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Cobbert’s boys get fifth in tough nationals grind

By Randy Lefko Sports Editor
Posted 6/29/22

KISSIMMEE - Fleming Island High wresting coach P.J. Cobbert has had a pretty confident look about lately mainly because of the recent successes of his youthful wrestling entourage and a fifth place …

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Cobbert’s boys get fifth in tough nationals grind


KISSIMMEE - Fleming Island High wresting coach P.J. Cobbert has had a pretty confident look about lately mainly because of the recent successes of his youthful wrestling entourage and a fifth place finish last weekend at the AAU Scholastic Duals national championship tournament; also called the Disney Duals, added to the reload of last year’s strong state run.

“We had 11 guys go to state, 10 guys get medals with a team that had one senior, “said Cobbert, who traveled to the ESPN Wide World of Sports complex and came home with a fifth place team finish in the national hub of high school wrestling after high schools season finish. “It’s all part of the process.”

Cobbert, noting that his young cadre of grapplers, including state runnerup Jayce Paridon, sophomore sensations Shane and Laird Duhaylungsod, Kaden Schaefer along with veterans like Joshua Sandoval and Jhoel Robinson will build from the Disney Duals experience to make the upcoming November high school season even more exciting. Added to the team were pickups Marcus Mcgee, Keon Barrientos and Isaiah Schevchook of Oakleaf High plus Palatka’s Mikade Harvey (third in 1A at 132) to add to Cobbert’s firepower.

“Our pool at Disney was brutal with our North Florida Wrestling Academy Black team paired up against most of the top 10 teams from around the country, “ said Cobbert. “It was brutal, but it was nice to see how the kids competed hard at every match even after the first one.”

That first one, against eventual fourth place finisher Springboro (OH); a 33-30 loss, set the tone for the team’s next two days.

“We were winning that match for the most part, but it was a tough start,” said Cobbert. “My Fleming Island guys all won their matches and we just had to get back into the game and realize that this was going to be a rugged weekend. They responded well.”

After trudging through pool play, NFWA Black, who responded to that opening match loss with a string of wins; 78-6, 51-9 and 78-3 finished third with the Eagle Empire Purple (FL), with a ton of south Florida wrestlers, and Springboro at first and second to set up their gold championship round finish. Eagle Empire beat NFWA Black in their pool play match, 37-24, with a slew of wins in the middle weights lineup.

“Each year, it seems the middle weight guys, from about 132 to 170, are the toughest guys on the mats,” said Cobbert. “Our guys got a little beat up at the end with us just winning two of the final 10 matches.”

Again, NFWA Black responded with a strong 36-30 win over Mill Creek High (GA) to get to their third place pool finish.

Against Mill Creek, ironically, at 106, Shane Duhaylungsod, opened with a loss by pin at 1:04 with twin brother Laird, up next, and winning by pin at 1:04.

“Shane had some really tough matches, but both of those boys are students of the game,” said Cobbert. “They are having great careers at Fleming Island.”

Shane finished at 7-6 with Laird at 11-2.

Paridon, second in Class 2A last year after finishing the season unbeaten up to the championship match, finished at 12-1 with a 3-2 loss to Indiana powerhouse Perry Meridian Blue’s Toby Billerman, an Indiana state runnerup last year, returned to Disney after his NFWA effort to compete in the All Stars matches a week later.

“He’s a tough kid and was able to stay at his weight the whole week to be able to compete with the All Stars,” said Cobbert.

At 132, Schaefer also went 12-1 with a loss to Eagle Empires’ Danny Martinez (3A-SW Miami High), 12-5 before scorching the field with 12 wins off of seven pins with three under a minute; 27 seconds, 51 seconds and 43 seconds. Martinez also finished at 12-1 with a loss to Springboro’s Dillon Campbell. Campbell, an Ohio state champion at 113, wrestled Harvey, a 16-1 win for Campbell, with Schaefer pinning in his Springboro match.

McGee, a state wrestler for the Knights, finished with a 10-2 slate with losses to Indiana Brownsburg’s Brady Ison, 60-9 last year as a freshman in Indiana, and Eagle Empire’s Aaron Lanster out of Miami.

One top pickup for Cobbert was Camden County High’s Ryder Wilder who finished unbeaten at 170/182 at 13-0.

Joshua Sandoval, a Fleming Island High state placer, was 11-2 with with losses to Eagle Empire’s Cahmari Johnson, another Camden County High wrestler, and Constant Pressure’s Brayden Bobo, out of Michigan, 67-10, fourth in Michigan at 171 last year. In the Community 2 rankings, NFWA Red finished fourth.

NFWA Red was led by Matthew Newman, 11-1 at 10, Mario Dibella, 10-2 at 113, Brody Boehm, 11-1 at 126, Austin Howard 8-4 at 160, John McNames 8-3 at 170, Walter Poe 8-3 at 195 and Kaiden Sanchez 7-5 at 285.