By Brent Woronoff | 2:22 p.m. January 9, 2024
The original article appeared in the Palm Coast Observer and can be found here.

Matanzas High School wrestlers competed in some of the most prestigious tournaments in the country over the Christmas break and brought home plenty of medals.

Jordan Mills continued his comeback from shoulder surgery with 190-pound championships in the Knockout Christmas Classic in Kissimmee and the Cradle Cancer Invitational in Jensen Beach.

Jordan’s sister, Mariah, also took home a first-place medal at the Knockout tournament, which is considered the most competitive high school tournament in the Southeast. Mariah Mills won the 110-pound title. Tiana Fries (135) and Ani Brown (235) advanced to the finals in their class. Matanzas was one of two schools to send three girls to the Knockout finals.

Mariah Mills and 2023 state champ Kendall Bibla each advanced to the finals in the Wonder Woman Tournament in Missouri, while Tiana Fries beat a two-time Nebraska state champ on the way to a fifth-place finish in the 135-pound class.

Four Matanzas wrestlers won titles in the Cradle Cancer girls division. Fries was named the outstanding girls wrestler of the tournament, winning the 135-pound title with a 6-3 decision over Viera’s Emma Hoppe. Mariah Mills (110 pounds), Brooklyn Watt (170) and Brown (235) also won championships. Jazzy Golder advanced to the final at 105 pounds.

Jordan Mills was a Class 2A state runner-up at 170 pounds two years ago. He missed the postseason last year after undergoing shoulder surgery. Mills returned for his senior football season and now he has hit the mat with a vengeance, his wrestling coaches say.

“I’d say he’s one of the best in the nation,” coach T.J. Gillin said. “Winning the Knockout tournament has gotten him on the radar.”

Mills, who is currently ranked first in the state in Class 2A, beat Princeton University wrestling commit Conor McCloskey of Alpharetta, Georgia, by a 6-2 decision in the 190-pound semifinals at the Knockout and then decisioned Lucas Szymborski of Cleveland Tennessee, a 2023 Tennessee state champ, 3-1 in the final. Szymborski is a North Dakota State recruit.

I would say those were the two best wrestlers Jordan’s ever gone against in his life and he beat them both,” coach Mike Fries said. “Jordan’s best quality, besides his physical attributes, is he listens to the game plan. He believes in it and does it. He did things he’s never done before. It’s pretty cool watching a kid take what you say 10 minutes before the match and then execute it perfectly.”

Jordan Mills defeated South Dade’s Chris Sanchez, the state’s No. 1 ranked 190-pounder in Class 3A, by a 10-7 decision in the Cradle Cancer final.

“Jordan’s really gearing up for the state title. He really wants it after being out a year,” Mike Fries said. “He’s a pure athlete, he’s 100% coachable and he works hard.”

Mariah Mills defeated Senna Grassman from Cleveland, Tennessee, in the Knockout final in overtime.