There will be content forthcoming, with reactions and recaps from the action over the weekend. If you happen to be in the Times-Union coverage area and don’t take their paper, schlep out to your grocery store/convenience store of choice and pick one up. Support local journalism and all that. Or go here.
That’s what was my first priority to complete last night, plus interviews of state-champion coaches for The Wrestling Nation after that, so by the time I got back from Kissimmee — I barely remember munching the quarter-pounder I got or the conversation I had with my son — I fell into bed exhausted, a little after 2 a.m.
After a 21-hour day Friday and 20-hour Saturday, I’m a little fried. Proud that we have four state champions in our coverage area, with Avery Holder, Jack Johnson, Jason Davis and Jacob Marin winning titles. Happy that two are back for another year, happy to send the seniors onward to the next challenges they can conquer (Seriously, if you’re a college coach in need of a heavy, go get Marin. Now.)
My goal of interviewing all 13 Matmen-area finalists fell short. Having to write for a daily newspaper, on a Sunday deadline, with an event that started nearly an hour later, made things difficult on that front. I caught up with 11 (well, truly 10, but I interviewed Bishop Kenny’s coach). I’ll make efforts to begin the reach out to my missing two/three kids later today/tonight.
So many impressions on the weekend. We had both Fleming Island AND Clay walk away with team trophies in 3A and 1A, as both finished second respectively. That’s really hard to do, considering the super-elite programs entrenched in the top spots in both of those divisions. We had four Region 1 teams in 1A in the top 10 and a fifth just outside it. No teams in the top 10 in 2A, but Lincoln and Leon, also, were just outside it. Flagler Palm Coast was 10th in 3A.
By the way, I do have final brackets up.
Individually, beyond the finals runs, the things that surprised/impressed me the most were:
- Will Haigler’s run through the wrestlebacks back to third place after losing in the opening round — by one point. That is probably the hardest individual thing to do in this tournament format, come all the way back for third after an opening round loss.
- Seeing Bailey Barnard finish fourth in 2A after losing in the first round to the eventual runnerup, and winning, in double overtime, over my finalist pick in that weight class.
- Marcus Reid with a third-place showing after sustaining epileptic seizures earlier this week and AGAIN this weekend. It’s so unfortunate that a wrestler with so much talent can have it all suppressed by a medical condition that we know, still, so little about.
- Going statewide, watching Elijah Verona win state on basically one leg. The upper body stuff that kid must have, not to mention the intestinal fortitude.
- And, of course, the 3A 285 final. Yes, the reffing was incredibly suspect. Yes, the kids should have been able to decide it. I really thought Taylor had no shot, but for him to reverse out of the takedown…that’s a takeaway from that match that shouldn’t be overlooked in all the hoo-ha about the officiating.
There’s a lot more to think on and write on. But I better get this posted before my fingers screw up again and I have to rewrite all of this.