#Gateway: Five Champs, 2nd Day Surge Pushes Fletcher

Fletcher wrestlers and coaches after a successful team defense of the Gateway Conference title Saturday at Sandalwood (Photo submitted by Joe Stetzer via Facebook).

JACKSONVILLE — Over the past few years particularly, some things haven’t changed too much.

For example, most of the weight-class champions won for the first time. De’Quon King won for the fourth time. And Fletcher rode a powerful second day to sweep to the team championship.

Those all happened Saturday at Sandalwood, as the Senators surged into the second-day lead early on, finishing the day with 190 points and five individual champions in a tournament with 11 first-time bracket winners.

Mandarin edged first-day leader Westside by a half-point, 147-146.5, for second, with the host Saints (110) and Ed White (82) rounding out the top five.

First Coast, with 77 points, was sixth followed by Raines (71.5), Englewood (67), Terry Parker (64.5), Paxon (60), Riverside (59), Wolfson (55), Stanton (48), Atlantic Coast (37) and Ribault (15).

Below follows a summary of the weekend —

106: Wolfson’s Tristian Martinez won his first Gateway title, bonus-pointing to the championship with a Friday pin (1:12) over Ed White’s Larissa Jones in the quarters and Saturday majors over Fletcher’s Landon Locantora (11-2) in the semis and over Westside’s Jacob Jackson, 15-7, for the championship. Jackson scored first, with a quick turn, and led through the first two periods, but Martinez rang up 10 points in the third to rally back for the win. Jackson had a bye into the semis, where he pinned Paxon’s Louis Eckels (1:28). Locantora (front-side pin) added two more falls in the consis for third, pinning Raines’ Shanise West (3rd last year) in 1:36 in the match for third and fourth. Other than West, all three placers medaled in conference for the first time.

113: Fletcher’s Jimi Baur won his first title, pinning through two rounds Saturday after a bye into the semis. Baur pinned Atlantic Coast’s ArJun Lamba (1:19) in that round, then came back with a 53-second fall over Stanton’s Nathaniel Burns for the title. Although Burns scored first and did get a quick turn, Baur reversed out from that, going on to secure the fall. Burns reached the final with an 18-second semifinal pin over Sandalwood’s Adam Goodman, who came back for third with a pin (2:10) over Lamba. All four placers medaled in conference for the first time.

120: King completed his Gateway career with a 12-0 record and 11 bonus-point wins, with two pins and an 11-3 major over Fletcher’s Ryden Ashmore, last year’s champion (at 126) in the final this year. King, as he so often does, won the match on his feet, recording five takedowns in the match, including two in both the second and third periods. Combined with earlier pins in the quarters over Ed White’s Aaron Jones (1:14) and semis over Sandalwood’s Justin Robinson (1:59), the finals win marked him as the first four-time Gateway winner in our website’s history and first in Raines wrestling history. Ashmore reached the final with a quarterfinal TF (19-4 in 3:15) over Riverside’s King Taylor and a semifinal pin (5:20) over Stanton’s Elias Spurlin. Spurlin came back for third with an injury-default win and pin for third place (3:38) over Robinson. It was Spurlin’s and Robinson’s first Gateway medals.

126: After finishing third in the weight class last year, Fletcher’s Cole O’Brien pinned his way through the bracket to win the title, with pins over Ed White’s Dawain Mobley (1:23, quarters), Terry Parker’s Chris Wright (1:53, semis) and Westside’s Jacare Johnson (2:14) in the championship. O’Brien scored first takedown in the first period, reversing out from bottom and securing Johnson in a turn and fall for the title. Johnson, a three-time placer (2nd at 113 in 2019, 3rd at 120 in 2020) reached the final behind a quarterfinal TF over Stanton’s Jose Toledo (16-0 in 6 minutes) and a 39-second semifinal pin over Sandalwood’s Ricky Hicks. Mandarin’s Devin Foster (runnerup at 120 last year) was third after a quarterfinal loss to Wright, won three times in the consis to wrestle back to third, with a pin over Wright (first-time Gateway medalist) in 2:51.

