(First in a series of #NextLevel survey updates)
By SHANNON HEATON
Northeast Florida Matmen
COUNCIL BLUFFS, IA — While the lion’s share of attention was put on the 2017 Florida high school post-season, local wrestlers who’d been part of past FHSAA post-season runs were putting it on the line at the national #NextLevel for their chosen colleges.
Leading the charge, at the National Junior College Athletic Association’s national tournament, were Iowa Lakes Community College’s Anthony “Kaz” Maia (Flagler Palm Coast ’16), who earned all-America honors by placing eighth at 149 pounds for the Lakers, and North Iowa Area Community College’s Jamarius Jackson (Ridgeview ’13), who was an all-Americay by finishing eighth at 133 for the Trojans.
Maia began nationals with a first-round fall in 5:30, collecting four takedowns over Muskegon’s Jaycob Bechtol. In the round of 16, Maia had a much tougher opponent in Lincoln (IL) College’s Ethan Reel. Maia needed a third-period takedown and riding time — generated mostly in the second period — to secure a 4-3 win and move into the quarters.
There, Maia lost by fall in the first period to a former Brandon wrestler, Northeast Oklahoma’s Dylan Lucas, in 2:50, to fall into the consolation rounds. Maia needed to win his next match to claim all-American honors, and he did against an in-state rival, Iowa Western’s Chase Lemons, with a takedown in sudden-victory time to claim a 9-7 decision.
In the consi quarters, Maia lost by fall to Otero’s Anthony Hinkle, in 5:41, and then took a medical-forfeit loss in the seventh-place match to Northwest Kansas’ Dominique Evans.
Jackson — who’d been in the NIACC lineup to start the 2013-14 season and then dropped off official radar for a couple of seasons — had a solid first-round win as well, with three takedowns in the second and two in the third en route to a 13-5 major over Rochester’s Tyus White. That moved him into the round of 16 against Colby’s Otis Rollins. In that match, it was Rollins who forced the action, with takedowns in the first and second periods, plus riding time, for a 7-3 win.
That loss meant Jackson had to win three matches to earn a podium spot, and he did, first pinning Camden County (NJ)’s Joe Talarowski in 2:58, then decisioning Pratt Community College’s Demone Clinton, 6-3, and Niagara County’s Fred Eckles, 3-2, the second decision coming in sudden victory when Eckles was hit with a second stall warning in the extra time.
Jackson then lost to Iowa Western’s D’Andre Brumfield, 5-4, in the consi quarters, and took a medical-forfeit loss in the seventh-place match to Rollins.
Maia and Jackson were joined by fellow local alumni Eric Vigo (Flagler Palm Coast ’16, competing at 174 for Iowa Lakes) and Jaycie Rudd (Lincoln ’16, competing at 165 for Ellsworth) at the NJCAA Central District tournament, the qualifier for nationals, hosted by Ellsworth Community College in Iowa Falls.
Maia finished second at 149, with a fall in the semis — over Iowa Western’s Lemons, as it turned out — in 2:39, then falling 6-2 to Iowa Central’s Brandon Murray in the title match. Jackson took fourth at 133, with a 7-5 quarterfinal sudden-victory win over Iowa Western’s Brumfield ensuring he would move on to nationals. Vigo was 1-3 at 174, with a quarterfinal pin over Iowa Western’s Timothy Barr his only win on the day, finishing fifth. Rudd also finished fifth at 165, going 0-2 in the tournament.
Two other local wrestlers — Dy’Juan Carney (Wakulla ’15) and Josh Walker (Columbia ’15) — also competed in the national tournament for Pratt Community College (KS) and Neosho County Community College (KS), respectively.
Carney, competing at 141 pounds for Pratt, lost by fall in the first round to Minnesota West’s Lamont Cannon, in 2:05. After a first-round bye in the consolations, Carney did have back points in his consi second-rounder against Northeast Oklahoma’s Curtis Burnett, but later lost by fall in 4:30.
Walker, wrestling at 197 for Neosho County, had a first-round bye, and then lost in the round of 16 to eventual national champion Timothy Young of Ellsworth (IA) Community College, getting a third-period takedown before falling, 12-8. Walker then lost by fall in the consi second round, to Niagara County’s Elijah Sampo, in 4:50.
Carney qualified for nationals by taking third at the NJCAA West Central District qualifier tournament, hosted by Pratt CC. After a semifinal loss by major, Carney won twice, with a 14-5 major over Bartow’s Isaac Bailey and an 8-6 third-place decision over Neosho County’s Isaac Soto. Walker, also, took third at 197. After a loss by fall in the semis, Walker majored Labette’s Kevin Easterwood, 15-2, and then downed Wentworth Military Academy’s Nathaniel Tuamoheloa, 2-1, in the third-place match.