All-News4Jax wrestling: Ridgeview’s Rodriquez untouchable on the mat

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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – What made Matthew Rodriquez one of the best wrestlers in the state?

Sure, it was a relentless drive, hard work and perfecting his craft. The normal things.

But it was a big, shiny trophy that first got Rodriquez’s attention.

The rest was history.

The Ridgeview star and All-News4Jax wrestler of the year has always been an exceptional grappler from the moment he picked up the sport when he was 8 years old living in Pennsylvania. But this year was different. Rodriquez capped his sterling five-year high school career with a state championship that was long in the making.

Rodriquez went 263-9 over his high school career, including a 57-0 mark his senior season as he blitzed through the 132-pound weight class.

Had it not been for an encounter at a season-ending football banquet 10 years ago, Rodriquez may have been catching passes for the Ridgeview football team instead of ruthlessly charging through the state tournament with pin after pin after pin.

Rodriquez was all in on football until one of his friends brought in a big trophy to a banquet.

And it didn’t come from playing football.

“I wouldn’t say out of jealousy, but just to kind of compare to him I was, OK I’m going try out wrestling just to kind of get [a trophy], just like that. So, I kind of went in the next week, and ever since then it just kind of clicked for me,” said Rodriquez, who has signed with Lehigh.

“And I knew that this was going to be really like my main sport, how well I just started off, and since then we’ve just grind, grind, grind, grind every year, and it’s been awesome.”

Rodriquez was dominant.

He finished third in state as a freshman, and then lost just one match each season in his sophomore and junior seasons. The catch — both were in the state championship. That raised the stakes even more this year.

Rodriquez wanted to close things out with a championship. He did it with ease, pinning all four opponents in the state tournament to win a title five years in the making. Rodriquez wrestled as an eighth grader at University Christian, going 41-5.

“I definitely came out of this season with a lot of mental strength, and certain things that I’m able to kind of handle on my life as well personally,” Rodriquez said. “So it sure definitely helped me a lot with just maintaining weight, staying disciplined with either my training or my diet and just kind of helping me become a better person.”

FIRST TEAM

Wt, Name, School, Yr.

106, Jayce Paridon, University Christian, 8th.

Comment: Season record 56-4. District 4-1A champ, Region 1-1A champ, 1A state 3rd place.

113, De’Quon King, Raines, Jr.

Comment: Season record 29-2. District 3-1A champ, Region 1-1A champ, 1A state 3rd place.

120, Christian Villanueva, Snyder, Sr.

Comment: Season record 27-8. District 4-1A runner-up, Region 1-1A runner-up, injured during state tournament.

126, Dante Rigal, Sandalwood, Sr.

Comment: Season record 18-1. District 1-3A champ, Region 1-3A champ, 3A state 3rd place.

132, Matthew Rodriquez, Ridgeview, Sr.

Comment: Season record 57-0. District 4-1A champ, Region 1-1A champ, 1A state champ.

138, Luke Boree, Clay, Jr.

Comment: Season record 31-9. District 4-1A champ, Region 1-1A champ, 0-2 at 1A state.

145, Gabe Daltro, Fletcher, Sr.

Comment: Season record 29-7. District 3-2A champ, Region 1-2A 3rd, 0-2 at 2A state.

152, Joel Rodriguez, Fletcher, Sr.

Comment: Season record 33-4. District 3-2A champ, Region 1-2A champ, 2A state 6th place.

160, Cale Hoskinson, Clay, Sr.

Comment: Season record 47-2. District 4-1A champ, Region 1-1A champ, 1A state champ.

170, Raynarde Thomas, Raines, Sr.

Comment: Season record 27-3. District 3-1A champ, Region 1-1A champ, 1A state 6th place.

182, Gavin Smith, Fleming Island, Sr.

Comment: Season record 29-1. Two-time state qualifier in 2019 and 2020; unable to compete in 2021 postseason due to injury.

195, Hunter Williams, Fleming Island, Jr.

Comment: Season record 30-4. District 1-3A champ, Region 1-3A champ, 3A state 4th place.

220, Jack Pyburn, Bolles, Jr.

