By: Shannon Heaton (@QChawkeyeinFL)
Welcome to this week’s installment of Edge of the Mat, your weekly glimpse into Northeast Florida high school and collegiate wrestling.
Saturday promises to be a huge day for half of the 39 schools in the five-county area, with 18 schools competing in two large duals events locally.
Bishop Snyder will host the second of two North Florida duals events at 10 a.m. The forthcoming installment of the duals will have a couple fewer local teams in the mix than did last weekend’s first event, but five ranked teams (per today’s latest local list found at the Northeast Florida Matmen website) -- #2 Clay (ranked 3rd statewide in Class 1A for the preseason), #7 Fletcher, #8 Fernandina Beach and #10 Creekside, not to mention the newly-minted #9 host Cardinals – will be in the mix, along with honorable mention list member Middleburg, plus First Coast, Bartram Trail and Nease.
Meanwhile, #1 Fleming Island will kick off its 2013-14 season by hosting the Keystone Duals, also set for 10 a.m. in the Golden Eagles’ gym. Clay County rival and sixth-ranked Ridgeview will be in attendance along with two honorable mention teams in St. Augustine and Bishop Kenny. Forrest, Sandalwood, Duval Charter, Pedro Menendez and Oakleaf will also be in attendance among local teams.
Two teams hit the road on Saturday and leave the five-county area, as #3 Orange Park will go to Tallahassee Lincoln for a duals event there, and honorable mention list member Yulee opens competition at the Deltona Duals.
Baker County and Bradford have a home-and-home scheduled for this week, with the Wildcats hosting Bradford tonight and traveling to Bradford Thursday. Terry Parker hosts Stanton, Duval Charter and Englewood in a 6 p.m. quadrangular meet on Tuesday night.
Two firm dates are on the calendar for Wednesday, as Englewood & Robert E. Lee travel to Mandarin for a triangular event at 6 p.m., while Bishop Kenny hosts Ponte Vedra at 7. Episcopal makes the long trek to Callahan for a road dual at West Nassau on Thursday night at 7.
A quick review of last weekend saw some strong performances, most notably (at least in town) from Bishop Snyder, which opened its season in strong fashion with an unbeaten day at the North Florida Duals I it hosted. The Cardinals had an average margin of victory of 35.4 points per dual in taking out five fellow Class 1A competitors. Only Class 3A Gainesville Buchholz was able to run the table in similar fashion by going 5-0 on the day.
Mandarin had an impressive weekend, with a solid 4-1 day at Bishop Snyder just hours after going 1-2 at Fletcher’s quadrangular meet Friday night, and Bishop Kenny is out to a 5-1 start after losing just once at Bishop Snyder.
Speaking of Fletcher, the defending Gateway Conference-champion Senators had a couple of scares at home Friday night, but pulled it together with close wins over the Mustangs and Fernandina Beach to open the season 3-0.
Out-of-town teams found success as well. Clay brought home 2nd place out of 23 teams in the Border Wars at Santa Rosa Beach last weekend, as Blue Devil junior Adam Breindel knocked off a 3x Louisiana state champion to win the weight class at 145 pounds. Orange Park dominated the Matanzas Duals on Saturday, shutting out two opponents and going 7-0 on the day.
At the collegiate level, North Central (IL) freshman Coll Robertson (Ridgeview ’13) picked up his first intercollegiate wins of the season at Trine (IN) University’s open competition Saturday, while Robert Parland (University Christian ’13) went 1-2 – all against Division I opponents – at the North Carolina State Open on Sunday.
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