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“Next Men Up” Push #6 Creekside Past #10 Fletcher

By Shannon Heaton, Northeast Florida Matmen

ST JOHNS — In battles of the banged-up, sometimes it’s the next men up who turn the tide.

That was true at Creekside Wednesday night, as the #6 Knights had to rely on inexperience, youth and lighter weights to fill in the cracks for their rematch with #10 Fletcher.

The inexperience (William Lulias at 170) came up with a match-opening pin. The youth (freshman Corey Grower at 195) had a nice major decision. And the undersized (an otherwise-solid Cesar Camacho wrestling up a weight at 138) kept one of Fletcher’s best from bonus points.

The result was some sweet revenge for the Knights, who’d lost to the Senators at Fletcher’s duals tournament barely 10 days before. This time, Creekside built a 37-0 cushion and made it stick in a 43-33 victory over Fletcher that closed out the competitive year for both teams. Both are now off until January 3 at Clay’s Green Cove Rotary mega-invite.

“Our 95 (Gus Fischer) was out for vacation and our 145 (Jared Langdo) had a broken hand at Kiwanis and didn’t know it was broken, so we had to move some guys around,” Creekside coach Richard Marabell said.

“We’ll be off for a couple of days to finish up testing and then we’ll go get ready for the second half. Clay and Flagler (Palm Coast’s IBT-format event the following weekend) will be a good way to start the new year off.”

Creekside (9-4) threatened to run away with the dual early, bagging five pins in the first six matches. Like the Knights, Fletcher (8-7) was facing some lineup issues with starters Skylor Coxon (170) and Andrew Joshua (182/195) out. And the dual started at…170.

“We couldn’t pin when we wanted to and gave some pins away,” Senators coach Roy Fallon said. “We wanted no worse than (giving up) minor decisions to everybody. We had to put some freshmen out against men.”

Creekside’s run of victories ended after 113, and it was Fletcher’s turn to try to fight its way back in. By that point, the bookends were done for the night and it came down to a test of the Senators’ middleweights, their strength. And Fletcher didn’t disappoint, getting back-to-back-to-back falls from Lucas Lusk at 120, Jake Loizos at 126 and Cal Rodgers at 132.

But Camacho, who had just missed out on the NE Florida Matmen’s first set of honorable mention listings at 132 last week, foiled Fletcher’s try for a comeback, holding it close against Joshua Sweeten — who’d beaten Creekside teammate NEFLM- and state-ranked Ryan Baker at Fletcher — for a 10-4 minor-decision loss.

“Even though Cesar lost, he wrestled very hard,” Marabell said. “He did a really good job for us.”

Baker, bumped up to 145 to take Langdo’s lineup spot, then clinched the dual for the Knights with a second-period fall. Fletcher pinned out at 152 and 160, but those falls only made it close at the end.

Like many other teams statewide, the Senators and Knights can go back to the practice room, heal up, get minds right and come back for the homestretch leading to the FHSAA tournament series starting February 1.

“We worked hard this week; we didn’t take much of a break. Maybe we worked the kids too hard,” Fallon said. “We’re just happy to be able to get everyone healthy, get them back on the mat for January and the post-season.”

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Live Tweeting Returns

We’re back at it with #10 Fletcher at #6 Creekside tonight. Hopefully there’ll be enough JV matches that the varsity won’t start until close to 7:30, as it did a couple of weeks ago out in Orange Park. I have a feature interview at 6:30 not far from me, and then we’ll jet out to St Johns County! Follow us at @NEFloridaMatmen!

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New Statewide Rankings Out

The new Scout rankings are out, and the @NEFloridaMatmen area still has two top-ranked wrestlers. It’s just that the identities have changed.

Joining University Christian senior Jamal Fiffer (285-1A) on the list of the state’s Number 1s is Clay junior Adam Breindel (145-1A). Breindel catapulted to #1 on the strength of winning the Border Wars in mid-November and battling the #2-ranked wrestler in 2A to a simple decision loss on that wrestler’s home mats four weeks ago.

Breindel’s top seed at 145, along with Imier Almanzar’s No. 3 ranking at 152, anchors the Blue Devils as a group. Clay currently stands at #4 in 1A, the highest ranking any area team has thus far.

University Christian stands 8th in 1A, while Ridgeview is the only area ranked team in 2A (tied for 23rd) and Fleming Island is maintaining seveth in 3A.

