By MATMEN, Monday, 9:40 p.m.
LONGWOOD — The race for the top spot in the Gateway Conference has gotten a little bit more interesting.
This past weekend at Lyman, Sandalwood started building a case for itself to be considered as one of the city of Jacksonville’s public-school favorites, thanks to a T-2nd finish at the 49th annual Bill Scott Memorial tournament.
The Saints tied with Gateway at 141 team points, six ahead of 4th-place Deltona and seven ahead of fifth-place Lake Mary.
Several other area teams were in the 24-team field, with Lake Brantley 6th (118.5 points), Olympia 7th (108.5), Lyman & West Orange at T-9th (100.5), Horizon 14th (67.5), Apopka at T-15th (65), Windermere 17th (51), Seabreeze 18th (47), Lake Howell 21st (29), with St Augustine & University (Orange City) at T-22nd and 23 points.
The hidden MVP?: Not so hidden when you’re your team’s only champion, but Sandalwood’s Duffy Mista’s title at 195 helped power the Saints to four medals and the T-2nd team effort, which included runnerup finishes from Malik Wilson (170) and Malachi Mista (182).
Mista (3rd at 195) had a bye into the quarters, with one pin on Friday over Lake Brantley; on Saturday, Mista opened with Lake Howell’s Jayden Velazquez (17th at 195), earning a second-period fall in 2:48. In the final against Bayside’s Gary Bradley, Mista racked up three takedowns in the first period, plus a big turn for 3 NF; he took another takedown 20 seconds into the second period and picked up another turn and fall in 3:14.
Wilson pinned his way into the 170 semis and had a 7-0 win in that round before losing by fall to Doral Academy’s Albert Manzini (6th at 3A-170) in the championship round, while Malachi Mista bonus-pointed his way to the 182 final, with two pins and a major before a loss by fall to Doral’s Joel Carillo.
Double trouble: In finishing fourth, Deltona’s senior duo of Kevin Kerns (132) and Nathan Hatch (285) both won titles, with Kyle Yasses grabbing 2nd at 138 for the Wolves.
Kerns (2nd in 2A) pinned his way through the 132 tournament draw, with Friday falls over Horizon and Cocoa to reach the semis (mat time of 1:35), then pinned area rivals from Lyman (1:57) in the semis and Lake Brantley’s Dario Duany (3:27) in the final. Kerns had to fight back from a 4-1 deficit, with an escape and takedown that led shortly after to the fall.
Hatch (19th in 2A) had some revenge on the mind after getting the top seed and a bye into the 285 quarters, with a 37-second pin over Lake Brantley there; on Saturday, Hatch falled Olympia in the semis to get a rematch with second-seeded Pedro Sierra-Bonilla of Seabreeze (15th-2A), who also had pinned his way into the final. Like Kerns, Hatch had to come from behind in the second period, and did with an escape, takedown and eventual fall in 3:05.
Four solo dolo champs: West Orange, Apopka, Olympia and Lake Mary all bagged single titles during Saturday’s finals round.
In a 120 bracket that appeared likely for anyone on the mission for a tournament run, West Orange’s Giordanny Perez made it his mission, bonus-pointing through to victory behind pins over Seabreeze, St Augustine and Lyman before a 21-9 major over Lake Mary’s Adrian Pabon. Perez put the margin of victory in during the first period, with three different turns to build a 12-2 lead. Pabon would take Perez to his back late in the third, but Perez would reverse and turn as well to secure the bonus point.
At 138, Apopka’s Tamarion Kendrick (6th at 3A-138) had three pins on Friday (Lake Howell, Gateway and Doral Academy), opening Saturday’s account with a 22-8 major over Lyman before facing Deltona’s Yasses in the title round. Kendrick exercised work on his feet in that match, with seven takedowns in all and at least two in each period, going on for a 14-7 win and the title.
Olympia’s Madden Bourst made it back-to-back area and 3A-District 4 titles with his win at 145. After a pin and major over University-OC and Windermere, respectively, on Friday, Bourst got a walkover into the final, where he faced Bishop Moore’s Angel Prieto. After giving up first takedown, Bourst worked a pair of turns in the second period while riding, and added an insurance takedown midway through the third to secure an 11-8 win.
Frederick faced a fellow placer in the round of 32 in his run through five wins for his title at 220, with second-period pins Friday over Olympia, Lake Brantley and Doral. After a 9-3 semifinal win over Horizon, Frederick faced Mt Dora’s Russell Ficket (13th in 1A) in the title match; there, he’d build a 7-3 lead going into the third thanks to a late takedown and turn, reversing out from bottom and securing the fall in 4:48.
Rankings are per https://kabrawrestling.com/rankings
Results from the weekend’s tournament can be found HERE.