By MATMEN, Sunday, 4:45 a.m.
DELAND — Defending the home gym is the goal of every wrestling program. Seeing a majority of teams in a state-qualifying tournament getting a wrestler in the state field is the goal of each tournament.
And both were accomplished Saturday, as DeLand “double regioned,” adding the 3A-Region 1 IBT title at home to its duals title won at Osceola last month.
The Volusia County Bulldogs built a 47-point margin of victory over runnerup Hagerty, 161.5-114.5, for the team’s first region IBT title. In so doing, DeLand qualified six wrestlers out for the 3A state tournament starting Thursday at Silver Spurs Arena in Kissimmee, the only team in the 31-team field to qualify more than five.
And that’s where the team balance came in with a little bit of something for almost everyone, as 24 teams — nearly 80% of the teams in the field (31 in all) have one or more state quallfiers. Ten teams won weight-class titles, ten won runnerup medals, ten won 3rd-place medals and 13 different teams won one 4th-place medal.
DeLand finished with one champion, two runners-up and three 3rds; runnerup Hagerty was one of two teams with five qualifiers, as the Huskies advanced two champions, two runners-up and one 3rd. Buchholz, with 111 points and five qualifiers (two champs, one runnerup and two 4ths), was third.
Timber Creek held off Bartram Trail and Winter Park for fourth through sixth places respectively, as the Wolfpack had 103 points to the Bears’ 101 and Wildcats’ 100. Timber Creek had two champions qualify out, while Bartram advanced three wrestlers (one champ, one 3rd and one 4th) and Winter Park took four out, including a region-high three champs and one runnerup.
Flagler Palm Coast, in seventh with 96 points, also advanced four wrestlers to states, on one runnerup, two 3rds and one 4th, while three teams — Oviedo (8th, 86.5 points), Fletcher (9th, 77) and Lake Mary (12th, 56) — each will move three wrestlers on. The Lions had two runnersup and one 3rd, while the Senators had two runners-up and one 4th and Rams had two 3rds and one 4th.
Among teams besides Timber Creek that had two state qualifiers, Creekside was 10th (63 points, one champ and one 4th), Lake Brantley 11th (60, one runnerup and one 3rd), Nease 13th (54.5 points, one champ & one 4th), and Sandalwood 17th (39.5 points, one 3rd & one 4th).
Ten more teams had one state qualifier, led by Forest’s 14th-place finish (44.5 points, one 3rd), followed by Ocoee (40.5 in 15th, one 4th), West Orange (40 in 16th, one runnerup), Evans (34 in 18th, one 3rd), Mandarin (32 in 19th, one runnerup), Apopka (25 in 20th, one champ), First Coast (24.5 points in 21st, one 4th), Windermere (24 points in 22nd, one 3rd), West Port (19 points in 24th, one 4th) and Wekiva (17 points in 25th, one 4th).
With 23 points in 23rd place, Olympia was the highest-finishing team not to have a state qualifier.
Below follows a summary of each weight class.
Final: Alexavier Panganiban (Creekside, 12th, rankings as ranked last week by Matmen-endorsed KabraWrestling.com) d. Jacob Rothman (Winter Park, 15th), 12-6.
3rd: Egehan Yilhan (Windermere, 20th) d. Mathew Pishotta (West Port), 9-4.
Finalists’ path: Panganiban pinned his way into the final with three first-period falls over Dr Phillips, Lake Brantley and over Yilhan in the semis, while Rothman bookended a quarterfinal tech over Ocoee with pins over Lake Mary and Forest.
Punching tickets: Yilhan (pin & decision on front) added two more wins in the consis, with a 14-2 major over Fletcher in the blood round, while Pishotta, who’d lost to Yilhan by a 14-8 count in the quarters on Friday, won three times in the consis to get the rematch, with pins over Oviedo, Lake Brantley and Forest in the consi semis.
Who else impressed us: Beyond the qualifiers, we were impressed with Forest’s Scott Smith, who needed just 71 seconds of mat time to get to the semis, with one of his two pins over a fellow blood-rounder.
How were our picks?: We had three of the four projecteds move on to states, with our fourth reaching the blood round. Pishotta was one we said watch for a deep run and that run will continue next week. Otherwise, we were a little fuzzy on the depth picks with this weight class.
Final: Marlo Clark (Timber Creek, 7th) md. Josh Sabbia (Oviedo), 18-5.
