Knockout Christmas Classic Day 1 Recap

Northeast Florida Matmen staff report

KISSIMMEE — Wrestlers have done something special to simply — assuming simply is the right word — get as far as the second day of the Knockout Christmas Classic tournament.

Generally considered to be the state’s toughest in-season tournament, the Knockout does a number on almost every team that competes in it.

The four north Florida local teams competing in the Knockout got 27 wrestlers through to Friday’s second day.

Leading the way for the north is Fleming Island, which stands tied for sixth place with Winter Springs at 74 points. The Golden Eagles have four semifinalists and four more wrestlers alive in the consolation rounds.

Flagler Palm Coast is in 10th place after the first day, with 64.5 points, two semifinalists and five more in the consi rounds. Clay is 11th with 59.5, one semifinalist and five in the consis. Florida High stands in 19th place, with 37 points, two semifinalists and four on the backside.

Camden County’s A squad leads the event with 141 first-day points, followed by South Dade at 118.5 and Southwest Miami at 94.5.

Here’s a breakdown on the nine local semifinalists and their path to the semis:

Briar Jackson (Fleming Island, 106): Won two matches as the fifth seed, teching American Heritage-Delray’s Vincenzo Napolitana in 5:05 in the round of 16 and then downing Clay’s Louie Gagliardo, 7-3, in the quarters. Jackson faces top seed Bretli Reyna of South Dade in the semi.

Michael DeAugustino (Flagler Palm Coast, 120): Picked up three wins as the bracket’s top seed, decisioning Wellington’s Robert Saldarriaga in the first round, 11-4. DeAugustino then pinned Hagerty’s Mathieu Byers in 33 seconds in the round of 16 and decisioned Fleming’s Deandre Demus, 5-3, in the quarters. DeAugustino faces #5 seed Stephen Moreno of St. Thomas Aquinas in the semi.

Avery Holder (Flagler Palm Coast, 126): Collected three bonus-point wins as the 2 seed, majoring Winter Springs’ Matt Phillips 17-5 in the first round, then winning by fall in 1:14 over Sarasota’s Kaden Harris in the round of 16. Holder then pinned Lake Gibson’s Austin Hosegood in 3:48 in the quarters and will face third seed Jared Abramson of Wellington in the semi.

Jason Davis (Fleming Island, 182): Won three times as the top seed. Davis decisioned Winter Springs’ Jessiah Contreras, 7-3, in the first round, then got to the quarters with a 41-second fall over Jake Pilat of Wellington. In the quarter, Davis majored North Forsyth’s Andy Leggett 12-4, and will face 4th seed Brantley Little, also of North Forsyth, in the semi.

Will Haigler (Florida High, 182): Gained three decisions en route to reaching the semi, with wins over Braddock’s Lucas Zamora in the first round (10-4), University-Orange City’s Jorge Betancourt (5-4) in the round of 16 and 6 seed Jason DeGroat of Winter Springs in the quarters (6-3). Haigler will face Ned Anthony of Lee Davis, VA, the 2 seed, in the semi.

Cam Brown (Florida High, 195): Won twice as the 5 seed to get to the semis, majoring South Dade’s Kenneth Crouse, 11-2, in the round of 16 and then going double-OT to turn back Freedom’s Justin Marotta, 3-2, in the quarter. Brown will face top seed Antonio Stewart of Camden County in the semis.

Ryan Smenda (Fleming Island, 195): The third seed, Smenda had two pins and a decision, falling first-round opponent Hunter Beck of Lee Davis in 3:38 and then University-Orange City’s Antonio Liberti in 38 seconds in the round of 16. Smenda then downed Winter Springs’ Montana Lewis, 4-3, in the quarters. He’ll take on 2 seed Camden Johnson of Union Grove, GA in the semis.

Kurt Jackson (Clay, 220): Jackson had two pins as the 2 seed, pinning Lee Davis’ Sari Maksad in 44 seconds in the round of 16, and then falling Osceola’s Boris Espinosa in 2:26 in the quarters. Jackson takes on 6 seed Michael Mireles of Southwest Miami in the semis.

Jose Concepcion (Fleming Island, 285): The 5 seed in the weight class, Concepcion won twice to get to the semis, both by decision. Concepcion decisioned Clay’s Ryan Rivers, 3-2, in the round of 16 and then picked up an ultimate-tiebreaker 4-2 decision over 4 seed Christian Gomez of Hagerty in the quarters. Concepcion will face South Dade’s Kyron Taylor in the semis.

Alive in the consis are: Gagliardo, John Johnson (Flagler, 113), Demus, Chris Merring (Clay, 120), Peyton Hughes (Clay, 126), Jacob Sandoval (Fleming, 126), Bryan Metcalf (Florida High, 132), Michael Martins (Flagler, 138), Max Harris (Florida High, 138), Jake Richardson (Florida High, 145), Keath Sawdo (Clay, 145), Paul Detwiler (Fleming, 152), Noah Perdue (Florida High, 160), Steve Canidate (Flagler, 182), Kaleb Collins (Clay, 195), Brandyne Mackey (Fleming, 220), Tyler Irigoyen (Flagler, 220) and Vincent Ebanks (Flagler, 285).


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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