By MATMEN, Saturday, 2:40 a.m.
ORANGE PARK — Talent counts, but a month in hand in match experience counts too.
Visiting south Georgia team Glynn Academy rolled down I-95 to 295 to Oakleaf on Friday afternoon, and left the Knights’ gym with five convincing wins and the Friday Knight Lights team trophy title.
The Red Terrors took down the top three north Florida teams in the field, first Oakleaf in pool play, followed by Westside and Ridgeview in succession in the crossover. The Wolverines defeated the Clay County Panthers in pool play, while Ridgeview turned back Oakleaf, who won by forfeit in the final round.
Below follows a summary of the tournament:
Ridgeview (3-2 tournament, 5-4 overall) —
MVP: Kaiden Tibbetts. Competing at 132, Tibbetts bonus-pointed through the tournament, with pins over Westside, Ponte Vedra and Mainland, with a tech fall over Oakleaf and one of Ridgeview’s two weight-class wins against Glynn.
Hidden in the box scores: At 220, Rayhn Hutchinson pinned his way through the first four rounds of the night, losing only to Glynn in the final round.
Oakleaf (3-2 tournament & overall) —
MVP: On a night where the Knights rolled out 23 different wrestlers, Angel Rodriguez’s 3-pin night at 113, with falls over Orange Park, Glynn Academy and Ridgeview, stood out.
Hidden in the box scores: After a loss by fall in round 2 to Glynn, Jacob McClintic (160) bounced back from that with pins over Keystone Heights and Ridgeview; with a pin over Orange Park earlier, that gave him three falls over county rivals.
Westside (3-1 tournament, 7-2 overall) —
MVP: Elijah Williams. Not only was Williams the Wolverines’ only unbeaten wrestler, not only did he pin his way through the evening at 195, but Williams had his team’s only win over Glynn Academy.
Hidden in the box scores: Several Wolverines were 3-1 on the night, but the three-pin performance put together by Gha-is Cooper at 145 particularly stood out in Westside’s Pool A-winning performance.
Mainland (2-3 tournament, 4-5 overall) —
MVP: Josh Newman. The Buccaneers pulled off two dual wins with just eight wrestlers in the lineup, and part of those two wins in the consi round were due to a 4-pin performance from Newman at 195/220.
Hidden in the box scores: Although the Buccaneers lost all of their pool duals with a short-handed lineup, Hayden Heilman (160/170) picked up pins in all of them, doing his part to lead the team, adding a 4th pin in the crossover.
Ponte Vedra (2-3 tournament, 2-4 overall) —
MVP: Talan Babin. In his first duals tournament start, Babin led the Sharks with four pins, and was one of three Ponte Vedra wrestlers to go 4-1, with his only loss by one point.
Hidden in the box scores: Freshman Daniel De Almeida was another four-win competitor Friday night, with three pins against Ridgeview, Westside and Keystone Heights to anchor the lowers part of the lineup.
Orange Park (2-3 tournament, 4-6 overall) —
MVP: Heavyweight Elijah Campbell was one of two Raiders to go 5-0 on the night, max-pointing through the evening with three pins and a pair of forfeit wins. Campbell opened with falls over Oakleaf, Keystone Heights and Glynn.
Hidden in the box scores: It’s not surprising for Trevion Sermons to put up a 5-0 night, but he had to battle for it on both bookends of the night, with a 12-7 decision over Oakleaf in round 1 and a tight 8-7 win over Babin in round 5.
Keystone Heights (0-5 tournament, 1-6 overall) —
MVP: Steven Raab. After not being part of last year’s club, Raab has made a return as a regular starter, leading the Indians with three key pins as just one of two Keystone wrestlers to go above .500 on the night.
Hidden in the box scores: The three victories that Luke Graves collected at 138 could not lead to a win, but they helped the Indians stay close in three duals Friday night. Graves finished with a pair of pins.
Results from the dual tournament can be found HERE.