Northeast Florida Matmen staff report
KISSIMMEE — Even wrestlers can be snowbirds, for a temporary period of time.
The Wide World of Sports complex played host to the KSA Pre-Holiday duals tournament over the past two days, in which local teams mixed with out-of-state ones seeking to combine a brief pre-Christmas vacation along with some unfamiliar faces on the mat.
Over the past two days, Orange Park took part in the event, going 4-3 with three wins over Florida teams — Boca Ciega (65-12), Plant City (72-11) and Wekiva (63-12), with an additional win over James Madison, VA (48-30).
The Raiders fell to two teams from Wisconsin — Reedsville (56-15) and Bloomer/Colfax (42-40) — and to Shadow Ridge NV, 51-27.
Over the course of the two days, just one OPHS wrestler — junior Frank Sawyer (113) — went 7-0. Sawyer pinned his way through the Raiders’ itinerary.
Two additional Raiders were 6-1, with Nartorian Lee (2 pins, tech, major, 2 decisions) at 170 and Shaun Bizzell (5 pins) at 285.
Orange Park opened with a pair of Florida wins. In the Boca Ciega dual, Sawyer, Nic Thompson (126), Robert McGlynn (132), Jacob Campbell (152), Reed Danielson (182), Ben Elliot (195), Tyler Dehart (220) and Bizzell all had falls (Lee winning by tech fall), and the pins came furiously against Plant City as well, with Jacoby Mealer (106), Sawyer, Dean Ganci (120), McGlynn, Richard Cuiksa (145), Campbell, Noah Rivera (160), Lee, Danielson, Elliot, Dehart and Bizzell all lining up falls.
Those would get scarcer in a hurry against Reedsville — located almost due south of Green Bay — as only Sawyer and Cuiksa could earn pins, with McGlynn winning by decision. Shadow Ridge, located in Las Vegas, was just about as tough. In that dual, Sawyer, Elliot and Bizzell won by fall, with Lee taking a decision.
Things picked back up for the Raiders against James Madison, a school located in the western part of the northern Virginia DC suburbs. Sawyer, Diego Soto (120), Dashner St. Vilus (138) and Campbell had pins in that dual. Against Wekiva, Sawyer, Soto, St. Vilus, Campbell, Lee, Danielson and Elliot had pins, with Dehart winning by decision.
Against Bloomer — located in northwest Wisconsin, about an hour east of Minneapolis — the Raiders had good back-and-forth before falling. Sawyer, Soto, McGlynn, and Bizzell each had pins, with Lee taking a major decision.
Orange Park is now off through the holidays until the first weekend of January, when the Raiders will take part in the Rob Bierbaum Invitational, hosted by Episcopal.