Blue Raider wrestlers bring home Florida title
by From Staff Reports
Dec 31, 2012 | 950 views | 0 0 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print
KISSIMMEE, Fla. — After finishing second in the McCallie Invitational the weekend before, the Cleveland wrestling Blue Raiders ended their short Christmas hiatus with a trip to the Sunshine State to capture the championship trophy at the Knockout Christmas Classic in Kissimmee, Fla.

With a trio of individual weight class champions among 10 medalists, the Blue Raiders were able to edge the host Osceola-Kissimmee High School squad by a score of 239-237, to top the 26-team field.

Chris DeBien, Aaron Lopez and Koran Kennedy captured gold medals to lead the Raider charge. DeBien pinned his opponent in the 113-pound title match, while Lopez stepped to the top of the podium with a championship at 160. Kennedy, a first-year varsity starter, captured an exciting double overtime victory in the 285-pound finale.

“I am very proud of our heavyweight. He was the No. 8 seed in the tournament and won the tournament,” praised first-year Cleveland head coach Jake Yost. “He scored on a bear hug in double overtime to secure the win. He is doing such a great job and has such a great attitude.

“We cannot say enough times how proud we are of Aaron Lopez,” the coach added. “After a season off from injuries and some tough circumstances that have happened to him in the past year he has really been a pleasure to coach. It is an honor for us coaches to be a part of his life.”

Cleveland’s Ethan West also earned a spot in a championship match, but had to settle for a runner-up trophy, finishing second at 182.

Battling his way to the consolation finals, Blue Raider Josh Hamilton earned a fourth-place finish at 152.

“Josh Hamilton, at 152 pounds had a great tournament and seems to be on the right path to get to where he needs to be to be able to be standing on the podium in February,” declared coach Yost.

Cleveland got a trio of fifth-place finishes from 120-pounder Austin Stevison, Sean Von Potts at 170 and Oleg Stukanov in the 195-pound division.

Rounding out the Blue Raider scoring were Austin Oliver with a sixth-place finish at 126, plus Haden Hamilton took seventh at 132.

“We thought, as a team, we put forth a ton of effort and earned a lot of pins because of it,” coach Yost summarized. “We did lose some matches that we thought we could win but are making great improvements to where we need to be in February.”

Team Scores

1 — Cleveland High School, 239.0; 2 — Osceola - Kissimmee High School, 237.0; 3 — Palm Harbor University High School, 177.5; 4 — South Dade High School, 176.0; 5 — St. Thomas Aquinas, 173.0; 6 —Springstead High School, 172.0; 7 — Lake Highland Prep, 149.5; 8 — Holy Innocents Episcopal School, 120.0; 9 — Riverdale High School, 105.0; 10 — G. Holmes Braddock High School, 101.5; 11 — Lake Gibson High School, 95.5; 12 — Somerset Academy, 87.5; 13 — Seminole Ridge High School, 87.0; 14 — The Lovett School, 75.0, 15, Manatee High School, 69.0; 16 — Olympic Heights High School, 64.0; 17 — Orange City University High School, 63.0; 18 — Heritage High School, 54.0; 19 — Ft. Pierce Central High School, 52.0; 20 — Columbia High School - Lake City Fla., 51.0; 21 — St. Cloud High School, 47.0; 22 — Walton High School, 42.5; 23 — Lemon Bay High School, 40.0; 24 — Cypress Creek High School, 31.0; 25 — Forsyth Central, 22.5; 26 — West Orange High School, 21.0.