Northeast Florida Matmen staff report
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — #2 Clay has made it a holiday tradition to travel out-of-state for a new look at some different competition.
This year, the Blue Devils made the trip north to the Tiger Holiday Classic, where Clay is second in the 29-team, two-day tournament with 133.5 points, trailing only North Carolina in-state power Jack Britt, which is ranked second in the state’s largest class, 4A.
Clay has seven wrestlers still in the semifinals, with Dale Browning (113 pounds), Dylan Martin (132), Austin Luke (138), Adam Breindel (145), Imier Almanzar (152), Caleb Loyd (160) and Roland Samec (285) still in the final four in their respective weight classes.
Breindel was seeded first at 145, with a fall and technical fall in two matches so far. Browning was second at 113, with two pins thus far.
Luke was the third seed at 138, with a pin and decision to reach the semis, with Almanzar — seeded fourth at 152 — advancing to the semis with a major decision and decision.
Loyd was also seeded fourth at 160, with two first-period pins to reach the semis, while Martin was fifth at 132 and had two pins. Samec was seeded 8th and pinned the #1 in the quarterfinals.
Cody Taylor (106) and Julian Summa (126) are still eligible for medals, as they are still alive in the wrestlebacks and can win medals with one more victory there.
Knockout Christmas Classic: Bringing just seven wrestlers, #1 Fleming Island still managed to put together an 11th-place finish after the first day of competition in the two-day, 29-team invitational, hosted by Osceola High School in Kissimmee, with 54.5 points.
Chase Robison (113) reached the semifinals after being seeded fourth, with a pin and two decisions. He faces Lake Highland Prep’s Jake Brindley in the semis.
Evan McCall (126) was seeded third and has three pins so far, with a semifinal date against Maleek Williams of South Dade. Charles Cuthbert (132) was seeded fourth and advanced to the semis with two pins and a technical fall. He will face Palm Harbor’s Conner Prince in the semis.
Xaiver Sampsel (120) and David Detwiler (138) are both alive in the consolation rounds of the tournament. One more victory for each of them would net both medals.
Camden County (GA), competing in what must be its 36th tournament in 2013-14, leads Palm Harbor 121.5-104.5 for top honors.
Valdosta Wildcat Invitational: Sandalwood is standing in 12th place out of 16 teams in the two-day tournament in Valdosta, Ga.
Sandalwood has 20 points after the first day of competition. Ware County leads the tournament with 91.
The Saints’ Alex Barie (113) is the only Sandalwood wrestler still in the championship bracket of the tournament. Barie, who was seeded third in the weight class, received a first-round bye and then won his quarterfinal match by injury default over Terrius McDougal of the host school.
All-First Coast honors: Two wrestlers have been named honorable mention all-First Coast by the Florida Times-Union daily newspaper. Bishop Snyder 195 Nate Morales (quarterback) and Ridgeview 285 Malcolm Kirce (defensive line) were honorable mention picks.