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WEEKEND TOURNAMENTS

#Recap: 7 Area Champs At Freedom Ring (Boys)

By MATMEN, Tuesday, 9:20 p.m.

ORLANDO — While the big event was the following day at Freedom High School, the first day of the Patriots’ Let Freedom Ring event got several varsity teams a chance to get their scrap on Friday.

No team scores were kept; eight teams participated. From Region 1, Mainland, Oviedo, Timber Creek, Wakulla and Westside took part.

Wolfpack three-pack: Timber Creek’s three individual titles led the north and only Hernando, with five weight-class wins had more, as Wolfpack wrestlers Marlo Clark (120), Andrew Wittenberg (152) and Jayden Smith (220) took him first-place medals to lead a group of 11 top-4 competitors.

Clark was 3-0 to win Pool B in the 120 bracket, though he had to push for it in a 10-9 win over Freedom in his second match of pool play. In the final, Clark met up with Pool A champ Jordyn Valle (1A-7th) of Hernando, scoring first takedown and grabbing a turn from top in the second. Valle got within 4-3, but Clark was too good on feet and top, with two takedowns and a 3-point turn in the third period for an 11-5 win.

Wittenberg (3A-12th) also was a Pool B champ, with four first-period falls, including in Round 4 (1:35) over Hernando’s Shaw Garrett (14th-1A), but his finals opponent — as it turned out — would be teammate Juan Viera, who took Pool A behind four pins of his own. Viera then forfeited to Wittenberg in the final.

At 220, Smith had three wrestlers in his weight class; in a full roundrobin, he won by fall over all of them, with the effective championship match a 2-minute pin over a Freedom wrestler in round 2.

In addition to Viera at 145, the Wolfpack’s Peter Nesheiwat (3A-5th) was second, with three max-point wins before falling to Hernando’s Devin Williams (1A-2nd), 6-4, in the crossover.

A pride of finalists: Oviedo picked up two titles in the tournament, but perhaps even more impressive was the Lions’ grabbing of an additional four finals spots en route to seven top-4 medals as a group.

Josh Sabbia took the 113 title on head-to-head basis, after finishing 4-1 in the six-man roundrobin. After a 4-3 loss to Wakulla’s Anthony Fondo (20th-1A) in round 1, Sabbia bonus-pointed through the rest of the group, with two pins and two majors, including a 14-5 major over Hernando’s Kyle Pearson (7th-1A), and that win sealed the title. Pearson had two takedowns in the first, but the second and third were all Sabbia, including two scoring moves and a pair of 3-point nearfalls.

At 182, Jimmy Chiaradio pinned his way through Pool A (3 falls in all), and then added two more in the crossover, with pins over Wakulla and over Hernando’s Morgan Johnston (3:47) in the final. After a scoreless first period, Chiaradio was able to ride for nearly the entirety of the second before getting a turn and fall.

Finalists for the Lions in the lower half were Andres Millan (4-1 at 126), with only a loss by fall in the final round (1:52) to Hernando’s Cael Phillips, and Clayton Mitchell (3 pins to take Pool B at 145, loss by fall in the final, more shortly). Up top, Luke Forsberg (160) had four bonus-point wins before losing by fall to Freedom’s Elijah Alvarez (15th-3A at 152) in the final, while Nick Rynearson (195) was 3-2, with losses only to Hernando’s Jayshawn Nantce (13th-1A) in both Pool B and crossover.

Wakulla takes pair: The War Eagles had two titlists and no additional finalists, but did go home with nine top-4 medals.

At 106, Wakulla’s Connor Barnes (3rd-1A) needed just 2:44 of mat time to claim first place in a four-wrestler full roundrobin, with pins over Freedom, Timber Creek and Westside to win the title. Brown didn’t give up a single escape in any of his three matches.

Jae T Thaxton was the War Eagles’ other champion Friday, claiming first at 145, but it wasn’t easy at first; while he had two pins in Pool A, he also had to go into sudden victory to turn back Freedom’s Eric Aja (4th-3A at 138), with a takedown for a 5-3 win. In the final, against Oviedo’s Mitchell, Thaxton had a second-period nearfall before securing the pin at 3:33.

Notes: Westside picked up three top-4 finishes while Mainland had one. Leading the Wolverines was Jacob Jackson’s runnerup effort, falling only by fall to Barnes at 106. Jackson had two pins in 73 seconds to claim second.

Rankings are per https://kabrawrestling.com/rankings

Results from Friday’s tournament can be found HERE.

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