By MATMEN, Saturday, 2:50 a.m.
PALM COAST — Will eleven be enough to defend a region title?
Matanzas will find out next weekend when the Lady Pirates host the Region 1 girls’ wrestling tournament; although not all 12 of their wrestlers were automatic qualifiers, they did move 11 through in winning the District 3 title last Wednesday, rolling to a 60-point team win, 206-146, over Middleburg.
The Lady Pirates grabbed the lioness’s share of titles, with five in all, advancing four runners-up and two 3rds. Middleburg qualified seven wrestlers for regions — its entire team — behind three titles, three runners-up and one 3rd.
Bartram Trail outpointed Ponte Vedra, 134-103, for third place, as the Lady Bears qualified eight for regions (three champs, one runnerup, two 3rds and two 4ths). As for the Lady Sharks, last year’s state runnerup moved seven through to the region round, with two champs, one runnerup, three 3rds and one 4th.
Tocoi Creek finished fifth (53 points) and qualified five wrestlers (one 3rd and 4 4ths), while Buchholz and Flagler Palm Coast tied for sixth with 36 points (both teams had a pair of runners-up). Nease, with two 3rds, was eighth at 32 points, while Clay was the lowest-finishing team with a district champ, scoring 30 points for ninth.
Ridgeview was 10th with 25 points and two qualifiers (one 3rd & one 4th), which Beachside matches in finishing 11th with 23 points. Creekside was 12th, with nine points, while Pedro Menendez was 13th with seven (including one fourth-place finisher).
A summary of each weight class follows:
100 — Middleburg’s Gracie Bradshaw (4th) picked off three pins to collect her second district title, pinning all three wrestlers who advanced out to regions along with her. Bradshaw progressively got faster through the rounds, with falls over Ridgeview’s Cheyanne Moralez (1:14, quarters), Bartram Trail’s Claire Townsend (:56, semis) and a 16-second pin on one takedown over Buchholz’s Talia Robbins (16th) to win the title. Robbins had to go into the third period to fall Tocoi Creek in the semis to secure her region space, while both Townsend and Moralez had to win twice in the consis for theirs, with Townsend pinning Moralez in 2:48 in the medal round.
105 — The Lady Broncos’ Skyla Fisher (9th) made it back-to-back titles off the top for Middleburg, with three pins collected in 2:01 to win her first title. Fisher had 28-second pins over Pedro Menendez (pigtail) and Tocoi Creek’s Olivia Jackson (semis) before pinning Flagler Palm Coast’s Joslyn Johnson in 1:05 in the medal round. Johnson seized early advantage, going up 4-0 on a takedown and quick turn, but Fisher reversed out and irrevocably grabbed the momentum. Johnson got her finals spot with a semifinal fall (1:31) over Bartram Trail’s Kyla Crooks, who had to take two pins in the consis to claim third, falling Jackson in 15 seconds in the medal round.
110 — Matanzas’ Mariah Mills (4th) managed to collect her team’s first title on the mats and earning her second career title; after a bye into the final, Mills falled Middleburg’s Memphis Moses (17th) in 54 seconds for the district win, with a pair of turns, including the finishing second one. Moses pinned Ponte Vedra’s Sophia Mallon (19th) in 4:46 in the semifinals; Mallon then received a bye for third.
115 — Ponte Vedra’s Erin Rizzuto (2nd) cruised through to her second district title in 57 seconds’ worth of work, falling Matanzas’ Autumn Jarvis (:24) in the semis and then Middleburg’s Sarah Walsh (13th) in 33 seconds in the final, needing just one takedown in each. Walsh made finals with a 52-second semifinal pin over Tocoi’s Julia Rich; Jarvis pinned Rich in the medal round, in 5:42.
120 — The Lady Pirates’ Christina Borgmann (3rd) grabbed her first district championship behind two falls, pinning Bartram Trail’s Vanessa Stobe (:49) in the semis, then falling 7th-ranked Natalia Choquegonza of Ponte Vedra in the final. Borgmann started fast, opening a 7-0 lead behind two turns in the first period, but Choquegonza rode her out in the second before Borgmann went to her feet in the third, getting a second takedown toward the fall in 4:52. Choquegonza pinned Beachside’s Karson Kremski (1:02) in the semis; Kremski would come back to pin Stobe in 5:18 for third.
