January 4, 2024

Mount Dora High Wrestling Team Completes Epic Comeback to Win First Dual District Championship

2.9 min read| Published On: January 4th, 2024|

By Kyle Coppola

Mount Dora High Wrestling Team Completes Epic Comeback to Win First Dual District Championship

2.9 min read| Published On: January 4th, 2024|

The Mount Dora Hurricanes came into the 2023/2024 wrestling season with a ton of anticipation. This team has shown heart, soul and grit all year long and that was truly evident during one of the best comebacks and exciting district championship battles we have seen in a long time.

The Hurricanes were trailing in the semi-final matchup vs Bishop Moore 34-37. It looked as though Bishop Moore would be competing against The Villages in the final. That is until Mount Dora senior captain Russell Fickett stepped up to the mat and pinned his opponent in 1 minute and 33 seconds.

(Russell Fickett was a man on a mission. The senior was not going to be denied. It was one of the single best performances by a Mount Dora wrestler in program history.)

That pin would ultimately propel Mount Dora into the District Dual final for the first time ever. Junior Connor Berry also had a big win in this match. Russell Fickett is not only a great wrestler, student and football player, he is an amazing leader. He was a leader on the defense for the football team this year and continues to lead on the wrestling mat.

Bishop Moore was left stunned by this turn of events but there was jubilation on the Mount Dora bench as they knew they had the chance at history.

(Jubilation on the Mount Dora High sideline with head coach David Kemmy and his boys jumping with Joy. It would all lead to a fantastic finish.)

In the championship match, The Villages were giving the Canes all they could handle and leading big 34-18. Match after match it seemed as if The Villages was destined for a district championship, but coach David Kemmy, his staff and his boys never relented. Russell Fickett once again stepped up and saved the day for the Hurricanes.

Fickett went on a massive roll winning four straight matches for Mount Dora. Freshman Henry Vasquez at 144 pounds, Colton Fickett and Anthony Dawson also recorded falls. Freshman Cannon Sommer at 106 pounds secured a pivotal fall to give the Canes their first lead at 36-That brought up a winner takes all match.

(While The Villages took an early lead, Mount Dora mounted an epic comeback.)

Mount Dora High Junior Brayden Brown put forth perhaps the best match of his entire career. With the weight of the school upon his shoulders and history on the line Brayden Brown cemented the victory in an amazing 20 seconds! Mount Dora High secured their first ever District Dual Championship in school history!

“Just an incredible performance by our guys. They wrestled tough and smart and beat two traditional powers in the sport on the same night. I am so proud of them.” says coach David Kemmy.

(Coach David Kemmy would secure his 400th victory of his career. What better way to get that win than a district championship! Congratulations to coach Kemmy for everything he has accomplished. What a thrill!)

The win was a special one and marks the 400th win of David Kemmy’s illustrious coaching career for a total record of 400-211-9. Kemmy was the longtime coach for Roger Williams University in Rhode Island where he spent 18 years as head coach, Bristol High School in Rhode Island for 9 years and most recently at Mount Dora High School now in his 3rd season.

This is the first in what is hopeful to be many district championships for Mount Dora High. They advance to the regional championships on Thursday, January 11th at Weeki Wachee H.S. where they will face regional power Hernando. The Villages also advances and will face Weeki Wachee.

(History made as Mount Dora High won the first ever Dual District Championship wrestling meet in school history.)

The two winners of that matchup advance to the round of 16 that night and wrestle in a match that will determine who advances to the state finals.

Other Results of the Meet

3rd Place – Bishop Moore

4th Place – Tavares High School

5th Place – First Academy-Orlando

Best of luck to both Mount Dora and The Villages as they get set for regionals in a week’s time.

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About the Author: Kyle Coppola

Kyle Coppola was born in Newton, Massachusetts and received his Bachelor of Fine Arts in Communications from Curry College in 2016. After traveling to Florida on a family vacation, he decided he could not get enough of the warm weather and made the move from snowy Massachusetts to central Florida 8 years ago.

For the last decade Kyle has gained valuable experience in social media content creation, marketing and sales, writing, video production, sports announcing and even broadcasting for local radio stations, such as FM 102.9 in The Villages and FM 91.5 in Massachusetts. Every year he volunteers at The Villages Charter High School as a play-by-play sports announcer for the football games as well as a public address announcer for the basketball games, including the annual Battle at The Villages Tournament.

Outside the office Kyle is a husband and father to two beautiful girls along with their cat. In his spare time he likes to spend time with his family, travel, play golf and swim. He is also a huge sports junkie and even bigger motorsports fan and loves to attend racing events when he can.

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