- February 20, 2022
Matanzas High School dominated the District 3 girls wrestling meet Wednesday, Feb. 8, as the Pirates set their sights on a state championship next month.
Matanzas won its district for the second year in a row, defeating second-place Middleburg by 60 points, 206-146. The Pirates had five district champs and qualified 11 of their 12 wrestlers for regional.
The Region 1 championships, like the district championships, will be at Matanzas on Feb. 18.
Mariah Mills (110 pounds), Christina Borgmann (120), Tiana Fries (125), Brielle Bibla (130) and Ani Brown (235) all won district titles for the Pirates.
Brown was the only 235-pounder to weigh in, so she won her trophy without having to wrestle a match.
Saiomy Cabrera, who qualified with a third-place finish at 135 pounds, wrestled four matches. In the semifinals, she was pinned in 4:31 by Clay’s Aubrianna Apple, who is ranked No. 2 in the state. While Apple won the district title with four consecutive pins, Cabrera came back with pins in the consolation semifinals and consolation final.
The Pirates’ other regional qualifiers were Gabby Proctor (second, 140 pounds); Kendall Bibla (second, 145); Bella Tietje (second, 155); Brooklyn Watt (second, 170); and Autumn Jarvis (third, 115).
The girls came in prepared, laser focused. Our big point scorers looked sharp. They continued to do what we’ve been doing all year.” — Mike Fries, Matanzas coach
“The girls came in prepared, laser focused,” Matanzas coach Mike Fries said. “Our big point scorers looked sharp. They continued to do what we’ve been doing all year.”
The Pirates have five wrestlers who are ranked among the top five in the state in their weight classes: Brielle Bibla, first; Borgmann, third; Kendall Bibla, third; Mills, fourth; and Tiana Fries, a defending state champ, fifth.
Flagler Palm Coast tied for sixth in the team standings with Gainesville Buchholz. Both teams had 36 points. The Bulldogs only have two girls wrestlers, but they were both runners-up at district.
They both lost to ranked wrestlers in the finals. FPC’s Joslyn Johnson lost to ninth-ranked Sklya Fisher of Middleburg in the 105-pound title match, while Ana Vilar lost to No. 1 Brielle Bilba in the 130-pound final.
The toughest weight class at the district was 145 pounds, which featured four top-10 wrestlers: No. 1 Katherine Stewart of Bartram Trail, third-ranked Kendall Bibla, fourth-ranked Aryan Benson of Tocoi Creek and ninth-ranked Josie Sagasser of Ponte Vedra.
Kendall Bibla pinned Benson in 2:22 in the semifinals but lost to Stewart in the final by a 5-4 decision.
“I would have liked to see Kendall win her (finals) match,” Mike Fries said. “We gave up some silly points to (Stewart). But that’s something we can correct over the next couple of weeks. It really matters in March, not now.”
Stewart got out from the bottom position twice in the third period. Her reversal out of one of those was the difference in the match.
“The girl stood up to her feet,” Mike Fries said. “And instead of mat returning her, (Kendall) kind of pulled her on top of her, and (Stewart) reversed her and got the two points. And we lost by one, so that’s the match right there. It’s just tightening up on the basic stuff in those tight matches against those really good girls.”
The Pirates are expected to battle with Freedom High School of Orlando for the state championship March 2-4 in Kissimmee. Freedom is the reigning state champ. Matanzas finished third last year, one point behind Ponte Vedra.
With four returning state medalists (Tiana Fries, first; Mills, third; Tietje, sixth; and Borgmann, eighth) and the addition of the Bibla sisters, who both placed at state for Tocoi Creek last year, the Pirates like their chances to win the team title.
“We’re going to win a state championship, hopefully,” Mike Fries said.
The Pirates are in the toughest of the four regions in the state, so Freedom, in a different region, could come into state with more qualifiers.
“They tend to qualify more than us,” Fries said. “That’s always a killer at the state level, but I think (we should have) a lot of potential finalists, a lot of potential placers, and we’re going to come in ready to rock and roll.”