FLEMING ISLAND – Fleming Island High wrestling coach P.J. Cobbert has been pushing his Golden Eagle wrestling team with good results; a second place team finish in Class 3A, a first-time individual …
FLEMING ISLAND – Fleming Island High wrestling coach P.J. Cobbert has been pushing his Golden Eagle wrestling team with good results; a second place team finish in Class 3A, a first-time individual state champion and a thrilling second place club finish at the AAU Scholastic Duals in Disney, considered the high school national duals championships.
“We put it out there that we want to be the top dog,” said Cobbert, referring to his 100 points at the FHSAA state championships where multiple times Class 3A champion South Dade High School held off a late charge by Fleming Island to retain and defend their state title reign. “They do a lot of little things that we have to start to do including a strong two-a-day regimen with lifting, running and wrestling. You go t to pay the piper for the big trophy.”
Cobbert, without the services of state meet wrestlers Ryan Smenda and Jose Concepcion, plus Jalyn Robinson to football playoffs, see the success of both programs as feeding each program.
“I like seeing our guys excelling on the football field because they are staying in great, competitive environments,” said Cobbert. “It’s the ones here this morning that I have to get here, push them and make them think about the upcoming season. It’s easy to sleep in and wait for practice after school. Getting up early is tough.”
Tops grapplers from last year’s stellar lineup in the weight room at 6 a.m were senior Paul Detwiler, third at 152; junior Briar Jackson, third at 106; senior Albie Snedaker, at 113; senior Jacob Sandoval, at 126; junior Trace Insalaco at 132; and newcomer Lou Gagliardo, a transfer 106 pound junior twice third placer in Class 1A from Clay High School.
“Lou is learning our way of training,” said Cobbert. “He’s a tough kid and is getting it.”
Cobbert opened Saturday with a preseason visit to Gainesville Buchholz High School where Fleming Island dominated matches against Wakulla High, a strong 1A program, and Columbia High, a strong 2A program. Fleming Island torched their two matches with eight pins against Buchholz and seven against Wakulla.
“It’s just preseason, but we wanted to see our young guys against some tough schools in preseason matches,” said Cobbert. “This season, we plan to travel a bit more to get out of our comfort zone. In order to compete at the higher level that we want, we have to challenge the program.”
Fleming Island opens regular season matches with their own Robert Northway “Keystone” Invitational on Fri.-Sat., Dec. 1-2 with 17 teams, including Georgia powers Camden County and Toombs County as well as Middleburg High School.
Clay and Ridgeview travel to the Border Wars Invitational at South Walton High School where a host of schools from Florida, Alabama, Georgia and Louisiana are slated to compete.
Keystone Heights High, with their first high school team in years, will open at the Bishop Snyder North Florida Duals on Sat., Dec. 2 with Oakleaf and Orange Park also on the team roster.