#Rotary: Blue Devils Defend Gym, Win Title

Clay wrestlers with the Rotary championship trophy won on Saturday afternoon (Photo submitted via team Facebook page; check out our action photos from Saturday’s wrestling at the Matmen Instagram page, nflamatmen).

GREEN COVE SPRINGS — The Clay Rotary has typically marked the end of IBT tournaments in the regular season, at least in the greater Jacksonville area.

And while this year’s Rotary event had neither the size (20 teams a little more than half the size of a standard field) nor, looking objectively, the star power of prior years’ tournament fields, the weekend’s wrestling was quality enough to inspire more than a little gratitude.

“If that’s what it takes to compete, we’ll do it,” Clay coach Jim Reape said, noting his thanks for the Clay County administration, Clay County AD, principal and school AD, many of whom were in attendance, with even a nod of affirmation to state-level officials.

“All across the country, people are not competing. Haven’t competed all season. So that’s the first thing. But it’s different for sure.”

What was more or less the same, however, was Clay’s continued presence near the top of the Rotary field. The Blue Devils led pretty much wire-to-wire, rolling up 241.5 points, 67 ahead of runnerup Fletcher.

“We had three champs; felt pretty good about that for those guys, and we thought they could give us some. Clearly their game was very high. But we also got very important effort from guys further down our lineup, guys who are young in terms of experience. Kids competed hard,” Reape said.

As for Fletcher, the runnerup performance was the Senators’ highest finish at Rotary at least within the last eight years, if not ever.

Fletcher wrestlers and coaches with the Clay Rotary runnerup trophy won on Saturday (Photo by Shannon Heaton).

“Awesome awesome awesome. Fletcher has never done that (take a runnerup Rotary trophy),” Senators coach Paul Schloth said. “Our principal came and saw us. Everybody wrestled great. Hitting our stride. We’ll work to sharpen everything up before districts, but some of our victories today were amazing.”

Rounding out the top five teams in the tournament were Buchholz (168.5 points), Oakleaf (135.5) and The Villages (107).

Complete brackets from Saturday’s wrestling can be found HERE.

Team scores: 1. Clay 248.5. 2. Fletcher 181.5. 3. Buchholz 168.5. 4. Oakleaf 135.5. 5. The Villages 107. 6. Mosley 105. 7. Key West 96.5. 8. Middleburg 95. 9. Belleview 91. 10. Bolles 81. 11. Baker Cty 76. 12. South Walton 65.5. 13. Bishop Kenny 56.5. 14. (tie) Palatka & Robert E Lee 52. 16. (tie) Union Cty & University Christian 46. 18. Ponte Vedra 41. 19. Westside 24. 20. Ribault 5.
Championship matches —
106: Jayce Paridon (University Christian) p. Cavarius Liddie (Buchholz), 4:30.
113: Maverick Rainwater (Clay) md. Ryan Mayer (Bishop Kenny), 10-2. 120: Kevin Gilley (Oakleaf) p. Cole O’Brien (Fletcher), 3:40.
126: Marcus McGee (Oakleaf) d. Venumadhava Mirel (Buchholz), 3-2.
132: Brandon Lewis (Palatka) p. Logan Gilbert (Oakleaf), 5:26.
138: Luke Boree (Clay) d. Timothy Bowen (Buchholz), 3-1.
145: Nick Hejke (Mosley) d. Aiden Moore (Buchholz), 4-1.
152: Joel Rodriguez (Fletcher) d. Dominic Martin (Clay), 7-4.
160: Cale Hoskinson (Clay) d. Ahmahd Denmark (Robert E Lee), 4-2, SV.
170: Rett Maritato (Ponte Vedra) d. Chase Maddox (South Walton), 8-5.
182: Conner South (Baker Cty) md. Ryan Klein (Fletcher), 11-3.
195: Jason Martin (Buchholz) d. Lewicki (Key West), 5-2.
220: Jack Pyburn (Bolles) p. Ryan (Key West), 2:33.
285: Toby Matson (Fletcher) d. Ethan Daniels (Clay), 3-2.

106: Paridon didn’t give up a single point all weekend, with four pins over wrestlers from Baker Cty (rd of 16), Bishop Kenny (quarters) and fourth-place Middleburg (semis) prior to his fall in the final over Buchholz.
113: Rainwater had a bye into the quarters and then bonus-pointed through the bracket, with a Friday fall in the quarters over Fletcher, followed by a third-period tech fall (16-1 in 4:42) over fifth-place Middleburg before his major in the final.
120: Gilley pinned his way through the weekend, with falls over Middleburg (round of 16), Bolles (quarters) and fourth-place Clay (semis) before the win by fall in the final.
126: Prior to his late scoring move to win the title, McGee had teched his way through the bracket, with wins over sixth-place Baker Cty (rd of 16), Mosley (quarters) and fourth-place Fletcher in the semis.
132: Lewis’ late fall in the final was the highlight of the Panthers’ weekend, following three bonus-point wins. Lewis had Friday pins over fifth-place Belleview (rd of 16) and Middleburg (quarters) before an 11-0 major over fourth-place Clay in the semi.
138: Boree had a bye into the quarters, where he won by fall over Bishop Kenny. In Saturday’s rounds, prior to the final, Boree took a 10-2 major over third-place Villages.
145: Prior to his decision win for the bracket, Hejke had pinned his way through the field, with falls on Friday over Oakleaf (rd of 16) and fifth-place Clay (quarters), plus a third fall over third-place Fletcher on Saturday morning in the semi.
152: Like Hejke at 145, Rodriguez pinned his way through the weight class before his finals win, with falls on Friday over Belleview (rd of 16) and Westside (quarters), plus a Saturday pin over third-place University Christian in the semi.
160: After winning the marquee finals match of the weekend, which ended with a takedown in sudden victory, Hoskinson had begun the tournament with Friday pins over Middleburg (rd of 16) and Ribault (quarters), plus a win by forfeit in the semi.
170: Maritato won his final with superb mat wrestling, reaching that round with Friday pins over Union Cty (rd of 16) and fourth-place Key West (quarters), plus a 7-4 semifinal win over third-place Middleburg.
182: South bonus-pointed through the weekend, including his major in the final, with pins on Friday over Westside (rd of 16) and Bolles (quarters), plus a third pin over fifth-place Mosley in the semis.
195: After a bye into the quarters, and prior to his decision victory in the final, Martin took two pins in 2:03 of mat time, with a Friday fall over Villages (quarters) and Saturday pin over fifth-place Clay in the semi.
220: Aside from one of the better matches of the weekend in a 9-7 semifinal win over third-place Fletcher, Pyburn pounded through the bracket, with Friday pins over fifth-place Villages (rd of 16) and Key West (quarters), as well as in the final.
285: Matson bookended two max-point wins with a pair of decisions, winning 7-0 over Bishop Kenny (rd of 16) and by fall over South Walton (quarters) on Friday. Matson then received a walkover into the championship round on Saturday.

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