125 — Matanzas’ Tiana Fries (5th) kicked off a string of five different weights all won by two-time district champs, with first-period pins over Ponte Vedra’s Donavanne Reinhard (1:12) in the semis and over Bartram Trail’s Giannina Simonpietri (1:05) in the championship. In that finals match, Fries picked up a pair of takedowns before getting the turn and fall. Simonpietri reached the final with a first-period fall of her own (1:48) over Pedro Menendez’s Nadia Campbell, while Reinhard pinned Campbell in 1:36 for third.
130 — In a three-person bracket, Matanzas’ Brielle Bibla (1st) had a bye into the final, where she needed just one takedown to take a 51-second fall over Flagler Palm Coast’s Ana Vilar (4th). Vilar earned her match with Bibla with a semifinal pin (2:56) over Ponte Vedra’s Sofia Saldana, who received a bye for third.
135 — One of the fuller brackets of the day saw Clay’s Aubrianna Apple (2nd) rack up four pins on the day, including three against the rest of her fellow automatic qualifiers in the weight class. Apple had falls over Beachside (:37, rd of 16), Tocoi Creek’s Saniyah Callahan (1:06, quarters) and Matanzas’ Saiomy Cabrera (4:31) in the semis before facing Middleburg’s Heidi Castleberry for the title. There, Apple would need just one takedown to win, getting the fall in 1:52. Castleberry had a quarterfinal pin over Nease (1:09) and won by injury-default in the semis over Creekside’s Anjel Balkenbush (17th) to secure her finals spot. Cabrera won twice by pin in the consis, falling Callahan in :54 for third.
140 — Ponte Vedra’s Olivia Richie (4th) needed just 62 seconds of mat time to take two pins, pinning Tocoi’s Sophia Avetisova (:25) in the semi and then Matanzas’ Gabby Proctor (16th) in 37 seconds in the medal round. Each time, Richie needed just one takedown. Proctor advanced to the final with a pin of her own (3:00) over Middleburg’s Savannah Huckins, who came back for third behind an injury-default win over Avetisova.
145 — In a monster bracket, Bartram Trail’s Katherine Stewart (1st) completed the string of five weights that saw wrestlers win their second district title, as Stewart took a semifinal pin over Ponte Vedra’s Josie Sagasser (9th) in 3:22, then edged Matanzas’ Kendall Bibla (3rd), 5-4, for the title. Bibla got first takedown, but Stewart reversed that, and was able to get out from bottom twice in the third period, including a reversal that saw her get the decision. Bibla reached the final after a semifinal pin (2:22) over 4th-ranked Aryan Benson of Tocoi Creek. Benson won the third-place match by injury default over Sagasser.
155 — Bartram Trail’s Ava Burre (10th) needed just 19 seconds of mat time for her first district championship, falling Beachside’s Ray Zeledon in that time during the semi, then winning by forfeit over Matanzas’ Isabella Tietje in the medal round. Tietje secured her finals space with a 32-second semifinal pin over Nease’s Julianna Fiorello, who rallied for a third-place pin in 2:54 over Zeledon.
170 — In a three-person bracket, Bartram Trail’s Paige Stewart duplicated the title feat of her sister at 145, winning twice by fall for her first district title. Stewart falled Nease’s Clare Sullivan in 22 seconds in the semis, then pinned Matanzas’ Brooklyn Watt (12th) in 3:03 for the championship. Watt got first takedown, but Stewart was able to reverse; she then rode Watt for a minute before getting the pin. Sullivan received a bye for third.
190 — Top-ranked Cheyenne Cruce of Middleburg picked up her second district title after taking pins in the semis (:56) over Ridgeview’s Lillian Heflin and in the championship (1:44) over Buchholz’s Kiona Upegui (13th). Cruce needed just one takedown, secured halfway through the first, and one turn to get the pin. Upegui falled Bartram Trail’s Hannah Matalobos in 3:03 to get to Cruce; Heflin pinned Matalobos in 2:38 for third.
Matanzas got its first title even before competition began, as Ani Brown was the only wrestler in the district to weigh in for 235; after making weight, she was assured of the first-place medal.
Results for this tournament, along with the other 15 district tournaments contested statewide, can be found HERE.