By SHANNON HEATON
Northeast Florida Matmen
JACKSONVILLE — It’s been a week of facing adversity for both Bishop Kenny and Bolles this past week.
For the Bulldogs, the adversity was from within — exams, optional practices, bringing on new athletes that had never competed in the sport before.
For the Crusaders, adversity came in the form of a hornet’s nest of Yulee strength that battered Kenny mid-week.
But the Crusaders appeared to have found the antidote for that battering, issuing one in like fashion to Bolles at home on a rare single-dual Friday-night wrestling setting, taking a 67-9 win over their 1A-District 4 rivals.
“I laid into them (Wednesday night) and the kids responded. We had our best practice of the year Thursday,” Bishop Kenny coach Paul Schloth said. “They’re finally getting it.
“We drill, we drill, we drill…we push consistency, and they came through. They got the opportunity to do what we were telling them to do in practice, and increased their belief in themselves. They realize they can do it.”
Bolles (3-5) got the first lead of the dual at 3-0, when Caleb Calhoun strung together five takedowns in a 10-6 win at 160, but — until nearly the end of the dual — it was all Bishop Kenny after that.
Falls by Nick Beenen (170), Jimmy Citrano (182) and — after a forfeit to Addison Glisson at 195 — John Alexander (220) propelled the Crusaders (14-4) to a 24-3 lead. That lead extended to 33-3 on a 2-0 decision for Josiah McCallum at 285 and first-period fall for Reilly Gentges at 106.
With just four wrestlers left competing for Bolles at that point, the outcome of the dual was already no longer in doubt by then.
Still, Bishop Kenny pushed the pace a bit harder, with a forfeit to Syrus Bakkar at 113, Jack Delaney’s third-period fall at 120 and Garrett Tirado’s 11-1 major at 126. Forfeits at 132 and 138 to the Crusaders’ Jack Donghit and Andrew Slade, respectively, pushed the lead out to 61-3.
From there, the dual closed out with a trading of falls, as KJ Fagan got Bolles back on the board with his pin at 145, and Sid Madison (152) answered with a fall in his first match of the 2016-17 season for Kenny.
“We’ll be OK,” Bolles coach Matt Morris said. “A month is a long time in the room, especially for upper weights. They learn the 1-2 things they’re comfortable with throwing. Confidence can go a long way.
“It’s easy to get frustrated when you get a late start, and then you have exams and they’re so young. We’ll have them ready for districts. When you get a late start, that’s what you have to shoot for.”