#NextLevel: NAIA Regionals Recap

(Third in a series of #NextLevel recaps)

By SHANNON HEATON
Northeast Florida Matmen
While there were no local wrestlers — by my reckoning and, probably, a too-quick review — in the NAIA national tournament at Topeka, KS.

But one NAIA regional tournament did have a couple of #NextLevel wrestlers from the Matmen coverage area competing in them. Here’s a summary of how they fared:

Zac Branning (Flagler Palm Coast ’15): Competing for Southeastern University at 125, Branning was 1-2 at the NAIA East National Qualifier in Bowling Green, KY, losing by tech fall in the first round to Lindsey Wilson’s Chad Lampe, 15-0 (7 minutes). Branning came back in the consi rounds with a 16-7 major over Truett-McConnell’s John Garrison, but then fell to Reinhardt’s John Ragsdale via tech fall, 24-8 (6:40), in the second round of wrestlebacks.

Johan Olarte (Sandalwood ’08): Competing at 125 for Reinhardt University at the East qualifier, Olarte was 0-2 in the tournament, losing by tech fall (17-1 in 7 minutes) to Life’s Timothy Britt in the first round. After a bye in the first round of wrestlebacks, Olarte fell to eventual third-place finisher Devane Dodgens of Life University by tech fall, 18-0 in 5:35.

MaShawn Knight (Godby ’15): Competing at 285 for Brewton-Parker University at the East qualifier, Knight was 0-2 in the tournament, with a first-round loss by fall to eventual runnerup Jeff Chandler of Truett-McConnell, in 1:51. Knight had a closer match in the first round of wrestlebacks against Cumberland’s Tommie Turner, with a 5-3 loss by decision in that round.

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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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