JACKSONVILLE — Fletcher is still figuring out what it might be as a wrestling team.
Ponte Vedra knows how much work it still has to do even after accomplishing a program milestone.
For seven of the eight 2A-District 3 teams, Monday’s district duals tournament at Stanton served as the first larger tournament experience those teams have had in 2020-21.
And the Senators (7-2 in duals for the season) were able to defend their district championship, with wins in succession over Terry Parker (66-7), Robert E Lee (56-21) and Ponte Vedra (64-18) to win their second district crown.
“It feels extremely early, because we’re not tournament-tested,” Fletcher coach Paul Schloth said. “Now we need to keep everybody safe so there’s no two-week shutdown. Part of me says we need tournaments to get sharp, and the dad in me says keep the kids safe. So it’s a balance.
“We had our best week of practice over break. They all wanted to be there, they all wanted to win.”
Fletcher got three wins each from Ana Bradshaw (106, pin over Ponte Vedra), Ryden Ashmore (126, 3 pins), Gabe Daltro (145, 3 pins), Ryan Klein (182/195, pins over Terry Parker & Robert E Lee, decision over Ponte Vedra), Ethan Hollenbach (220, pins over Robert E Lee & Ponte Vedra) and Toby Matson (285, pins over Terry Parker & Ponte Vedra, decision over Robert E Lee).
Additionally, Jimi Baur (113), Cole O’Brien (120), Josh Daltro (132/138), Joel Rodriguez (160) and Christopher Strong (170) were all 2-1 for the Senators.
Ponte Vedra (2-6 for the season) reached the final behind wins over First Coast (48-33) and Westside (60-24), qualifying for the 2A-Region 1 round for the first time.
“We’ve got a lot of improving to do,” Ponte Vedra coach Josean Gonzalez said.
“Our inexperience definitely shows against tougher opponents like Fletcher and some of our nearby teams, so we need a lot of work. But with this crew, we can definitely improve.”
The Sharks will face the District 4 champ at the District 4 champ’s home gym on January 14, while Fletcher will take on the District 4 runnerup. Those two spaces will be decided at Matanzas on Saturday.
Ponte Vedra got three wins from Rett Maritato (170, pins over First Coast & Fletcher) and Zachary Underwood (182, 3 pins)
Lucas Kirkman (106), Julian Villegas (120), Grady Dolan (138), Cyrus Ferraro (145) and Joseph Skinner (160) all were 2-1 for the Sharks.
Robert E Lee (2-4) and Westside (4-2) reached the semis behind quarterfinal wins over Englewood (48-21) and Stanton (48-24), respectively.
Ricky Hicks (113), Jamal Burkes (120) and Ahmahd Denmark (160) were each double winners for the Generals, while Jacare Johnson (126), Elijah Williams (220) and Ray Bolden (285) each won twice for the Wolverines.
Consi-side action for one round was wrestled out as well, to give all eight teams — many of them starved for tournament action — a second dual. In that round, Englewood (3-3) took down First Coast (3-3), 42-24, while Terry Parker (1-4) defeated the host Blue Devils (1-4), 42-18.
The Rams had three double-winners in Lynden North (138), Darryl Sam (182) and Sam Howard (195), while Jace Austin (132) and Josiah Mossor (152) both won twice for First Coast. Benny Lewis (170) was the Braves’ lone double-winner, while Elias Spurlin (106), Matthew Mock (138) and Grant Kelsey (160) all won twice for Stanton.
Complete results for the night can be found, after some scrolling, HERE.
Half of Monday’s tournament field (Westside, Englewood & Stanton) will reconvene at Robert E Lee on Saturday for the USMC IBT. Fletcher and Ponte Vedra will go to Fleming Island’s Keystone Memorial on Friday and Saturday, while First Coast and Terry Parker will go to Yulee for the Joe Bees Memorial Battle of the Border on Friday and Saturday.