- March 7, 2023
Matanzas junior Jordan Mills returned to the wrestling mat for the first time since injuring his shoulder during football practice in October.
Mills was the Class 2A state runner-up at 170 pounds last year. In his first action back, he went 3-0 to win the 182-pound title at the Marine Corps Challenge on Saturday, Jan. 7, at Jacksonville Riverside.
"Jordan went out there working on getting his timing back," coach T.J. Gillin said.
Mills was one of six Pirates to win titles in the 11-team tournament as Matanzas cruised to the team title, defeating runner-up Wolfson, 236-140. Freshman Mikey Fries won the 138-pound title with three consecutive pins. Also winning their weight class were Landon Wright (170), Tim McLean (113), Kaden Golder (120) and Samuel May (160).
McLean (25-4) will be returning to the 106-pound class this weekend at the Wolfpack Challenge in Jacksonville. McLean is ranked among the top three in the state at 106. All three wrestlers are in the same district.
The second-ranked Matanzas girls wrestling team finished second at the Lady Wildcat Scramble at McKeel Academy in Lakeland on Nov. 7. The Pirates' girls team also traveled to Columbia, Missouri, over the Christmas break and finished fourth among 82 teams at the high-powered Wonder Woman Girls Wrestling Tournament, Dec. 29-30. Matanzas was the only Florida team in the tournament.
The Pirates have six wrestlers ranked among the top 10 in the state girls rankings. Brielle Bibla (130 pounds), is ranked first, while her sister, Kendall Bibla (140) pounds is ranked third, and Christina Borgmann (120 pounds) is ranked second. Brielle has a 24-2 record with her only losses coming to the same wrestler in the Wonder Woman tourney.
"In my opinion, Brielle (Bibla) is the best female wrestler, pound for pound, in the state."
— T.J. Gillin, FPC wrestling coach
"In my opinion, Brielle is the best female wrestler, pound for pound, in the state," Gillin said.
Matanzas' other top-10 wrestlers are Mariah Mills (sixth, 110 pounds); reigning state champ Tiana Fries (sixth, 125 pounds); and Gabrielle Proctor (10th, 145 pounds).
Mainland's Cheyenne Wigley (third, 235 pounds) and Trinya Tillman (10th, 155 pounds) are also ranked in the top 10.
Matanzas will host the Lady Pirate Classic on Saturday, Jan. 14, with matches starting at 9 a.m.
FPC WINS FOUR MATCHES AT EAGLE DUALS
Flagler Palm Coast went 4-1 at the Eagle Duals at George Jenkins High School on Jan. 7. Through the first half of the season, 132-pounder Kole Hannant has just one loss. Hannant placed sixth at the Class 3A state championships last year.
The Bulldogs' other top wrestlers have been 138-pounder Johnny Hald (two losses) and 195-pounder Dalton Schell (three losses).
Freshman Joslyn Johnson, who will compete in the girls' events in the postseason, has been wrestling in dual events for the FPC boys. Johnson has wrestled at 106 pounds.
"She's done a phenomenal job for us," said first-year FPC coach David Bossardet. "Her weight is pretty (competitive) for girls, but she has beaten a couple of ranked girls and she keeps getting better."
Another girl, 130-pounder Ana Vilar, was scheduled to return to the Bulldogs this week. Vilar was a state qualifier last season. Wrestling with the Flagler Wrestling Club, Vilar finished fourth at the Knockout Christmas Classic on Dec. 21-22 at Silver Spurs Arena in Kissimmee.
The Bulldogs have four more dual matches on their schedule — at home Jan. 11 against Palatka, Jan. 18 against Lake Mary and Jan. 19 against Deltona, and at county rival Matanzas on Jan. 25. FPC hosts the 37th annual Flagler Rotary tournament Jan. 27-28.
Mainland's boys basketball team fell to 10-4 with a 72-69 loss in double overtime to Lakeland on Jan. 7. Lakeland improved to 10-2 with the home victory.
"It was a playoff-type atmosphere. My kids fought hard," Mainland coach Joe Giddens said.
Bucs freshman Nate Kirk hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer in regulation to send the game to the first overtime. Kirk has good basketball genes. His mother, Mainland grad Nitasha Brown, played basketball at Auburn University.
The Bucs hosted two tournaments over the Christmas break — the Florida Classic Shootout, Dec. 20-22, with 10 boys teams and six girls teams, and the Mainland Christmas Shootout, Dec. 27-29, with 18 boys teams.
Mainland went 5-1 over the two shootouts with its only loss coming on the last day of the Christmas Shootout to Lauderdale Lake Boyd Anderson. The Bucs beat two Georgia teams in the Christmas Shootout — Miller Grove, which has won seven state championships since 2009, and Windsor Forest, which made the final four in its classification last season.
The Bucs host Spruce Creek on Friday, Jan. 13, and Winter Haven on Saturday, Jan. 14. They're back home on Tuesday, Jan. 17, against Flagler Palm Coast.
Most people might think baseball season starts in earnest when pitchers and catchers report to spring training in late February. Veteran major league umpire Hunter Wendelstedt disputes that.
"Baseball actually starts on Jan. 2 with the beginning of the Wendelstedt Umpire School," he said.
The umpire school runs from Jan. 2 to Feb. 2 at the Ormond Beach Sports Complex. It has been in the Daytona Beach area since the 1930s. Hunter's father, Harry Wendelstedt, took it over from fellow major league ump Al Somers in 1976. Harry moved it to Ormond Beach in 1990.
Hunter Wendelstedt, who has been a major league ump since 1998, took over the school in 2003.
This is a big year for the school, Wendelstedt said. Four women with major league aspirations are enrolled this year. Getting women in the school and a chance to umpire in the majors was always a priority for his dad, Wendelstedt said.
The school will also have a student this year who is making the trip from Nigeria.
"He lives in Nigeria, so he's the first person from Africa to attend an umpire school," Wendelstedt said.
This year, 10 major league umpires have announced they will be retiring at the end of the upcoming season. Their replacements have been hired, pending physicals, Wendelstedt said, and six of them are alumni of the Wendelstedt School.
"We continue to bring in good ones," Wendelstedt said.
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