By SHANNON HEATON
Northeast Florida Matmen
YULEE — Northwest #1 Florida High was coming off its roughest week of the 2016-17 season two weekends ago.
Northeast #9 Suwannee had had its way with the season thus far, but had not had much challenge, either.
That all changed this past week for both teams. Florida High saw its fortunes re-emerge with a dual win over Wakulla last Wednesday. Then, on Saturday, the Seminoles held off a quality 15-team field to take first place at Yulee’s Battle on the Border, a one-day round-robin that had a frenetic schedule to keep at the start but then had two additional teams show up last-minute that complicated things a bit further.
The Seminoles edged Suwannee, though, behind three weight-class titles in the middle of its lineup from Max Metcalf (126), Bryan Metcalf (132) and Duncan Weaver (138).
“In the end, lots of kids got good tough competition,” Florida High coach Clay Allen said. “We wanted to win this tournament and we did. We told the kids, don’t worry about the refs or your placement, just go out and do your job.
“And we did that, especially without one of our bigger guns.”
That would have been 195/220-pound senior Cam Brown, who wasn’t with the team Saturday. Still, though, the Seminoles pushed through.
Max Metcalf (Northwest #3) had three pins and a major decision in the 126 pools portion of the event, then teched the hosts’ Jacob Godsave (Northeast HM), 20-4, in the title match. Championship and third-place matches in each weight class were determined by tournament staff using criteria drawn up before the event.
“We went into Knockout knowing what it was, and it was, honestly, great,” Allen said. “We wanted to see who would answer the call after that, and one of the guys who answered the call here was Max.”
Bryan Metcalf (NW #2) had three falls to get to the final at 132, where he added a fourth with a 65-second pin over Middleburg’s Bryce Williams. Weaver was 4-0 in pools, with a fall, a tech fall and two majors, then shut down Suwannee’s Julian Borrell (NE #6), 2-0, in the finals.
But the Bulldogs showed their unbeaten record going into Saturday was well-merited. Suwannee had the most individual titles (four) of any team in the event.
“I think we’ll go back (to Live Oak) and train a lot harder. We’ve got things we need to work on for districts, regions and states,” Bulldogs coach Luke Register said. “With the seniors I’ve got, they can push the team and get them where they need to be.”
Four of those seniors — Brandon Trask (106), Joey Borrell (145), Tanner Clark (152) and Billy Jenkins (160) emerged victorious.
Trask (NE #2) had three falls in the pool at 106, adding a fourth with a third-period fall over Creekside’s Luke Davis (NE T-5th) in the 1st-place match. Borrell (NE 3rd) had three falls and a medical forfeit, needing just 46 seconds to fall Bradford’s Andrew Hetler (NE HM) at 145 in the title match.
Clark (NE #2) picked off three first-period falls in the pools, but had to go a full six minutes to turn back the hosts’ John Parker (NE T-10 @160), 7-4, in the 152 first-place match. Jenkins had three pins to get to the title round at 160, adding a fourth in the finals over Oakleaf’s Isaiah Graham.
#5 Creekside edged a slew of Northeast teams finding themselves tied for fourth, with 170-pound junior Brandon Dickman the St Johns Knights’ only champion.
Dickman (NE #1) had two falls and a major in the pools, adding a second major with a 15-5 win over Mosley’s Dalton Childs in the first-place match.
#10 Yulee and HM-listed Oakleaf & Middleburg all tied for fourth place, each with one champion apiece on the day.
The Hornets’ Dylan Youmans (NE #5) had three falls in the first period, and was able to shut out Bishop Kenny’s Jack Delaney (NE #6), 7-0, to win at 120. That win came just after Oakleaf’s Ryan Rosano (NE #1), who pinned twice in the first period, downed University Christian’s Daniel Porter (NE #3-T) 2-0 in the 113 final. The Broncos’ title came from Bryan Heflin (NE #5) at 195, who had three pins in the prelins and then decisioned Creekside’s Corey Grower (NE #4), 10-5, for first.
Rounding out the list of champions were First Coast’s Valois Ochoa (182), North Florida Christian’s Jonathan Wainwright (220) and Bishop Kenny’s Josiah McCallum (285).
Ochoa (NE #6) had two pins in the prelims and then edged Middleburg’s Dylan Hanna (NE #4), 3-2, to win at 182. Wainwright had three pins in his 220 pool, then added a fourth with a fall over Ed White’s Damian Deleston (NE HM) in the first-place match.
At 285, the day’s only true round-robin due to six participants, McCollum (NE #2) pinned four opponents in 1:01, then won his last match by decision to cinch the title. His round 2 fall over Middleburg’s Robert Barnard (NE #8) was the decisive victory.
Full results were posted to the IBTs page on Sunday night.