By: Shannon Heaton (@QChawkeyeinFL)
Most wrestling teams stayed home last week, drilling and preparing for this one, the first week in December and – for a couple of teams – the season-opening week as well.
"Edge of the Mat" takes most of its space looking ahead, as the two final holdouts from the Northeast Florida Matmen local high school wrestling poll finally hit the mats against another team this week.
Tuesday night kicks things off at #5 Bolles, where the Bulldogs open their season against Episcopal, which picked up its first dual win a week ago at home vs. Stanton. Bolles is ranked T-22nd in Class 1A per Scout.com’s statewide rankings.
Wednesday night is a big duals night around the five-county area, with seven events scheduled on the docket locally. Highlighting those events is Gateway Conference defending champion and local honorable mention lister Fletcher traveling to #3 Orange Park. The Raiders are currently 7th in Class 2A on the Scout state team rankings list.
Another highlight Wednesday is a five-team “quadrangular” meet hosted by #10 Forrest. HM lister Baker County will also be in attendance, along with Duval County teams Englewood, Atlantic Coast and Paxon, which opens its season that night.
On Thursday night, a natural football rivalry extends to the wrestling mats, as First Coast will invade Raines in the only dual scheduled for that evening.
This weekend will be chock-full of wrestling action locally and statewide, with 9 of the top 10 local teams and all five honorable mentions competing. The highlight tournaments in town will be at Episcopal, where #4 University Christian takes the mats for the first time in 2013-14, and at Terry Parker. Both events start on Friday evening and continue Saturday morning.
Top-ranked Fleming Island, #3 Orange Park and #9 St. Augustine will be at the St. Johns River Conference tournament in Matanzas, while #8 Creekside and #10 Forrest will be at Fletcher’s dual-format tournament. Both of those events are single-day affairs on Saturday only.
#2 Clay will head south to Florida’s Treasure Coast region for a two-day duals tournament at Jensen Beach, while #7 Bishop Snyder will compete at Buchholz’s two-day duals tournament in Gainesville. Local teams will also be competing in nearby Lake City at Columbia’s Tiger Invitational.
With the holiday, last week was a quiet one for high school teams. On Saturday, Sandalwood took 14th out of 16 teams at the Ocala Forest Invitational, and Pedro Menendez struggled to a 1-4 day at the Palm Coast duals on Wednesday, dropping the Falcons out of the Northeast Florida Matmen poll.
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