3rd: Tyler Bracero (DeLand, 20th) p. Santiago Carrion (Creekside), 1:53.
Finalists’ path: Clark had Friday pins over Fletcher and Buchholz before taking a 3-1 semifinal win over Bartram Trail, while Sabbia clinched the rematch of last week’s District 3 final with a rd-1 tech over Nease, quarterfinal pin over Bracero (3:17) and semifinal win over Carrion, 5-0.
Punching tickets: Bracero pinned his way through the consis, with pins over Fletcher, Forest and Bartram Trail before the medal round, while Carrion (pin & forfeit on front) added a second pin in the blood round over Lake Brantley.
Who else impressed us: As we saw a few times in the 1A and 2A brackets, it’s a tough thing to get a rematch in these tournaments, but that’s what Lake Brantley’s Clayton Willits got after a round-1 loss to Carrion. Willits bonus-pointed through three rounds of consis to get a rematch in the blood round, and while the outcome was the same, kudos for making it happen.
How were our picks?: Two of our projecteds made it out (one of them did not compete) and a third did get to the blood round, while Sabbia was one of our dark horses and Willits did in fact make a deep run as projected. Carrion won’t be as under the radar next week.
Final: Phoenix Krauth (DeLand, 11th) p. Finn Buchanan (Buchholz), 3:44.
3rd: Aydan Ruano (Forest) p. Adrian Pabon-Rivera (Lake Mary), 3:18.
Finalists’ path: Krauth bonus-pointed through the tournament, with a rd-1 pin over Lake Brantley, an 18-6 major over Nease and a semifinal tech over Pabon-Rivera (17-2 in 4:13), while Buchanan had Friday decisions over Hagerty and Creekside, with a 11-1 major in the semis over Oviedo.
Punching tickets: After a round-1 loss to Oviedo, Ruano wouldn’t lose again and later avenged that loss, with pins over Sandalwood and Oviedo, a decision over Nease and tech over Hagerty before the medal round. Pabon-Rivera (major & pin on front) won by injury default over Timber Creek in the consi semis.
Who else impressed us: Ruano definitely impressed me the most, going 5-1 to get back to states after winning a region title last year. That’s one of the hardest things for a wrestler to do, wrestle all the way back to third after a round-1 loss.
How were our picks?: We had two of our four projecteds make it out to state; one of our projecteds fell in the blood round, while the other didn’t get past Friday. Buchanan was a dark horse who went on to make final, and our deep-run pick also made the blood round, with Pabon-RIvera an under-the-radar wrestler who is now over the radar.
Final: Ethan Vugman (Bartram Trail, 1st) p. Raymond Cavey (West Orange, 11th), 5:35.
3rd: Dario Duany (Lake Brantley, 9th) md. Jedidiah Brown (Buchholz, 18th), 9-0.
Finalists’ path: Vugman pinned his way through the weekend, with preliminary pins over Hagerty, Olympia and Duany (:42) in the semis before getting to Cavey, who had a rd-1 major over Forest and decisions over Timber Creek and over Brown (5-2 in the semis).
Punching tickets: Duany (tech & decision on front) added a pair of majors in the consis, with a 15-1 blood-round win over Evans to secure his state space, while Brown (pin & decision on front) qualified out with a 6-3 decision over DeLand in the consi semis.
Who else impressed us: Evans’ Jaylen Clayton had a solid tournament and could be in the mix for states in 2024 with three wins this weekend, including a front-side pin and two consi-side decisions.
How were our picks?: We had three of the four projecteds, but Cavey was definitely a bracket-buster for us; we didn’t have him on our projections anywhere (more West Orange results would have helped). Our fourth projected qualifier reached the blood round and Clayton was a dark horse pick for us. Our deep-run pick got to Saturday’s wrestling, but our under-the-radar pick, after a nice start to the season, struggled more down the stretch.
Final: Cavarius Liddie (Buchholz, 5th) p. Nikolas Blake (Hagerty, 2nd), 3:50.
3rd: Kole Hannant (Flagler Palm Coast, 13th) d. Cole O’Brien (Fletcher, 6th), 8-3.
Finalists’ path: Like Vugman, Liddie pinned his way through the tournament, with first-period preliminary pins over Sandalwood, Olympia and O’Brien in the semis, while Blake had pins over Timber Creek and DeLand before downing Hannant, 8-4, in the semis.
