Experience counts in large amounts, even for teams with high expectations and tons of talent.
For #1 Fleming Island on Saturday, not having the services of state-ranked and state-tournament tested seniors Evan McCall (staph infection) and Peter Martorano (waiting to certify after a school field trip forced a missed certification date), plus newly-transferred state qualifier Trevor Betros (shoulder) didn’t mean a day-long struggle.
It just meant a day without a team title at the Robert “Keystone” Northway Duals, a day punctuated at the start by a presentation of a plaque signed by the entire Fleming team and given to the Northway family.
The Golden Eagles ran through what was by comparison the tougher of two pools with relative ease, defeating #6 Ridgeview (63-18) and #9 St. Augustine handily (54-27), as well as Bishop Kenny (66-0) and Duval Charter (72-0).
In the day’s finale, though, Fleming Island ran into Georgia 2012 Class AAAAA duals champion in Camden County, and with so much of its battle-tested experience sitting the day out, Camden proved too tough for the Golden Eagles, taking a 42-18 decision and the title of the 11-team event.
Ridgeview rallied from the pool-round loss to its Clay County rival, however, and went on to take third place, taking a 54-24 victory over a surprising Forrest team, also in its season-opener. Both Ridgeview and Forrest were 3-1 in their respective pools.
St. Augustine edged First Coast 38-29 for fifth, and #9 Pedro Menendez took seventh with a 43-18 victory over Oakleaf.
Tough going for Raiders: #3 Orange Park ran into some rough seas Saturday at the Tallahassee Lincoln duals, going 2-3 on the day.
Orange Park (9-3 for the season) defeated Arnold 45-32 and Tallahassee Chiles 48-30, but fell to event champion Tallahassee Lincoln 46-24, Wakulla 45-36 and Marianna 36-34 on the day.
Two Orange Park wrestlers — Skyler Taylor (170) and Christian Tejada (285) — did go 5-0 on the day for the Raiders. Tejada is a perfect 12-0 for the season.
Hornets stung in Deltona: Yulee opened the 2013-14 season with some tough sledding at the Deltona Duals, taking just one win on the day, a 42-32 decision over Hagerty.
The Hornets fell 47-23 to Ocala Forest, 61-18 to duals champion Timber Creek, 51-21 to Deland and 45-30 to the event hosts.