Northeast Florida Matmen staff report
NAPLES — There was not a lot of plunder to be had for Suwannee at the Chase Life Invitational last weekend.
The Bulldogs walked away from Palmetto Ridge HS in the southwest corner of the state, more than seven hours’ drive from Live Oak, with just three medals.
But a partially-hidden fact was that the Bulldogs finished in seventh in the 30-team, two-day IBT as the second highest-finishing Class 1A team in the field. That Suwannee finished nine points ahead of state-ranked Class 3A power Miami Southridge. That the Bulldogs finished ahead of two state-ranked 1A teams in American Heritage-Delray Beach and Key West.
So the lack of individual hardware, in retrospect, was by no means a subpar tournament performance after all.
Leading the charge for Suwannee was 106-pound senior Brandon Trask, who finished fourth in the bracket. Trask had two pins and a 7-3 decision over 2016 2A state qualifier Chris DePaola of Cape Coral to get to the semis, where he fell to South Dade’s Luis Peraza, 10-8. Trask then got to the third-place match after an 8-6 win in the consi semis, falling to New Jersey’s Jesse Liptzin, 10-1, of Howell HS.
Tanner Clark took fifth at 152, falling in the quarterfinals to eventual runnerup Marcus Stanley of Dunbar HS in Ft Myers, going 1-1 on the front side. Clark then won twice on the back side to ensure a medal, falling in the consi semis to Howell’s Xavier Kelly, 11-6 but then decisioned North Ft Myers’ Michael Moore, 6-3, for fifth.
Tyler Ogles followed a strong weekend at Clay for the 1A Dual Championships with a medal at Palmetto Ridge, losing by fall in the quarters to defending 3A state champion Elijah Varona of South Dade. Ogles then won twice by fall and took Somerset Academy’s Darian Estevez to a tough battle before falling, 11-7, in the consi semis. He then lost a major decision to the hosts’ Ben McCallister, 13-4.
Three other Suwannee wrestlers — Kenneth Foster (132), Joey Borrell (145) and Charles Votava (182) — were all just one match short of medals.
Suwannee is now off until Friday, when the Bulldogs will compete in the Flagler Rotary at Flagler Palm Coast.