By MATMEN, Tuesday, 6:55 p.m.
JENSEN BEACH — For the four teams from the coverage area in attendance at last weekend’s Cradle Cancer two-day IBT, it was otough sledding.
Buchholz, the top area team in the 30-team event was 13th with 63.5 points. 14th-place Fernandina Beach was a couple points back of the Bobcats, with 61. And the go was even rougher for 23rd-place Apopka (24 points) and 24th-place Ridgeview (19).
Having teams like South Dade (#1 in 3A), Charlotte (#3 in 2A) and Jensen Beach (#1 in 1A) will do that to a tournament field.
But there were some individual highlights for the coverage area to focus upon at tournament’s end, most certainly. Atop those highlights was Buchholz junior Cavarius Liddie’s win in the 132-lb weight class.
Liddie (5th-3A at 138), the top seed at 132, pinned or teched his way into Saturday’s semifinal behind pins over Ridgeview and Cocoa Beach, plus a second-period TF over Ft Pierce Central.
After his closest match, a 4-2 win over Tampa Jesuit’s Jayden Bowles (8th-2A at 132), in the semi, Liddle shut out South Dade freshman Tyree Graham (13th-3A at 132), with takedowns in both the first and second periods, plus a 2-pt turn before the second nearfall situation became a fall in 3 minutes.
One additional note on the Bobcats: while senior Max Szabo (170) was 3-2 and did not place during the weekend, he did accomplish one goal from the weekend, as those three wins were enough to send Szabo over the 100-career win mark.
Perhaps just as big from a news standpoint as Liddie winning, or Szabo achieving a milestone, was that Fernandina Beach junior Enzo Gamba took his first loss outside of Silver Spurs Arena in Osceola, and that it took a two-time state champion to hand him that first loss.
Gamba (2nd-1A), the 3rd seed at 160, had two pins on Friday to get to the semis, with falls over Treasure Coast and over Jensen Beach’s Colten Byrd (8th-1A, fall time 5:21), then reached the final behind a 9-2 win in the semis over Charlotte’s James Baltutis (4th-2A).
That brought on Mariner senior and top seed Christopher Minto, who’d bonus-pointed his way into the final. Minto would add a fifth bonus-point win against Gamba, thanks to three takedowns and a pair of turns en route for a 10-2 major. Gamba was able to get out twice after being taken down, but couldn’t get out from bottom for the entirety of the second period.
Two other area competitors finished in the top four in their respective weights.
Apopka senior Tamarion Kendrick (7th-3A) was 3rd at 138, pinning his way into the semis with falls over Wellington, Okeechobee and Cocoa Beach’s Billy Day (10th-1A), but then lost by fall in the finall four to Tampa Jesuit’s Draven McCall (1st-2A). On the backside, Kendrick had a fourth pin over Lemon Bay’s Justin Brady (4th-1A) and followed that with an 8-5 win over Jensen Beach’s Mikel Pierce-Walker (9th-1A) in the medal round.
At 113, Cocoa Beach’s Mario Del Vecchio (6th-1A, St Johns County resident) reached the semis and placed fourth after a Friday pin and 12-5 win over Ft Pierce Central’s Connor Harris (8th-3A) in the quarters; after a loss by fall in the semis to Tampa Jesuit’s Roman Lermer (ranked 1st-2A at 113 at the time), Del Vecchio pinned Lemon Bay’s Jack Oliver (4th-1A) in the consi semis, but then fell by 9-6 decision to South Dade’s Guillermo Jaramillo (12th-3A) for 4th.
You can see full team scores and brackets from the weekend’s competition HERE.
All boys rankings from https://www.kabrawrestling.com/rankings