Hurricanes' Gardner shines during 5-0 week
Published: Sunday, January 9, 2011 at 11:56 p.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, January 9, 2011 at 11:56 p.m.
Gainesville wrestling coach Ryland Wagner lost several seniors from last year's team but didn't worry — he knew Jon Gardner was finally a freshman and ready to add to Hurricane history.
The school has seen four freshmen qualify for the state tournament. After beating the defending regional champion, Garnder hopes to add his name to the list. The freshman went 5-0 in the 103-pound weight class at Saturday's Timberwolf Duals at Chiles High School in Tallahassee. Gardner, who improved his season record to 29-4 with 17 pins, led the Hurricanes to a third-place finish in the 10-team meet.
Gardner wrestled in Gainesville's post-season boys' program since fourth or fifth grade, according to Wagner, who estimated the freshman had already wrestled in 300 or 400 matches before reaching high school.
“You can tell him some things and he already knows what you're saying,” Wagner said. “He's got a better idea what wrestling is all about.”
Wagner based the team's schedule around a meeting with Tallahassee Lincoln, which features last year's regional champ RaSean McArthur. “We knew he'd be there and wanted to see how (Gardner) would do,” Wagner said. “I need to put him in a room where he gets some good competition and get pushed.”
A reversal with 30 seconds left in the match sealed a 2-1 win for Gardner over McArthur, who pinned his two other opponents in less than 2 minutes each. His other two wins came from forfeits. Lincoln and Gainesville will face off again at a meet at Suwannee High School next weekend.
When they worked together in the Boys' Club program, Gardner and Wagner practiced twice a week.
This is the first time Gardner has had two- or three-hour practices five days a week, Wagner says. Although Gardner has held up so far, Wagner wants to make sure the freshman doesn't slide backwards.
In addition to Gardner, Gainesville starts five freshmen, a few rookie sophomores and one senior. Gardner leads the team in wins and is second in pins.
“The future is definitely bright, and Jon is a big part of that,” Wagner said.
C.J. WAKELEY, SANTA FE: A buzzer-beating shot from the standout senior sealed the Raiders' win over District 5-3A rival Williston on Friday. Earlier in the week, the point guard drained 38 points in a win over Suwannee.
JACKSON BROWN, SUWANNEE: The midfielder played almost every minute in the Bulldogs' three games, scoring twice in a 3-2 win over Eastside and adding three assists in a 4-0 victory against Keystone Heights.
HANNAH BUCKLER, TRENTON: The guard scored more than half her team's points in a 56-43 win over Fort White. In the Tigers' only game of the week, the junior racked up 32 points, eight steals, two assists and two rebounds.
RON FOXX, P.K. YONGE: The forward scored 20 points in Blue Wave wins against Miami Southridge and Buchholz. In only one quarter of work against Bronson, the senior nabbed 12 rebounds.
DEVAUGHN JENKINS, BRONSON: The Eagles' freshman forward averaged just over 12 points and 12 rebounds in three games, adding 11 blocks and five steals. Bronson went 2-1 for the week, beating Dixie County and Branford and losing to P.K. Yonge.
ASHTON LEE, SANTA FE: The senior center turned in his best performance of the week against Williston, notching 15 points, 11 rebounds and a steal. He averaged 12 points and 10 rebounds during the Raiders' three wins.
TIM NORMAN, GAINESVILLE: The sophomore forward led the Hurricanes with 14 points during a 64-54 win against Orange Park Ridgeview on Friday. He was also the leading scorer in all three games during a holiday tournament, averaging 18 points.
DEVIN WILSON, P.K. YONGE: Against Miami Southridge, the Blue Wave guard contributed 22 points, nine assists and seven steals. In his team's two other games, the senior averaged 13.5 points, 2.5 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 4 steals.
LEO TORRES, SUWANNEE: The center-midfielder led the Bulldogs to wins against Oak Hall, Eastside and Keystone Heights. The junior, also a captain, has two goals and one assist for the season.
Athletes of the week are determined by nominations from area coaches. Coaches are asked to call in every Sunday between 4-7 p.m.