#Recap: DeLand Wins 5 Star Conference Title

DeLand wrestlers and coaches celebrate a title effort Saturday at University (Orange City) after winning the 5 Star Conference team championship (Photo submitted by deland_high_wrestling via Instagram).

By MATMEN, Sunday, 5:15 p.m.

ORANGE CITY — DeLand added one more championship piece of hardware to its trophy case Saturday afternoon.

But it wasn’t all the easy for the Bulldogs to turn back New Smyrna Beach and win the 5 Star Conference event at University (Orange City), even after four weight-class wins.

That’s because the Barracudas had four titles of their own, with two runners-up to DeLand’s one, pushing the Bulldogs hard before falling in the team standings, 182 points to 171.

Defending champion Flagler Palm Coast was third with 146 points, followed by Deltona (129), Seabreeze (80), Mainland (68), the host Titans (58) and Atlantic (10).

Still, though, DeLand made its way through by its star power (buoyed, as well, by 4 third-place finishes in the consi-side bracket). Phoenix Krauth (120), Mathias Franz (152), Mason Perkins (170) and Marion Smokes (285) each won titles for the Volusia County Bulldogs.

Krauth (3A-12th) picked off two first-period pins to get DeLand on the title board, with a semifinal fall over University, followed by a 49-second pin over NSB’s Spencer Timm, in which Krauth had two takedowns in the first 20 seconds, plus a 3-point turn shortly after that in addition to the fall.

Franz (3A-16th) also pinned his way through the field at 152, with first-period falls over Mainland (quarters) and Deltona (semis) before going into the second period to pin Flagler Palm Coast’s Carson Baert, a 2022 champ, in 3:46. The match was largely all Franz, thanks to a pair of first-period takedowns and a 3-point turn midway through the second before securing the fall.

Perkins needed just 1:10 to reach the 170 final, with a pin over Deltona in the semifinal round, but then had to work hard to hold off University (Orange City)’s Slade High-Tompkins, 1-0, for the championship. Only a penalty point issued to Perkins midway through the second period separated the two wrestlers, both of whom rode out the other after a scoreless first period.

Finally, Smokes (3A-8th) won his first title with three pins, taking falls over Mainland (quarters, his longest match) and Seabreeze (semis) before pinning Deltona’s Nathan Hatch (2A-18th) in 1:58. The first period nearly went scoreless before Smokes grabbed a takedown that almost immediately turned into a pin.

New Smyrna Beach’s champions were Adam Novak (106), Merrick Miller (126), Simjay Engberg (145) and Sawyer VanRider (182).

Novak needed just one match to win the title in a 2-person bracket, falling Atlantic’s Justin Jones in 1:07. Novak got a takedown 28 seconds in and made it stand up for a turn and pin later in the first period.

Miller joined Novak as a first-time 5 Star champ and freshman by pinning his way through the draw, with three falls over University (quarters), DeLand (semis) and in the title against Deltona’s Austin Riis (1:25). Miller gave up first takedown, but rallied a half-minute later with a reversal and turned that into the bracket-winning pin.

Engberg was 0-2 in his first 5 Star tournament last year, but won twice by fall on Saturday, with pins over DeLand (semis) and again in the title against Mainland’s Sam Ayodele, in 3:41. Engberg scored in both two periods (takedown in first, reversal in second), with a quick turn prior his second turn and fall.

VanRider (2A-14th) avenged his lone loss at 5 Star last year with first-period pins over University (quarters) and Mainland (semis) before majoring DeLand’s Gavin Rodriguez-Cayro (3A-9th), 18-5, for the championship. VanRider never trailed, with four takedowns and four turns, allowing just one scoring move early.

Flagler Palm Coast earned four weight-class wins, with a couple of additional runners-up, in finishing third, as Kole Hannant (132), Kelton Howard (160), Dalton Schell (195) and Ethaniel Laupepa (220) were all victorious for the Flagler County Bulldogs.

Hannant (3A-16th) won his third 5 Star title Saturday with two victories in the 132 bracket; with a semifinal pin over Mainland. In the final against fellow defending champion Kevin Kerns of Deltona (2A-11th), Hannant scored in each period, with takedowns in the first and second periods, plus a reversal in the third for a 6-2 win.

Howard earned two pins in the first period for his win at 160, with falls over Mainland (semis) and over Deltona’s Gevin De la Cruz in 1:34 in the title round. Howard made one takedown be enough midway through the first period, riding for a short period before collecting the pin.

Schell (3A-7th) became a first-time champ by pinning his way through the 195 bracket, with preliminary falls over Deltona (quarters) and Seabreeze (semis) before pinning New Smyrna’s Derek King in 3:52 in the title round. Schell picked up three takedowns en route to the fall, never trailing in the match.

At 220, Laupepa also became a first-time champion, and like Schell, pinnned his way through the bracket to do it, with falls over New Smyrna Beach (semis) and over Seabreeze’s Pedro Sierra-Bonilla in 3:57 in the finals round. Laupepa gave up first takedown and trailed until late in the second, when his first scoring move led to the fall.

Deltona’s two titles were secured by Joel Pena (113) and Kyle Yasses (138).

Pena grabbed two pins in the 113 bracket to take the Wolves’ first championship, with a semifinal pin over Mainland before falling Seabreeze’s Shane Triplett in 1:04 in the final. Pena needed just one takedown, picked up 18 seconds in, and made that work for a turn and pin.

Yasses (2A-15th) had to survive double-overtime in the 138 semis after a bye in the quarters, but after giving up an early takedown in the final against Flagler Palm Coast’s John Hald (3A-12th) and being issued a penalty a half-minute later, Yasses won by medical forfeit.

Brackets from the weekend can be found HERE.

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