State Champions: Matanzas' Jones, FPC's Holder win state wrestling titles
Tyrone Jones’ father never doubted his son’s abilities on the mat. He did, however, challenge his work ethic.
Jones, a senior on Matanzas' wrestling team, said his father told him he wasn’t working hard enough to compete with the state’s other top wrestlers.
Jones defeated Brandon’s Andreus Bond to win the Class 2A State title in the 145-pound weight class on Saturday, March 3, at Silver Spurs Arena in Kissimmee, to become the first-ever state champion in Matanzas sports history. In addition, Justin Swilling was the only Pirate to ever qualify for the state final prior to Jones, doing so in 2008.
Jones, who had been wrestling defensively for most of the match, was down 4-2 with 19 seconds left.
“When I knew it was crunch time, I decided to attack,” he said.
Jones got a takedown with eight seconds left and was awarded an extra point because Bond was stalling. He held on to win 5-4.
“I told myself to just get up, to not celebrate and to just shake his hand,” Jones said. “But once the ref raised my hand, I lost all focus.”
Pirates fans weren’t the only ones cheering, however. Jones, who wrestled at Flagler Palm Coast for three seasons prior to his transfer to crosstown rival Matanzas, had the support of his former coaches and teammates. Jones was expelled from FPC his junior year following a non-wrestling-related fight at the school. Jones still has love for his old school, though. The Bulldogs coaches are the ones who trained him when he first joined the team in his freshman year. The team’s other wrestlers are still some of his closest friends.
“I’m a Bulldog at heart,” said Jones, who finished the season with a 58-3 record. “But, everything happens for a reason. I ended up over here, and I really believe that’s what set me up for the state title. Everything fell into place.”
FPC’S HOLDER WINS SECOND-STRAIGHT TITLE
Before FPC senior grappler Avery Holder set foot on the mat for the final wrestling match of his career, the Class 3A State Final, he told himself one thing: “You’ve been here before.”
Miami Southwest’s Julian Hernandez had Holder on his back in the first period of the match, but Holder fought back, reversing Hernandez and eventually taking him down to win the title in the 132-pound weight class on Saturday. Holder, who won the state title in the 126-pound weight class in 2017, joins Mike Fries as the only Bulldogs wrestlers to win multiple individual state titles. Fries accomplished the feat after winning back-to-back in 1998 and 1999.
Holder said he got a congratulatory text from Fries after Saturday’s win.
Holder finished the 2018 season with a 54-2 record, dominating the 132-pound class in an other- wise up-and-down season for the Bulldogs.
“I went out with a bang,” Holder said. “It’s finally over.”