By SHANNON HEATON
Northeast Florida Matmen
VIRGINIA BEACH, VA — Just two wrestlers made the trek from the northeast Florida coverage area up to the NHSCA Junior Nationals.
In fact, juniors Michael DeAugustino of Flagler Palm Coast and Brandon Dickman of Creekside were the only two wrestlers in any year from the Northeast area to compete in the annual NHSCA meet, which often serves as a first (or in some cases final) staging point for college offers.
DeAugustino and Dickman are still alive after Friday’s action (all wrestlers that were bracketed this weekend are, as no consolation rounds were staged Friday).
DeAugustino got the further of the two, reaching the round of 16 at 120 pounds. His first match was a quick one, as he decked Virginia’s Caleb Troup in just 23 seconds.
That put DeAugustino into the round of 32 against New Hampshire’s Jac St. Jean, a two-time state placer and champion this year. No matter, as DeAugustino put St. Jean to his back twice in the first period and then racked up four takedowns in the second and third en route to a technical fall in 5:24.
DeAugustino then faced three-time Ohio placewinner Graham Shore in the round of 16. He had the first takedown and led 3-2 after one period, but Shore got back points in the second period and made them stand up in a 7-4 decision.
DeAugustino will have five rounds of wrestlebacks to wait through on Saturday before getting his chance to return to the mats.
Meanwhile, Dickman had few problems with his first match of the day, falling Georgia’s Shawn Cain just 20 seconds into the second period. Likewise, Dickman had the clear advantage in the round of 64 against South Carolina’s Gage Lanier, shutting him down with a flurry of attacks, earning a 15-0 technical fall just five seconds into the second period.
Dickman had a tight match in the round of 32 against three-time Kansas placer and 2017 state champion Nick Jouret, however. The wrestlers traded escapes through regulation, but it would be Jouret that would find a takedown in sudden victory, however, with a 3-2 decision.
Dickman’s wait to get back on the mat won’t be quite as long as DeAugustino’s, as he’ll have just three rounds of wrestlebacks to go through.
The Wrestling Nation will have a full recap of Florida statewide wrestling in all four levels later on tonight, along with complete results for the first day.