Northeast Florida Matmen staff report
KISSIMMEE — Osceola’s Knockout Christmas tournament just might be tougher than any one of the three individual state tournaments it hosts two months from now.
#3 Fleming Island is using this tournament to get better — and get ready — for the post-season, as the Golden Eagles have eight of their nine entered wrestlers still alive. Currently, Fleming Island is eighth in the 27-team tournament — universally regarded in Florida as its toughest in-season event — with 57.5 team points.
Camden County (GA)’s A squad leads the first day with 137.5 points, with top-ranked (1A) Lake Highland Prep second with 110.5 and top-ranked (3A) South Dade third at 98.5.
The Golden Eagles have four wrestlers in today’s semifinal round and four in the consolation round.
Deandre Demus (113) reached the semis with two pins in his first two matches and then knocked off the state’s top-ranked 2A wrestler at 106, Diamante Perry of Lake Gibson, by an 8-6 decision. Demus will face Camden County’s Lucas Nelson, a 2015 state finalist in Georgia, in Wednesday’s semifinals.
John Martorano (170) became Fleming’s second semifinalist behind three pins — all coming in the first period — in order to reach the semis. Martorano will face 1A defending state champion Elijah Cleary of Lake Highland Prep in the semis on Wednesday.
At 195, Jason Davis set up a rematch with South Dade’s Chei Hill — who handed Davis his only regular-season loss a year ago at the Flagler County Rotary tournament. Davis had a pin and tech fall to get to the semis, with the tech coming against potential 3A-Region 1 rival Justin Marotta of Freedom.
Finally, at 220, Golden Eagle sophomore Jose Concepcion needed just one point to get to the semis, but it was a big point, as Concepcion — after a first-round bye — edged Camden’s Knute Jones, 1-0, in the quarters. Concepcion will face 2015 3A state runnerup Darius Hamilton of Southridge in the semis.
Tracy Davis (126), Paul Detwiler (138), Ryan Smenda (182) and Brandyne Mackey (285) are all alive in the consi rounds and need to win two matches in order to earn a podium spot like their semifinalist teammates.
Davis fell to two-time 1A state champion Joey Silva of Lake Highland Prep by technical fall in the 126 quarters, while Detwiler lost a 6-4 quarterfinal to Winter Springs’ Dimitri Alicea. Smenda was stopped by Camden’s Domonique Hargrave, 10-2, in the 182 quarters, while Mackey lost in the first round and then won his consi first-round match to stay alive.
Wrestling continues on Wednesday. Full brackets will be posted to the IBTs page on Thursday.