Clear, 84°
Weather sponsored by:

Spartans land first wrestling win

By Randy Lefko Sports Editor
Posted 12/7/22

ORANGE PARK - St. Johns Country Day School offered up its first FHSAA girls weightlifting team last year and came home with a gold medal on their first visit to the state championships.

This year, …

This item is available in full to subscribers.

Please log in to continue

Log in

Don't have an ID?

Print subscribers

If you're a print subscriber, but do not yet have an online account, click here to create one.


Click here to see your options for subscribing.

Single day pass

You also have the option of purchasing 24 hours of access, for $1.00. Click here to purchase a single day pass.

Spartans land first wrestling win


ORANGE PARK - St. Johns Country Day School offered up its first FHSAA girls weightlifting team last year and came home with a gold medal on their first visit to the state championships.

This year, the Spartans opened their gym to another new sport, wrestling, and, if history is a barometer, the four wins by four pins by 113-pound eighth grader Matthew Braddock at the Optimist Invitational on Saturday at Sandalwood High School could mean yet another first time gold medalist is on the way.

“He’s a hammer out there and a very tough kid,” said North Florida Wrestling Academy head wrestling coach P.J. Cobbert, who has nurtured Braddock for the past four years at his stronghold club in Fleming Island. “We are letting him compete locally in the Jacksonville area to get mat time, then we’ll see him in high school.”

Whether Cobbert gets Braddock at Fleming Island High, where Cobbert has many of his NFWA students compete at a strong level in Class 2A after a string of top five finishes in Class 3A.

“It’s all up to him,” said Cobbert. “He has been wrestling all over the country already and when his freshman year comes up, his family will make that decision. We are just giving him a spot to train and wrestling against top high school kids in our room.”

At Sandalwood, Braddock pounded his 113-pound weight class with pins of 41, 46, 42 and 72 seconds to take the top of the podium.

We shall see...

In other matches across north Florida as area teams got their first looks at jerseys from other schools, Sandalwood won their own meet with a 162.5 to 160.0 score over Baker County with Keystone Heights finishing 13th and St. Johns 16th with just Braddocks points as a solo grappler.

Keystone Heights, looking to keep improving from their first teams from two years ago, got a silver medal from Joshua Dowling at 285, who lost by pin to Englewood’s champion Keith Forbes; and two third place finishes, one from Steven Raab at 285, who lost his second match to Forbes, then won four straight to finish third with a 6-2 win over Menendez’s Colby Leth.

At 138, Luke Graves finished third with a bye win, but had four pins to a third period loss by pin in his second match to get bronze.

Keystone Heights fielded 13 wrestlers.

At University High in Port Orange at the Varsity Clash of the Titans, Middleburg competed to a seventh place finish with the likes of Orlando powers Winter Springs, Freedom, Deland and Hagerty with Merritt Island, Satellite and Winter Springs taking the 1-2-3 spots; 146.0-141.5-137.0. Middleburg earned 112.0 points led by a handful of second place finishes from Tucker Cody at 220, Aiden Thornton at 160, Logan Moore at 145 and Dylan Johns at 126.

At 195, Porter Loveland finished fourth after a tough 4-2 loss to Hagerty’s Hunter Tate.

At the Bobcat Round Robin Invitational at Gainesville Buchholz on Saturday, Clay and Oakleaf put up their troops with new Oakleaf coach Mark DeToro teaming with Rory Roderick at his side as Clay had their dynamic duo of Jim Reape and Hunter Hill in opposite corners.

For Clay, 106 Jacob Bucci finished 5-0 with three pins and two tech falls; 17-2, 17-0, for a first place finish with a pin over Oakleaf’s Connor Barnes for the title.

At 182, Dominic Martin went 5-0 with four first period pins to the final and a 71 second finale. Martin’s fastest pin of the day was just 37 seconds.

at 220, Kedric Wilboun pinned to his final as well with a 40 and 52 second slapdown before beating Clay teammate Jadon Bell 9-1 in the championship match.

Bell’s only loss to to Wilboun.

Clay also scored at 113; fifth to Juan Carlos

Garcia; at 120, second to Drew Holmquist; at 126, fifth the Bradyl Glaven; at 132, fourth to Zack Deaton; at 145, second to Landen Solomon; at 145, seventh to Drew Loveland; at 152, 10th to Tison Rivers, and eighths to Hunter Roden, Tayshawn Tate and Lukas Graham at 170, 182 and 220.

Brody Lyda took third at 195 with four pins and a first pin slap to Union County’s Danny Thornton. Will Kelly was third at 285 after a tough 5-1 loss Timber Creek’s Peter Nesheiwat in his first match.

For Oakleaf, got six weight division runnerups led by Connor Barnes at 106 (lost to Clay’s Jacob Bucci by pin), Sebastian Bonachea at 126 (lost 3-2 to Buchholz Jedidiah Brown), Roman Polinsky at 160 (lost 15-0 to Timber Creek Micah Wittenberg), Bryant Taylor at 182 (Lost to Clay Dominic Martin), Isaiah Shevchook at 195 (lost by pin at 2:52 to Buchholz Kason Nichols) and Tony Gray at 285, lost by pin to Timber Creek Peter Nesheiwat).

And, also at University High, on Friday, the Lady Clash of the Titans featured Matanzas again taking the top spot with Middleburg third, Oakleaf fifth and Clay 18th in the all-female wrestle-fest.

Clay’s lone wrestler was state returner Aubrianna Apple who crushed her 135 weight class with five pins in the first period; two at 54 seconds.

Middleburg fielder five wrestlers led by gold medalists Gracie Bradshaw who got two quick pins and a 13-6 win for the 100 pound title and Cheyenne Cruce at 190 who pinned Oakleaf;s Jazmine Moore in a tough three period battle. Cruce got the final with three pins under 39 seconds.

Skyla Fisher at 105 finished second with a loss to South Dade’s Rebekka Kinkade with Memphis Moses at 110 losing in her weight class final to Matanzas’ Mariah Mills via pin.

Sarah Walsh, finishing at 4-2 at 125, placed fourth after losing to Tiana Fries of Matanzas, winning four via pin, then losing by pin to Fries for fourth place.

For Oakleaf, with three top three finishers and two gold medalists; Kailani Barrientos at 125 and Kayla Harrison at 170, the start of the season saw the Lady Knights field four wrestlers. Jazmine Moore at 190 lost in her final to Cheyenne Cruce of Middleburg by third period pin and Sofia Shirley-Montijo at 155 beat Lake Wales’ Jordyn Alson by pin for third place.