ORANGE PARK — An 8-way became a 6-way, became a five-way Wednesday night.
But despite the topsy-turviness of the events immediately leading up to the 2020-21 wrestling season, it’s begun, and most locally to Jacksonville began Wednesday night at Orange Park.
The evening saw Creekside and New Smyrna Beach establish themselves as the teams to beat, and the Knights and Barracudas had a pretty exciting dual in the night’s final round before Creekside escaped with a 39-37 victory to go 4-0 on the night.
“We started off slow but told the kids to finish strong and that’s what they did,” Knights coach Rick Marabell said. “Just happy to be here.
“We’re working stuff we asked them to do in the room and that’s what makes me happy. As long as we’re improving and finding ways to win, that’s most important.”
Creekside had earlier wins over Middleburg (51-27), Oakleaf (48-29) and Orange Park (60-21).
New Smyrna Beach opened its night with wins over Middleburg (76-6), Orange Park (72-7) and Oakleaf (47-33) before falling to the Knights.
“We expected to be better,” Barracudas coach Kevin Kehoe said. “Our bottom work was a lot better, but some kids have the same old same problems. Guys do too much thinking. Maybe we need to narrow down what kids do well. We missed some opportunities with our front headlocks, but that’s a solid team (Creekside) with good wrestlers.”
Oakleaf rallied toward a 2-2 night with wins over Middleburg (42-24) and Orange Park (66-12) in the final round of the night. The Broncos took a 48-24 win over the host Raiders in their final round and were the first team to complete wrestling.
Results from the night can be found HERE.
Creekside will be at Matanzas’ one-day duals tournament on Saturday, while New Smyrna Beach will be at University (Orange City)’s Clash of the Titans IBT on Saturday. Oakleaf and Middleburg are off until December 9, when they will meet at Middleburg for a single dual, while Orange Park goes to Ridgeview’s Panther Prowl two-day duals tournament on Friday.
THE ACES OF THE DAY
Creekside: Senior Bryan Fortay (182) was one of three “max-pointers” (scoring 6 dual team points in each dual) on the night for the St Johns Knights. Fortay was one of two Creeksiders with four pins, with his fall against New Smyrna Beach securing the final dual win in the Knights’ favor.
New Smyrna Beach: Freshman Simjay Engberg (106) was one of four max-pointers for the Barracudas, and one of seven unbeatens, pinning his way through the group in his first high school experience, with falls against Oakleaf, Orange Park, Middleburg and Creekside in succession.
Oakleaf: Sophomore Jordan Mitchell dominated the 285 group, going 4-0 with three pins for a max-point night for the Clay Knights. Mitchell had falls against New Smyrna Beach, Creekside and Orange Park heavies as one of four Knight wrestlers that was 4-0 on the night.
Middleburg: Freshman Tucker Cody (182) had his first high school experience be a good one, going 2-0 for the Broncos in part-time mode at the top end of the Middleburg lineup, with a decision in the Oakleaf dual and a fall against Orange Park.
Orange Park: Although the Raider goal was to spread out mat time, limiting most of the more-experienced kids to two matches, sophomore Trevion Sermons (160) had a major against New Smyrna Beach and hard-fought decision win over Creekside in his two appearances on the mat.