23-team field, hosted by Lake Gibson, while Lincoln brought only their hammers (seven in all) and finished T-9th (95.5). Fletcher was 12th with 77 points and Ft Walton Beach 13th with 76.

Lake Gibson, ranked second statewide, dominated the two-day IBT, with 339 points, 115 ahead of runnerup Palmetto Ridge, the 2A dual state runnerup. Ft Myers (153.5 points), Doral Academy (149) and Ft Pierce Central (126.5) rounded out the top five.

A summary of the tournament can be found here, with all area placers and wrestlers one match short of placing noted. All rankings Matmen-endorsed as generated by the Orlando Sentinel, will be for 2A kids unless otherw‪ise noted:

106 — Lake Gibson’s Hayden Whidden (2nd) won the title with three pins (Ft Pierce’s Connor Harris in :59, Tampa Freedom’s Nicholas Paton in :48 and teammate Austin Gehr of Lake Gibson B in 2:45 in the quarters), then decisioned Palmetto Ridge’s Tyler Washburn (5th), 10-4, in the semis and Springstead’s Dominic Nardini (4th), 1-0, in the championship. Nardini got to the final behind pins over Fletcher’s Ana Bradshaw (18th; :52) and Columbia’s Brett Millard (20th, :49) before turning back Lincoln’s Elijah Hendley (14th), 3-1 in sudden victory, in the semi. Hendley was third and Millard sixth. Hendley had a tech and 4-3 quarterfinal win over Doral’s Julian Montero (19th-3A); on the back, Hendley had a pin and 5-3 third-place victory over Washburn. Millard had two bonus-point wins to reach the quarters and Nardini, then won twice (including a 3-minute fall over Nardini) before losing by fall to Washburn in the consi semis and by overtime decision to Admiral Farragut’s Christian Fretwell, 8-6.

113 — Palmetto Ridge’s Cullen Guerrero (6th) had three pins over Lake Gibson B’s Angel Hernandez (1:12), Lincoln’s Jimmy Martin (10th; 1:47) and Doral Academy’s Livan Curbelo (12th-3A; 4:11) before turning back Lake Gibson’s Jesse Gehr (4th), 6-4, in the championship match. Gehr max-pointed to the final, with a forfeit and pins over Countryside’s Kaden Cartagena (1:28) and Ft Myers’ Caleb Massari (9th; 1:22, semis). No local finishers in the top eight.

120 — Palmetto Ridge’s Brennan Van Hoecke (2nd at 126) pinned his way through the bracket, with four falls over Ft Myers’ John Vadyak (8th; 3:24), Lake Gibson B’s Tyler Canas (1:04), Springstead’s Jonathan Dominguez (:25 in semis) and Doral Academy’s Omar Corrales (7th-3A; 1:01) for the championship. Corrales advanced through with decisions over Palmetto Ridge’s Jean Valoria (6-1), Lake Gibson B’s Zachariah Stewart (6-3) and Lake Gibson’s Alex Walker (5th), 3-0, in the semi. After a round-of-16 loss, Ft Walton Beach’s Brandon Mallin (11th) won four matches on the back (19-5 over Fletcher’s Josh Daltro, fft over Fletcher’s Hayden North, 13-10 over Canas and 8-2 over Strawberry Crest’s Carter Willis) to make podium, taking losses to Walker (6-1) in the consi semis and Dominguez (1:20) in the fifth-place match.

126 — Lake Gibson’s Connor Williams (3rd) had four pins to get to the final, with falls over Teneroc’s Kris Hunter (1:35), Fletcher’s Gabe Daltro (1:46), Pasco’s Kyler Dickerson (:50) and Ft Myers’ Nolan Nguyen (2:33, semis) before teching teammate Blake Walker (9th) of Lake Gibson B, 15-0 (4:25) in the title match. Walker had pins over Winter Haven’s Johnathan Torres (:53) and Leesburg’s Seth Brown (1:53), plus a 5-4 semifinal win over Doral’s Brandon Arocha (15th-3A). Daltro, who had three consi-side wins, was one match short of the podium.

132 — Lake Gibson’s Alejandro Rosario (2nd) bonus-pointed through the bracket, with pins over Tenoroc’s Adrian Aguilara (2:31), Winter Haven’s Ryan Garcia (:52) and Palmetto Ridge’s Roman Garcia (9th; 2:38, semis) before majoring Columbia’s Ian McGuigan (10th), 12-4, in the title match. McGuigan reached that final with wins over Doral’s Enrique Sanchez (9-3), Winter Haven’s Deaven Sinnett (fall in 1:28) and a 5-3 win in the semis over Pasco’s Travis Knowlton (6th). No other area wrestlers in the top eight.

