By MATMEN, Monday, 12:25 a.m.
WINTER GARDEN — Although Cocoa Beach’s strength in the lower portion of the lineup proved to be too much for the other eight teams in the field at Horizon’s Gauntlet on the Grove, the five local teams in contention all scored a solid amount of points on Saturday.
Seminole was second with 135 points, 18.5 back of Cocoa Beach, while Windermere was third (127.5), Wekiva fourth (121.5), Evans seventh (93) and Dr Phillips ninth (84).
The Noles, Wolverines and Mustangs each bagged two titles on the day, while Evans had one.
Seminole picked up championships from new competitors to the varsity lineup. At 170, Deshawn Bristow-Harris pinned his way through the field, with three pins to win Pool B and then two more over wrestlers from Evans and Oak Ridge, needing just 1:45 in the crossover to claim the gold.
At 195, another first-year Nole, Connor Kubiak, earned four falls to win Pool B, then added a fifth fall for his championship medal, with none of his matches going more than 37 seconds into the second period.
Wekiva’s pair of golds, by contrast, came from their two most experienced wrestlers. At 145, Seth Galvin (3A-9th at 145), needed just 1:53 in the crossover to claim his gold, but the key win came in pool B, as he pinned Seminole’s Andres Sanchez, the eventual runnerup, in the first match of the day.
At 285, the Mustangs’ Holley Saintmelus (3A-8th at 285) pinned his way through the bracket, with five pins in all, none going past the second period, including in the title round over Dr Phillips’ Jaden Dorsett, the Panthers’ lone finalist.
Windermere picked up back-to-back titles from Lucas Drone (132) and Jacob Valdez (138). Drone pinned eventual runnerup Shiloh Edwards of Seminole in the first round of Pool B, but then won three times — pin in pool, tech & 7-5 decision in crossover — to claim the title.
In a full roundrobin at 138, Valdez opened with a forfeit victory, max-pointing through the rest of the weight class with pins over two Horizon wrestlers and a third over Oak Ridge to claim gold.
Evans’ lone title came at 220 and Kevin Gustave (3A-19th at 220), who wound up pinning his way through the bracket. Gustave had three pins in 6:20 to win Pool B, with falls over Cocoa Beach, Horizon and Oak Ridge, then added a fourth in 1:59 over former district and current region rival Laurens Jean of Wekiva for first place.
First tournament a winner: St Johns resident Mario Del Vecchio, competing at 113 (1A-8th) for the team champions this year, tore though that bracket on Saturday.
Del Vecchio, in his first high school varsity tournament, bagged up Pool A with three falls in 69 seconds. After a 16-1 second-period tech fall (2:43) over First Academy in the first round of championship crossover, Del Vecchio added a fourth pin, also in the first period, by falling Oak Ridge’s Marrensk Valmyn in 1:45.
Results from the tournament can be found HERE.
Rankings courtesy of Matmen-endorsed Kabra Wrestling, https://www.kabrawrestling.com/rankings/class-3A