By MATMEN, Sunday, 11:10 p.m.
JACKSONVILLE — It’s safe to say that Friday was probably the best day in the Atlantic Coast wrestling program in, maybe, ever.
While five other teams had more individual champions than did the Stingrays in Bishop Snyder’s Westside Kiwanis one-day IBT, no other team combined both up-top finals capability with depth in fighting for places like Atlantic Coast.
And that allowed the Stingrays to overcome feisty first-year program Beachside for the first Kiwanis title awarded since 2017, with 167 points to the Barracudas’ 157.5. West Nassau edged St Augustine by a half-point, 114.5-114, for third and fourth.
The hidden MVP?: Actually, Hayden Brodehl’s performance wasn’t really all that hidden, as his three-pin performance at 195 brought the Stingrays their lone title.
Brodehl had pins in the quarters over Wolfson, in the semis over a teammate, and then falled Baldwin’s Taylor Davenport in 5:23 to take the title.
What first-year jitters?: Beachside bagged its first IBT weight-class win last weekend at Sandalwood; on Friday, the Barracudas claimed two titles.
Grady Smith (145) pinned his way through the bracket, with falls over West Nassau, Tocoi Creek and Atlantic Coast’s Corey Layfield (1:50) in the title round, while Caleb Barnes (285) became the second Beachside IBT champ with a fall in his lone match over the Stingrays’ Julian Santiago.
Experience counts: West Nassau was one of two teams on the night to win three weight classes.
Seniors Blayden Tharpe (12th-1A, 2 pins & fft at 126. fall in 1:40 in the final over Beachside’s Ethan Hedrick) and Nolan McKelvy (14th-1A, 3 pins at 182, including a first-period fall over 19th-1A Eddie Craig of Beachside in the title round) might have been expected to win, but they got a bonus from sophomore Landon Higginbotham’s path to bracket gold (decision, TF & 65-second pin in the final over St Augustine’s Xavier Rodriguez) at 120.
OW for SA: St Augustine picked up back-to-back wins at 152 and 160, with 160 champ Brayden Lovingood grabbing up the tournament’s OW award as well after pins over West Nassau, Tocoi Creek and a 33-second fall over Beachside’s Makai Mitchell.
That effort was preceded by the 152 win of teammate Christian Jackson, who’d also pinned his way through the field, taking pins over Baldwin and Bishop Snyder before falling teammate Carter Lukes in 51 seconds in the final.
Home cooking: The host Cardinals had something to celebrate individually Friday night, thanks to the title run from first-year starter Kenyon Nunnary at 220.
Nunnary had three pins on the night, taking pins over Tocoi Creek and Atlantic Coast before his third pin in 1:03 over Beachside’s Chase Sureda in the title round.
Family affair: Teamwise, sixth wasn’t what Wolfson had in mind Friday night, but the Wolfpack did go home with three weight-class wins, led by senior Bryce Frye’s two-win performance before a 9-2 decision in the final over Tocoi Creek’s Aaron Rodriguez at 170.
But the wins of the Martinez brothers, Taylor (106) and Tristan (113) deserve some mention. Taylor had two falls to win the 106 bracket, pinning Atlantic Coast’s Mason Kaye (20th-3A at 106) in 3:04, while Tristan had pins over Bishop Snyder and a Wolfson teammate before powering past St Augustine’s Logan Brenner, 15-10, in the final.
Two for Toros: Like St Augustine as noted earlier, seventh-place Tocoi Creek had back-to-back weight-class wins from Willie Sims (132) and Mark Coniker (138).
Sims had three falls on the night, with pins over two Atlantic Coast opponents before falling Beachside’s Elijah Morrvaridy (2:27) in the final, while Coniker also picked up three pins, falling Bishop Snyder & St Augustine before pinning AC’s Devon Laim in 1:01 to grab the first-place finish.
Results from the tournament can be found HERE.