By SHANNON HEATON, North Florida Matmen
YULEE — For the other 10 teams in attendance at the Battle of the Border, the goals were largely the same as at most tournaments.
Get mat time. Advance kids to the podium where possible. Improve.
For everyone clad in Hornet green-and-gold Saturday, the tournament performance — from the wrestlers to the coaches to the concession staff to the hospitality room — was a tribute to Joe, first and last.
Joe Bees, a Yulee parent and sous chef at the Down Under restaurant in Fernandina Beach, was preparing food for the Hornets Saturday morning at the restaurant. He was found, unresponsive, in one of the bathrooms and was pronounced dead at the scene, of an apparent heart attack, according to two Yulee coaches.
“He always made us food and he will be missed,” Yulee youth program director Doug Youmans said through Facebook. “He had a heart of gold and always was there when we needed him.”
Bees is survived by his son, Bryce, who continued to compete in the tournament despite the news. Bryce Bees placed second at 126 pounds, with pins in the quarters Friday over Space Coast’s Charles Tarey and semis on Saturday over Bishop Kenny’s Daniel Maher. He did forfeit to Camden B’s Caleb Picard in the final and is now a two-time placewinner at the tournament (4th in 2018).
“Freaking heart is on fire, man,” Yulee coach Brandon Crowder said, also through Facebook. “We had just talked last night. I had to tell Bryce and go there with him. Right now, we are just trying to help and figure out what to do next and where (Bryce) will live.”
As Joe Bees no doubt would have wanted, the tournament continued on, with Camden’s B side rolling to the title, with 258.5 points. Yulee was second at 155, followed by Space Coast (120.5), Bishop Kenny (106.5), Florida High (106), West Nassau (101.5), Fernandina Beach (71), Middleburg (68), Ridgeview (59), Ed White (54) and FSDB (29).
106 — Ridgeview’s Matthew Rodriquez pinned his way into the final (falls over Space Coast’s Raider Morelli and Anthony Edwards), then decisioned Camden B’s Tyler Dahlgren (fall & major prior to final) for his second Border title win. Ed White’s Bruce Harting decisioned FSDB’s Rey Suero for third place.
113 — Ridgeview’s Gabe Guzman had two majors over Bishop Kenny’s Reilly Gentges and Camden B’s Chance Marsh to get to the final, then decisioned Florida High’s Emil Ganim (2 pins prior to final) for the tournament win after placing third here last year. Marsh came back for third with a major decision over Fernandina Beach’s Jeremy Mahoney.
120 — Florida High’s Tyler Reeve pinned his way through the bracket, with falls over Space Coast’s Eli McKinney in the semis and Camden B’s Kohlby Hopper (2 pins prior to final) in the championship match. West Nassau’s Brendan Ferenchik won by fall over McKinney to place third.
126 — Picard had a decision over Florida High’s Anthony Bedoya in the quarters and fall over Middleburg’s Enoch Long in the semis before the walkover against Bees. Long came back for third with a pin over Maher.
132 — Space Coast’s Devon Reynolds won by decision over Middleburg’s Ephraim Long in the quarters, then took pins in the semis and final over FSDB’s Sean Meyers and West Nassau’s Bradly Kraai (2 pins prior to final). Yulee’s Orion Duffy, who was fourth last year, came back for third place with a decision over Camden B’s Daniel Fredericks.
138 — Florida High’s Max Metcalf pinned his way into the finals, with falls in the quarters over West Nassau’s Demetrio Thomas and in the semis over Space Coast’s Michael Squires, then majored Yulee’s Aston Ricks (decision & walkover prior to final) for the championship. Bishop Kenny’s John Schloth decisioned Camden B’s Porter Bryant for third place.
145 — Middleburg’s Chris Burch picked up a quarterfinal major over Bishop Kenny’s Carter Wood, then had decisions over Camden B’s Robert Henderson in the semis and Charles Morton (2 pins prior to final) in the title match. Henderson came back for third with a fall over Florida High’s Dennis Ganim.
152 — Bishop Kenny’s Joey Cusick won by fall over Space Coast’s Bryce Black i nthe quarters and tech over Ridgeview’s Reed Propes in the semis, taking a win by forfeit in the final over Middleburg’s Bryce Williams (major prior to final). Camden B’s William Blount was third, with a fall over Propes in the third-place match.
160 — Bishop Kenny’s Andrew Slade made it back-to-back titles for the Crusaders, with a major over Florida High’s Noah Perdue in the quarters, and then decisions over Camden B’s Omega Clark in the semis and West Nassau’s Requan Works (2 pins prior to final) in the championship. Clark came back for third with a decision over Perdue in the third-place match.
170 — Space Coast’s Marcus Santos took decisions over Middleburg’s Alex Nayfack in the quarters and Florida High’s Chauncy Riggsby, then pinned Camden B’s Josh Morton (major and pin prior to final) for the title after finishing fourth in 2018. Bishop Kenny’s Nolan Scheets, who’d lost to Morton in the quarters, had to win four matches to come back for third, pinning Ed White’s Carl Otero in the place match.
182 — Fernandina Beach’s Nathan Manning pinned his way through the draw, with falls over Middleburg’s Chris Conaway (quarters), Camden B’s Deonte Dozier (semis) and Space Coast’s Isaac Lenhart (2 pins prior to final) in the championship. Ed White’s Jaison Patterson was third, with a fall over Dozier in the third-place match.
195 — After finishing fourth at the Border in 2018, Yulee’s David Crawford won the first of the Hornets’ three titles, with pins in the semis over Camden B’s Trevonte Dozier and in the final over Fernandina Beach’s Uriah Giedrys (2 pins prior to final). Dozier was third, pinning West Nassau’s Jackson Rowell in the third-place match.
220 — The Hornets’ Bradley Durrance pinned his way through the final, over Florida High’s Josh Nable (quarters), Fernandina Beach’s Robbie Elefterion (semis) and then Camden B’s Garrett Gaston (2 pins prior to final) in the championship match. Durrance was a Border runnerup in 2018. Elefterion came back for third, pinning Space Coast’s T-Jay Mitchell, a two-time Border placewinner, in the place match.
285 — Yulee’s Grayson Pope closed out the tournament with decisions over teammate Nathanael Lowe (quarters) and Camden B’s Brian Jones (semis), then falled West Nassau’s Patrick Connors (2 pins prior to final) in the championship match. Lowe won three times by fall to come back for third, who pinned Jones in the third-place match.
Complete brackets from the tournament can be found here.
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