Liberty ousts PHS at District Duals
Parkland received some good news as it entered last week’s District 11 wrestling team championships, but was still left short-handed in other ways.
The Trojans welcomed the return of Zach Ortman to the mat, but were without brothers Joey and Frank Guida, who are recovering injuries. The losses were felt, as No. 11 Parkland dropped its match to No. 6 Liberty in the first round of the tournament, 41-16.
“I don’t think we did enough to win the close matches and that was disappointing,” Nunamaker said. “We knew going into the match that it was going to be a tough test for our team. Heading into the post season it is extremely important to find a way to win close matches.”
Ortman actually opened up the match with a dominant 13-4 major decision over Liberty’s Daniel Santiago at 145 pounds, shaking off any rust he thought there may be. But after that opening bout, the Hurricanes were all business.
Liberty won the next five bouts, including two two-point decisions and a three-point victory, to take a 19-4 advantage. It was those toss-up matches that Parkland wasn’t able to take advantage of.
“We knew they were really strong at 106, 113, 120, 160, 170 and 182,” Nunamaker said. “We felt like there were many weights that would be toss ups, but unfortunately we were only able to win one of those matches.
“We expect our kids to compete every match regardless of the competition. Liberty always competes and we expect a battle every time. As a coach you are always looking for individual improvement in all areas. We made some improvements, but not enough to beat a team like Liberty.”
Nathan Feyrer won via an 8-3 decision over Christian Gallagher at 220. Alex Van Woert then won in an ultimate tiebreaker as he was able to ride out Liberty’s Jaret Figueroa for a 3-2 victory.
“Alex wrestled a really smart match, but he needs to find more offense in the future,” Nunamaker said. “He really kept his composure in overtime and we were really proud of his effort. As a team we needed to win a competitive match against our opponent.”
The back-to-back Trojan victories got the underdogs within 19-10, and a forfeit at 113 pounds made the deficit still manageable at 24-16. But the Hurricanes won the final four bouts, including a 16-1 technical fall for Luke Werner (120), a pin from Travis Brown (126), an 8-5 decision for Michael Torres (132) and a 4-1 victory for Jasson Morales (138) to close out the match.
The loss ended Parkland’s run as a team in 2017, but plenty of individuals will look to make some noise in the individual district tournament. Nunamaker has high hopes for a number of its grapplers once they hit the mat again.
“Our kids will have to be prepared both mentally and physically going into the event,” Nunamaker said. “You must finish in the top five to advance to the regional tournament, so that will be tough for most of our kids this season. I am hoping we can push through five or six kids to regionals in a few weeks. District 11 is loaded with individual talent in many weight classes this season.”