St Johns River Conference Recap

Northeast Florida Matmen staff report

(Editor’s Note: All results were submitted on time by either on-site Matmen-deputized personnel or by tournament managers. Matmen is just that far behind, but we’re catching up).

MATANZAS — Prior to winning the #UncivilWar2017, Fleming Island’s task was defending its St Johns River Conference title.

That task, the Golden Eagles were able to deal with in dominating style, going 8-0 with no duals closer than 30 points and, in that one, Fleming Island (16-0 after the event) started several JV kids.

Over the two days, the Golden Eagles downed Matanzas (51-21), Orange Park (54-21), Palatka (84-0) and St. Augustine (73-6) on Friday, and Middleburg (54-7), Pedro Menendez (72-6), Nease (72-6) and Bartram Trail (53-15) on Saturday, the last dual essentially being a showdown for the league title.

Bartram Trail nearly was tripped up in the first round by a determined Middleburg team, but then righted the ship for six more dual wins before the Fleming matchup to go 7-1. The Broncos were 6-2, with Orange Park 5-3, Nease 4-4, the host Pirates 3-5, St. Augustine 2-6, Pedro Menendez 1-7 and Palatka winless at 0-8.

A breakdown on each team’s weekend follows:

Fleming Island: Placed more kids into the lineup (22 in all), and still dominated every dual even with the mixing and matching, rolling up 54 pins on the weekend (that’s an average of 6.75 per dual). Nine Golden Eagles were undefeated on the weekend after seeing a majority of the matches wrestled.

Finishing at 8-0 for Fleming Island were Jacob Sandoval (126, 5 pins & decision), Vince Hauser (138/145, 4 pins, tech, major, 2 decisions), Jason Davis (182, 4 pins & major), Ryan Smenda (195/220, 3 pins) and Jose Concepcion (285, 4 pins & decision).

Briar Jackson (106, 4 pins & major), Deandre Demus (120, 4 pins & decision), and Trace Insalaco (132/138, 6 pins) were all 7-0, while Paul Detwiler (152, 5 pins) was 6-0.

Bartram Trail: After an opening-round bye, Bears needed criteria to beat Middleburg, 38-37, but then had wins over Orange Park (42-29) and Palatka (73-5) on Friday, with four more on Saturday: Pedro Menendez (75-4), Matanzas (45-30), Nease (48-33) and St. Augustine (66-18) before taking on Fleming for the conference title.

Two Bartram wrestlers were unbeaten during the course of the weekend, with Brooks Harp (195, 2 pins, 2 decisions) leading the charge with an 8-0 effort. In a closer to part-time role, Christian Crews (145/152) went 5-0 with four falls.

Nicholas Vugman (5 pins & decision at 113), and Matthew Pickett (7 pins at 138) both were 7-1 for the Bears.

Middleburg: Broncos were 3-1 on both days, with only the criteria loss to Bartram on Friday and opening Saturday with a loss to Fleming. Middleburg downed St. Augustine (66-0), Matanzas (42-30) and Pedro Menendez (48-27) on Friday, and won over Nease (42-25), Orange Park (40-36) and Palatka (64-12) to rally back to third.

Two Middleburg wrestlers had unbeaten weekends. At 160, Cody Eastwood earned three pins, a win by injury-default and two decisions in putting together an 8-0 effort, while Storm Mercado (132/138) had three pins and a major en route to going 6-0.

Tazz Hampton (6 pins at 106) and Robert Barnard (4 pins and major at 285) each were 7-1 for the Broncos.

Orange Park: Raiders hit some snags with Friday losses to Fleming Island and Bartram Trail, but had wins over Palatka (66-18) and Matanzas (52-27). The Raiders found easier footing on Saturday with dual wins over Nease (54-20), St. Augustine (54-30) and Pedro Menendez (49-24), and were the first team to wrap up competition.

Nartorian Lee (170) was Orange Park’s lone unbeaten wrestler on the weekend. Lee finished it with three pins, two tech falls and two decisions to go 8-0.

Reed Danielson (5 pins at 182), Anthony Stigler (2 pins at 195) and Tyler Dehart (3 pins & decision at 220) all were 7-1 for Orange Park.

Nease: St Johns Panthers were 3-0 on Friday, with wins over Pedro Menendez (57-24), Palatka (60-16) and St. Augustine (48-24), but had a harder time against the top half of the tournament on Saturday, with just one win that day against the host Pirates (45-26) after taking four consecutive losses against Orange Park, Middleburg, Bartram Trail and Fleming Island.

While no Nease wrestlers were undefeated last weekend, three of them were 7-1.

Sean Arnold (113, 5 pins & 2 decisions), Gannon Janssen (120, 2 pins, tech and decision) and Jacob Satterfield (132, 5 pins) all collected seven wins for the Panthers.

Matanzas: Pirates were 1-3 on Friday, with their only win a 60-18 victory over Pedro Menendez. On Saturday, Matanzas got the opening round off and then was 2-2 afterward, with wins over St. Augustine (48-30) and Palatka (51-16).

Like Nease, no Pirate wrestlers were undefeated, but three saw a majority of matches through with just one loss.

Leading the way was Ian Eckert (138/145), who had three pins and three decisions in going 7-1 for the weekend. Lawrence Russo (126/132) had three pins and a decision in compiling a 6-1 effort, and Ethan Goodman (106) had three pins and was 5-1.

St. Augustine: Yellow Jackets had a tough day on Friday, going 0-3, but found two wins on Saturday, defeating Palatka, 48-24, and Pedro Menendez, 42-30.

Top performers for the Yellow Jackets had five wins on the weekend.

Pedro Menendez & Palatka: Earned its lone win in the meet midway through the day on Saturday, with a 30-24 victory over Palatka.

Both the Falcons and Panthers had one wrestler apiece that finished the weekend with six wins.

Several of the teams last weekend have already had their next competitions (Fleming Island, Middleburg, Nease and Matanzas; all of those will be at Flagler Rotary this weekend). Joining them will be Bartram Trail, Palatka, Pedro Menendez and St. Augustine. The only team going a different path this weekend is Orange Park, which will be at Terry Parker Duals, also on Friday.

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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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