GREEN COVE SPRINGS - A bloody nose, a fat lip and a bruised eye were not enough to stop Clay High 160 pound wrestler Cale Hoskinson who won an overtime championship match against a state runnerup in …
GREEN COVE SPRINGS - A bloody nose, a fat lip and a bruised eye were not enough to stop Clay High 160 pound wrestler Cale Hoskinson who won an overtime championship match against a state runnerup in one of the more grueling matches of the weekend at the Clay Rotary Invitational at Clay High School.
“I just wanted to keep the match going every time they stopped it for blood,” said Hoskinson, who executed a single leg takedown in overtime to defeat Ahmahd Denmark of Robert E. Lee 4-1 in their championship match at the Clay Rotary. “I knew he was big, strong and athletic and our plan was to try and wear him out, but the stops gave him time to recover.”
Denmark finished at 40-4 last year losing in the Class 2A final 9-3 to Andy Martinez of Golden Gate High. Hoskinson (51-7 last year) was third in Class 1A at 152 with on overtime win over Gavin Miller of Bishop Moore.
Clay coach Jim Reape liked the mental battle going in the Hoskinson match between the referees who were wary of the bloody nose, Denmark’s athletic ability and Hoskinson’s durability to get past the bumps and bruises.
“Cale had a tough customer out there; got a little beat up and came through,” said Reape. “He was bleeding hard from his nose and we had a tough time stopping it and a 2-1 lead so we knew in overtime we would have to wrap Cale up to finish the match. He got after it in the overtime with two good shots including the winner.”
Hoskinson, 36-2, had never matched up against Denmark, but had seen some film of his athleticism.
“This was a good, tough match to get us going into the state meet run,” said Hoskinson, third in Class 1A last year. “The biggest thing for the young guys on the team is that we are wrestling the upper class teams; Class 2A, Class 3A and competing.”
On the day, Clay won the team title with 248.5 points with 2A-Fletcher second at 181.5 and 3A-Buchholz third at 168.5.
Locally, 3A-Oakleaf finished fourth with three finalists; two champions and 2A-Middleburg took eighth.
“We had a good meet with two champions here; Kevin Gilley with a pin at 120, Marcus McGee who was down most of the match and had a near fall at the buzzer to win 3-2 and Logan Gilbert getting second at 132,” said Oakleaf coach Marcus Miller. “Isaiah Shevchook had a tough overtime win for third place and our heavyweight, Jordan Mitchell, got to the semis on Friday, but then got sick overnight and had to drop out. Getting fourth here is a good sign for our program.”
Clay finished with championships from Maverick Rainwater at 113 over Bishop Kenny state qualifier Ryan Mayer, Luke Boree at 138 and Hoskinson. Dominic Martin, at 152, lost in the final to Fletcher state qualifier Joel Rodriguez (29-1) by a 7-4 decision. At 220, Garrett Tyre lost in his semifinal to Key West state qualifier Max Ryan 9-2.
Oakleaf earned titles from Kevin Gilley at 120 with a late third period pin and Marcus McGee (20-8) with a tough 3-2 win over Buchholz’ state qualifier Venumadhava Mirel (32-11). Middleburg got a third from Eliyah Cole at 170 with two fourths; Tucker Cody at 182 and Shane Jordan at 106. Cole lost in his semifinal to Ponte Vedra state qualifier Jarret Maritato 7-4.
For Clay coach Jim Reape, the annual wrestlefest was a good barometer for his Blue Devils, who recently took third at the Flagler Rotary, another tournament with Class 2A, 3A opponents, who have molded a young team with just three seniors into a possible medal contender team into the state championships.
“I’m thankful for the state officials to allow us to compete and that we live in a community that embraces that,” said Reape, who now gears up for a February 10 clash; Tussle of Muscle, with 3A-Fleming Island. “We’re getting better and gaining confidence each; anytime we put on a Clay singlet, we take that as a chance to compete against other kids; Fleming Island, districts, regions, state. It’s all part of the goals we set. I think we’re getting sharp each week.”