By SHANNON HEATON
South Georgia Matmen
GREEN COVE SPRINGS, FL — Valdosta brought just seven wrestlers, for a variety of reasons, to last weekend’s Keystone Invitational, hosted by north Florida area power Fleming Island.
Despite just seven in the lineup, the Wildcats still pulled together a sixth-place team finish in the 18-team tournament, with 175 points on Saturday, thanks in large part to three weight-class titles. Only host Fleming Island, which won the tournament with 442 Saturday points, had more champions, with five.
“For what we had, we wrestled great,” Wildcat assistant coach Jamie Lamon said, noting that injuries kept other kids out of the lineup. “Guys are starting to peak at the right time, going into regions (this coming weekend). Hopefully we get rid of the sicknesses and the banged-ups that we got right now.
“If we can take care of business going into regions, nobody can touch us and we’ll try to put it all together at states.”
Valdosta got tournament wins from Darrell Rochester (106), Aushaud Evans (145) and Dominique Dale (160), plus a third from Antoine Scott (182) and fifth from Cameron Bradley (132). John Walsh (132) had an unbeaten Saturday as well for the Wildcats.
“Darrell had really explosive offense, fast pace, his picks game was really on point. Just motoring, never shuts down. Aushaud really wrestled well; he’s a good counter-wrestler, but this weekend he hit a bunch of tilts and really did well on bottom,” Lamon said of the team champs. “Dale didn’t get in a bad position all weekend. His top game is getting better, his mental game is really good. Didn’t shut down at all.”
Cass was the only other Georgia team in attendance, with 241 Saturday points and two weight-class champs.
Below follows a Georgia-based recap of the tournament action, in which we will walk through each of the Wildcats’ performances; we’ll touch on Cass performances as well:
Gold bracket Saturday: Rochester pinned his way through on Saturday, with falls over Flagler Palm Coast’s Joseph Rizzo, Jacksonville Bolles’ Jacob Witt, Cass’ Isaac Linley, Jacksonville Lee’s Shawn Bulter and Orange Park Oakleaf’s Marcus McGee. Linley placed fourth, with a 2-3 bracket record, including one pin and one decision.
Friday: Rochester had a pair of pins over Flagler Palm Coast’s Logan Johnson (semis) and Rizzo (:59 in the final) in the B bracket (not a quality designation; wrestlers were slotted into one of three brackets on Friday). Linley was 1-1 in the C bracket, losing 7-5 in the final after a fall in the semis.
Notes: Cass’ Bryce Kresho was 5-0 in the Saturday gold bracket, with four pins and a major. He had two pins in taking the C bracket on Friday. No Valdosta wrestlers at this weight.
Notes: Cass’ Hunter Rees was third in the gold bracket, going 3-2 with a medical forfeit and two decisions. Rees was second in the C bracket on Friday, losing his only match in the finals by fall.
Notes: Cass’ Ben Mills was fifth in the gold bracket, going 1-4 with one pin. Mills had just one match on Friday to take the C bracket, with a 7-5 decision.
Gold bracket Saturday: Bradley was 1-4 in the gold bracket, with a 15-8 win over Lynn Haven Mosley’s Lonnie Bell in round 2. He did take the tournament champion to the brink before falling, 8-7, in his final match of the day, and had two other losses by decision (one in sudden victory, the other a 9-3 loss to Cass’ Nick Mills). Mills was third with a 3-2 tournament, with two pins as well as the win over Bradley.
Bronze bracket Saturday: Walsh was 4-0, with pins over Tallahassee Florida High’s William Hawkes, Lakeland McKeel Academy’s David Sineath and Flagler Palm Coast’s Felipe Costa, plus a 10-7 win over Mosley’s Jaylon Griffin.
Friday: Bradley was 2-1 in the B bracket, with a fall over Hawkes and 7-2 win over St. Augustine’s Gabe Galloza, losing by fall to Bell in the final. Walsh was fifth after a quarterfinal loss in the B bracket, going 2-2 with falls over Costa and Griffin on the backside. Mills took first in the C bracket, with a pin and 6-4 decision.
Bronze bracket Saturday: The Wildcats’ Jordan Brown was 3-2 and placed third, with pins over Flagler Palm Coast’s Timothy King and Oakleaf’s Landon Hillman, plus a forfeit victory.
Friday: After a quarterfinal 6-2 win over Mosley’s Jonathan Griffin, Brown lost his next three matches and placed sixth in the B bracket.
Notes: Cass’ Kameron Depasquale was 2-3, with two pins, and placed fourth in the gold bracket. He was 1-1 on Friday, with an 8-1 win and 7-0 loss in the final to the eventual tournament champion.
Gold bracket Saturday: Evans was 5-0, but had to power through three tough rounds to get there. After a 10-0 major over Oakleaf’s David Parkes and fall over Neptune Beach Fletcher’s Douglas Tappin, Evans first had to battle through two Fleming Island opponents: Gannon Janssen (6-4) and Connor Rogers (3-1), closing out the day with a tough battle against Middleburg’s Chris Burch, holding on for a 5-4 win.
Friday: Evans rolled to two dominant wins, with a 15-0 tech fall over Mosley’s Logan Gall in the semis and fall over Burch in the final.
Notes: Cass’ Adan Urizar won his last match of the day in the silver bracket, going 1-4 with a 9-7 win. Urizar was 2-2 on Friday in the C bracket, placing fourth, with pins on both sides of the bracket.
Notes: Cass’ Kendall Arnold was second in the gold bracket, going 4-1 with three pins and a forfeit. Arnold won the C bracket on Friday, with two pins.
Gold bracket Saturday: Dale had four pins over Santa Rosa Beach South Walton’s Chase Maddox, Florida High’s Noah Perdue, Cass’ Alex Depasquale and Lee’s Ahmahd Denmark, then pushed past Fleming Island’s Tanner Hill, 5-2, for the effective “title” match. Depasquale was 2-3, with two pins, and placed fourth.
Friday: Dale won the B bracket with one fall over Perdue in the finals. Depasquale was 1-1 in the C bracket, with a pin and then loss by fall in the finals.
Notes: Cass’ Cameron Hill was 5-0 and won the silver bracket, with five pins. Hill was 1-1, with a pin and loss by fall, and placed third in the C bracket on Friday.
Gold bracket Saturday: Scott was 3-2, with a medical forfeit, fall over Middleburg’s Chris Conaway and 5-1 decision over Fleming Island’s Nick Janssen. One of the two losses Scott took was to Cass’ Noah Hoffmeier, who was 4-1 with two pins, a forfeit and a 6-5 decision that served as a head-to-head tiebreaker in Hoffmeier winning the weight class.
Friday: Scott won one match by fall over Conaway to take first in the B bracket. Hoffmeier was 1-1 and was second in the C bracket, losing 12-3 in the finals.
Notes: Cass’ Reed Davis was 4-1 and was second in the gold bracket, with a pin, decision, win by injury-default and medical forfeit. On Friday, Davis won once, with a major decision, to take first in the C bracket.
(No Georgia wrestlers at 220 or 285)
Complete brackets for this tournament can be found here.
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