Comment: Season record 26-3. District 4-1A champ, Region 1-1A 3rd, 1A state 3rd place.

285, Derrick Mosley, Ridgeview, Jr.

Comment: Season record 52-3. District 4-1A champ, Region 1-1A champ, 1A state 6th place.

SECOND TEAM

Wt, Name, School, Yr.

106, Ethan Vugman, Bartram Trail, So.

Comment: Season record 44-6. District 1-3A champ, Region 1-3A champ, 3A state 4th place.

113, Hunter Herrington, Fleming Island, Sr.

Comment: Season record 27-5. District 1-3A champ, Region 1-3A champ, 3A state 4th place.

120, Austin McKinney, Suwannee, Fr.

Comment: Season record 50-12. District 2-1A runnerup, Region 1-1A 3rd, 1A state 6th place.

126, Riley Holton, Fleming Island, Sr.

Comment: Season record 41-6. District 1-3A runner-up, Region 1-3A 3rd, 1-2 at 3A state.

132, Jameel Smith, Mandarin, Jr.

Comment: Season record 25-5. District 1-3A champ, Region 1-3A runner-up, 3A state 6th place.

138, Tyson Musgrove, Suwannee, Jr.

Comment: Season record 53-6. District 2-1A champ, Region 1-1A runner-up, one match from 1A state medal.

145, Gabriel Galloza, St Augustine, Sr.

Comment: Season record 33-11. District 4-2A runner-up, 1 match from 2A state tournament.

152, Enzo Gamba, Fernandina Beach, Fr.

Comment: Season record 27-2. District 3-1A champ, Region 1-1A champ, one match from 1A state medal.

160, Ahmahd Denmark, Lee, Sr.

Comment: Season record 28-2. District 3-2A champ, Region 1-2A champ, 2A state 3rd place.

170, Joseph Rice, Columbia, Jr.

Comment: Season record 47-7. District 2-2A champ, Region 1-2A champ, one match from 2A state medal.

182, Tony Carter, Mandarin, Jr.

Comment: Season record 21-5. District 1-3A runner-up, Region 1-3A 3rd, 3A state 4th place.

195, Jamari Watson, Raines, Jr.

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

220, Ethan Hollenbach, Fletcher, Sr.

Comment: Season record 33-6. District 3-2A champ, Region 1-2A 3rd, 2A state 5th place.

285, Ray Bolden, Westside, Sr.

Comment: Season record 27-2. District 3-2A champ, Region 1-2A champ, 2A state 3rd place.

THIRD TEAM

Wt, Name, School, Yr.

106, Mikade Harvey, Palatka, So.

Comment: Season record 26-8. District 5-1A champ, Region 2-1A champ, 1A state 6th place.

113, Maverick Rainwater, Clay, Jr.

Comment: Season record 36-8. District 3-1A champ, Region 1-1A runner-up, 1 match from 1A state medal.

120, Kevin Gilley, Oakleaf, Sr.

Comment: Season record 28-6. District 1-3A champ, Region 1-3A 3rd, 1-2 at 3A state.

126, Gunner Ivey, Clay, Fr.

Comment: Season record 22-4. Injured prior to postseason tournament series.

132, Xavier Logan, Fleming Island, Jr.

Comment: Season record 28-11. District 1-3A runner-up, Region 1-3A 3rd, 0-2 at 3A state.

138, Ian Finnorn, Ridgeview, So.

Comment: Season record 34-2. Injured prior to postseason tournament series.

145, Isaiah Shook, Yulee, Sr.

Comment: Season record 32-16. District 3-1A champ, Region 1-1A runner-up, 1-2 at 1A state.

152, Dominic Martin, Clay, So.

Comment: Season record: 39-13. District 4-1A champ, Region 1-1A runner-up, 1A state 6th place.

160, Blane DeFord, Flagler Palm Coast, Jr.

Comment: Season record 12-3. District 2-3A champ, Region 1-3A runner-up, 3A state 4th place.

170, Connor Spossey, St Augustine, Sr.

Comment: Season record 43-6. District 4-2A champ, Region 1-2A runner-up, 1-2 at 2A state.

