Fleming Island flexes for Hammer win

Posted 12/29/21

KISSIMMEE - Clay High 220 pound wrestler Garrett Tyre ran into a Georgia buzzsaw in his Knockout Christmas Classic semifinal and survived two near falls before losing a 14-3 major decision.

“I …

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Fleming Island flexes for Hammer win

Posted

KISSIMMEE - Clay High 220 pound wrestler Garrett Tyre ran into a Georgia buzzsaw in his Knockout Christmas Classic semifinal and survived two near falls before losing a 14-3 major decision.

“I was in the best defensive stance I have ever been and he (undefeated (22-0)Sammy Brown of Jefferson High in Georgia) shot under me and blast doubled me,” said Tyre, who rallied from the loss to win four more matches to place third in the tournament; one of the toughest Class 3A and Georgia combined events in the southeast. “And he was only a sophomore. He had twice on my back and I fought out of it.”

For Tyre, the journey back to state level wrestling has been a product of his controversial finish at the Clay vs. Fleming Island dual match late last spring that an unsportsmanship violation prohibited Tyre from entering district and region championships thereafter.

“I learned a lot about myself since that match,” said Tyre, now 9-1. “I know now not to let the small things affect me like that. There were two or three times today that I got a little roughed up, but coach Reape (Jim Reape, Clay coach) told me to just let it go and wrestle.”

For Reape, bringing his Blue Devils to Knockout has been a test of fire for this squad putting some young kids up against some of the best in the southeast.

“Garrett had a great tournament and Dominick (sixth at 182 Dominick Martin) did well,” said Reape. “Dom took two late losses, but we are not a Tampa Jesuit with 10 elite wrestlers in the lineup. We just wanted to put the kids in a high level competition and learn how to function in this environment.”

Reape noted Clay has never had a Knockout champion with Payton Hughes and Kurt Jackson both finalist in recent years.

Fleming Island High’s wrestling got its first sip of Class 2A wrestling and answered with 3A results with eight titles en route to a team title at the first-ever Hammer Invitational at Oakleaf High School on December 23.

The next day, at Matanzas High, Fleming Island regrouped to win the Matanzas Holiday Throwdown, a duals style tournament with the Golden Eagles finishing 4-0 beating Brunswick (GA), Bishop Moore, Freedom and host Matanzas.

At the Oakleaf Hammer, with host Oakleaf still a Class 3A program, Fleming Island (10th in 3A last year) got a chance to push the envelope with new faces a bit more after a week of wins over 3A powers South Dade and Southwest Miami with a relative blowout of 325-236 over runnerup Oakleaf with Apopka (27th in 3A last year, second last week at Bill Scott Memorial) third at 211 and Palatka fourth at 107.

Surprisingly, Keystone Heights showed some muscle with a fifth place spot at 77 points ahead of Englewood, West Nassau, Orange Park and four more teams.

The Golden Eagles got wins at 106 from Shane Duhaylungsod, at 113 from Matthew Newman, at 118 from Kaden Schaefer, at 145 from Matthew Kotler, at 152 from Christopher Chop, at 160 from Ronan Bozeman, at 170 from Joshua Sandoval and, at 182, from Jhoel Robinson.

Oakleaf’s Isiaiah Shevchook won over Fleming Island’s Walter Poe at 195 with a third period pin while Knights’ teammate Ben Gaddis was second at 220 to Apopka’s Ralph Sanchez.

In the finale of the day, Oakleaf heavyweight Jordan Mitchell exacted two pins to the final before beating Fleming Island’s Ethan Hoffstetter 10-3 in the final.

At 120, the second Duhaylungsod, twin brother Laird, lost a 6-3 decision in that final to Apopka’s Tamarion Kendrick.

In the first action-packed final of the morning, at 126, Fleming Island’s Joshua Mukaddam, a senior, got Palatka’s Mikada Harvey, ninth ranked in Class 1A, in the final in a battle of two combatants who pinned impressively to the final with Harvey sticking Mukaddam at 2:35.

At 138, with Oakleaf state qualifier Marcus McGee losing an overtime 4-2 semifinal to Palatka’s Rocco Vargas in a tossup match decided on a final throw, Schaefer won a 3-0 final. Schaefer is a former Lakeside Junior High standout that wrestled a year at the prestigious Wyoming Seminary Wrestling program in Kingston, PA, before returning to Fleming Island amidst coaching changes in Pennsylvania.

At 145, Kotler, a sophomore, pinned Apopka state qualifier Bonosky Fidel, a senior, in the final round of a rugged final.

At 170, Sandoval wrapped up three opponents with pins to his title.

At 182, in a much-anticipated match between big win opponents, Robinson, 23-2 for Fleming Island, and Onjel Caraballo, 10-1 for Oakleaf, Robinson exacted a 16-3 major decision. Both pinned twice to the final.

A 220, Oakleaf’s Ben Gaddis got the probable most decorated guy in the gym with Apopka’s Ralph Sanchez, 23-0 and fourth last year in 3A, with Sanchez showing his might with a 31 second pin.

In the final match, with Mitchell of Oakleaf and Hoffstetter of Fleming Island, who was a state qualifier and missed a medal by one match, both very familiar with each other from past battles, Mitchell showed a bit more tech savvy to win a 10-3 title. Hoffstetter knocked Mitchell out of the 285 region 1-3A semifinal last year with a 2-1 decision with Mitchell losing in his consolation match to not advance to state. Hoffstetter won the region title in overtime.

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