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#matWOMEN HOLIDAY WRESTLING

#Recap: Bibla, Cruce Take Girls’ Knockout Titles

Middleburg’s Cheyenne Cruce has her hand raised as the 190-lb Girls’ Knockout Christmas Classic champion Thursday at Silver Spurs Arena in Kissimmee (Photo by Brant Parsons, KabraWrestling.com).

By MATMEN, Friday, 5:50 p.m.

KISSIMMEE — Brielle Bibla will finish her high school career in 3 months’ time as the proud possessor of two Girls’ Knockout Christmas Classic titles — and more — before she heads off to D-1 Presbyterian later in 2023.

Cheyenne Cruce has a chance to add two more to the trophy case before it’s her turn to move on to the #NextLevel.

Bibla and Cruce — currently both ranked first in their weight classes (130 & 190, respectively) — were the only northern wrestlers to win Knockout titles in the girls division on Thursday.

The tournament had 85 teams in it, a mixture of high-school and club contingents being represented.

After the rare opportunity to go above the 100-win mark in last weekend’s Let Freedom Ring tournament, Bibla had four opponents to add toward the next milestone; after a bye into the round of 16, Bibla opened with a 7-second pin over Ft Myers, then teched McKeel’s Gabriella Bombardier (10th) by a 16-1 count to get to the semis.

On Thursday, Bibla added a second TF, this time a 17-1 version over Osceola’s Kelliana Mack (3rd) to reach her fourth final of the season and a rematch with second-ranked Keyla DeLeon of Freedom (Orlando). Bibla earned takedowns in both the first and second periods, and the second one would provide enough backing for a turn and fall in 3:12.

A composite photo of girls’ Knockout Christmas Classic champions, with Cheyenne Cruce of Middleburg third from left and Brielle Bibla of Matanzas fourth from right (Photo by Brant Parsons, KabraWrestling.com).

Cruce would be even more dominant of 190, never going past the first period in falling her way to the bracket win. On Wednesday, Cruce would pin Osceola (:52) and Matanzas (1:04) to reach the semifinals, where she pinned Immokalee’s Brianice Silguero (12th at 235) in 1:14, setting up a finals round with Bayside’s Tanihya Wilson and earning Cruce her second Knockout medal (she was 4th as a freshman).

Wilson would get first takedown just 22 seconds into the match, but Cruce would tie it up on a pair of penalty points, and would take the advantage for good on a reversal, which she parlayed into nearfall points and eventual pin in 1:24.

Finalist trio: Three area wrestlers — Clay’s Aubrianna Apple (135), Matanzas’ Kendall Bibla (140) and RPA/Oakleaf’s Jayla Harrison (155) — all reached the finals in their respective weights.

Apple (3rd), who was third at last year’s Knockout, pinned her way into the final behind a bye into the round of 16 and falls over Osceola’s Nyla Rocke (14th; pin time 4:32), Immokalee’s Genesis Turrubiartez (19th at 140; pin in :46) and Satellite’s Lucy Maris (4th; fall time 3:39) to get a shot at top-ranked Gabriella Perez of Ft Pierce Central. After a scoreless first period, Perez got out quickly and later scored a takedown to go up 3-0, then rode out Apple for most of the third period before getting a turn and fall in 5:16.

Kendall Bibla (3rd) had four pins en route to the 140 final, taking falls over Ft Pierce Central, Lake Mary, Hernando’s Makenzie Eltzroth (13th; pin time 1:08) and over Summit TN to reach the championship match and a shot at the 140 #1, Coral Park’s Sofia Delgado, earning her first Knockout medal. But Delgado would need just one shot at a takedown, using that for a turn and fall in 1:37 to take the title.

Harrison (6th at 170) would earn her second Knockout medal despite being only a freshman yet, taking her first shot at the dropped-down weight class with three pins over Auburndale, Hernando’s Mariah Earl (9th, fall time 1:03) and Mainland’s Jah’Mya Hill (17th at 145, pin time 1:15). Like Apple and Bibla, Harrison would face top-ranked Mya Bethel of Severepain/North Miami in the championship round, and Bethel would score one takedown and use it for a turn and pin in 1:49.

Placer notes: Thirds were earned by Matanzas’ Christina Borgmann (120), Bartram Trail’s Katherine Stewart (145) and Mainland’s Jah’Mya Hill (155). … Borgmann (3rd at 120) had two victories to reach the semis, with a 6-0 win over Severepain/North Miami’s Isis Severe (4th) and fall over Middleburg before a loss by fall (4:46) to Bob Jones (AL)’s Carly Thomas; Borgmann then shut out Springstead’s Jasmine Serrano (13th) and Dade City/Cypress Creek-WC’s Sydney Bridenstine (12) by identical 3-0 counts for third. …Stewart (7th at 145) downed South Dade’s Anisah Paz (3rd; 6-2 decision) and falled Matanzas’ Gabrielle Proctor (9th; fall time 1:29) to get to the 145 semis, where she lost to top-ranked and eventual champion Jennah Mustafa of Lake Wales, 8-1; in the consis, Stewart decisioned Paz a second time (4-0), falling Summit (TN)’s Finley Craig in 2:28 for third. … Hill (17th at 145) has taken some lumps in December, but righted the ship significantly with pins over Harmony and Hudson to reach the 155 semis; after the loss by fall to Harrison, Hill needed just 1:11 to claim third, with pins over Columbus (GA) and over Hernando’s Earl in 20 seconds in the medal round.

Fourth-place medals were earned by Milton resident Maya Alvarado (100), wrestling at Lake Highland Prep; Flagler Palm Coast’s Ana Vilar (130), Buchholz’s Kiona Upegui (190) and Mainland’s Cheyenne Wigley (235). … Alvarado won twice to reach the quarters, where she lost by fall to top-ranked eventual champ Kealonie Vega of Osceola (:51); Alvarado then had three wins over Lincoln’s Sayuri Caceres (5th; 4-0), Springstead’s Gianella Walczak (7th; 8-3) and Palmetto Ridge’s Hayle Peck (6th, 7-4), losing by fall in the third-place match to Daughters of Zion. … Vilar (8th at 125) lost a pigtail match by a 3-2 count to Severepain/North Miami’s Shayana Stcyr, but rallied to win five matches off the back, with pins over Hilton Head and Bayside, followed by decisions over Ft Myers, a revenge 6-2 win over Stcyr, and a 7-0 blood-round win over Osceola’s Kelliana Mack (3rd), falling in the medal round by 9-0 major to Gulf’s Callie Alfieri (4th). … Upegui (14th) was 1-1 on the front, with a loss by fall in the quarters to Immokalee’s Silguero, but rallied for three bonus-point wins in the consis, including majors over Harmony (11-2) and Matanzas (9-0) and a 60-second pin over Ft Myers to clinch a podium spot; Salguero pinned Upegui in the medal round as well. … Wigley (1st) reached the semis at 235 behind pins over Ft Myers and 6th-ranked Alyssa Nazario of Miami Beach, but lost by fall (3:26) in the semis to eventual champ Yoseline Perez (7th) of South Dade. Wigley earned a medal with a pin over Palmetto Ridge in the blood round, but lost by fall (3:23) in the medal round to Nazario.

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

Results from the two-day tournament can be found HERE.

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