Punching tickets: Hannant (2 pins on front) added a third with a blood-round fall over Aquino in 2:47, while O’Brien (2 pins on front) also added a third in the consi semis, with a pin over Windermere.
Who else impressed us: Timber Creek’s Ozy Aquino was an additional qualifier, placing fifth at districts; he also placed in the top six at regions; after being pinned in 10 seconds by Blake, Aquino stormed through three consi-side pins before it took a multiple-time state qualifier like Hannant to end his tournament in the blood round.
How were our picks?: We were 4-for-4 on our projecteds getting out, with the correct final and 3rd-place match. One of our two dark horses got to the blood round, and our deep-run pick got to Saturday’s wrestling. Aquino knocked out our under-the-radar pick and our other dark horse didn’t compete.
Final: Tamarion Kendrick (Apopka, 7th) tf. Kellen Chapman (DeLand, 15th), 15-0, 3:24.
3rd: Johnathan Dishman (Oviedo) d. John Hald (Flagler Palm Coast, 12th), 12-10, SV.
Finalists’ path: Kendrick had a pair of Friday majors over Seminole and Nease, then had his closest match of the tournament in a 10-7 semifinal win over Dishman. As for Chapman, he had Friday bonus-point wins over Olympia (pin) and Timber Creek (major), with an 8-6 win over Creekside in the semis.
Punching tickets: Dishman (pin & 13-11 win over Hald) took a pair of decisions in the consis, first with a 13-6 blood-round win over Seminole, while Hald had three consi-side victories over Sandalwood (major), Nease (decision) and Creekside (pin).
Who else impressed us: I thought Seminole’s Ryan Culbertson was better than a fourth-place region qualifier, and he showed it, rallying from a 12-3 loss to Kendrick in round 1 with three consi-side victories, on a pin over Hagerty and one-point wins over Buchholz and Timber Creek. Was a good way to rally back.
How were our picks?: We had three of the four projecteds correct, including the correct final, with our fourth projected making the blood round along with our deep-run pick, Culbertson. Both of our dark horses, as well, made it to Saturday, and our under-the-radar pick was Dishman. He’s over it now. Otherwise, a pretty good weight class.
Final: James Gonzalez (Winter Park, 13th) d. Giovanni Duany (Lake Brantley, 15th), 6-3.
3rd: Tyran Schanck (Evans, 14th) d. Seth Galvin (Wekiva), 5-4.
Finalists’ path: The District 3 party was led by Gonzalez, who had Friday pins over Apopka and Seminole before majoring Galvin, 10-0, in the semis. Duany bonus-pointed to wins over Olympia (major) and Mandarin (pin) before a 10-4 win over Schanck in the semis (they didn’t meet at districts, no rematch in play).
Punching tickets: Schanck (2 pins on front) added a third fall in the consi semis, securing his state position with a pin over Olympia, while Galvin (major & decision on front) took a 5-4 win over Bartram Trail in the blood round.
Who else impressed us: Olympia’s Madden Bourst rallied from an 8-0 loss in round 1 to win three times in the consis (forfeit, decision and pin) before taking a loss by fall against Schanck, a former district rival, in the semis.
How were our picks?: We had all four projecteds getting out, but we had Schanck in the final and Duany in the third-place match (shoulda looked at that district closer-like, but we did get them all out). Our deep-run pick did make a deep run, but our dark horses were a mixed bag (one didn’t compete, the other got to Saturday, but lost first match). Bourst knocked out our under-the-radar choice on Friday.
Final: Joey Parker (Winter Park, 5th) p. Luke Forsberg (Oviedo, 18th), 1:26.
3rd: Mathias Franz (DeLand, 12th) p. Justin St John (Hagerty), 5:54.
Finalists’ path: Another District 3 party and rematch of the final this time, Parker pinned or teched his way through, with pins over Seminole and over Franz in the preliminary rounds, as well as a quarterfinal tech over Olympia, while Forsberg bookended a 6-3 quarterfinal win over South Lake with pins over Lake Mary and St John in the semis.
Punching tickets: Franz (pin & major on the front) added two more falls in the consis, sealing his state space with a blood-round pin over Bartram Trail, while St John (two decisions on front) bagged a trip to Kissimmee with his consi-semi pin over Flagler Palm Coast.
Who else impressed me: Gotta go with St John here, who was 17-21 going in. Beat Flagler. Beat a district champ in double-overtime. Lost to his crosstown rival in the semis. Came back to pin again in the blood round (and shout out here to Flagler’s Carson Baert, who lost in round 1 to St John, then got all the way back to the blood round for a rematch).