182, Bryan Fortay, Creekside, Sr.

Comment: Season record 24-7. District 1-3A champ, Region 1-3A runner-up, 1 match from 3A state medal.

195, Isaiah Shevchook, Oakleaf, So.

Comment: Season record 33-10. District 1-3A runner-up, Region 1-3A 3rd, 0-2 at 3A state.

220, Kolby Kidd, Fernandina Beach, Sr.

Comment: Season record 34-3. District 3-1A champ, Region 1-1A champ, 1 match from 1A state medal.

285, Jaycob Jones, Columbia, Jr.

Comment: Season record 34-8. District 2-2A champ, Region 1-2A runner-up, 1-2 at 2A state.

Honorable mention

Baker County: Daeshawn Larry (285, Sr.); Conner South (182, Sr.).

Bartram Trail: Ryan Piersza (285, Sr.); Trevor Tagarelli (126, Sr.).

Bishop Kenny: Ryan Mayer (113, Sr.).

Bolles: Ethan Asbury (182, Jr.); Jacob Witt (113, Jr.).

Clay: Madisyn Blackburn (128, Jr.); Ethan Daniels (285, Fr.); Dalton Huckelberry (120, Sr.); Josh Kumpf (145, Jr.); Ethan Larsen (170, Jr.); Chandler Thomas (132, Fr.).

Columbia: Thomas Greene (152, Jr.); Brett Millard (106, Sr.).

Creekside: Vincent Approbato (220, Jr.); Hunter Brown (170, Sr.); Andrew Feeks (106, Jr.).

Englewood: Lynden North (138, Jr.).

Episcopal: Joe Jackson (132, Sr.).

First Coast: Josiah Mossor (152, Sr.).

Fernandina Beach: Jeremy Mahoney (126, Sr.).

Flagler Palm Coast: Bryce Dodge (170, Jr.); John Hald (120, So.); Kole Hannant (106, So.); Timothy King (152, Jr.); Marcelo Gonzalez (182, Jr.); Garrick Schwartz (195, Jr.).

Fleming Island: Garrett Cole (138, Sr.); Joseph Forte (106, Fr.); Raul Gonzalez (220, Sr.); Ethan Hoffstetter (285, So.); David Parkes (160, Sr.); Jhoel Robinson (170, So.); Grant Travis (220, Sr.).

Fletcher: Toby Matson (285, So.).

Lee: Craig Harper (220, Sr.).

Mandarin: Nathan Bremer (113, Sr.); Andres Rodriguez (285, Sr.).

Matanzas: Robert Elder (285, Sr.); Tyson Mills (152, Jr.); Jordan Mills (160, Fr.); Riley White (117, Sr.); Carter Wilder (106, So.).

Middleburg: Riley Girgis (126, Jr.).

Nease: Brielle Bibla (106, So.).

Oakleaf: Logan Gilbert (132, Sr.); Marcus McGee (126, Jr.); James McClintic (160, Sr.); Trevor Owens (138, Sr.).

Orange Park: Davon Bailey (120, Sr.); Gabriel Hecht (285, Sr.); Jasmine Hecht (154, So.); Tayana Labady (220, Sr.); Trevion Sermons (152, So.); Andrea Smith (220, Sr.).

Palatka: Brandon Lewis (132, Jr.); Delton Nealy (145, Sr.).

Ponte Vedra: Mary Manis (100, 8th); Rett Maritato (170, Sr.); Olivia Richie (128, So.); Josie Sagasser (134, So.).

Raines: Jada Arnold (184, Jr.).

St Augustine: Clint Griffin (160, Jr.); Ryan Murphy (182, Sr.); Hayden Yanni (152, Sr.).

Suwannee: Austin Howard (152, So.); Timothy Jolicoeur (126, Sr.); Xander Kirkland (120, Sr.).

Union County: Christian Simmons (106, So.).

University Christian: Egan Gustilo (120, So.).

West Nassau: Jackson Rowell (220, Sr.).

Yulee: Dylan Johns (138, So.); Aston Ricks (160, Sr.); Collin Sewell (170, Sr.).


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