KISSIMMEE – Fleming Island’s North Florida Wrestling Academy Black team came home with five All-American wrestlers with Fleming Island High 106 pounder Lou Gagliardo and Jensen Beach High …
KISSIMMEE – Fleming Island’s North Florida Wrestling Academy Black team came home with five All-American wrestlers with Fleming Island High 106 pounder Lou Gagliardo and Jensen Beach High wrestler Chad Nix, an add-on to the team, both finishing as Silver All-Americans with just one loss in 11 matches as the NFWA Black team finished seventh overall in the Gold championship bracket.
In 2017, NFWA finished second overall with a loss to Rhino WC of Pennsylvania.
“We had a lot of young kids that have never seen this kind of schedule and wrestling talent,”said Academy coach P.J. Cobbert, who was trying to duplicate last year’s unprecedented second in state and second in nation finishes. “We lost a lot of good, experienced talent and now must retool for November. I saw some good things; saw some things that will have to be corrected.”
NFWA Black competed in the rugged Community I (big school division) where they finished second in Pool play with one loss to Pool champion Warrior Elite Gold of Pennsylvania. As the
Academy advanced to the Gold championship bracket, Lake Gibson Gold, with numerous team members from their Class 2A champion team, beat NFWA 38-19 to knock out the Academy for their second run at a finals’ berth.
“I thought we would do better against them,” said Cobbert. “Our match after that I think they woke up and wrestled better. This is a grind and they were pumped to come after us.”
Against Lake Gibson, Peyton Hughes, from Clay High, came in with a shoulder brace after getting his shoulder wrenched in NFWA’s opening Gold match against Cedar Cliff of Pennsylvania. Hughes, a Class 1A champion for the Blue Devils, was less fluid in his attack, but won, nonetheless, over 2A state qualifier Elijah Gray 5-2. Hughes, 5-3 overall, was replaced in the lineup after Lake Gibson to take out key points for the Academy.
“Losing a guy like Peyton is devastating,” said Cobbert. “He’s a state champion and he gave it his best against Lake Gibson, but we didn’t want to get him seriously hurt. He wanted to keep going.”
Gagliardo, third at 106 in Class 3A for Fleming Island and third twice in Class 1A for Clay, powered through his first three opponents before losing to Warrior Elite’s David Pierson in Pool play to finish at 10-1 with three pins. Nix, a Jensen Beach third in Class 2A at 195 finisher, showed off some big school prowess with his 10-1 record. Nix’s sole loss was against Cedar Cliff’s Donovan Ball by a 3-2 margin. Nix had three pins including one at 19 seconds and one at 22 seconds.
Williams, who was a Class 3A state qualifier as a sophomore this year, finished at 9-2 at 126 for an All-American Bronze medal with his two losses coming via a 7-2 decision and a 9-0 loss to Cedar Cliff Colts. Against Lake Gibson, Williams fought to a last-second 2-1 win over Evan Butler, a state placer at 120 pounds.
The Community I Gold championship was won by Oregon Clay Gold out of Ohio who beat Lake Gibson 29-28 for that national title. NFWA finished with a 35-28 win over Hartland-Const Pressure for their seventh place.
Others for NFWA Black were Briar Jackson at 113, 8-3 for All-American Copper; Ryan Hobson at 120, 4-7; Jaquan English at 132, 6-5; Trace Insalaco at 145, 7-4; Tanner Hill at 152, 4-7; Luke Chop at 160, 4-7; Isaiah Graham at 170, 5-6; Jeffrey Lascano at 182, 6-5; Raul Gonzalez at 220, 3-8, and Jose Concepcion at 285, 8-3 for All-American Copper.
Lascano had two of the more dramatic throws to pins for wins for NFWA.