ZALLAHASSEE – In a topsy-turvy slushing of the top 10 teams in region 1-2A wrestling, Ridgeview High bounced around from as close as second and sixth to eventual region champ Matanzas after day …
ZALLAHASSEE – In a topsy-turvy slushing of the top 10 teams in region 1-2A wrestling, Ridgeview High bounced around from as close as second and sixth to eventual region champ Matanzas after day one. After day one, defending champion Lincoln sat atop with 66 points with Matanzas third behind Gulf Breeze’s 62 points with 57.5.
In the end, with two champions; freshman Matthew Rodriguez at 106 (45-1) and senior Saeid Ejmali at 138 (51-4) , the Panthers finished eighth overall in a region tournament separated from number one to number eight by just 28 points.
Rodriguez, who beat Hampton, a sophomore, in the district 3-2A championship match last week won convincingly 15-4 for the region title. Last year, Rodriguez, as an eighth grader at University Christian, made the Class 1A championship meet, but lost in consolations.
At 113, Ridgeview sophomore Gabriel Guzman (37-8) lost in the championship final 9-1 to Tate High senior Jacob Cochran (42-1), the top seed.
Matanzas, with just one champion; Tyrone Jones at 145 (44-3), got enough championship match points to edge defending champion Tallahassee Lincoln by just 6.5 points with 128.5 points for the title. Lincoln also had just one champion; 170-pounder Justin Grant. Gulf Breeze snuck in behind Lincoln and just ahead of Creekside for third and fourth, respectively. Ridgeview scored 100.5 points for eighth with Middleburg 11th at 66.5 and Orange Park 14th at 52.
For Orange Park, senior Reed Danielson was the Raiders’ lone champion with his win at 195 pounds. Danielson returns to the state meet where he lost his two preliminary matches on Friday to make a quick exit.
Middleburg, with Hampton’s championship loss to Rodriguez his second loss to the Ridgeview freshman in two weeks, got junior Chris Burch at 132 to state with his fourth with a 5-0 loss to Tate High’s Mathew Blalock. Burch, a junior, lost in the championship semifinal to Columbia senior Isaac Daniel Mann (49-5), the eventual champion, via pin.
At 120, Middleburg’s Austin Benton (18-10) faced off with eventual champion Nicholas Vugman of Bartram Trail to get knocked into the consolation rounds. Benton and Orange Park’s Cameron Broughton both lost in the consolation semifinals to finish one match out of a state meet invitation.
At 152, Middleburg’s Bryce Williams lost in the consolation semifinals to Pace High’s Anthony Root 8-6 to also finish a match away from the state meet.