Northeast Florida Matmen staff report
LAKELAND — Eight places per weight class. 14 weights.
That’s 112 medals. Now sort them out among 47 teams, the field at the weekend’s George Jenkins IBT, factoring in — as you must — the fact that two state #1s — Lake Highland Prep and South Dade — are there.
After all that mental math is done, there’s one inescapable conclusion — winning a medal is incredibly difficult at this tournament.
And that was indeed the case for Buchholz and Columbia over the weekend. The Bobcats nabbed two of them in putting together a top-10 team finish, finishing ninth with 79 points, while Columbia was 24th, with one medalist and 58.5 points. It’s not often that 15 spots in the standings are separated by just 20.5 points.
Tops in the coverage area from this event was Gant Moore, who finished third at 132 for Buchholz. Moore fell, 5-3, in the quarters to eventual finalist Tyler Difiore of Wellington, but then would not lose again in the tournament, with four wins on the back to finish third. Three of those were bonus point wins, with the third-place match a fall in 3:51 over Jacob Darr of Sickles.
Like Moore at 132, Bryan Perkins (106) reached the quarters in his weight class, and like Moore, that would be as far as he would get on the championship side, falling 7-6 to Lake Highland’s Bailey Flanagan. Perkins did win one more match on the back to ensure a medal finish, falling 4-2 to Durant’s Hendon Haley in the seventh-place match.
Columbia’s Chace Curtis was the Tigers’ lone medalist, competing at 126, but his tournament run came to an end not in the quarters, but effectively in the semis. Curtis had a tech, amjor and 4-1 decision to reach the semis, but there lost by injury-default to Somerset Academy’s Hector Candelaria and did not compete on the back side, finishing in sixth place.
Brackets from the tournament will be posted to Matmen & The Wrestling Nation on Monday.