KISSIMMEE — The paths that Bartram Trail junior Ethan Vugman and seniors Cayden Bevis (Lincoln 195) and Garrett Tyre (Clay 220) took, as each placed third in their respective weight classes at the Knockout Christmas Classic, somewhat different paths.
Vugman, wrestling at 120 for the Bears, was Region 1’s only semifinalist in the tournament, while Bevis had to fight his way deeper out of the 195 consis for the Trojans, but ultimately got the satisfaction of beating the only wrestler to beat him, in the two-day IBT hosted by Osceola.
Vugman dominated his Monday opponents, with three pins and a tech, but learned how those opponents felt in the semis against multiple-time Georgia state champ Cole Hunt of Cass, the eventual Knockout champ, who handled things without much incident in a 15-2 major over Vugman.
But Vugman bounced back, as he so often does, opening with an 8-2 consi-semi win over a highly-regarded Buford (GA) freshman, then, after a scoreless first period against Jensen Beach’s Ryan Mooney, rolled up two reversals and a 3-point turn, which helped build a 9-4 decision win.
Bevis, who’d fallen by a 6-3 count in the quarters to Hewitt-Trussville’s Hunter Jones Monday night, had to win twice just to make podium, with a pin (2:50) over Ft Myers’ Coleman and 8-1 decision over Thompson AL.
But Bevis was not done yet. He hammered Woodland, Cartersville’s Charles Higdon, 15-7 in the consi semis, and that got him a rematch with Jones in the third-place match. That rematch at first looked like how the quarter finished, with Jones securing first takedown. But that takedown would be all he would get, as Bevis escaped twice (once in the second period and again in the third), and picked up a takedown of his own with 48 seconds left, using it to hold on for a 4-2 revenge win.
Tyre, like Bevis, fell in the quarters Monday night, but he would not get a revenge match, as his quarterfinal opponent, from Jefferson (GA), reached the final. But he also made podium out of consi round 6, with a pin (1:56) and 5-2 blood-round win over SW Miami’s Jonathan Fraga.
After that, Tyre overcame two more wrestlers with decisions, taking down Paducah Tilghman (KY)’s Uriah Virzi, 5-2, in the consi semis. That set up a third-place match with Ft Myers’ Morvens Saint Jean, and a very tight match ensued — for the most part — as it was 1-1 with less than 30 seconds to go until Tyre hit a 5-point move to push out to a 6-1 win and third.
The trio of third-placers weren’t the only Region 1 placers in the tournament, as Hagerty’s Ethan Gomez (170) and Clay’s Dominic Martin (182) both took 6ths.
After a 13-3 quarterfinal loss to eventual champ Frank Solorzano of Lake Gibson on Monday, Gomez secured his podium space with two consi-side wins, including a fall over Osceola’s George Duncan (1:35), but then fell in the consi semis and again by a 5-1 count to Winter Springs’ Davis Deal in the fifth-place match.
Martin, who’d lost by fall in the quarters Monday to the eventual 3rd from North Hall (GA), battled through to two wins in the consis, including a 4-2 blood-round win over Barron Collier’s Jeremy Urena, to secure his medal, but then took a hard-fought 3-1 loss to AH-Delray’s Joseph Nicolosi in the consi semis and lost by fall in the fifth-place match to Jesuit’s Josiah Jenkins.
Here’s a thumbnail look at the top second-day performer in the coverage area at each weight (not otherwise represented by a placer listed above), where applicable, and how they fared Tuesday:
132: Buchholz’s Venumadhava Mirel reached the blood round, where he took a 5-1 loss to the eventual 3rd.
145: Buchholz’s Aiden Moore, like Mirel, was 1-1 Tuesday, with a 2-0 loss in round 6 to a fellow non-placer.
152: Hagerty’s Blake Watts lost his only match of the day in round 5, 4-0, to a fellow non-placer.
285: Lincoln’s Nic Weaver lost his only match of the day in round 5, 4-2, to a fellow non-placer.
Team-wise, Clay was 24th as the top team in the coverage area, with 67.5 points. Flagler Palm Coast (41st) and Hagerty (T-42nd) were a half-point apart, with 37.5 and 37 points, respectively. Lincoln was 45th, with 35 points, while Bartram Trail was 49th (27.5), Buchholz T-50th (27) and New Smyrna Beach T-54th (23). Tampa Jesuit won the title with 208.5 points, with Florida teams Lake Gibson (3rd, 138.5), Palmetto Ridge (4th, 136.5), South Dade (5th, 126.5) and Charlotte (7th, 116) all in the top seven.
Complete team scores and brackets can be found HERE.