By MATMEN, Monday, 12:45 p.m.
WASHINGTON DC — For the deaf wrestling community, the Willigan Championships function as something of a national-level competition.
Over the course of last weekend, nine teams from eight states — including Florida Deaf & Blind — competed at the event, held at Gallaudet University, with dual competition on Friday and IBT on Saturday.
On Friday, the Dragons (unknown record; not all results are recorded as of yet) were 3-2 in duals, with wins over Texas SD (66-6), North Carolina SD (54-18) and Fremont CSD (60-24), taking losses against Riverside CSD (48-30) and Model SSD, based in DC, by a 56-24 score.
The Dragons had three unbeaten wrestlers in Joshua Newman (120, 4 pins), Khayree Lofton (126, 2 pins) and Brady Simmer (132, 3 pins), all of whom were 5-0 max-pointers.
Jasen McDaniel (106), Addison Allen (138/144, 2 pins) and Ajani Zahira (150/157, 3 pins) wera all 4-1, while Jayden Rosario-Crestpo (144/150, 3 pins) was 3-1, with Muntaser Wadi (190) and Keegan Hendrick (215, 2 pins) each earning 3-2 records.
Saturday saw Florida Deaf & Blind take fifth in IBT competition, with 119 points. Indiana SD won the team championship, outdistancing Maryland SD, 233-178.
Three Dragons got to the finals of their weight classes, as Lofton (126), Simmer (132) and Zahira (150) all were runners-up.
Lofton was 1-1 in the 126 group, with a 57-second win by fall over Riverside CSD, falling by an 11-0 major to Indiana SD’s Matthew Saaty, while Simmer also was 1-1, with a third-period fall (4:15) over Texas SD before losing by fall (4:18) to Indiana’s Daniel Healy.
At 150, there was a bracket format; Zahira pinned Riverside CSD in 1:05 to reach the final, where he took a third-period loss by fall (4:56) to Indiana’s Calvin Cuppy. Zahira was spared having to wrestle for true second when his Riverside opponent won by pin twice on the back to claim third.
FSDB’s Drake Bailey (106) and Allen (144) both added fourths in their respective weights.