All-News4JAX girls wrestling: Finish ‘just like gold’ for Clay’s Madisyn Blackburn

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All-News4JAX girls wrestling: Finish ‘just like gold’ for Clay’s Madisyn Blackburn

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Madisyn Blackburn would have been grateful either way.

The push to make girls wrestling an official sport, complete with its own postseason tournament like the boys had, boomed during Blackburn’s time at Clay High School and was headed towards sanctioned status.

But Blackburn didn’t know if it would be finalized in time for her final season. She was excited for the future of the sport, but didn’t know if she’d be able to be a part of the historic changes.

When the news making it official came down last year, it gave Blackburn and numerous other seniors a shot to end their careers with an attempt at a state title.

Blackburn, the inaugural All-News4JAX girls wrestler of the year, then went out and won a state championship, pinning Wewahitchka’s Kaylee Easter in 2 minutes, 59 seconds for the historic title in early March.

“So, it’s kind of it’s very, like, satisfying,” she said. “Like, I can’t think of a word for… to really describe how amazing the feeling is. But it’s just like gold.”

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Just like gold, a perfect way to describe it.

Blackburn went 31-3 in the 130-pound weight class and was one of two Clay grapplers to bring home state championships. Blue Devils teammate Garrett Tyre won the boys individual Class 1A state title in the 220-pound weight class.

But for girls wrestlers, this season was far different than any other.

Blackburn, along with Matanzas grappler Tiana Fries (110 pounds), Ponte Vedra’s Olivia Richie (140 pounds) and Orange Park’s Andrea Smith (235 pounds), put the exclamation points on a history-making season for girls on the mat. All four brought home state championships.

Blackburn had already been a state champ, albeit, with a catch.

Since girls wrestling wasn’t a sanctioned sport by the Florida High School Athletic Association, wrestlers had to take part in a third-party state tournament following the end of the season to crown a champ.

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It took years of discussion, debate, votes and legal questions answers by the FHSAA board to finally create a separate girls division. Previously, girls could wrestle in high school, but they would often have to compete against boys. The association was expected to sign off on it last June, but needed until the end of September to officially sanction the sport.

That afforded girls in Florida the chance to have their own state series and compete against girls in a postseason format identical to the boys. There were districts and regionals, followed by the first individual bracket tournament, or IBT.

“I’m very grateful for being able to be a part of the first sanctioned [season] for girls wrestling. I’ve always wanted to be sanctioned, but it being my last year, my senior year, was like very more like special, you know, because like, you know, it’s like my last hurrah and you get to finish it with an official sanctioned sport and I get recognized for that,” Blackburn said. “Whereas in now I can see my future girls coming through my high school and my younger girls, my clubs and all that, get to go and experience it.”

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Blackburn said that even if the sport would have been sanctioned after she graduated, she would have still savored it from a distance. The momentum to sanction girls wrestling surged during Blackburn’s time in high school.

It was only fitting that she was able to be a part of history.

“I have a bunch of youth girls that are like six and younger in our clubs wrestling on,” she said. “Even if I didn’t get to experience being a part of it, I knew that I was a part of this process. So, either way I still would have been as happy as I was.”

ALL-NEWS4JAX GIRLS WRESTLING FIRST TEAM

The girls wrestling team was compiled by Shannon Heaton for News4JAX.

Weight class, Name, School, Yr.

100, Emma Brackett, Menendez, Jr.

Comment: Season record 6-13. District 3 runner-up, 0-2 at Region 1.

105, Mariah Mills, Matanzas, Fr.

Comment: Season record 17-4. District 3 champ, Region 1 3rd, state 3rd place.

110, Tiana Fries, Matanzas, Fr.

Comment: Season record 19-2. District 3 champ, Region 1 champ, state champion.

115, Erin Rizzuto, Ponte Vedra, Fr.

Comment: Season record 9-1. District 3 champ, Region 1 champ, state 3rd place.

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120, Brielle Bibla, Tocoi Creek, Jr.

Comment: Season record 25-2. District 3 champ, Region 1 champ, state runner-up.

125, Natalia Choquegonza, Ponte Vedra, Fr.

Comment: Season record 7-4. District 3 runner-up, Region 1 runner-up, state 7th place.

130, Madisyn Blackburn, Clay, Sr.

Comment: All-News4JAX wrestler of the year. Season record 31-3. District 3 champ, Region 1 runner-up, state champion.

