By MATMEN, Wednesday, 7:10 p.m.
LAKE MARY — Lake Highland Prep doesn’t intersect tons with FHSAA teams during the course of its seasons any longer.
But when the Highlanders do, it still doesn’t go terribly well for the rest of the field.
That was the case once again at Lake Mary’s 33rd Tournament of Champions last weekend, as LHP bagged nine individual weight-class wins — including a pair of 4-pack wins in order — to roll up 302 team points.
Hagerty was second in the 22-team, two-day IBT, with 189.5 points, well ahead of third-place Lake Brantley’s 133.5. Oviedo outpointed Sandalwood, 120.5-117, for fifth, with Winter Park (108), West Orange (93), Seminole (88) and host Lake Mary (82) rounding out the team top 10.
Forest (69.5) was 11th, with local teams West Port 12th (69), Liberty County 13th (68.5), Wekiva 15th (55), Windermere 16th (54), Lake Howell 19th (32) and University (Orange City) 27.
Only Winter Park had more than one champion, as Jacob Rothman (106) and Joey Parker (152) gave the Wildcats a pair of bracket golds along with their seventh-place finish.
Rothman (18th-3A) had a bye into the quarters, but then pinned his way through the 106 field, rolling up three pins in 3:29, with a Friday pin over Space Coast and Saturday falls over Lake Brantley in the semis and over Windermere’s Egehan Yilhan (:35) for the championship.
Parker (6th-3A) was the top seed; after a bye into the round of 16, then needed just 2:09 to reach the final, with Friday pins over West Orange and Bishop Moore, plus a semifinal pin over Oviedo before facing another Lion wrestler, Luke Forsberg (20th-3A). This time, there would be no pin, but Parker set the pace in taking a 9-0 major.
Three wrestlers from the coverage area — Forest’s Aydan Ruano (120), Hagerty’s Kamdon Harrison (160) and Wekiva’s Holley SaintMelus (285), all returning 3A-Region 1 champs from last year — won solo titles for their teams.
Aside from a 2-0 decision Saturday morning in the semis over Liberty County’s Jay Brown (3rd-1A), Ruano (9th-3A) rolled through the 120 bracket, with Friday pins over University (Orange City) and Wekiva, plus a second-period fall (3:46) in the finals over West Orange’s Giordanny Perez.
Harrison (3rd-3A) also dominated the 160 bracket, with four pins in a combined mat time of 5:27, with Friday falls over West Orange and Lake Brantley. In the semis, Harrison racked up his third 1st-period pin over Oviedo; he had to go a bit longer against Lake Highland’s Marrion Nelson, but was able to get the tournament’s only finals-win over the Highlanders with a pin in 2:35.
SaintMelus (8th-3A) was just as dominant, if not more so, in the 285 bracket, bagging four pins in 2:48. That included Friday pins over Liberty County and Lake Mary, a semifinal fall over Sandalwood on Saturday, and a 43-second pin in the finals over Mt Dora’s Miguel Suarez (16th-1A).
Local wrestlers that reached the finals in their respective weight classes, only to fall short against Lake Highland, were Sandalwood’s Justin Robinson (113) and Malachi Mista (17th-3A at 182); Lake Brantley’s Dario Duany (15th-3A at 126); Hagerty’s Nikolas Blake (3rd-3A at 132), Hunter Tate (9th-3A at 195) and Landon Revis (11th-3A at 220); and Seminole’s Ryan Culbertson (15th-3A at 138).
Complete team scores and brackets from last weekend’s event can be found HERE.