Arlington Optimist Invitational Recap

Northeast Florida Matmen staff report

JACKSONVILLE — Two years ago, Mandarin announced its presence with a solid victory at the Arlington Optimist Invitational IBT tournament hosted by Terry Parker.

Saturday, the Mustangs returned to the top of the Optimist heap, outdistancing a 13-team field with 182 points, 37.5 ahead of runnerup Englewood.

The Mustangs had two individual champions in freshman Gunner Stier (126) and senior Adam Spikes (152), with 10 Mandarin wrestlers polacing in all.

Englewood had six placewinners and two champs, led by senior Tavian Whitehead (160) and Karam Hill (285), who both picked off titles.

St. Augustine was third with 135 points, followed by Atlantic Coast at 127, #9 Sandalwood at 110 and Ponte Vedra at 103.

Ed White was seventh with 95 points, followed by, in order: University Christian (81), FSDB (55), Episcopal (44), Stanton (32), host Terry Parker (31) and Paxon (23).

A short breakdown of each weight class follows:

106 — 8th grader Matthew Rodriquez of University Christian had three first-period falls en route to the title, pinning wrestlers from Englewood and Ed White in the quarters and semis before falling Ponte Vedra’s Gavin Riccobono in 1:23 in the final. Riccobono reached the final with two byes and a 7-1 decision over FSDB’s Christian Miranda-Reyes in the semi. Miranda-Reyes pinned Ed White’s Tyler Meade for third place.

113 — University Christian sophomore Cameron Wiley had two falls to win the title, with one in the quarters, followed by a walkover in the semi before pinning FSDB’s Reynaldo Suero-Perez in 3:41 in the final. Suero-Perez reached the final with two pins, including 1:10 in the semi over Ponte Vedra’s Preston Turner. Turner pinned Englewood’s Hunter Padgett, in a rematch of their quarter Friday night, in 2:47 for third place.

120 — UC made it back-to-back champions, as junior Daniel Porter (whose fall Friday night gave him 100 career wins) added a major over Ponte Vedra’s Bryan Reed (14-6) in the semi and a 5-1 decision over Sandalwood’s Leon Cruz in the final. Cruz had a fall in the quarters and a 5-3 semi win over Mandarin’s Chase Mattox. Mattox rallied to pin Reed in 2:51 to take third place.

126 — Stier’s toughest match in the tournament was in the semi on Saturday. After a fall in the quarters, he had to go to sudden victory to turn back Ed White’s Hunter East, 19-17, in the semis, and then — in a battle of freshmen — pinned St. Augustine’s Ethan Swindle in 1:13 in the final. Swindle had had a Friday fall and a 14-3 major over Atlantic Coast’s Kevin Thompson. East took third with a fall in 1:27 over Ponte Vedra’s Jonathan Soffer in a rematch of their quarterfinal.

132 — St. Augustine senior Timothy Alalla pinned his way through the weight class, all in first-period falls: 1:09 in the quarters, 54 seconds over Sandalwood’s Blake Friend in the semi and 1:53 over Ponte Vedra’s James Stanton in the final. Stanton also had two pins en route to the final, including a fall over Mandarin’s Julian Trerotola in the semi. Atlantic Coast’ Marco Hunter, who’d lost to Stanton in the quarters, came back to decision Trerotola 9-3 for third.

138 — Ed White junior Justin Stoddard had to win four matches for his bracket, with a pin and 11-4 decision (his closest match, over Mandarin’s Jake Kamins) on Friday, a 17-second fall over Stanton’s Tymofiy Hyorchuck in the semi and fall in 4:25 over St. Augustine’s Nick Thomson in the final. Thomson had a Friday fall and then got a walkover in the semi. Kamins came back to take third for the Mustangs, pinning Hyorchuck in 1:12 for third place.

145 — Atlantic Coast senior Tywaine Rocheburn had a Friday fall in the quarters, then went six minutes twice for his title, decisioning St. Augustine’s Jacob Linden 7-3 in the semi and downing Englewood’s Tanner Kern 10-4 in the final. Kern had two falls, including one in 1:17 over Ponte Vedra’s Troy Maritato in the semi, to reach the final. Linden came back to take third, pinning Maritato in 4:04.

152 — Mandarin’s Spikes pinned his way through the draw, with a fall over Terry Parker’s Jason Reed in 28 seconds in the semi and fall over St. Augustine’s Marcus Petersen in 1:32 for the title. Petersen also had two falls to get to the final, pinning Ponte Vedra’s Evan Merry in 1:57 in the semi. Stanton’s Mitchell Mika, who’d lost by fall to Spikes on Friday night, came back to take third, majoring Lavaughn Brown of Sandalwood 15-5.

160 — Englewood senior Whitehead also pinned his way through the bracket, with pins over University Christian’s Brandon Beal in 2:28 in the semi and over Mandarin’s Blake Pruitt in 2:14 for the championship. Pruitt also had two falls to get to the final, including a 5-second pin of Paxon’s Gabriel Border in the semi. Ed White’s Walter Goodman, who’d lost to Pruitt in the quarters Friday night, pinned Border in 2:23 to take third place.

170 — In what appeared to be the deepest bracket in the tournament, Episcopal senior Christian Rickey had a fall on Friday, 6-4 decision over Terry Parker’s Landon Dains in the semi, and then pinned St. Augustine’s Tracey Beshara in 5:22 to win the brackete. Beshara had a pair of pins to get to the final, including a fall in 3:26 over Englewood’s Zykeim Sermons in the semi. Dains then pinned Sermons in 4:04 to take third place.

182 — Sandalwood junior Dillon Morency pinned his way through the bracket, with a fall on Friday, another one in 2:58 over Atlantic Coast’s Uriah Ford in the semis and a 23-second pin in the title match over Englewood’s Michel Augustin, who had two falls of his own to get to the final, including fall in 3:48 over Mandarin’s Gavin Miles in the semi. Ford came back to take third place, decisioning Miles by a 3-1 score.

195 — Sandalwood senior Cole Friend made it back-to-back Saints titles, with two pins — including a 35-second fall of St. Augustine’s Cade Aupsburger in the semi — and a 6-4 win over Mandarin’s Mateo Drury in the title match. Drury had also had two falls, including a 58-second pin over Atlantic Coast’s Marino Linardo, to get to the final. Linardo decisioned FSDB’s Anthony Hoyt, who’d lost in the quarters to Drury, 12-10 for third place.

220 — Atlantic Coast senior Kurk Jackson had three first-period falls to win the title, including a fall in 1:46 over Ed White’s Damian Deleston and then a 38-second pin in the final over Episcopal’s Freddie Dollison, who had two pins of his own to get there. Dollison pinned Mandarin’s Kevin Castro in 5:29 in the semis. Deleston took third place, pinning Castro in 3:35 in that match.

285 — Hill pinned his way through the bracket for the Rams’ second title, with a fall in 2:56 over Paxon’s Jordan Smith in the semis and fall in 5:31 over Atlantic Coast’s Darius Idlebird in the final. Idlebird had two pins of his own in reaching the title match, including a 36-second semifinal fall over Terry Parker’s Evan Jefferson. Sandalwood’s Miguel Velazquez, who’d lost by fall to Hill on Friday in the quarters, came back to take third, pinning Mandarin’s Kyle Redding in 5:04.

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I covered wrestling for 15 years up north and "retired" in 2011. But as I thought I had in 1992, I couldn't stay away. Started Northeast Florida Matmen in 2013, Northwest Florida Matmen in 2015. New initiative this year is to create a space on my sites where ALL Florida results can be stored, searched, reviewed and used by my readers, with NO COST TO THEM.

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