Individually, the Golden Eagles’ Evan McCall is second at 126 pounds and Chase Robison (106) and Charles Cuthbert (132) are third in their respective weight classes. Ridgeview’s Malcolm Kirce is the highest-ranked area wrestler in 2A, standing third at 285, while UC’s Trey Miller is third in 1A at 195.

A summarized list of state rankings is found on our 13-14 State Rankings page, with top-fives at every weight and locals in the top 16 in each weight class.

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Wednesday notes and a comment

We’ve posted the Lee/West Nassau results on the site and wrote up a brief account. Today, we record-keep and send emails out to teams competing this weekend. I hope that coaches will keep checking their email through the holiday. We will also have two stories in the next 24 or so. We will be live-tweeting from Creekside tonight and we will have a roundup of everything else going on, plus a separate story on Creekside-Fletcher, a 1-point dual two weekends ago. I hope that individual rankings will be ready Thursday, but it’s a long shot. Friday is more likely. I will keep you all in the loop on that.

I wanted to touch base with the readership on a few things. First, comments. I moderate them all, I consider them all, I don’t publish them all. Sometimes, it’s for an innocent reason, like when a parent suggested — just a couple of hours or so before I posted individual rankings — that individual rankings would be a good idea. No need to post that in that case, as his comment was answered with our post. I will occasionally let posts go through that are pointed in nature. I consider the source of the comment and what I feel to be the nature in which it’s given. If it sounds like it’s bordering on trash-talking, as one was over the weekend last weekend, it’s not coming anywhere near publication. If it sounds like concern about the state of a program, like for example its numbers (because that SHOULD be a concern for us all), I may allow it for a brief time depending on who writes it.

Second, I’ve been asked a lot about expansion. We are strongly considering it in 2014-15. In fact, I’m just going to come out and say it’s gonna happen. I don’t know how it will affect actual coverage. It will be Florida-only, though. I barely have the attention span for one state, let alone trying to think about Georgia. There are good teams pretty close to here — Camden County and Brunswick come to mind — but I just can’t follow two states properly. It’s hard enough just doing one state. Right now, our expansion plans in 2014-15 are looking at Suwannee, Alachua, Bradford, Flagler and Putnam Counties in addition to the six we have. We go any further west or south, and I’m looking at a name change, and new business cards, and all of that headache. Always in motion, is the future.

Third, what is this site to me. By way of reference, my muse for this, Illinois Matmen, is made up of guys who were not journalists and don’t actually go out and cover meets. They were fans and tech guys who are/were a clearinghouse for results, admins of message boards, and they provided live coverage (video, live chat, even audio accounts) of bigger tournaments. That is all in the works for the future — if I can make it work economically. One step at a time.

I mention Illinois Matmen as my muse and the fact that they are admins for message boards to make another point about a recent comment that I am hoping was made in an innocent vein. One thing this site is NEVER going to be is a rumor mill. It’s the one thing that is a bit distasteful about that site, and that’s more about how that site was set up at the very beginning, not by the guys who run it now.

This site is about kids who are wrestling, not about kids who were wrestling and chose not to, or about kids who were wrestling and had the choice to wrestle decided by someone else. It’s hard enough just to follow the ones that are wrestling. We did write the feature on Corey Van Dorn at the beginning of the year, and, granted, he’s had knee surgery now and hasn’t wrestled this year. But we won’t truly know if he will or won’t compete this season unless he dons a singlet and steps out on the mat on February 1 at Creekside. Only then will we truly know, but at least up to that point (and I’d argue even after that) it’s none of our business if he does or doesn’t. We’re gonna follow him if he wrestles in college with our #NextLevel pieces. He’s a quality kid and he’s going to have success if he keeps doing what he’s done in his athletic endeavors.

I think it’s important to keep in mind that these are kids — 14-, 15-, 16-, 17-year-old boys and girls, as well as 18- and 19-year-old young men and women — who are still mostly under an adult’s care. If a kid isn’t wrestling, for whatever the reason, and you really want to know why, it’s not that hard to find most kids on Twitter. But I really don’t want to be in charge of the place where people I don’t know are speculating about other people I don’t know all that well. Stats? Yup. News stories? Yup. Features? Sure (I hopefully won’t be late for Fletcher-Creekside because I’m working on one tonight). Rumors? I’d go somewhere else. Chest-thumping? Ditto. I hope that’s not a problem, but this is the way it’s gonna be going forward.