How were our picks?: We got two of the four projects picked accurately; our other two reached the blood round and consi quarters, respectively. Forsberg was one of our two dark horses, but otherwise our depth picks were 2-6. Ugh. Not great.
Final: Kamdon Harrison (Hagerty, 3rd) p. Josh Daltro (Fletcher, 9th), 1:05.
3rd: Kelton Howard (Flagler Palm Coast) d. Jacob Lutz (Nease, 12), 11-9.
Finalists’ paths: Harrison had three first-period pins on the weekend, with Friday falls over Lake Mary and Mandarin, plus a semifinal third-period tech (18-3 in 5:36) over Lutz, while Daltro had Friday pins over Ocoee and Oviedo, plus a 7-1 semifinal win over Timber Creek.
Punching tickets: After a quarterfinal loss to Lutz, Howard won four times — the fourth being a rematch win — with additional consi-side pins over West Orange and Mandarin before a sudden-victory win over Timber Creek. Lutz (pin & decision on front) added a second pin in the blood round over Oviedo.
Who else impressed me?: I thought Oviedo’s Hudson McCandles had a good tournament; after a good first-round win and then loss in the quarters to Daltro, he came back with two consi-side pins, and was in trouble a couple of times against Lake Brantley in the consi quarters, but he held composure to advance. He should be back next year.
How were our picks?: We were 4-for-4 on qualifiers, with the correct final and 3rd-place matches, but one of our dark horses knocked out the other on Friday night. Our deep-run pick got to the blood round, and McCandles was our under-the-radar pick. So aside from the dark horses, huzzahs all round.
Final: Alan Rivera (Nease, 14th) d. Connor Gilliam (Hagerty, 19th), 7-5, SV.
3rd: Gavin Isaacs (Lake Mary, 9th) d. Max Szabo (Buchholz), 5-0.
Finalists’ paths: Rivera opened and closed the tournament with decisions, with pins Friday over Flagler Palm Coast and Saturday over Lake Brantley along with a rd-1 win over Oviedo, while Gilliam had pins over Sandalwood, Isaacs in the quarters and Ocoee in the semis.
Punching tickets: After his loss in the quarters to Gilliam, Isaacs won four times in the consis, with a major over Fletcher, decision over TImber Creek and pin over Lake Brantley before the medal round, while Szabo, who lost in the quarters to Lake Brantley by a 4-2 count, had three wins (decisions over Sandalwood and Flagler Palm Coast, pin over Ocoee).
Who else impressed us: He lost in the consi-quarters relatively early Saturday, but I liked the tournament of Timber Creek’s Juan Viera-Paulos. He pinned a higher-regarded wrestler in round 1, then hung in against a 4-year starter and blood-rounder in the quarters before taking a Friday night pin over one of West Orange’s top kids, then hung in against a top-10 ranked wrestler on Saturday. Quick shoutout to Rivera, here, too, for continuing to consistently surprise me.
How were our picks?: We had three of the four projecteds get out, but our projected final was actually the 3rd-place match. We had Rivera as a dark horse and our other one reached the blood round. After that…our District 1 depth kids both did not get out of Friday’s wrestling.
Final: Hunter Tate (Hagerty, 11th) d. Gavin Rodriguez-Cayro (DeLand, 12th), 8-5.
3rd: John McNames (Bartram Trail, 8th) p. Malachi Mista (Sandalwood, 14th), 2:34.
Finalists’ path: After a rd-1 pin over Creekside, Tate took decisions over Buchholz (4-2 in sudden victory) and McNames (9-5 in semis) prior to the final, while Rodriguez-Cayro bonus-pointed through the preliminary rounds, bookending a 9-1 major over Oviedo with pins over Windermere and over Mista (:57) in the semis.
Punching tickets: McNames (2 front-side pins) added two more falls on the back, with a 48-second blood-round fall over Creekside, while Mista (major & tech on front) trailed for too long in the consi semis before pushing through to a 10-9 decision.
Who else impressed us: Definitely the tournament of Creekside’s Tristen Darling, who rallied from his loss by pin in round 1 with three consi-side wins (pin over Ocoee, decisions over Oviedo and Timber Creek) before a loss by fall to a district rival in the blood round.