138 — Lake Gibson’s Brendon Abdon (1st) made it back-to-back-to-back LG titles, with pins over Leesburg’s Mikkel Campbell (1:13), Palmetto Ridge’s Ty Bechtel (1:57), Carrollwood Day’s Brendan Palamar (10th-1A; 2:33) and a 17-1 tech (3:18) in the semis over Columbia’s Alex McGuigan (10th) before downing Palmetto Ridge’s AJ Ayala (3rd), 10-4. Ayala got to the finals behind a forfeit, pin over Lake Gibson’s Gage Butler (18th at 132; 2:34), 17-7 major over Tampa Freedom’s Ryan Bennett and 8-7 semifinal win in sudden victory over Countryside’s Stevie Chopek (2nd). McGuigan would place fifth, with wins on the front over Strawberry Crest’s Talon Swindle (pin in 4:53) and a 5-4 quarterfinal win over Springstead’s Joseph Gallo (7th at 132). On the back side, after a 5-1 consi-semi loss to Ft Pierce’s Riley Orr (16th-3A), McGuigan decisioned Butler, 7-3, for fifth.

145 — It was a four-peat for Lake Gibson, as Evan Butler (2nd) bonus-pointed through the tournament, with pins over Admiral Farragut’s Nick Sheets (1:09) and Fletcher’s Tyson Petrie (:10) and majors over Palmetto Ridge’s Landon Taylor (13th; 15-6, semis) and over Doral’s Roger Arocha (7th-3A; 10-2) in the championship match. Arocha majored South Ft Myers’ Jesus Ruiz (13-1), pinned Springstead’s Luis Perez (4:43) and downed Countryside’s Brian Burburija (15th), 8-4, in the semis. Petrie bounced back to place fifth, while Ft Walton’s Malachi Santiago was sixth. Petrie had beaten Santiago, 5-1, in the round of 16; on the back, he had a forfeit win and 9-3 decision over Strawberry Crest’s Jacive Sheppard (13th-3A) to make podium. After a consi-semi loss by fall to Burburija, Petrie turned back Santiago again in the fifth-place match, this time by a 4-0 count. Santiago had to win three times on the back to make podium, with falls over Sheets (1:44), Columbia’s Thomas Greene (1:17) and Perez (2:55) before falling to Taylor (2:10) in the consi semis.

Fletcher medalists Tyson Petrie, Ethan Hollenbach and Joel Rodriguez at the conclusion of Saturday’s wrestling at the Braves Invitational, hosted by Lake Gibson (Photo submitted by Lee Ann Bradshaw via Facebook).

152 — Doral’s Sawyer Bartelt (3rd-3A) bonus-pointed through each round prior to the final, with a 9-0 major over Lake Gibson’s Jason Lemmond, fall over Columbia’s Jamari Jones (3:36), 10-2 major over Ft Pierce’s Kevin Finn (17th-3A) and pin over Pasco’s Kevin Johnston (2:26) in the semis. Bartelt then shut out Lake Gibson’s Frank Solorzano (4th), 3-0, in a battle of youngsters (Bartelt an 8th grader, Solorzano a freshman). Solorzano reached the final behind wins over Ft Myers’ Gavin McDavitt (5-1), a forfeit, 5-0 win over Fletcher’s Joel Rodriguez (6th) and 9-2 decision over Columbia’s Obie Smith (5th) in the semis. Rodriguez was third and Smith fourth. Rodriguez had wins on the front over Lincoln’s Patrick Blanca (7-0) and a forfeit; on the back, he took four wins over South Ft Myers’ Mark Harrison (1:26), Palmetto Ridge’s Hector Henriquez (6-0), Johnston (1-0) and Smith by a 5-0 count in the third-place match. Smith pinned Strawberry Crest’s Thomas Spurway (1:34) and shut out Ft Walton Beach’s Jean Maldonaldo, 7-0, to get to the semis, and pinned Finn (2:29) in the consi semis.

160 — Carrollwood Day’s Jonathan Conrad (1st-1A) pinned through the draw with four falls over Sunlake’s Justin Bethards (:50), Columbia’s Preston O’Quinn (1:30), Pasco’s Devin Jernigan (:08) and a fourth pin in 2:00 in the championship match over Lake Gibson’s Raul Soto. Soto pinned Pasco’s Savion Speights (3:44), majored Winter Haven’s Janiel Colon (14-3) and had decisions over Ft Pierce’s Berlens Jean-Louis (12th-3A; 4-0) and Doral’s Daniel Garlin (14th-3A; 11-5) in the semis. Ft Walton Beach’s Caleb Tourgee was one match short of placing.

