BY MATMEN, Saturday, 1:10 a.m.
ORANGE PARK — Bartram Trail kicked off its 2022-23 season Wednesday night with a resounding performance at Orange Park’s first of four Raider Duals events.
The Bears took down five opponents with an average margin of victory of 52.6 points, with wins over Palatka, Orange Park, Mandarin, Pedro Menendez and Florida Deaf & Blind.
Even with a weight class missing from the lineup, Bartram Trail had all 13 of its wrestlers secure at least three wins during the course of the day. Six of the Bears’ starters were 5-0.
Below follows a summary of the tournament:
Bartram Trail (5-0 tournament) —
MVP: Ethan Vugman. In picking up his 150th career victory, Vugman pinned his way through the evening at 126. Vugman was just one of two Bears wrestlers to collect five falls.
Hidden in the box scores: After having up-and-down success a year ago at 195, Jacob George kicked off his first tournament at 285 Wednesday with five pins in as many opportunities. Besides Vugman, George was the only wrestler in the tournament to pin his way through.
Pedro Menendez (4-1 tournament) —
MVP: Tyshaun Thames. Though every regularly-starting Falcon took at least one loss during the night, Thames, competing at 220, was the only Pedro Menendez wrestler to collect four pins on the night.
Hidden in the box scores: After a lot of struggle in previous appearances in previous years for the Falcons, Colby Leth (285) got a strong start out of the gate, with pins in his first three rounds for a 3-1 evening.
Mandarin (2-3 tournament) —
MVP: Antonio Ramos. Ramos was 4-0 in four appearances for a short-handed Mustang side, with a key win at 145 over Pedro Menendez that avenged a loss at Saturday’s Optimist Invitational. Ramos had three pins and a tech fall on the night.
Hidden in the box scores: It’d been a tough start to the high school career for Braxton Whitehead (126), who had to overcome four consecutive losses to start the night before closing out for a come-from-behind pin over Palatka for his first high school win.
Palatka (2-3 tournament) —
MVP: Mikade Harvey. Harvey, competing at 145/152 up from his 132 of a year ago, bonus-pointed through the night, with pins over FSDB, Orange Park and Mandarin, plus a tech over Bartram Trail and major over Pedro Menendez.
Hidden in the box scores: Ishmael Foster (132/138) max-pointed through the evening for the Panthers, with a team-high four pins in each of his first four rounds of competition.
Orange Park (2-3 tournament) —
MVP: Trevion Sermons. Sermons bonus-pointed through the evening for the hosts, with pins over Bartram Trail and Mandarin, and a major over Pedro Menendez, plus two forfeit victories at 170.
Hidden in the box scores: After opening the night with a loss, Dionne Hall (132/138) sat out round 2 in the Raiders’ mix-and-match approach, but came back with a vengeance to close out the night, with two pins in a 3-1 tournament performance.
Florida Deaf & Blind (0-5 tournament) —
MVP: Dino Jeudy. Just a 7th-grader, Jeudy led the Dragons with four pins at 126, with only a loss to Vugman in the final round.
Hidden in the box scores: Junior Ajani Zahira returned to the FSDB lineup with a 3-1 night at 152/160, taking pins over both Palatka and Orange Park, plus a decision victory over Mandarin.
Results from the dual tournament can be found HERE.