132: After not getting to wrestle in last year’s Gateway (due to team-wide Covid issues), Sandalwood’s Ben Peterson placed for the second time, winning his first title by pinning through the bracket. Peterson had falls over Terry Parker’s Cunard Juluke (:41, quarters) and over Fletcher’s Fred Saporita (4:16, semis) before falling Paxon’s David Kang in 3:51 for the title. Kang had the first takedown, but Peterson (runnerup at 132 in 2020) assumed control shortly thereafter, with a 9-4 lead when he gained the fall. Kang won by forfeit in the quarters, and then pinned First Coast’s Haley Gennette (1:45) in the semis to get to Peterson. Saporita placed for the second time (3rd at 120 last year) with two pins in the consis, falling Gennette (first-time Gateway medalist) in 48 seconds for third.

138: Mandarin’s Jameel Smith won his second conference title, pinning his way through the bracket with falls over Wolfson’s Max Lewallen (3:56, quarters), Terry Parker’s Daniel Mays (2:59, semis) and over Westside’s Olleon Hickmon (1:44) for the title. Smith scored first, but Hickmon answered immediately with a reversal. After escaping, Smith made sure the second takedown would be the decisive one, and it eventually was later in the period. Hickmon reached the final with a 13-second pin over Atlantic Coast’s Corey Layfield in the quarters, taking a 14-10 semifinal win over First Coast’s Jace Austin. Austin came back for third with two consi-side wins, pinning Mays in 4:13 for the bronze. Hickmon, Austin and Mays are all first-time Gateway medalists.

145: After losing by injury default to him in the consi semis of the 2021 Gateway, Terry Parker’s Jeff Brown got a rematch with Englewood’s DiSean Hires in the final this year, and a back-and-forth match down the stretch went Brown’s way in a 9-7 decision for his first title. Hires (4th at 145 last year) scored first takedown, but Brown gained the upper hand in the second period and made his lead stand up in the final moments despite a flurry of activity from both wrestlers. Brown had a forfeit into the semis, where he teched Westside’s Nathan Williams (20-3 in 5:46), while Hires took bonus-point wins over First Coast’s Fernandez Lassiter (pin in :26, quarters) and over Mandarin’s Ashton White (14-0 major, semis). Williams came back with two pins for third, pinning White (3rd last year at 145) in 4:43 in the bronze-medal match. Brown and Williams are both first-time Gateway medalists.

152: Fletcher’s Christopher Strong (runnerup at 160 last year) reached the final again, this time bonus-pointing through the tournament, including a 10-2 major in the final over Atlantic Coast’s Joel Dudley. Strong had takedowns in each period, leading mostly throughout the match after getting the first takedown. Earlier in the tournament, Strong teched Paxon’s Brendan Lawson (15-0 in 3:08) in the quarters, then came back with a 13-0 semifinal major over Wolfson’s Liam Strange. Dudley (3rd last year at 152) took pins over Westside’s Jamell Robinson (:42, quarters) and Mandarin’s Amari McKinnon (1:37, semis) to reach the final. McKinnon won twice in the consis, with a 5-4 win over Strange in the third-place match. Both McKinnon and Strange are first-time Gateway medalists.

160: Fletcher’s Josh Daltro medaled for the third time in as many years, taking his first title with a 12-3 major over Ed White’s Benny Lewis in a match that had moments that looked closer than the final score indicated. Daltro (3rd last year at 132, 4th at 120 in 2020) had four takedowns in the course of the six minutes, with a big turn for nearfall midway through the second period. Earlier in the tournament, Daltro had pins over Ribault’s Orion Barnhardt (1:47, quarters) and over Mandarin’s Isaiah Diltz (1:41, semis), while Lewis (3rd last year at 152 for Terry Parker) falled Wolfson’s Bryce Frye (3:36, quarters) and Westside’s Preston Davis (2:20, semis). Diltz took two pins for third, falling Terry Parker’s Justin Rangeloff in 23 seconds in the medal match. Both Diltz and Rangeloff are first-time Gateway medalists.