How were our picks?: We had the right four kids getting out, but we had McNames and Tate in the wrong spots. The more the merrier for next week. One of our dark horses got to the blood round, the other didn’t get past Friday, and our deep-run wrestler lost twice by pin. No bueno.
Final: Kason Nichols (Buchholz, 4th) d. Dalton Schell (Flagler Palm Coast, 8th), 4-2.
3rd: Duffy Mista (Sandalwood, 9th) p. Dean Marshall (First Coast), 3:59.
Finalists’ path: After Friday max-point wins over Bartram Trail (DQ) and Timber Creek (pin), Nichols reached the final behind a 5-1 win over Mista, whilke Schell bonus-pointed through the tournament; after opening with an 8-0 major over Marshall, Schell then took pins over Wekiva and Oviedo to reach the final.
Punching tickets: Mista (pin & decision on front) secured his state space for the second time with a blood-round fall (1:04) over DeLand, while Marshall rallied from his 8-0 loss to Schell with four bonus-point wins to qualify out, on pins over Dr Phillips, Ocoee and Oviedo, plus a tech over Timber Creek.
Who else impressed us: Gotta start with Marshall, whose season last year didn’t really foreshadow a state run this year, but here we are after a 4-2 tournament this weekend, including wins over both the District 3 and 4 champions.
How were our picks?: We had three of our four projected qualifiers get out, including the correct final, and our fourth projected reached the blood round. One of our dark horses was the other blood rounder, and we said don’t be surprised if Marshall made a deep run. He did. Our other dark horse, though, didn’t compete, and the under-the-radar pick, a district champ, was 0-2.
Final: Liam Glassmeyer (Winter Park, 17th) p. Jaelen Simmons (Mandarin, 10th), 2:31.
3rd: Michael Frederick (Lake Mary, 16th) d. Shane Armstrong (Bartram Trail, 5th), 2-1, UTB.
Finalists’ path: Aside from a quarterfinal win over Armstrong in which Glassmeyer rode him out in ultimate tiebreaker to secure the win, Glassmeyer dominated the bracket, with pins over University (Orange City) on Friday and Frederick (semis) before the medal round, while Simmons had a round-1 pin over DeLand and then wins over Timber Creek (5-1, quarters) and Flagler Palm Coast (11-1, semis).
Punching tickets: Frederick (2 front-side pins) added a pair of decisions in the consis, securing his state space with a 4-2 win over Ocoee, while Armstrong won three times off the back, bookending a 2-1 win over Hagerty with pins over Oviedo on Friday and Flagler in the blood round.
Who else impressed us: Here was another weight where Flagler impressed us, as Ethaniel Laupepa reached the semis behind decisions over Creekside and Ocoee (can’t say for sure I would have picked him for either one) and then battled it up against a top-five ranked wrestler in the blood round. Could see Laupepa in #TheShow in 2024.
How were our picks?: We had three of the four projected wrestlers make it to state, with the correct 3rd-place match (I really thought Glassmeyer would win this, he’s an excellent 220 and could place). Simmons was a dark-horse pick and I believe he’s better than some moments he’s had this season; our other dark horse did get to Saturday, but our depth picks were 1-4 as a pair.
Final: Peter Nesheiwat (Timber Creek, 4th) d. Toby Matson (Fletcher, 8th), 8-4.
3rd: Marion Smokes (DeLand, 6th) p. Deandre Scott (Ocoee, 5th), 1:29.
Finalists’ path: Nesheiwat began with Friday pins over University (Orange City) and Bartram Trail, adding a 9-3 decision in the semis over Smokes, while Matson also had Friday pins, over Olympia and Hagerty, before pushing past Scott, 4-3, in the semis.
Punching tickets: Smokes (2 front-side pins) added two more in the consis, with a blood-round fall over Evans, while Scott (2 front-side pins) earned his third pin of the tournament with a blood-round fall over Bartram Trail.
Who else impressed us: Even though under-sized, Bartram Trail’s Jacob George still got to the blood round with three victories this weekend, with a front-side pin over South Lake and consi-side decisions over Seminole and district rival First Coast. It’s always impressive to me that he does that.
How were our picks?: We were 4-for-4 on projected picks actually getting out, with both the correct final and 3rd-place match. One of our dark horse picks got to the blood round; however, our other three depth picks were 2-6 as a group, so it wasn’t perfectly done, just merely good enough.
Complete results from all four 3A regions can be found HERE.