Rain got in the way of the first attempt.
But a year later with clear skies overhead, they were wrestling outdoors at Columbus High School.
The Explorers and longtime rival Southwest squared off on the mat located at the 50-yard line of its football field Tuesday night.
Southwest cruised to a 53-7 win over Columbus in what was believed to be the first outdoor wrestling match ever held in South Florida.
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“I’ve been waiting a long time to put together something like this especially seeing how it’s been done so successfully on the college level,” said Columbus coach Jim Husk, who has coached for 52 years and is a member of multiple wrestling Halls of Fame. “I think we kind of proved tonight it could work.”
Columbus originally attempted to host the event last season in a dual meet against South Dade. But inclement weather the day of the event forced the meet to its usual indoor setting in the school’s gym.
Not a drop fell Tuesday and cool temperatures in the mid-60s provided the backdrop for the event.
“It’s definitely a cool idea and it’s original,” said longtime Southwest coach Joel Mendez. “There’s a few things that need to be worked out but I could definitely see it becoming a tradition.”
Both sides grappled before a crowd of roughly 200 spectators that lined up alongside the football field.
Aside from some condensation issues that made the edges of the mat a bit more slippery than usual, the wrestlers said they enjoyed partaking in the event.
Southwest junior Sergio Valdes there was more than the usual excitement for the match this week at his school.
“The mat was a little slippery but I feel like this was a lot more fun,” Valdes said. “You had a lot of people involved. It was nice and windy. I much prefer this kind of match.”
Valdes led off the varsity match with an 8-2 victory over Miguel Ortiz at 145 pounds.
Southwest won the first eight bouts of the meet including a 4-3 upset win by heavyweight Chris Sanchez over Columbus’ Robert Perez.
Columbus finally scored a win when Justin Valdez prevailed in the 106-pound match.
Southwest 53, Columbus 7 - 106: Valdez (Col) maj. dec. Vasquez (SW) 17-6; 113: Hernandez (SW) dec. Huffman (Col) 4-3; 120: Luis (SW) d. Calligari (Col) 7-0 inj. default; 126: Curiel (Col) dec. Vasquez (SW) 4-2; 132: Urquiza (SW) pin Milton (Col) 1:57; 138: F. Valdes (SW) pin Doll (Col) 5:00; 145: Valdes (SW) dec. Ortiz (Col) 8-2; 152: Fuentes (SW) dec. M. Fernandez (Col) 6-3; 160: Vidoud (SW) dec. R. Fernandez (Col) 7-4; 170: Del Cueto (SW) tech Estrada (Col) 19-4; 182: Benitez (SW) pin Holmes (Col) 5:29; 195: Fernandez (SW) dec. D’ascoli (Col) 8-7; 220: Mireles (SW) pin Abreu (Col) :28; HWT: Sanchez (SW) dec. Perez (Col) 4-3.