170: Sandalwood’s Malik Wilson earned his first medal and won his first title, taking a wild 13-10 decision in the championship match over First Coast’s Alphonso Parsons. Parsons’ only lead came on a penalty point issued 12 seconds in, but he was never far away from Wilson, who had takedowns in each period, while Parsons scored with either a takedown or reversal in each period. Earlier, Wilson pinned Stanton’s Jack Mullins (:15) in the quarters, shutting out Ed White’s Malakhi Lewis, 8-0, in the semis, while Parsons had a quarterfinal pin (1:24) over Riverside’s Donald Reed and a walkover forfeit in the semis. Lewis won twice by fall in the consis, pinning Westside’s Ponchelo Cadet (who himself won three consi-side matches with max points after a first-round loss) in 1:21 for third. All four placers were first-time Gateway medalists.

182: Like Wilson, Mandarin’s Adrian Rodriguez earned his first conference medal and won the title with a 9-8 decision in the finals over Westside’s Ja’Cory Martin. The match was tight, with both wrestlers scoring within 14 seconds of each other in the first period and then not again until the third, in which Rodriguez had two takedowns and also scored a key stalling point with just a few seconds left to secure the win. Earlier, Rodriguez won by forfeit in the quarters and then pinned Paxon’s Khoi Nguyen in 1:34 in the semis, while Martin took pins over Stanton’s Carter Lemieux (1:02, quarters) and Sandalwood’s Malachi Mista (1:27, semis). Mista won twice in the consis for third, pinning Nguyen in 4:45 for the third-place medal. All four placers were first-time Gateway medalists.

195: Mandarin’s Jaelen Simmons needed three pins in 2:33 to win his first title and medal, falling Englewood’s Melvin Wiggins in just 47 seconds for the championship. Simmons had pins over Ribault’s Chiyone Simmons (:54, quarters) and over Westside’s Caleb Baltazar (:52, semis), while Wiggins pinned Paxon’s Matthew Brunelli in 2:49 in the quarters, and advanced with a bye into the final (per the brackets). Sandalwood’s Duffy Mista, who qualified for the semis, won twice in the consis, with an 8-3 win over Baltazar (4th at 182 in 2021) in the third-place match. Simmons, Wiggins and Mista all were first-time Gateway medalists.

220: Raines’ Jamari Watson won his third Gateway title, bonus-pointing through the tournament, including a fall in 2:28 in the finals over Riverside’s Thomas Jones. Watson had first takedown, adding a 3-point nearfall in the first period, making the second turn count for the fall. Earlier, Watson pinned Ed White’s Jordan Jackson (1:26) in the quarters, coming back Saturday with a tech fall in the semis (18-3 in 2:08) over Atlantic Coast’s Hayden Brodehl. Jones (4th at 285 last year) had pins over Englewood’s Billie Maynard (3:17, quarters) and First Coast’s Jaquan Dennis (4:31, semis) in getting to Watson. Dennis (3rd at 220 last year) had two pins in the consis, falling Brodehl (first-time Gateway medalist) in 1:26 for third place.

285: Fletcher’s Toby Matson reached the final for the second time, earning his first title behind three pins in 2:58, including a 59-second pin in the final over Englewood’s Keith Forbes. Matson had a takedown and a quick 2-point turn before his second nearfall led to the pin. Earlier in the weekend, Matson pinned Mandarin’s Josh Edwards (:54, quarters) and Ed White’s Damarkus Raysor (1:05, semis), while Forbes had falls over Westside’s Terrance Goodman (:27, quarters) and Riverside’s Kamari Perkins (1:04, semis). Perkins rallied for two pins in the wrestlebacks, falling Raysor in 2:39 for third. Forbes, Perkins and Raysor were all first-time Gateway medalists.

Complete brackets from the tournament can be found HERE.

MISSING: We have a lot of missing results, from several teams around the coverage area, and we need YOUR help to clean that up. Please check out our SCHEDULE PAGE; if your school is listed as pending, or an event in which you took part is pending, see if your coach can send in your team’s part of that event. We will post results at any time of year, no matter how late they are when they are sent.

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