NEPTUNE BEACH — The rule of thumb of late in the Gateway Conference two-day IBT seems to be this: Watch out for the team lurking in second place. Particularly the team clad in purple.
After trailing first-day leader Mandarin by a half-point after first-day wrestling on Friday, defending Gateway champion Fletcher poured on the momentum in taking its second straight conference title on Saturday.
The Senators won five weight-class titles and had all but one wrestler, that competed over the weekend, finish in the top four in their respective weight classes, pushing past Mandarin, 222.5-160.5, for a successful defense of “the island” and their 2020 conference title.
“Everyone wrestled pretty well; up to their potentials, a lot of them did. It’s only our second tournament, but people are learning how to get through things and now, hopefully, we can set up for defense of our district title,” Fletcher coach Paul Schloth said, noting that the wrestling win kept the Senators’ hopes in good stead for a conference all-sports top spot.
Mandarin — which had just one dual in December — might have been a surprise to some (note: not to us) in holding second, with a 44.5-point cushion over a team that was a surprise to us in third, as First Coast emerged third with 116 points.
The Mustangs had one champion and saw nine top-four finishes on the weekend, while the Buccaneers placed seven in the top four.
Robert E Lee held off Wolfson and Raines for fourth, with 103.5 points, with the Wolfpack taking fifth (89) and Vikings sixth (83). Lee had two champions and five placers, while Wolfson also had five placers. Raines had four placers, but three of those four won weight-class championships.
Englewood (77 points, 2 champs) was seventh, followed by Westside (66.5, 1 champ), Atlantic Coast (43), Terry Parker (39), Paxon (24.5), Ed White (17) and Ribault (16). Baldwin and Stanton had participants, but no team points. Sandalwood could not compete this year.
Complete team scores and brackets can be found HERE.
106 — Ana Bradshaw (Fletcher) p. Logan Emanuel (Mandarin), :48.
113 — De’Quon King (Raines) p. Nathan Bremer (Mandarin), 3:39.
120 — Jamal Burkes (Robert E Lee) p. Devin Foster (Mandarin), 1:35.
126 — Ryden Ashmore (Fletcher) p. Andrew Harbin (Wolfson), 2:54.
132 — Jameel Smith (Mandarin) p. Max Lewallen (Wolfson), 3:14.
138 — Lynden North (Englewood) d. Kaden Solomon (Fletcher), 6-3.
145 — Gabe Daltro (Fletcher) p. Myles Nicco (First Coast), 1:16.
152 — Joel Rodriguez (Fletcher) md. Josiah Mossor (First Coast), 11-2.
160 — Ahmahd Denmark (Robert E Lee) p. Christopher Strong (Fletcher), 3:11.
170 — Raynarde Thomas (Raines) p. Michael Dramis (Paxon), 2:34.
182 — Darryl Sam (Englewood) p. Grant Authelet (Wolfson), :41.
195 — Jamari Watson (Raines) p. Jeremy Porter (Robert E Lee), 3:57.
220 — Ethan Hollenbach (Fletcher) d. Craig Harper (Robert E Lee), 9-2.
285 — Ray Bolden (Westside) p. Toby Matson (Fletcher), 3:55.
THE GATEWAY ACES
106 — Bradshaw had one pin on Friday and one Saturday in taking her second Gateway title (she was fourth at 106 in 2018), with first-period falls over wrestlers from Raines and Mandarin, as well as a second-day forfeit.
113 — King pinned his way through the field, needing 4:55 to collect his third conference title (we’ve sent out an inquiry to find out who the last four-time Gateway champion was and when it happened). King had falls over Westside and Robert E Lee prior to the final.
120 — Burkes won his first title (was the runnerup at 113 last year), teching or pinning through the bracket. Prior to the final, Burkes teched the third-place wrestler from Fletcher (17-1 in 4:11) and had a 52-second fall over Terry Parker in the semis.
126 — Ashmore won his first title (was 0-2 a year ago) with three max-point wins. In addition to his pin in the finals, Ashmore won by injury-default over a teammate in the semis and won by pin over Mandarin in the quarters.
132 — Smith won his first title in first Gateway appearance, with four pins on the weekend. Prior to the finals, Smith won by fall over wrestlers from Englewood, Robert E Lee and then Fletcher in the semifinals.
138 — North reached the final for the third time, winning his second title (won at 132 last year, 2nd at 138 in 2019) and had three pins prior to his decision in the title match. North won by fall on Friday over Mandarin and Terry Parker wrestlers, with a third-period semifinal pin over First Coast on Saturday.
145 — Daltro became a four-time placer on Saturday, taking his second title (3rd at 113 in 2018, 4th at 129 in 2019, won last year at 126). Before his fall in the title round, Daltro had a bye into the quarters, then took pins over Robert E Lee and Englewood wrestlers.
152 — Rodriguez became a three-time placer (3rd at 170 in 2019) and two-time champ in knocking off a fellow 2020 conference champ in the final. Before the final, Rodriguez had a bye into the quarters, then had a tech fall (18-3 in 2:51) over the third-place Atlantic Coast finisher and a fall over the fourth-place Mandarin wrestler.
160 — Denmark pinned his way through the tournament in winning a Gateway title for the third time. Prior to the championship round, Denmark had pins over wrestlers from Baldwin and Atlantic Coast to get to the final.
170 — In competing at 170 in conference for the fourth time, Thomas reached the final for the third time and won for the second time, pinning his way through the draw. Thomas had first-period pins over wrestlers from Ribault and Wolfson prior to the finals round.
182 — Sam won his first Gateway title and second place finish (was 3rd last year), also pinning his way through the bracket. Sam had pins over wrestlers from Stanton and Westside prior to the championship match.
195 — Watson won his second conference bracket after finishing a match short of a top-four finish in 2019, with three pins in three rounds. Before the finals, Watson had a bye into the quarters and then falls over wrestlers from Paxon and Fletcher.
220 — Hollenbach became a Gateway 3xer in three trips on Saturday for the Senators. Before his decision victory in the final, Hollenbach had a bye into the semis, then won by fall in 26 seconds over Mandarin in that round.
285 — In his fourth Gateway attempt, Bolden won his first title after not placing in 2018 and taking second in both 2019 and 2020. Prior to the final, Bolden had a bye into the quarters, then pinned wrestlers from Terry Parker and Ribault to reach the championship match.