Northeast Florida Matmen staff report
JENSEN BEACH — Ridgeview isn’t quite ready to compete with the Osceolas and Palm Harbors and Jensen Beachs of the Florida wrestling scene just yet.
But the Panthers are getting closer.
Behind three placewinners — and a stunning tournament title from senior Marcus Reid, who may have shocked the state with his bracket claim — Ridgeview finished fourth in the 34-team two-day IBT event with 110.5 points.
Columbia also competed in the IBT, with two placewinners pushing the Tigers to an 18th-place team finish on 64 points.
Reid had three falls in reaching Saturday’s semifinals, then turned back the effort of solid Fort Myers freshman Chris Rivera, winning by a 3-2 decision to face off against the state’s top-ranked 3A wrestler — also nationally-ranked — in Osceola’s Malyke Hines.
Reid then gave Hines just his second loss in high school — and first one in a regular-season match — by taking a 7-5 victory in the finals, earning the tournament’s Outstanding Wrestler award.
Two area wrestlers took thirds in their respective weight classes. At 126, Columbia’s Chace Curtis fell 3-2 in the semis to unbeaten freshman and eventual champion Justin Rivera of Fort Myers, but rallied for two decisions on the back side, winning 8-3 over Tampa Jesuit’s Mathew Daner.
At 138, Ridgeview’s Saeid Ejmali fell 13-4 in the semis to runnerup Brian Opalensky of Estero, but came back with a major of his own, and then edged Osceola’s Leandro Velazquez 4-3 for third place.
The Panthers’ Gabe Guzman (106) added a fourth, with Columbia’s Matt Ross (132) taking sixth.
Complete brackets from the event will be posted on the Local IBT page on Monday.