Nease topples Ponte Vedra in wrestling

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When Nease and Ponte Vedra square off in any sport, the tension and competitiveness in the air seem to be ever more apparent. That was certainly the case Feb. 8 when the neighboring schools took their rivalry to the wrestling mat, and it was the Panthers this time who walked away with bragging rights after a decisive 59-16 victory over the Sharks.

“We wrestled tough and aggressive,” said Nease Head Coach Craig Muckle after the match, adding that Ponte Vedra has improved throughout the year. “Their basic fundamentals are awesome. You can tell they’ve been working on that, and these kids have taken to it.”

Ponte Vedra started off hot with Gavin Riccobono defeating Nease’s Ryan Ward in the 106-pound weight class by major decision, 9-0. Yet Nease would go on to win five of the next seven bouts, which Muckle attributes to lots of hard work and training throughout the year. Ponte Vedra was forced to forfeit matches at 160, 170, 182, 195 and 220 due to a lack of wrestlers at those weight classes.

“We have a young team,” said Ponte Vedra Head Coach Mike Ostlund, whose squad features one freshman, seven sophomores, two juniors and three seniors. “Hopefully they’ll put in the time this summer, and we’ll compete with them next year.”

Nease’s Sean Arnold (113), Gannon Janssen (120), Tyler Saam (126) and Tanner Hill (152) all pinned their Ponte Vedra opponents, while Jacob Satterfield (132) picked up a win with an 18-2 technical fall. Ponte Vedra’s Harrison Crowley (138) and Ethan Baur (145) interrupted the streak of Nease wins with pins of their own.

Prior to the match, the Sharks held a senior night ceremony to recognize and honor the team’s three seniors: James Stanton, Harrison Crowley and Marshall Frye.

Nease and Ponte Vedra are competing in the district tournament this week.

Photo by Jon Blauvelt (use this as main photo, with other photos smaller)Cutline #1 (Tanner and Evan): Nease’s Tanner Hill pins Ponte Vedra’s Evan Merry in the 152-pound weight class bout, one of several wins for the Panthers Feb. 8 as they cruised to a 59-16 victory over the Sharks.

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