KISSIMMEE - The North Florida Wrestling Academy wrestling club team, led by coach P.J. Cobbert, is heading to the battle of the day on Thursday at 2 p.m. with the two remaining undefeated teams; NFWA and Team Balboa of Indiana, set to square off for the top seed in pool play and a spot in the Gold bracket of the annual national wrestlefest at Disney's ESPN Wide World of Sports complex in Kissimmee.
"We just wrestle how we wrestle and let the other teams come after us," said Cobbert. "We've been tough in all of our matches with an opener against Oregon Clay that tested us from the first punch."
With five still unbeaten wrestlers; Paul Detwiler, Jason Davis, Ryan Smenda, Cameron Dickman (Creekside High School) and Jacob Sandoval, the NFWA team has entered the rugged gauntlet of wrestling in full tilt shape and hungry to better a best-ever fifth place finish at the annual national test.
Sandoval has been the surprise of the first three days with a fast and furious attack pace befuddling his opponents and leaving them gasping as was evident in a seven takedown in two minute surge against Beech County of Tennessee, who was previously unbeaten until facing NFWA.
For the rest of the roster, Detwiler, Smenda and Davis, all state medalist with Davis the 3A 182 state champion, have rolled through their matches with relative ease and will be depended upon to score extra points; tech falls, pins or majors, against Team Balboa and Perry Meridian (at 4 p.m. also on Thursday) for the NFWA team to get a top ranking in Friday's championship bracket.
Oakleaf's Spartans team, led by coach Wes Champs with state runnerup Nartorian Lee, a graduate of Orange Park High School, has battled in arguably the toughest pool of the tournament and will battle for a spot in the consolation brackets with a final pool match on Thursday. Ryan Rosano and Orange Park' Tyler DeHart were the last of the Spartans to stay unbeaten until yesterday with both suffering losses on day two.