#NextLevel: January 13-15


An exhausted but jubilant Josh Fox celebrates his first collegiate tournament win Saturday at the Purple Raider Open in Alliance, OH, hosted by Mt. Union College. Fox had to win four matches for the gold, knocking off Purdue’s Jacob Aven, 4-2, in the 285-pound finals (Photo submitted by Zac Fox via Facebook).

Northeast Florida Matmen staff report

ALLIANCE, OH — The Lakeland Center, five years ago, was the site of Josh Fox‘s last tournament victory.

Competing for Ohio State University’s wrestling team — while simultaneously balancing pre-med studies, which Fox has handled flawlessly since starting at Columbus in the fall of 2012 — has been a hard road, however.

Many open tournaments. Lots of spot starts at weights that were not a natural fit for Fox, but were for “the good of the team.”

Last weekend, those college career-long sacrifices finally paid off in tournament gold once again for Fox (University Christian ’12), who won the Purple Raider Open, contested at Mount Union College.

Fox’s first match in the 285-pound weight class resulted in a 10-2 major over Mercyhurst’s Alex Guidice, sending him into the quarterfinals against Mercyhurst Northeast’s Cornell Wilson. That turned into another major for Fox, this time by an 11-1 count.

In the semis, Fox faced another Mercyhurst wrestler, freshman Jacob Robb, and this was a tougher match, as Robb had extensive success in Pennsylvania high school circles. But, experience for fifth-year seniors counts, and Fox took a 3-2 decision to move into the finals.

That brought another Big Ten Conference opponent in third-year Purdue sophomore Jacob Aven, who’s had appearances in bigger Midwest events like the Midlands Championships in Evanston, and had been third at this meet a year ago. Fox, though, had enough answers to win his first collegiate title, with a 4-2 decision in the final. It was his first title since winning 1A states for the Christians back in 2012.

Brackets from the event can be viewed here: http://www.thewrestlingtourney.com/reports/3215-brkall.pdf

Here’s a recap of the rest of the Northeast-area alumni competing at the #NextLevel:

Xaiver Sampsel (Fleming Island ’16, Limestone College): Started for the Saints in their 22-18 victory on the road Saturday at Spartanburg Methodist, competing at 141 pounds, but fell to SMC’s Jacob Power, 5-3.

Zach Ford (Flagler Palm Coast ’13, Rhode Island College): Lost by technical fall on Friday night in RIC’s home loss to intra-city rival and NCAA Division III third-ranked Johnson & Wales, 45-3. Ford fell, 19-0, to Johnson & Wales’ Thomas Grippi. A news release on the dual can be found here: http://www.goanchormen.com/Releases/Releases1617/Winter/winter-048.html

Josh Walker (Columbia ’15, Neosho CC): Competed in the first of four duals at the University of Nebraska-Kearney Duals on Friday. Neosho downed North Iowa Area CC, 27-21, but then fell to Northeastern JC (41-12), Iowa Western CC (48-3) and Otero JC (45-6). Walker only appeared against NIACC at 197, where he lost by fall to Sedrak Sheppard in 6:36.

Hayden Good (Bartram Trail ’15, Johns Hopkins): Competed in his team’s 27-15 dual win over the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy at home on Saturday afternoon, the Bluejays’ first Centennial Conference dual of 2017. Good lost by fall in 1:39 to Victor Raigoza at 285 pounds. A recap of the dual can be found here: http://www.hopkinssports.com/sports/m-wrestl/recaps/011417aaa.html

Corey Van Dorn (Orange Park ’14, Nebraska-Kearney): Went 0-2 at 197 pounds at the UN-Kearney Duals on Friday, although his team won over New Mexico Highlands (42-0), California Baptist (31-13), Colorado Mesa (27-9) and Adams State (35-12). Van Dorn lost by fall to Calfornia Baptist’s Jake Waste in 1:13, and by fall to Adams State’s Khalil Gipson in 1:00.

Kristopher Smith (St. Augustine ’16, Grays Harbor CC): Competed at the Boxer Open in Forest Grove, OR, on Sunday, where he was 0-2 at 125 pounds. Smith lost by fall in the first round to Clackamas CC’s David Campbell in 2:19, and then took a loss by fall in the consis to Grays Harbor teammate Aaron Blanchard, in 39 seconds.

David Trigg (University Christian ’15, Liberty University): Competed in the Peninsula Wrestling Association’s Virginia Duals over the weekend, at 197. He fell 16-9 to Apprentice School’s Tyson Tillar, 16-9, in a dual his team won, 24-18, and then lost by fall to King’s Eldon Valery in 4:07, a dual that Liberty lost 30-18. Liberty took fifth in the eight-team tournament.

South Dakota State (coached by Bolles alum Chris Bono): The 20th-ranked Jackrabbits beat Air Force, 28-6, on Sunday, with wins at every weight between 133-197. A recap of the dual can be found here: http://gojacks.com/news/2017/1/15/wrestling-jackrabbits-run-winning-streak-to-seven.aspx?path=wrestling . On Friday, SDSU traveled to Wyoming, where it took down the Cowboys, 33-11, behind wins at all five of the upper weights. A recap of that dual — which includes SDSU 197 Nate Rotert beating a former wrestler of Matmen’s from up north, by fall — can be found here: http://gojacks.com/news/2017/1/13/wrestling-fast-start-propels-jacks-past-wyoming.aspx?path=wrestling.


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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