By MATMEN, Friday, 3:30 p.m.
ORANGE PARK — For the second consecutive year, Fleming Island dominated the scene at Oakleaf’s ‘The Hammer’ Invitational.
Last year’s group outpointed the hosts by nearly 90 points in winning the inaugural version of the Clay County Knights’ one-day IBT.
This year, with a stronger field augmented by some central and east-central FLA competition, the Golden Eagles rolled up a 140.5-point margin of victory over 3A’s Harmony and a 151-point lead over the top fellow 2A team in the field, Merritt Island.
Host Oakleaf outpointed Bishop Kenny, 141-100, for fifth. Fletcher (93 points) was sixth, followed by local teams Riverside (7th, 75), Sandalwood (8th, 70.5), Mandarin (9th, 68), West Nassau (11th, 56), Orange Park & Palatka (T-12th, 42.5), Keystone Heights (15th, 31), Apopka (16th, 29) and Baker County (17th, 22.5).
A summary of the tournament follows.
The hidden MVP?: For the second time, Fleming’s Joshua Sandoval rolled through the Hammer brackets while winning every match by pin.
Sandoval (4th-2A) pinned his way through the 182 bracket after taking three pins a year ago at 170, with pins over Mandarin, Merritt Island, and Harmony before falling West Nassau’s Nolan McKelvy in the championship match.
McKelvy (14th-1A) had gotten to the final behind pins over Oakleaf, Sandalwood and a late 3rd-period fall over district rival Collin Hearn (11th-1A) of Bishop Kenny in the semis.
Four-pack on repeat: Just as they had on Saturday at Springstead, the Golden Eagle death row of lowers swept to titles in convincing fashion.
First up was Matthew Newman (2nd-2A) at 106, who made short work of the top half of the bracket, taking falls over Fletcher, Orange Park and Oakleaf before edging teammate Jordan Mukaddam (11th-2A) by a 2-1 count in the final, winning his second Hammer title after taking the 113 weight class in 2021. Mukaddam had gotten to the final behind two bonus-point wins, an 8-0 major over Cocoa’s Cole Webb (9th-1A) and third-period fall (5:08) over Harmony’s Tristan Horn (15th-3A).
Next was Shane Duhaylungsod (7th-2A) in the 113 bracket; after a bye into the quarters, Duhaylungsod collected three falls in winning his second Hammer title after winning at 106 last season, with pins over Keystone, Riverside and over Cocoa’s Aaron Horr in the title round.
At 120, Laird Duhaylungsod (2nd-2A) bonus-pointed through the field for his first Oakleaf-event win, pinning through to the semis behind falls over Oakleaf’s Angel Rodriguez (8th-2A at 113) and over Baker County, plus a 16-3 major over Sandalwood before falling Harmony’s Landon Davis for the bracket win.
Jayce Paridon made it a four-pack double at 126; after a bye into the quarters, Paridon had falls over Apopka and Merritt Island before pinning Oakleaf’s Sebastian Bonochea (8th-2A) to collect the eighth weight class title in five days for the four Fleming lowers. Bonochea had reached the final behind a quarterfinal win over West Nassau’s Blayden Tharpe (9th-1A, 7-0 decision) and a late fall over Baker County to get to Paridon.
Successful returns: After missing the weekend’s action at Springstead, the Golden Eagles’ Kaden Schaefer (145) and Ronan Bozeman (170) returned to the starting fold and wrestled without missing a beat.
Schaefer (6th-2A) won his second Hammer title after winning at 138 a year ago, taking four pins in all over wrestlers from Cocoa, Melbourne and Oakleaf before falling Merritt Island’s Judge DeYoung (8th-2A) in the championship match.
Bozeman (5th-2A) also won his second Hammer championship, winning at 160 by a single point in 2021. This year, Bozeman took pins over Mandarin and Sandalwood to get to the final, where he won by injury default over Merritt Island’s Jacob Pitcher (8th-2A).
Solo dolo champs: Four area wrestlers joined the Fleming group of seven as champions on Thursday.
First up was Fletcher’s Cole O’Brien (18th-3A) in the 132 final, who made his case for a move up the rankings after max-pointing through two preliminary rounds, with a quarterfinal pin over Harmony and an injury-default win over Oakleaf’s Keon Barrientos (14th-2A). In the final against Harmony’s Rey Ortiz (2nd-3A), O’Brien was unfazed by the ranking, controlling the action in a 7-1 decision, leading the Senators to their sixth-place team finish.
Bishop Kenny’s Roberto Cuartero (2nd-1A) was next, pinning his way through the 152 bracket with preliminary falls over Oakleaf, Keystone Heights and Harmony to get to the final, where he met up with Fleming Island’s Matthew Kotler (3rd-2A), who’d taken pins over Bishop Kenny and Fletcher; Cuartero was able to run the table, with his fourth pin of the day to win the championship and led the Crusaders to fifth place.
The host Knights got one championship, as Isaiah Shevchook (7th-2A) won his second Hammer title, both years at 195, and both times over the same Fleming opponent, Walter Poe (16th-2A), in the final, helping lift Oakleaf to fourth. This year, Shevchook pinned his way through the bracket, with pins over Baker County, Harmony and Bishop Kenny prior to winning by fall over Poe, who advanced with pins over Apopka and Sandalwood’s Dusty Mista (3rd-3A) in the semis.
At 220, Riverside’s Thomas Jones (10th-2A) also racked up four falls to pin his way through the bracket and lead the Generals to finishing seventh. Jones had pins over Cocoa, Bishop Kenny and Mandarin’s Jaelen Simmons (11th-3A) — we could see that as a Gateway Conference final next month — before pinning Merritt Island’s Kaleb Ivie (8th-2A) in the championship round.
Finalist notes: In addition to Mukaddam at 106, Bonochea at 126, Kotler at 152, McKelvy at 182 and Poe at 195, Palatka’s Mikade Harvey (138), Fletcher’s Josh Daltro (160) and Fletcher’s Toby Matson (285) reached the final at their respective weights. … Harvey (4th at 1A-145) bookended a quarterfinal tech over BK’s Christopher Hampton (19th-1A) with pins over Fletcher and Merritt Island, but then fell by an 11-6 count to Harmony’s Shawn McCallister (4th-3A). … Daltro (4th-3A) got to the 160 final with wins over Keystone Heights (fall), Baker County’s Rasean Rayam (20th-1A, 13-0 major) and Fleming’s Christopher Chop (8th-3A, 3-1 win), but then couldn’t slow down Merritt Island’s Dylan Quiroga (5th-2A), who won by tech fall in the final. … The state’s top-rated 3A heavies met at 285, as Matson (2nd-3A) took pins over Sandalwood and Riverside, then downed Fleming’s Ethan Hoffstetter (2nd-2A) by a 4-2 count in the semi before facing top-ranked 3A 285 Nelson Toro of Harmony. Toro set the pace, though, taking an 11-1 major decision.
Rankings are per https://kabrawrestling.com/rankings
Results from the two-day tournament can be found HERE.