FLEMING ISLAND – Fleming Island High wrestling coach P.J. Cobbert has long been a proponent of tough conditioning and weightlifting for his team with legendary Monday morning running sessions on …
FLEMING ISLAND – Fleming Island High wrestling coach P.J. Cobbert has long been a proponent of tough conditioning and weightlifting for his team with legendary Monday morning running sessions on the Fleming Island High track and the crafty leader of the North Florida Wrestling Academy summer program has added a new wrinkle to his preparation goals.
“We want tough, scrappy kids that can last six, seven periods,” said Cobbert, who heads up the Academy out of Green Cove Springs in an industrial park near Magnolia Point Country Club. “If we put them through the ringer now, in the preparation stage for the upcoming Disney Duals (June 23-28) and maintain a high level of weekly conditioning and weightlifting, then, come November, we just have to tweak the system for wrestling system.”
On Friday, the Academy wrestlers had endured a full week of conditioning under a new face, with Orange Park High football ace Austin Logue stepping up to bring his high level of fitness and strength training to the program.
Logue, a fullback and linebacker under legendary Raider coach Danny Green during Orange Park’s region runs in 2009 and 2010, brings a college football experience to the mats of the Academy as well as recent mixed martial arts training.
“I had two and half years of college football at Webber International in south Florida, “ said Logue, who recently graduated with his criminal justice degree. “I also started a bit of mixed martial arts that I continue to train with top athletes with including James Smiley, one of the first MMA guys in Clay County. P.J. and I have talked about using my Olympic weightlifting regimen to the wrestling program.”
Logue hopes to bring solid technique to the Academy program with weightlifting designed to bolster wrestling strength.
“A lot of these guys have never touched a weight with real intent to make them better wrestlers,” said Logue, 23. “I am bringing a lot of Olympic power clean and bench style to the room for explosive power.”
Area wrestling got a boost in training Sat., June 9 at the Oakleaf High Wrestling Classic with teams from Georgia, Sandalwood, Columbia County, Gainesville Buchholz and the North Florida Wrestling Academy joining the Knights for a day of one-on-one grappling.
The AAU Scholastic Duals Wrestling Championship, the dubbed nationals of high school wrestling is set for June 23-28 at Disney’s Wide World of Sports arena in Kissimmee.
In 2017, Fleming Island’s NFWA placed second in the Community I division to Rhino WC of Pennsylvania 43-30 with three unbeaten wrestlers; Ryan Smenda, Paul Detwiler and Jason Davis, all now in college.
The Academy’s championship entry in the Community I division was a first for a Florida school. Also wrestling in Community I, Oakleaf’s Spartans finished fifth in Pool play and lost two matches in their championship silver bracket while, in Community II, the North Florida Wrestling Academy B team finished second in the championship silver bracket (16th place through 31st). Oakleaf is set to wrestle in the Developmental division this year.