We want to provide our readership with information, with some entertainment and let the several hundred kids out there doing this that people care about what they’re doing. If we do those things with what we’re doing, there will never be a need for this site to be a rumor mill.

Thank you. I appreciate what you do greatly in having enough faith to check us out and to keep coming back as you have.

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December 17 Roundup Story

Northeast Florida Matmen staff report

CALLAHAN — West Nassau will enter the Christmas holiday on a high note.

The Warrior racked up five pins and took advantage of five additional forfeit victories to cruise to a 60-12 victory over visiting Robert E. Lee, 60-12, Tuesday night in the only match wrestled in the NEFLM coverage area.

With most of Lee’s wrestlers concentrated in the middle weights, most of the action took place there. West Nassau had falls at 145 (John Forehand), 160 (Jordan Stratton) and 170 (160’s #1 Michael Dudzinski).

Lee countered with pins from Tony Belle at 152 and Tyrone Williams at 182, but those would be the Generals’ only points on the night.

West Nassau used the fuller lineup to full effect and got pins at the bookends from TJ Thompson (120) and Jackson Moyle (285).

Both teams are now off until well into January. Lee will next host Andrew Jackson on January 8, while West Nassau hosts Paxon on January 9.

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Edge of the Mat #5

Edge of the Mat #5

A short take this week.

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Tuesday notes

Englewood duals from Saturday are now posted. Working on Fletcher ones to put into Week 4 PDF, now that I have them all. After that, record keeping today. Tracking down missing results continues. Need Middleburg duals from Palm Coast (my only missing item from November), W/L records from Yulee at Columbia Invite from December 7, missing dual from midweek last week (St. Augustine v Nease), and Terry Parker’s duals at Celebration, which is all I need from Week 5. Edge of the Mat #5 is posted on 1010XL’s website and I’ve linked to it!

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#NextLevel notebook — December 16

It was a pretty quiet weekend on the #NextLevel front.

The only wrestler to achieve victories last weekend was Ohio State redshirt freshman Josh Fox (University Christian ’12), who competed in open competition at the Cleveland Open, hosted by Cleveland State University over the weekend.

Fox reached the 184-pound semifinals, where he lost in the semis to Anthony Abro of Eastern Michigan. From there, he took medical-forfeit losses to finish sixth in the tournament.

Only two other local wrestlers were in competition last weekend, due either to injuries or events not being on the schedule.

Coker College freshman Robert Parland (University Christian ’13) was 0-2 in the 197-pound bracket of the Midwest Classic, held in Indianapolis, Ind. Parland faced top-ranked Carl Broghammer of Upper Iowa University in the championship bracket for his first match.

North Central College freshman Coll Robertson (Ridgeview ’13) was 0-2 at the Cardinals’ own open tournament in the 149-pound weight class. Robertson was matched against the weight class’s #4 seed in the championship bracket’s first round.

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Creekside’s Carpenter spotlighted by Coker College

Creekside’s Carpenter spotlighted by Coker College

A bit of fun before the holidays. Carpenter shows his sense of humor, particularly in sharing why he chose to go to Coker. Hopefully he’ll be back on the mat soon.

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Monday Notes

Update: Forrest and Orange Park @ University results are in. Week 2 duals are now FINAL. The Forrest/OP results will be typed up and posted shortly, with write-ups accordingly. FSDB making a case to crack the team poll this week!

Much done, much to do. I have emailed coaches from Saturday regarding missing results. Unfortunately, I don’t have a fax that is my own, and even if I did have one — as we saw last week — there’s no guarantee that a faxed result is a legible result. But we’re working with the coaches, and some are getting things in. It can be done. Improvise, adapt, overcome, as my mentor “Gunny” Thomas HIghway would say.

Touched base with Oakleaf regarding the missing dual. I may have to try to track down the opposing coach on that one. I did get a yes from Palm Coast about their missing duals, but don’t have them yet. That might take a little more time, but a yes is encouraging. After the Forrest/OP work, I’ll probably write a 1010XL post and then I’ll turn to getting the Fletcher duals into my system and records to close up Week 4. There’ll be a #NextLevel post probably tonight. Think the team poll might wait until Tuesday unless there’s general outrage.

Also there’ll be a post later about what this site is and what it is not. Clarification on that will come a little later.