By MATMEN, Saturday, 12:05 a.m.
KISSIMMEE — Last week-ish ago, it was Dr Phillips’ time to shine as the District 5 IBT champion.
Winning a team title at the district level takes consistency, and the Lady Panthers certainly showed that.
Competing for a top team spot at the region level, though, requires firepower, and Apopka put that on display on Friday at Osceola, finishing third out of 52 teams in the FHSAA Region 2 IBT.
The Lady Blue Darters scored 116 points as a team, finishing only behind champion Freedom (192) and runnerup/host Osceola (160.5) thanks to a title at 135 from Nehemie Gregoire, runnerup efforts from Shelby Sherman (110) and Jada Jones (190), a third from Samantha Sherman (125) and a fourth from Hananeel Gregoire (100). Apopka has nearly half of the Region 2 contingent from the coverage area going to states at Kissimmee’s Silver Spurs Arena in two weeks.
Dr Phillips (eighth place, 63.5 points) and South Lake (ninth, 45) were the next teams from the area in the team standings, with the Lady Panthers moving Emily Riveira (4th at 190) to state, while the Lady Eagles got runnerup efforts from Grisbet Guzman (135) and Zoe Williamson (145).
Wekiva’s Bianna Hertilien (runnerup at 155), and Timber Creek’s Taylor Thomas (125) and West Orange’s Thalia Rodriguez (235) both took fourths to complete the state-qualifier list from the coverage area.
Team-wise, Ocoee was 11th (36 points), Timber Creek 16th (33.5), West Orange T-21st (28), Evans 26th (23), Wekiva T-27th (22), Winter Park 36th (11), Windermere T-39th (eight), Horizon T-41st (seven) and Olympia T-49th (zero points).
A brief summary of each weight class follows:
Final: Kealonie Vega (Osceola, 1st, all rankings by the only Matmen-endorsed state rankings, KabraWrestling.com) p. Kohana Martinez (Zephyrhills, 2nd), 1:54.
3rd: Miabella Lopez (Freedom, 3rd) md. Hananeel Gregoire (Apopka, 11th), 11-0.
Gregoire’s path to state: Reached semis with 12-2 major over Celebration and 10-7 decision over McKeel before losing by fall to Vega (2:38). Punched ticket with fall over Celebration (3:52) to get to Lopez in the medal round.
How were our picks?: We said we wouldn’t be surprised if Gregoire made a deep run and she did. We had three of the four medalists otherwise, including an accurate final projection.
Final: Gabby Tedesco (Lake Gibson, 1st) tf. Maite Coutinho (Freedom, 5th), 17-1, 3:57.
3rd: Madelyne Bombardier (McKeel, 16th) md. Gianella Walczak (Springstead, 7th), 21-11.
Top local: Winter Park’s Aliyah Gonzalez (4th) had two pins to get to Tedesco and the semis, but then took losses by fall to Tedesco and to Bombardier in the blood round.
How were our picks?: We got three of the four medalists and had the correct finals pick, but Bombardier…well, she threw a bomb into two legitimate set of projections this weekend.
Final: Keana Bush (Hudson, 7th) medfft over Shelby Sherman (Apopka, 5th).
3rd: Daniela Tabora-Contreras (Osceola, 8th) over Azsa Baptiste (Colonial), :56.
Sherman’s path to state: She needed just 4:06 in three rounds to qualify for Silver Spurs, with falls over East River (:28), George Jenkins (1:40) and Tabora-Contreras (1:58), but then medical-forfeited in the third period after trailing Bush, 11-2.
How were our picks?: We had both finalists right once again, and got three qualifiers correct. Baptiste pinned two ranked opponents to qualify out, one on each side of the bracket.
Final: Cameron Galvin (Freedom, 3rd) md. Mayangelie Colon (Mulberry, 8th), 19-5.
3rd: Emma Bauknight (Springstead, 4th) p. Lilyana Gargano (Fivay, 10th), 4:47.
Top local: Dr Phillips’ Leah Fountain (20th) and Ocoee’s Amaliangel Rodriguez were both 1-2, both winning on the front side.
How were our picks?: We got all four qualifiers accurately picked; we also projected a splash from Hernando’s Julia Salgado-Campos (11th), and she reached the blood round.
Final: Milana Borrelli (Lake Nona, 1st) p. Jasmine Serrano (Springstead, 4th), :37.
3rd: Sydney Bridenstein (Cypress Creek-WC, 10th) p. Paola Ramirez (Osceola), :48.
Top local: Horizon’s Deleilah Viteri was 2-2, with pins on the front over Hudson and Harmony on the back.
How were our picks?: We got three of four qualifiers correct, including the final. Ramirez lost by fall to my fourth qualifier pick in the rd of 16, but then stormed through the consis to punch her ticket, avenging her front-side loss in the blood round.
Final: Keira Suro (Osceola, 13th) p. Alissa Brown-Washington (Freedom, 11th), 5:34.
3rd: Samantha Sherman (Apopka, 5th) p. Taylor Thomas (Timber Creek, 7th), 3:58.
Sherman’s path to state: After quickly falling Poinciana in the rd of 16, Sherman had to rally after a 7-4 loss to Thomas in the quarters, with pins over McKeel (1:24) and Harmony (5:28, my projected finals pick along with Sherman) sandwiching a 7-6 overtime win over Hernando.
Thomas’ path to state: After opening with a fall (1:46) over George Jenkins and then knocking off Sherman, Thomas fell to district rival Brown-Washington, 6-5, in the semis, securing a state space with a fall (1:22) over Springstead.
How were our picks?: Welp, we got three qualifiers right, but neither finalist. We did not have Suro on our radar; going out as a senior on her home mats certainly was an additional motivator.
