By SHANNON HEATON
Northeast Florida Matmen
JACKSONVILLE — With the other 13 teams in the field unable to chase down Florida High, which wrapped up the team title early in its defense of the 5 Star Invitational at Raines last weekend, the chase for second place itself wound up coming down to the addition of fifth-place advancement points late on Saturday.
And when that math was crunched at the head table, it was a young Ridgeview team that calculated out as the second-place team, as the extra points pushed the Clay County Panthers past Yulee, 156.5-154, for the runnerup spot behind Florida High, which cruised to the victory with 222.5.
“Still have a lot of room for improvement,” Ridgeview assistant coach Brandon Fountain said. “But we had 10 out of 12 kids place, and two champions, after a tough match with Middleburg, so it’s a good feeling.”
The Panthers’ champions were senior Marcus Reid (126, wrestling up from his usual 120) and Saeid Ejmali (138, also wrestling up from 132).
Reid pinned his way into the finals, with falls over Atlantic Coast’s Marco Hunter (58 seconds) and Ed White’s Jacob East (4:45) and Ridgeview teammate Jacob McGowan (3:15) in the semis, setting up a finals match with Florida High’s Max Metcalf, in which Reid won 8-6.
Ejmali pinned Baker County’s Michael Donnelly in the quarters (1:10), then turned back Florida High’s Duncan Weaver 8-3 in the semis before wteching Yulee’s Grant Stanish, 15-0, in the title match.
Requan Weeks also reached the finals, competing at 132, where he lost by fall in 3:49 to Raines’ Jaquan English. Reed Propes (152) took third in his weight class, while Jonathan Kaylor (113) and John Tiedeman (170) both finished fourth.
“It’s just been sheer motivation. Wanting to get better, wanting to get after it. Definitely a 180 from previous weeks,” Fountain said. “We’re going to try to keep our momentum up for Bartram Trail (this coming week) and Clay Rotary.”
Yulee also had two champions, with Stevie Chopek (113) and Dylan Youmans (120) winning brackets.
Chopek had bonus points in each victory, with majors in the quarters over Baker’s David Jackson (10-1) and Florida High’s Tyler Reeve (11-2) before the final, in which he pinned Bishop Snyder’s Jeffrey Prosser in 2:18.
Youmans pinned his way through the draw, falling Snyder’s JP Villanueva (:33) in the quarters and Westside’s Joshua Gibbs (1:28) in the semis before facing Dennis Ganim of Florida High, which resulted in a second-period fall (3:47) for Youmans.
“It hurt us to not put a full lineup out, because we probably had a shot (at winning) with Florida High not having all their guys out,” Yulee coach Brandon Crowder said. “We lost some matches we should have won, but it’s always good to see Clay (Florida High coach Clay Allen) and wrestle against those guys.”
In addition to Stanish, the Hornets’ John Parker (160) also reached the final, losing by a 4-2 decision to Fernandina Beach’s Joseph Helm. Kyle Davis (106), Zach Watson (132) and McKenzie Lewis (285) all finished third for Yulee, while Noah Winebarger (195) took fourth.
“We have to find ways to learn from losses,” Crowder said. “They (Florida High) had too many dogs in the running. We’re definitely ready to get ready for districts at this point, that’s for sure.”
A summary of the weight classes won by the rest of the Northeast coverage area follows:
106 — Baker County’s Cole Cushman pinned his way thorugh the bracket, with falls over Ed White’s Tyler Meade (1:09) and Tyler Stoddard (3:00) before pinning Florida High’s Brooks Dyer in 1:36 to take the title.
132 — Raines’ English opened with a tech fall over Baker County’s Devon Cole, then pinned Yulee’s Watson in the semi and Ridgeview’s Works in the title match.
152 — Delmontae Davis of Westside scored maximum points in the event, with a 34-second fall in the quarters over Snyder’s Jeremy Newman, then won by forfeit over Ed White’s Carl Otero before taking a second pin, this one in 4:38, over Raines’ Alonzo Davis.
160 — Helm pinned his way through to get to the final, with a fall in 2:13 over Ridgeview’s Keine Avery in the quarter and a second fall over Paxon’s Gabriel Border (3:05) in the semis.
170 — Baker County’s James Barnett has his closest match first, a 9-8 win over Ridgeview’s Tiedeman, then pinned his way through, with falls over Yulee’s Gunner Harrison (1:26), Robert E. Lee’s Kalvin Dorce (4:44) and Florida High’s Marcus Haigler (2:43).
220 — In a final that matched up a pair of Atlantic Coast wrestlers, the Stingrays’ Darius Idlebird took a 10-5 decision in the final over teammate Kurk Jackson, after earlier wins over Yulee’s Jayson Ledford (8-1) and Westside’s Anthony Chirino (fall in 21 seconds).
285 — Tariq Hookfin of Westside won by fall in the second period in the quarters against Florida High’s Logan Stinson, then took a pair of 3-1 decisions in the semi and final, over Yulee’s McKenzie Lewis and Raines’ Jamon Goodwine.
Brackets were posted to Matmen and TWN earlier this morning.