PANAMA CITY BEACH — Winning is nice in that it rewards a team with a shiny trophy. But there was more to Saturday than just victories at the Arnold Duals.
Seven schools competed in the round-robin wrestling event at Arnold’s gymnasium. Eight were originally slated to compete, but Crestview was a no-show, which necessitated a change in the schedule. The change actually netted some teams an extra dual match in the super round robin than they would have received in a two-division, place-match format if eight had been in the draw.
Arnold finished first with a 4-0 record, defeating Bozeman 47-36 in an impromptu championship match. The Bucks were second at 4-1, Bay was 3-2, followed by fellow Bay County schools Mosley and Rutherford at 1-3 and 1-4, respectively. Choctawhatchee was 3-2 and Wewahitchka 1-3.
Each team contended with varied roster numbers with several athletes taking collegiate exams, on vacation, sick or injured. The Bay County contingent had healthy numbers despite the missing pieces.
Rutherford had 14 of its 16 in attendance with younger wrestlers being jostled into the lineup. Bay filled out 10 weight classes in showing a rise in participation from a down year in 2011. Mosley had nine wrestlers and Arnold and Bozeman had nearly full rosters, with the Bucks missing top competitor Kris Kenney to injury.
Arnold coach Germell Jackson noted the importance of dual events, with Rutherford also hosting one next week.
“We have a lot of young guys so it’s imperative to get lots of matches early in the season,” he said. “It’s about getting matches, winning isn’t everything.”
That said, Arnold was highlighted by three wrestlers with 4-0 marks, Reggie Gordon in the 220-pound and heavyweight class, Paul Patterson at 132 and Matt McIntosh at 182. Kole Krimm was 3-1 at 220/heavyweight with his only loss to Rutherford’s Alijah Saffore.
Saffore was 5-0 to pace the Rams. Daniel Nguyen was 3-0 at 145 and Tarrance Reed and Josh Mirkinson each 3-2 at 152 and 120. Rutherford was without a top athlete in John Lee, who was taking the ACT.
“It’s a huge opportunity for us to get some younger kids in,” Rutherford coach Anthony Collier said. “This was a great tournament for our kids, I like the dual format because we can get a lot of matches.”
Bozeman and Bay also had the full five matches on Saturday. Mosley called it a day after four.
Jonah Savage led Bozeman with a 5-0 mark at 113, but coach J.D. Raybourne lauded seventh-grader Cameron Hofmeister, who came out of bouts with older opponents with a 4-0 record. David McKee at 160 and Jonathan Kenney at 138 were each 4-1 and heavyweight Alex Rose 3-1.
Mosley’s Justin Berg at 182 and Forrest Lang at 152 were 4-0 and Trace Reeves 3-0 at 195. Bay was paced by 160-pounder John Sherman, who was 5-0.