COLUMBUS, GA — Two north Floridians earned automatic qualifying berths for Super32 by finishing second in their weight classes Saturday at the Convention & Trade Center.
Mosley senior Nick Hejke (145) and Ponte Vedra freshman Erin Rizzuto (108) both took runnerup finishes in their weight classes at the GA Super32 Early Entry event. Florida’s early entry event starts next weekend at Osceola.
Although Hejke came in as a two-time FL state placer (5th in 2A for the Dolphins last year), he was unseeded in the tournament. Unfazed, he began his journey to the final with a 5-0 decision over #6 seed Cullen Kane of Teknique, a Georgia 6A 3rd at state in February. Hejke then edged Oso Sports’ Mario Bolivar, 2-1, getting out from bottom in the ultimate tiebreaker for a round-of-16 win. In the quarters, Hejke rolled early against Greenbrier (GA)’s Boston McDermott, with takedowns every period en route to an 11-0 major.
That set up a matchup with 2 seed and Georgia 5A runnerup Tyler McKnight of Cass HS in the semis; there, Hejke made a late first-period takedown stand up for a 2-1 win. In the championship match against Warrior WC (ALA)’s Melton Powe, the wrestlers traded takedowns, but Hejke couldn’t get out from bottom in the third period, allowing Powe to escape with a 3-2 win.
Rizzuto ran into one of the Southeast’s top female lower-weight freestyle wrestlers in Enterprise (ALA)’s Evelyn Holmes-Smith, the eventual champ at 108 (she also won the 103 weight class), falling by superior victory (12-2 in 2:21).
But Rizzuto would rally at a time she needed it most against Lumpkin County (GA)’s Chloe Carver. In a wild first period that saw Carver take leads of 7-0 and 8-3 before Rizzuto scored four straight points and then securing a fall in 2:07 for the runnerup finish.
There weren’t many Floridians in the tournament, but you can view full brackets HERE.