170 — Ft Myers’ Riley Hackworth (2nd) bonus-pointed through all rounds of the bracket, with pins over Palmetto Ridge’s Aiden Vega (:48), Ft Walton Beach’s Carter Tobik (:28) and Countryside’s Nick Granata (4:14) in the semis, then majored Columbia’s Joseph Rice (13th), 14-6, in the final. Rice got to the championship match behind a pair of byes and a pair of pins over Lake Gibson’s Jayvian Haynes (3:11) and Lincoln’s Andrew Collins (20th; 2:45) in the semis. Collins wound up placing fourth. After two byes, Collins pinned Springstead’s Caleb Mallek (5:44) on the front side; in the consi semis, Collins falled Admiral Farragut’s Jack Sheets (1:23) before a loss by fall in the third-place match to Granata. Fletcher’s Ryan Klein was one match short of placing.

182 — Lake Gibson’s Ashton Habeil (1st) pinned his way through the bracket, with five falls over Ft Walton Beach’s Patrick Adams (2:16, Habeil’s longest match of the tournament), Pasco’s Chance Kiuber (:30), Admiral Farragut’s Payton Cramer (1:39), Sunlake’s Zach Spicer (5th; :58) and Ft Pierce Central’s Steven Krantz (4th-3A; 1:24) in the final. Krantz got to the title match with wins over Ft Myers’ Cruz Henton (6-2), Palmetto Ridge’s Antonio Petraglia (12-2) and over Countryside’s Desmon Marshall (4th), 8-1, in the semis. No area wrestlers in the top eight.

195 — Lake Gibson’s Caden Cunningham (1st) gave his team a seventh title, pinning his way through the bracket, with falls over Columbia’s Shawn Raggins (:46), Admiral Farragut’s Antonio Johnson (1:53), Pasco’s Amir Burgess (1:42, semis) and a 34-second fall in the final over Ft Myers’ Gregory Dennard (3rd). Dennard teched Countryside’s Matt Kilian (16-0 in 4:44) and falled Sunlake’s Alex Perusek (:41) before pushing past Lincoln’s Tyler Washburn (8th), 4-3 in sudden victory, in the semis. Washburn would come back to place third and Ft Walton Beach’s Eddie Alexis (12th) was sixth. Washburn had front-side pins over South Ft Myers’ Andelino Calderon (2:58) and Palmetto Ridge’s Angel Mendez (:53) and back-side pins over Alexis (3:18) in the consi semis and Mendez a second time (2:29) in the third-place match. Alexis lost by fall to Burgess (3:22) after two byes on the front, then pinned Kilian (3:45) and Johnson (:21) to make podium. Alexis would fall to Burgess, 6-0, in the fifth-place match.

220 — Palmetto Ridge’s Trillyon Fils-Aime (1st) bonus-pointed through the bracket, with pins over Springstead’s Kyle Curl (1:06) and Ft Walton Beach’s Kaleb Williams (7th; :42, semis) then shut out Lake Gibson’s Tristan Middlebrook (6th), 10-0, in the title match. Middlebrook had wins over Columbia’s Jesse Braden (pin in 1:23), a 4-3 decision over Ft Myers’ Ethan Carr (5th) and a 10-1 major over Ft Pierce Central’s Gabriel Jacas in the semis. Fletcher’s Ethan Hollenbach (4th) was fourth and Williams was fifth. Hollenbach fell to Jacas, 7-6, in the rd of 16 on the front, but then took four max-point wins on the back to reach the third-place match. Aftera forfeit, Hollenbach pinned Tampa Freedom’s Trent Familik (3:20), Curl (2:25), Jacas in a rematch (2:04 in the consi semis) before falling to Carr, 8-2, in the third-place match. Williams had front-side pins over Leesburg’s Jeffer Johnson (:23) and Familik (1:14); after the loss to Fils-Aime, Williams lost by fall to Carr (1:51), rallying for a fifth-place win by fall over Jacas (4:30).

285 — Lakeland’s Willie Lampkin (1st) pinned his way into the final, with falls over Fletcher’s Toby Matson (2:37), Ft Myers’ Javarius Brown (2:31) and Tenoroc’s Kavion Gandy (17th-1A; :24, semis), then turned back Sunlake’s Cayman Wiseman (8th), 6-4, in the final championship match of the day. Wiseman also pinned his way into the finals, with falls over Lake Gibson’s Jeremy McQueen (1:26), Pasco’s Jorge Rubio (1:23) and Lincoln’s Tyler Moss (11th; 2:45, semis). Moss came back for third, while Columbia’s Jaycob Jones (15th) was fifth. Moss had front-side pins over Leesburg’s Jordan Willie (:131) and Palmetto Ridge’s David Henry (:11); after the loss to Wiseman, Moss pinned Jones (3:00) in the consi semis and Gandy in 1:12 for third. Jones falled Ft Walton Beach’s Spencer Mackenzie in :30, then lost by fall in the quarters to Gandy (1:24); he then pinned McQueen (:26) and decisioned Brown, 7-3, to make podium, with a 7-3 loss to Henry in the fifth-place match.

Complete brackets for the tournament can be found HERE.

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