Photo By Ricardo Ramirez Buxeda / Orlando Sentinel
In its sixth year, the Journeymen Fall Classic bills itself as the prequel to the Super 32 which takes place in a couple of weeks. True to that billing, the Journeymen offers a loaded field with round-robin bracketing that allows many of the best wrestlers in attendance to square off. Here are five things you may have missed from this tournament that took place Sunday.
Ford-Melton finishes fifth at 113
There are times when round robins get a little weird and that happened at 113 pounds. The eighth-ranked 113 in the country, Travis Ford-Melton (Marian Catholic, IL), dropped his second match of the day to Jesse Vasquez (St. John Bosco, CA), 5-0. This was the second big win of the day for Vasquez as he had earlier defeated the 10th ranked 106 in the country, Ty Smith (Virgin Valley, NV), 8-3. Ford-Melton also beat Smith after topping Robert Howard (Bergen Catholic, NJ), 7-6. When Howard outlasted Vasquez, 6-3, in the final pool match, each of the top three had a loss. When the tie-breakers were worked out, Howard went to the finals, Vasquez wrestled for bronze and Ford-Melton went to the fifth place bout. All three won their final bouts.
Silva takes out Woods for the 125 crown
Real Woods (Montini Catholic, IL), TOM’s fifth-ranked 120, and Joey Silva (Lake Highland Prep, FL), TOM’s sixth-ranked 126, posted perfect 3-0 pool records setting up a showdown between the two for the Journeymen title. Silva’s size may have been a factor in this one as Woods was never able to get his offense going. On the rare instances where he looked like he might have something, Silva was able to either scramble away or just brute force his way out of trouble. The man from Florida took first place after controlling a 5-1 bout.
Teemer cruises to the title at 130
The fifth-ranked 132 in the country, Jacori Teemer (Long Beach, NY), looked to be the class of the field at 130 and he proved it with an excellent performance on Sunday. Teemer strung together a 9-3 win, a 32-second fall and a 6-3 decision to win his pool. That setup a title bout with New York state champion and three-time state placer Hunter Dusold (Locust Valley, NY). Teemer was just too much in that one, turning a 2-1 lead entering the third period into an 8-1 advantage with a five-point move on the edge. From there, he would wrap up the championship, 10-3.
Courtney scrambles past Renteria at 135
A pair of top-five 132s met in the final at 135 after Nebraska commit Jason Renteria (OPRF, IL) survived a couple of close pool matches while Virginia commit Brian Courtney (Athens, PA) cruised into the final. This one was #2 Renteria’s strength versus #4 Courtney’s length. Renteria had a single leg for much of the first period and finally finished it late to lead 2-0 after one. However, his inability to finish clean against Courtney led to a couple of scrambling takedowns for the Pennsylvania man. Courtney led 5-3 with 1:02 to go in the third, gave up an escape and a takedown to Renteria to trail 6-5, then forced a second stall on Renteria for hanging on the ankles to tie the match at six with 26 seconds left. Knowing he couldn’t hold Courtney, Renteria chose to re-start in neutral. He nearly had a takedown on the edge, but Courtney again scrambled away. Brian Courtney took the title, 7-6.
Top 285s beat each other up
The ninth, 10th, and 14th ranked 285s in the country collided with all three taking a loss on Sunday. #9 Mansur Abdul-Malik (Wyoming Seminary, PA), a Maryland commit, beat Chattanooga commit #14 Sammy Evans (Alcoa, TN), but fell to #10 Kayne Hutchison (Pittsburgh, KS). Evans knocked off Hutchison leaving each of the big men at 4-1 on the day. Abdul-Malik won the tie-breakers to take the Journeymen crown, but what we really learned here is that any of them could be the best on any given day.