FLEMING ISLAND – With 11 of 14 wrestlings getting All-Conference honors, the Fleming Island High wrestling team took a hometown win at the St. Johns River Athletics Conference title in decisive …
FLEMING ISLAND – With 11 of 14 wrestlings getting All-Conference honors, the Fleming Island High wrestling team took a hometown win at the St. Johns River Athletics Conference title in decisive fashion as they push toward 2019 against some of the southeast’s best in the Osceola Knockout Classic on Sat., Dec. 29.
“We executed and had good stamina today and that was the goal,” said Fleming Island coach P.J. Cobbert, who has put his troops on a rugged schedule of tournaments designed for state meet readiness. “This kind of meet is a good tuneup to get the confidence up, check our positions on the mat and give the young kids a boost going into the meat of the schedule. Knockout will be a lot tougher.”
Last year at Knockout, Fleming Island finished third behind Georgia state champion Camden County and Florida 3A multiple champion South Dade High with the Golden Eagles getting two tournament champions; both graduated, Jaquan English and Paul Detwiler. Eventual 3A champion at 133, Briar Jackson, finished second to Camden County’s Nicholas Krug.
Note: Fleming Island finished 26th overall at Knockout with 52 team points. Camden County, defending four-time Georgia state champions, won with 191 points with Lake Gibson, the Class 2A defending champion, and Woodland High of Georgia tied for second at 185. Top individual finishers for Fleming Island were Briar Jackson and Tanner Hill, who both lost in the quarterfinals. Jackson, at 122, lost to Camden County’s Tyler Crew 2-0. Crew was the Georgia 7A champion at 113 last year. Hill lost 4-0 to Nolin Eaddy of Osceola, fourth in 3A last year at 152.
For the Golden Eagles at the conference meet, who have finished second in Class 3A the past two years to South Dade High School, the weekend featured an unbeaten team record against seven teams. The finals match featured a near-shutout, 65-2, against Class 2A powerhouse Matanzas High School, 15th in last year’s state meet.
“I think we go in knowing we are the only 3A school here,” said senior Briar Jackson, the lone defending state champion for Cobbert after securing three; Paul Detwiler and Ryan Smenda, last year. “We are looking for just tough wrestling, no mistakes and pins.”
In the team finishes, Fleming Island was first (8-0), Matanzas (6-1), Orange Park (5-2), Bartram Trail (4-3), Middleburg (3-4) St. Augustine (2-5), Pedro Menendez (1-6) and Palatka (0-7) competed.
All conference individual honors for Fleming Island went to Hunter Herrington (106), Riley Holton (113), Briar Jackson (120), Ryan Hobson (126), Garrett Cole (132), Luke Chop (152), Tanner Hill (160), Nick Janssen (182), Chad Nix (195), Tanner Speer (220) and Jeffery Lascano (285).
For Orange Park, Jacob Campbell, a region 1-2A qualifier last year at 160, was selected at 170 pounds.
Also getting All-Conference were Nicholas Vugman, Bartram Trail at 138, and Ian Eckert, Matanzas at 145. Vugman was third in Class 2A last year at 120. Eckert was a state qualifier (0-2) at 138 last year with a 27-15 record. Vugman defeated Fleming Island’s Tyler Williams 4-1 and Middleburg’s Storm Mercado 16-5, plus pinned Orange Park’s Cameron Broughton, to finish unbeaten at 138.
Orange Park lost a close 40-27 match to Matanzas in their matchup with Dean Ganci winning at 132, Cameron Broughton pinning at 138, region 1-2A qualifier Jacob Moore pinning at 182 and Julian Moore pinning at 195.
Against Matanzas, Fleming Island got pins from Nick Janssen, Nix, Lascano, and Herrington. Gannon Janssen defeated Eckert 9-0.