#3ADist1: Creekside Ends 2-Year Drought With Title

Creekside wrestlers and a couple of fans celebrate the Knights’ 3A-District 1 team title won Wednesday night at Oakleaf (Photo submitted by Rick Marabell via Facebook).

ORANGE PARK — The last time that Creekside won a district duals title, the St Johns Knights wound up appearing in the state semifinals.

Creekside’s seniors, freshmen back then, were part of a program that won the 2019 2A-District 4 title, then knocked off Lincoln to win the Region 1 title at Osceola.

The Knights haven’t been back to even the region level, let alone the state semis, since that 2019 run.

Perhaps hadn’t is now the better word, as Creekside rolled to double-digit wins over Bartram Trail (57-18) in the 3A-District 1 dual tournament semis and over host Oakleaf (45-26) in the championship dual.

Creekside (16-2 in duals for the season) will host two rounds of 3A-Region 1 action on January 13, with the St Johns Knights facing DeLand in one quarterfinal. Oakleaf (14-2 for the season), which had to run past Bartram Trail (48-36), in a true-2nd place dual in order to qualify for regions for the third straight year, will also be on hand and will face District 2 champ Flagler Palm Coast in another quarterfinal. The quarterfinal winners will then face off with a berth in the 3A-Region 1 final, scheduled for January 21st at Osceola, on the line.

In the final, Creekside spotted the first points to the hosts, but then went on a 21-0 run on pins from Eddie Craig (182), Eli Pagan (195) and Vincent Approbato (220), and held a double-digit lead the rest of the way.

Andrew Feeks (106), Colton Leavell (145) and Lee Leavell (152) went on to add pins for Creekside, which also got an 18-1 TF from Conner Wright at 120 and a 6-2 win from Justin Umali at 126. Oakleaf scored first with Roman Polinsky’s 9-0 major at 160 and pins from Jordan Mitchell (285), Angel Rodriguez (113) and Keon Barrientos (132), plus a 13-0 major from Marcus McGee at 138.

Six Creekside wrestlers were 2-0 in the tournament, with Lee Leavell, Pagan and Approbato each pinning twice. Craig was a 2-0 max-pointer, with Umali and Colton Leavell each recording one pin and one decision.

Creekside is at Yulee this weekend for the Joe Bees Memorial Battle of the Border tournament.

Here’s how the rest of the district fared on Wednesday:

Oakleaf (14-2 for season, 2-1 Wednesday): The Knights, who like Creekside had a bye into the semis, reached the final with a 42-39 win over Mandarin, but needed the bounce-back win to reach that third straight region berth.

Keon Barrientos (132) and Mitchell (285) both pinned their way through the day, with three pins each. Angel Rodriguez (106/113, 2 pins) was a 3-0 max-pointer, while Polinsky (160) bonus-pointed through the tournament, with two pins and a major.

Adrianna Barrientos (106/113) and McGee (138, pin & major) both contributed 2-1 tournament efforts for the Clay County Knights.

Oakleaf is at county rival Fleming Island’s Keystone Memorial this weekend.

Bartram Trail (11-4 for season, 3-2 Wednesday): As it turned out, the Bears faced every other team in the district that appeared Wednesday, with a quarterfinal win over Sandalwood (60-21) and consi-side victories over Nease (47-36) and Mandarin (37-33) before falling to Oakleaf in the true-2nd dual.

Bartram Trail had two unbeatens go 5-0, as both — Ethan Vugman (120/126) and John McNames (170) — collected five pins on the day.

Matthew Tayloe (145/152, pin & decision) was 4-1 in the tournament, while Preston Pena (145/152, pin & major), Aydan Nguyen (160, 2 pins & tech), Jacob George (195, 3 pins) and Shane Armstrong (220, 2 pins) all were 3-2 for the Bears.

Bartram Trail has joined Oakleaf at Fleming Island this weekend.

Mandarin (13-7 for season, 2-2 Wednesday). After a 42-36 quarterfinal win over Nease, the Mustangs rolled past Sandalwood, 60-21, to get to the third-place dual and Bartram.

Three 4-0 unbeatens paced Mandarin, with Jaelen Simmons (195) pinning his way through the day for four falls. Tony Carter (182, 3 pins) was a max-pointer, while Jameel Smith (138) picked up two pins and a decision.

DaMon Teague (126, 2 pins), Frank Kershaw (145, pin) and Adrian Rodriguez (170, 3 pins) all were 3-1 for the Mustangs.

Mandarin has joined Creekside at Yulee’s Joe Bees Memorial Battle of the Border this weekend.

Nease (12-7 for season, 0-2 Wednesday): The St Johns Panthers were T-5th on the day, but were competitive in both duals behind the strength of their lowers.

Jacob Lutz (152) had pins in both of Nease’s duals, while Jaiden Zajni (106, pin) and Jason Choi (113) both were max-pointers. Parker Stamschror (132, pin & decision) also was 2-0 on the day.

The Panthers are also at Fleming Island for Keystone Memorial this weekend.

Sandalwood (0-7 for season, 0-2 Wednesday): The Saints struggled against the upperweight strength they faced in their two duals, winning just one contested match (that by an injury default).

Adam Goodman (113) and Ben Peterson (138, pin & decision) were both 2-0 in the tournament for Sandalwood.

The Saints are also at Fleming Island for Keystone Memorial this weekend.

Box scores from the tournament can be found HERE. (No scrolling should be involved)

MISSING: If your team isn’t being written about as we move into the duals post-season and middle third of the regular season, it’s due to results gone missing. Go to our SCHEDULES page; if your team is listed as PENDING for a given event on a given day, I didn’t get results. I’ll still take them, at any time; coaches all have my work email.

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