North Florida Matmen staff report
KISSIMMEE — Two defending state champions and two teams that would like to be able to say that about themselves in the very near future set the pace in Friday’s first day of wrestling at the 2017 Knockout Christmas Classic, hosted at Osceola HS.
Defending Florida 3A state champion South Dade holds the first-day lead after a 131.5-point performance, three points ahead of defending Georgia AAAAAAA state champion Camden County.
Matmen’s top-ranked Northeast team, Fleming Island, stands third at 118.5 points in the 38-team field, with Lake Gibson — one of the early 2A team favorites — fourth at 85.
Wrestlers still alive in the consi rounds after Friday’s wrestling must win twice more today in order to assure themselves of medals, while semifinalists can finish no lower than sixth.
Fleming Island lost just four of its 15 wrestlers entered in the tournament, even with a slightly short-handed team brought to Kissimmee.
The Golden Eagles have six wrestlers in today’s semifinal round, with another five still alive in the wrestlebacks.
First of the semifinalists was top-seeded 106 Louie Gagliardo, who had three bonus-point victories on Friday without giving up a single point. Gagliardo majored Riverview’s Lane Keck in the quarters, and will face South Dade fifth-seed Luis Peraza in the semi. Gagliardo’s workout partner, 113-pound Briar Jackson, pinned Peraza at Danny Byron earlier in the month.
Speaking of Jackson, he also reached the semis at 113. Seeded fifth in the weight class, Jackson had two falls to reach the quarters, where he knocked off fourth seed Ben Buhler of Tampa Prep, 4-2. Jackson will face top seed Devin Sweeney of Potomac, VA, in the semis.
Albie Snedaker (120) also reached the semis at his weight class. The fifth seed there, Snedaker had a pair of first-period falls to reach the quarters, where he took down Hagerty’s fourth-seeded Dylan Kohn, 3-1. Snedaker will face top seed Bretli Reyna of South Dade in the semis.
Jaquan English (132) reached the semis in his first Knockout appearance. Seeded second in his weight class, English knocked out a pair of decisions, including a 2-1 win over North Gwinnett’s Rex McDaniel in the quarters. English will take on sixth seed Julian Hernandez of Southwest Miami in the semis.
At 170, second seed Paul Detwiler pinned his way into the semis, all in the first period, incluidng a fall over Hagerty’s Justin Segarra in 1:51 in the quarters. In the only all-local semifinal Saturday morning, Detwiler will face Lincoln’s third-seeded Justin Grant.
Last among the semifinalists was Jose Concepcion at 285. The third seed at 285, Concepcion had a fall and decision to get into the semifinals, downing Osceola’s Dion Bergan, 3-2, in the quarters. Concepcion will face second seed Trayvonne Jackson of South Dade in the semis.
In the wrestlebacks for Fleming in the lighter weights are Jacob Sandoval (126) and Dalton Williams (138). Sandoval lost to South Dade’s Tyler Orta, 8-6 in sudden victory, in the quarters, while Williams lost in the round of 16, but stayed alive with a pair of major decisions in the consis.
Upperweight Eagles in the consis are Trace Insalaco (160), Jeffrey Lascano (182) and Jalyn Robinson (195). Insalaco and Robinson both fell in the round of 16, but won twice in the wrestlebacks to remain alive. Lascano fell in the first round, and responded with three wins at the back.
Among local teams in competition in the tournament, Matmen Northeast #4 Bishop Kenny is 22nd, with 35 points, while Northwest top-ranked Lincoln is 28th with 27. Northwest #3 Florida High is 31st, with 18 points.
Bishop Kenny has three wrestlers left in the tournament, led by 285 semifinalist Josiah McCallum. The fourth seed at 285, McCallum had two first-period falls and a 3-1 decision in the quarters over West Laurens, SC’s Joseph Horne. McCallum faces top seed Joshua Isaac of Potomac, VA, in the semis today.
Jack Delaney (120) and Joey Cusick are still alive in the consis. Delaney reached the quarters, falling there via 8-0 major to Camden’s Tyler Crew. After dropping a first-round match, Cusick won three on the back side to stay alive into today’s wrestlebacks.
Lincoln has two wrestlers left in the field, including 170 semifinalist Grant. Grant had a pair of tech falls and then a quick fall in 1:06 over Southwest Miami’s Michael Fernandez in the quarters, setting up the matchup with Detwiler in the semi.
Mark Munroe (113) is still alive in the wrestlebacks after reaching the quarters, falling 13-0 to Sweeney in that round.
Like Lincoln, Florida High has two wrestlers left in the tournament, led by 182 semifinalist Will Haigler. Seeded third, Haigler had two decisions in reaching the semis, including a 7-4 win over Union Grove’s Camden Johnson in the quarters. Haigler will face Cocoa Beach second seed Cole Mitchell in the semis.
Brooks Dyer (113) is alive in the wrestlebacks, taking two wins on the back after falling in the round of 16 to Sweeney.
Complete brackets and team scores will be posted to the site later in the weekend or early next week.