135, Isabelle Tietje, Matanzas, Jr.

Comment: Season record 10-6. District 3 runner-up, Region 1 champ, 6th place at state.

140, Olivia Richie, Ponte Vedra, Jr.

Comment: Season record 11-1. District 3 champ, Region 1 runner-up, state champion.

145, Katherine Stewart, Bartram Trail, So.

Comment: Season record 9-2. District 3 champ, Region 1 champ, state 7th place.

155, Karla Ortiz, Westside, Fr.

Comment: Season record 18-4. District 2 champ, Region 1 runner-up, state 5th place.

170, Jazzmine Moore, Oakleaf, So.

Comment: Season record 16-7. District 2 champ, Region 1 runner-up, state 5th place.

190, Cheyenne Cruce, Middleburg, Fr.

Comment: Season record 23-10. District 2 champ, Region 1 3rd, state 4th place.

235, Andrea Smith, Orange Park, Sr.

Comment: Season record 8-0. District 2 champ, Region 1 champ, state champion.

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SECOND TEAM

Weight class, Name, School, Yr.

100, Mackenzie Mock, Stanton, So.

Comment: Season record 2-9. District 2 champ, 0-2 at Region 1.

105, Adrianna Barrientos, Oakleaf, So.

Comment: Season record 15-8. District 2 champ, Region 1 4th, 1 match from state medal.

110, Gracie Bradshaw, Middleburg, Jr.

Comment: Season record 26-10. District 2 champ, Region 1 3rd place, state 8th place.

115, Rachel Howard, Bishop Kenny, Jr.

Comment: Season record 8-6. District 2 champ, 1 match from states.

120, Emma Smith, Westside, Sr.

Comment: Season record 19-8. District 2 champ, Region 1 runner-up, state 6th place.

125, Aubrianna Apple, Clay, Jr.

Comment: Season record 29-6. District 3 champ, Region 1 champ, state 8th place.

130, Kendall Bibla, Tocoi Creek, Fr.

Comment: Season record 19-9. District 3 runner-up, Region 1 4th place, state 5th place.

135, Jaidyn Vinson, Clay, Sr.

Comment: Season record 11-13. District 3 champ, Region 1 runner-up, 0-2 at states.

140, Olivia Carr, Nease, Jr.

Comment: Season record 15-10. District 3 runner-up, Region 1 runner-up, state 8th place.

145, Degriece Coleman, Westside, Jr.

Comment: Season record 13-6. District 2 champ, Region 1 runner-up, 1 match from state medal.

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155, Jasmine Hecht, Orange Park, Jr.

Comment: Season record 2-5. District 2 runner-up, Region 1 4th place, 0-2 at states.

170, Hannah Matalobos, Bartram Trail, So.

Comment: Season record 8-5. District 3 3rd, Region 1 3rd, state 6th place.

190, Sydney Brown, White, Sr.

Comment: Season record 5-5. District 2 runner-up, Region 1 runner-up, 1 match from state medal.

235, Jada Arnold, Raines, Fr.

Comment: Season record 8-5. District 2 runner-up, Region 1 runner-up, state 5th place.

Honorable mention

Baker County: Makayla Johnson (110, So.).

Bartram Trail: Ava Burre (155, So.); Kyla Crooks, (110, Fr.)

Clay: Alexis Buck (140, Jr.).

Creekside: Anjel Balkenbush (125, Jr.); Delaney Holcomb (130, So.).

Keystone Heights: Saige Dennis, (145, Sr.).

Flagler Palm Coast: Ana Vilar (125, Fr.)

Matanzas: Christina Borgmann (120, Fr.); Salomy Cabrera, (140, So.); Tesla Kirkland, (115, Jr.); Nahilu Lubin (245, Fr.); Gabrielle Proctor (170, Fr.); Marissa Roberts (130, Jr.); Brooklyn Watt (190, Fr.).

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Ponte Vedra: Cynthia Kowitski (110, Sr.); Chandler Wildrick (105, Fr.); Sophia Mallon (120, Jr.); Mira Schmidt (145, Sr.).

Raines: Shanise West (105, Sr.)

Ridgeview: Cheyanne Moralez (105, So.).

Tocoi Creek: Saniyah Callahan, (135, So.); Claire Holt (170, Fr.)

Copyright 2022 by WJXT News4JAX – All rights reserved.

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