ORLANDO — Several members of Apopka’s varsity lineup spent the summer in high-level offseason work.
That work saw some payoff Saturday for the Blue Darters, as Apopka won the first of 12 Region 1 district dual titles at Evans dominating the 3A-District 4 field behind wins over the hosts (78-3), Ocoee (54-27) and Windermere (56-22).
Apopka will face the District 3 runnerup in a Region 1 quarterfinal round at the District 3 champion’s home gym on January 13. Two wins there, and the Blue Darters can contend for a first Region 1 title at the first day of the FHSAA state dual tournament, set for January 21-22 at Osceola.
Windermere, engaging in its first duals tournament — only the Blue Darters had had prior duals this season before Saturday, at least among district competition — pushed past Dr Phillips (51-27) and Olympia (53-24) to reach the final.
When the Titans won twice in the consi bracket to claim third place, that clinched the runnerup position in favor of the Wolverines, who’ll also advance to Region 1 duals. Windermere will face the District 3 champ in a quarterfinal round on January 13.
But Saturday belonged to Apopka (6-2 in duals for the season), who had six wrestlers go 3-0 on the day.
Ransom Randolph (160/170) and Ralph Sanchez (220) both had three pins for the Blue Darters; they were joined as max-pointers by Tamarion Kendrick (120, 2 pins), Jalen Moliere (126, 2 pins) and Sebastian Olivencia-Grafals (132, pin).
Rocco Vargas (138, 2 pins & major) bonus-pointed through the tournament, while Shelby Sherman (113, pin) was 2-0. Bonosky Fidel (145/152, 2 pins), Matthew Rincon (145/152, pin) and Tanner Reynolds (285, 2 pins) were all 2-1 for Apopka.
The Blue Darters will be at Lyman’s Bill Scott Memorial tournament on Friday & Saturday.
Here’s a look at the rest of the district field (West Orange did not compete):
Windermere (2-1 for season & event): Leading the charge at 3-0 for the Wolverines were Jerry Vargas (152, 2 pins), the team’s only max-pointer, and Kurt Vollenweider (182, pin, tech & major), who bonus-pointed through each round.
Franco Bustamante (106, pin), Lucas Drone (126/132, pin), Tyler Drone (145, 2 pins), Jeryl Lewis (160/170, 2 pins) and Nicholas Cabrera (195, 2 pins) each were 2-1 on the day for Windermere.
The Wolverines will join Apopka at Lyman on Friday.
Olympia (2-1 for season & event): After a bye into the semis followed by the loss to Windermere, the Titans bouned back with wins over Evans (42-24) and Ocoee (36-32).
Gabriel Cuellar (182/195) pinned his way through the tournament, three falls in all, and was joined as an unbeaten by Donnell (DJ) McCray (220, pin & decision). Tyson Wilson (106, pin), Brae White (120/126, pin), Roland Flynn (126/132), Madden Bourst (138, pin & decision) and Ethan Rivera-Mendez (152/160, 2 pins) all were 2-1 for Olympia.
The Titans next compete at East River’s Under the Lights two-day IBT on Friday.
Ocoee (2-2 for season as known & event): On the front side of the bracket, the Knights took down Wekiva, 58-9; in the consis, Ocoee defeated Dr Phillips, 54-27, before losing to Olympia to place fourth.
No Ocoee wrestlers finished the day unbeaten while competing in more than two matches, but seven were 3-1, including: Nazzio Huyler (106, 2 pins); Nathan Ramirez (120, 2 pins); Wayne Brady (126, decision); Eric Gilreath (160/170, pin); Ethan Smith (182, 3 pins); Grover White (195, 3 pins) and Deandre Scott (285, 3 pins).
Matmen does not have a schedule for the Knights, so a next event could not be determined at this writing.
Evans (1-2 for season & event): The hosts came back from the quarterfinal loss to Apopka by taking a 36-12 win over Wekiva in a consi pigtail match before falling to Olympia.
Tyran Schanck (145, 2 pins & decision) was 3-0 for the Trojans, while Brad Sinaman (160, pin) chipped in a 2-1 day for Evans.
Next up for the Trojans is a trip to Harmony’s Longhorn Classic, a two-day duals event that starts on Friday.
Dr Phillips (0-2 for season & event): In their losses to Windermere and Ocoee, the Panthers suited up 17 different wrestlers on the day.
Ezequell Morales (132, pin) and Jamsheed Gafur (138, 2 decisions) both were 2-0 for Dr Phillips.
The Panthers will have an away dual at Lake Howell on Wednesday night.
Wekiva (0-2 for season & event): A short-handed Mustang group saw four individual victories on the night, including two wins in contested matches. No Wekiva wrestler was 2-0.
The Mustangs will join Olympia at East River for the Under the Lights IBT on Friday.
You can see complete box scores for this tournament HERE.