ORANGE PARK — Bishop Kenny’s focus is on returning to the top of its district standings.
And while December tournaments like last weekend’s Panther Prowl are not the priority that districts are, the Crusaders still recognize the building-block potential that performances like a 6-0 weekend create.
“It’s definitely a test to see where we are, and we’re focusing on our stuff to get better. We don’t want to get complacement, we want to be hungry, but overall, I’m really proud of our team,” BKHS coach Nick Tillem said.
The Crusaders, who were second at last year’s Panther Prowl at Ridgeview, climbed up a spot this year, running the table at 6-0, with Friday wins over Bolles (48-21), Wewahitchka (69-0) and Baker Cty (60-15), coming back to knock off the host Panthers (42-39) and Orange Park (39-33) before rolling past a second BKHS group, 63-0.
“They’ve been training their hearts out,” Tillem said. “But they’ve tempered their expectations with reality. With them, it’s either they’re winning or they’re learning.”
Of the 11 starters for Bishop Kenny, 10 had four wins or more on the weekend, with seven taking at least five and three going 6-0.
Host Ridgeview was 5-1 and took runnerup honors after finishing fourth a year ago. On Friday, the Panthers got out to a 3-0 start, with wins over Orange Park (42-39), Baker Cty (60-24) and the Kenny second group (72-6). After the loss to the Crusaders to start Saturday, Ridgeview rallied for wins over Bolles (54-15) and Wewahitchka (54-24).
The Panthers had 10 wrestlers with better than .500 records that saw a majority of matches, with four unbeatens and three of those four “max-pointers,” scoring 6 team points in every dual contested.
Orange Park duplicated last year’s third-place finish, rallying from a tough start midweek at their own event with a 4-2 record. The Raiders had Friday wins over Bolles (42-24) and Baker Cty (48-24), with Saturday wins over the Kenny second group (60-6) and Wewahitchka (45-24).
There was an effective three-way tie between Bolles, Wewa and Baker, with all three teams posting 2-4 weekend records, and each taking one win against the other. Each had wins over the Kenny second group — Baker 30-18, Bolles 29-0 and the Gators 30-24. Wewahitchka won by a 36-33 count over the Wildcats, who in turn defeated Bolles, 30-24. The Bulldogs then knocked off the Gators, 30-12.
Baker Cty had eight kids in the lineup, with six going .500 or better. Of those, three had five wins and one was 6-0. The Gators brought their noise back after a couple of seasons with just three or four kids in the lineup, and mix-and-matched their lineup to get a considerable girls’ component mat time, so no Wewa wrestler finished with more than three wins. Bolles had six wrestlers in the lineup (just five on Saturday), but four had .500-or-better records and two Bulldogs were 6-0.
All-tournament selections were made on the basis of individual performances throughout the weekend, with coaches voting on Outstanding Wrestler awards for lowers, middles and uppers:
106: Orange Park’s Ryder Pimienta was 5-1 at 106/113, with his only loss a weight class up to the all-tournament pick at that weight. Pimienta had 5 pins otherwise.
113: Bolles’ Jacob Witt was 6-0 on the weekend with three pins and a decision.
120: Orange Park’s Davon Bailey bonus-pointed throughout the weekend, going 6-0 with 3 pins and a major.
126: Bishop Kenny’s Jack Raynor was 6-0, with three pins and two decisions.
132: Ridgeview lower-weight OW Matthew Rodriquez was one of only two wrestlers in the tournament to get six pins on the weekend, with one appearance at 138.
138: Ridgeview’s Ian Finnorn was 5-0 at 138/145, with four pins over the course of the weekend.
145: Bishop Kenny’s Roberto Cuartero had three appearances at 145 on Friday, all wins by pin, then wrestled at 152 or 160 on Saturday. Like Rodriquez, Cuartero was 6-0 with six pins.
152: Bolles’ Tyson Riley, the middle-weight OW, nearly joined Rodriquez and Cuartero on the six-pin list, going 6-0 with five pins and a tech, with one pin at 160.
160: Orange Park’s Trevion Sermons was 5-1, with his only loss to Riley. Sermons had two pins and a tech.
170: Bishop Kenny’s Paul Barakat max-pointed through the weekend, with three pins, in going 6-0.
182: Like Barakat and a few others, Baker Cty’s Clayton Dennison was a max-pointer, with two pins on a 6-0 weekend.
195: Ridgeview’s Ray Delong was the all-tournament choice. The Panthers were 5-1 at the weight class over the course of the weekend.
220: Ridgeview’s Kennan Wilder was 6-0 and a max-pointer, with one pin on the weekend.
285: Upper-weight OW Derrick Mosley of Ridgeview also was a max-pointer, with three pins.
Scoresheets for all 21 duals contested over the weekend can be found HERE.