Final: Callie Alfieri (Gulf, 3rd) d. Keyla DeLeon (Freedom, 2nd), 7-5.
3rd: Kelliana Mack (Osceola, 10th) p. Genesis Fuentes (Gateway), 3:10.
Top local: Apopka’s Shamari Smith and Timber Creek’s Megan Canete were both 1-2, with both of their wins coming in consi rd 1.
How were our picks?: We righted the ship after a bit of a debacle at 125, correctly selecting all four medalists and picking both medal-round matchups.
Final: Nehemie Gregoire (Apopka, 4th) p. Grisbet Guzman (South Lake, 13th), 4:42.
3rd: Isabella Tolentino (East River, 8th) p. Makenzie Eltzroth (Hernando, 12th), 2:43.
Route to the all-Matmen area final: Gregoire pinned her way through the bracket, with preliminary falls over Bartow (3:43), Freedom (3:13) and Osceola (1:18) in succession, while Guzman had pins over Wesley Chapel (3:24), Timber Creek’s Allesandra Lammers (4:30) and West Orange’s Ariana Martinez (3:17) to set up the District 5 finals rematch.
How were our picks?: We had three of the four qualifiers sussed out, and I wanted to pick the rematch, but couldn’t pull the trigger; then, another local (Martinez) made my pick incorrect. We said Martinez could make a deep run and the blood round is certainly that. She should definitely punch a Silver Spurs ticket in 2024.
Final: Cathia Timas (Osceola, 6th) d. Kristy More (Sunlake, 4th), 6-4.
3rd: Isabel Perez (Freedom, 10th) d. Nicollette Watson (Wiregrass Ranch), 11-5.
Top local: Timber Creek’s Hayden Proulx made the semis behind two pins in 95 seconds, but then lost to More by fall and then again on a sudden-victory takedown by Watson in a 9-7 blood-round loss.
How were our picks?: Kinda a shambles, really, with just two qualifiers and one finalist selected semi-accurately. Timas busted up both legitimate brackets with her run to the title.
Final: Jennah Mustafa (Lake Wales, 2nd) d. Zoe Williamson (South Lake, 7th), 3-2.
3rd: Olivia Brown (Hernando, 12th) d. Elody Rodriguez (Gateway, 10th), 3-1.
Williamson’s path to state: After a 14-second pin over Colonial in the rd of 16, Williamson survived a 2-1 challenge from Rodriguez in the quarters, but righted the ship against Brown in the semis with a third-period pin (4:17). Mustafa’s mid-second period takedown was the only scoring, as Williamson was hit with a penalty point in the first period and Mustafa hit with two in the third.
How were our picks?: We had three qualifiers picked correctly, including the final; Rodriguez knocked off our fourth pick by a 4-2 count in the blood round.
Final: Megan Preston (Wiregrass Ranch, 2nd) p. Bianna Hertilien (Wekiva), 3:28.
3rd: Emiliana Martinez (Gateway, 5th) p. Mariah Earl (Hernando, 18th), 3:36.
Hertilien’s path to state: After a forfeit into the quarters, Hertilien pinned Lake Wales (1:50) there and then pinned Martinez in 5:26; while both wrestlers scored a lot, Hertilien had two nearfalls in the second period, so she’d been close before actually securing the fall to reach Preston in the final.
How were our picks?: Well, we couldn’t pull the trigger on our area competitor making the medals, but we DID say to watch from a deep run from her — and she figured why not make that run all on the front? Three qualifiers were otherwise picked.
Final: Grace Leota (Hernando, 1st) p. Alexia Davis (McKeel, 11th), 1:09.
3rd: Salexa Lontoc-Ortiz (Freedom, 4th) p. Lilly Yambor (Gateway, 10th), :12.
Top local: Ocoee’s Cierra Young was 2-2, with pins on both sides of the bracket against Auburndale (front) and Osceola (consi), with a quarterfinal loss to Leota and a consi quarter loss to Mulberry.
How were our picks?: Well, one of our finals picks didn’t wrestle; we had two qualifiers picked. Not one of our better weights, to be fair.
Final: Emari Brown (St Cloud, 6th) p. Jada Jones (Apopka, 2nd), 4:13.
3rd: Paisley Murphy (Wesley Chapel, 15th) fft over Emily Riveira (Dr Phillips), 11th.
Jones’ path to state: She needed just 1:17 to reach the final, after a forfeit and pins over Gateway (:29) and McKeel (:48), but struggled against Brown, giving up takedowns in both the first and second periods before giving up the fall early in the third.
Riveira’s path to state: After a 14-second fall over Fivay, Riveira lost by fall (1:59) to Brown in the quarters, needing three pins over Harmony (1:23), Bartow (1:37) and McKeel (1:20) before forfeiting the third-place match.
How were our picks?: Not great, though we lucked into three qualifiers making it through, just one was picked accurately.
Final: Rotchiva Clermont (Freedom, 5th) p. Judlie Laplante (Oak Ridge, 8th), :48.
3rd: Rylee Christmas (Auburndale, 13th) p. Thalia Rodriguez (West Orange), :38.
Rodriguez’s path to state: After pinning Mulberry (1:08) in the rd of 16, she lost by fall (2:23) to Clermont, and was the only wrestler to reach the second period against the champ. Rodriguez then took pins over Ocoee’s Ayanna Robinson and over Jones (1:37) in the blood round, with a forfeit win as well.
How were our picks?: We had two qualifiers correctly picked in the right shape of medal, but Rodriguez was not the local I tagged to get out, though I did say watch for a deep run. It was.
Results for Friday’s tournament and Saturday’s three region events can be found HERE.