By MATMEN, Monday, 1:45 p.m.
ST CLOUD — Both Yulee and Middleburg put together performances at last weekend’s Cousins-Milton-Winter Memorial tournament that pushed the respective teams into top-five team showings.
The Hornets, with 160 points, were third in the two-day, 24-team IBT field, while Middleburg (152.5) was fifth.
Lake Brantley was eighth, with 126 points, while Flagler Palm Coast took 10th (103), Winter Park 12th (68.5), West Orange 18th (54), Dr Phillips 19th (45) and University-Orange City 20th (38).
South Dade won the team title with a 118.5-point margin of victory over Harmony, 302-183.5, with Tohopekaliga in fourth at 156.
Just one area wrestler — Yulee sophomore Alex Smith (4th-1A at 195) — left the gym with a weight-class win, in what wound up being an all-local final.
Smith pinned his way through the tournament, with preliminary falls over St Cloud and University (Orange City) on Friday, adding a third pin over Winter Springs’ Aiden Gatton (13th-2A) in 2:38 in Saturday’s semi. In the final, against Flagler Palm Coast’s Dalton Schell (8th-3A), who’d bonus-pointed into the final himself, Smith broke open a scoreless match with an early escape and a late takedown in the second period, which turned into a fall in 3:41.
Four additional wrestlers within the coverage area — West Orange’s Raymond Cavey (126), Middleburg’s Logan Moore (11th-2A at 145), Winter Park’s Joseph Parker (6th-3A at 152) and Yulee’s Braylen Ricks (7th-1A at 285) — all reached the final of their respective weight classes.
Cavey knocked off #2-3A Nathaniel Williams of South Dade, 9-7, on Friday night en route to the final, where he could not stay with another Buccaneer wrestler, 4th-ranked and top-seeded Joshua Aviles, falling by a 12-4 major in the final. Moore racked up four pins en route to the final, but South Dade’s Misha Arbos (3rd-3A) had all the offense in the championship match, with 16 points in the second and third periods en route to an 18-5 major.
At 152, Parker pinned or teched his way to the final (3 first-period pins), but South Dade was once again just strong enough to wrest the title away, this time by a single point, as he let South Dade’s Gavin Balmeceda (2nd-3A) neutral-start to open the second period; after Balmeceda rode Parker out, that was the difference in a 1-0 win. Ricks pinned his way into the final, with three falls, but couldn’t slow down 3A’s top-ranked 285, Nelson Toro, in the final, as Toro scored in each period en route to an 11-1 major.