#Braves: Area Teams Kick Off Season

LAKELAND — Even after a pool loss, Apopka got a chance to take on 2A defending state duals champion Lake Gibson in the finals of the Braves’ one-day duals tournament on Saturday.

The Blue Darters fell in that round to the hosts, 50-27, but secured three earlier pool wins en route to a 3-2 day to kick off their competition as a Matmen-area team this year.

Apopka had dual victories over Celebration (57-22), Carrollwood Day (60-15) and Tenoroc (48-28), with a 42-33 loss to Venice in Pool B competition.

The Blue Darters had two unbeaten wrestlers on the day. At 220, Ralph Sanchez was a 5-0 max-pointer, scoring 6 team dual points in each round the team contested, with three pins.

David Bowerman was 4-0 at 195 for Apopka, with two pins. Also adding four victories in 4-1 days for the Blue Darters were Sebastian Olivencia-Grafals (126/132, pin), Bonosky Fidel (145/152, 3 pins), Ransom Randolph (160, 4 pins) and Tanner Reynolds (285, 3 pins).

Tamarion Kendrick (120, decision) and Matthew Rincon (145/152, pin & 2 decisions) were each 3-1 on the day, while Luis Rivera (182) contributed a 3-2 effort.

Here’s a look at the two other teams in the coverage area that competed on Saturday:

Columbia (2-2, 5th): In opening their season Saturday, the Tigers were 1-2 in Pool A, with a 48-30 win over Seminole, falling to Mitchell (42-36) and Lake Gibson (50-30). Columbia then rolled past Celebration, 54-29, in the fifth-place dual.

The Tigers had four unbeaten wrestlers, three of them max-pointers at 4-0. Jayden Thomas (126) and Shawn Raggins (220) both pinned their way through the day, with four pins apiece, while Jaycob Jones (285) collected three.

Joining them in leaving with no losses was Ethan Moore (195), who was 3-0 with a pin after not starting in the first pool dual.

Joseph Rice (170/182) added a 3-1 day, with three pins, with only a 13-6 loss to Lake Gibson’s multiple-time state champ, Brendon Abdon, marring a solid tournament. Rice also picked up his 100th career win in the course of the day Saturday.

Seminole (2-3, 9th/4th): The Noles, like Columbia, were beginning the season and finished 1-2 in Pool A, with a loss to Lake Gibson (57-21) as well as to the Tigers, but knocked off Mitchell, 48-26. After beating Carrollwood Day, 54-18, in the ninth-place dual, Seminole picked up a fifth dual by battling Venice in the third-place slot, falling, 48-28.

Three Noles were 4-1 on the day to lead the charge, including Benjamin Buhring (145/152, 2 pins & major); Robert Markey (152/160, 4 pins); and Jerome Johnson (285, 2 pins).

Ryan Culbertson (132, pin) contributed a 3-1 tournament and Noah Barbour (120, pin & win by DQ), Jeremiah Isaak (126, 2 pins), Abdelkrin Salomon (138, pin) and Desmond Harris (220, 2 pins & decision) all were 3-2 for Seminole.

The Noles are first back on the mat of the three area teams, traveling to Edgewater along with Lake Howell on Tuesday. Columbia makes a road trip to South Carolina for the Coastal Clash on Friday and Saturday, while Apopka will be at Evans for the 3A-District 4 duals tournament on Saturday.

Complete box scores (with a big assist from Brant at Kabra) from the day can be found HERE.


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