• Palatka’s Onrarriyus Reid works to pin a Leesburg opponent during the District 4-1A meet at PHS. (FRAN RUCHALSKI / Palatka Daily News)

2018-19 Wrestler, Boys Weightlifter of the Year: Titles Won, Titles Targeted

Best in his county, district and region, Palatka’s Ontarriyus Reid turns his attention to winning state in 2020

Ontarriyus Reid goes back and forth on which sport is his favorite, wrestling or weightlifting.

Both call for strength, technique and the ability to act in a split second without placing a premium on size. Reid excelled in both as a junior at Palatka High School in 2018-19 – county champion, district champion and regional champion. He placed third in the 119-pound class at the class 1A weightlifting state meet in April in Panama City. He was 38-14 wrestling mostly in the 120-pound class and went 2-2 at state in March in Kissimmee.

He is the Daily News’ Putnam County Wrestler and Boys Weightlifter of the Year for 2018-19, the first to claim both awards in the same year. Given his success in each sport, perhaps it’s not surprising Reid struggles when asked to name a favorite.

“Weightlifting is my heart. It’s the first sport I did in high school,” he said. “Wrestling is great for building character. They are alike because you have to have strength for both and you’re going against people your size, unlike football and basketball.”

Nothing like picking on someone your own size, the way Reid did at the Region 2-1A meet in Oviedo, where he pinned his first three opponents in 46, 13 and 16 seconds – a combined 1:15 and a full 45 seconds less than one period in a regulation match – before going 5:49 to pin Billy Gould of Brooksville Hernando for the championship.

Therein lies a big part of wrestling’s appeal to Reid.

“Just being able to beat on people. I like to beat on people without getting in trouble for it” he said. “My best factor is mental. I’m very calm. My best move is my throw.”

PHS wrestling coach Josh White appreciates Reid’s ability to keep his emotions in check, though he disputes his contention that he is best at throwing his opponents.

“He’d go all out like he had to beat the guy in the first period. I’ve seen a lot of kids do that. It’s a fear,” White said. “He finally overcame that the last month of the season. That kind of helped him when he got to regions because nobody knew who he was.

“His best (move) is his leg shot, even though he doesn’t use it as much as he should have. He made it to state by throwing people.”

White praised Reid’s work habits as he strived to overcome an early season injury and said “something clicked” during the drive to state.

“I told him (wrestling) should feel like a dance – smooth and fluid, not forced. He said he’d love to have that feeling back,” White said.

Where that positive feeling figures to drive Reid on the mat as a senior, a negative feeling may drive him on the weightlifting platform.

He went to Panama City as the state’s top qualifier in the 119-pound weight class, benching 200 pounds and cleaning 200 in regional competition. Reid added 10 pounds to his bench press at state but had to settle for 185 pounds on the clean and jerk. The 395 total tied him with two other lifters – each lighter than Reid at the weigh-in, dropping him to a disappointing third.

“It was heartbreaking. I actually cried – to know that you’re the top going in. I let my nerves get to me, all the hype and stuff,” Reid said.

“He just hated to lose. He hated to think they were going to beat him,” said PHS boys weightlifting coach Dustin Whitlock. “He got a little emotional at state. I had to explain things to him. He can’t beat them and the judges. He can win next year.”

Both White and Whitlock plan for Reid to move up one weight class as a senior, reducing the pressure to shave pounds prior to competition. Both think Reid can handle the move.

“Honestly, just keep working hard,” said Whitlock of the key to success. “As long as he doesn’t get the mindset that he’s already the best in the state – which he won’t – he’ll keep on working.”’

Reid credits both his coaches and his mother, Esther Rayburn, for what he has been able to achieve thus far. “She tells me to stay positive,” he said.

He’s positive about his goal for next year: “winning the state.”

Reid didn’t say which sport, but it’s clear he wants both.


2005 Shantae Hill, Crescent City
2006 Jonathan Garcia, Palatka
2007 Jonathan Garcia, Palatka 
2008 Nick Albert, Palatka 
2009 Dustin Douglas, Interlachen
2010 Jimmy Ho, Palatka
2011 Jared Makatura, Interlachen
2012 Jared Makatura, Interlachen
2013 Jared Makatura, Interlachen
2014 Jared Makatura, Interlachen
2015 Not awarded
2016 Joel Makatura, Interlachen
2017 Joel Makatura, Interlachen
2018 Hunter Cole, Interlachen
2019 Ontarriyus Reid, Palatka


2012  Craig Borgus, Interlachen
2013  Quishan Robinson, Palatka
2014  Kyle Borgus, Interlachen
2015  Eron Carter, Palatka
2016  Lance Hastings, Interlachen
2017  Bryan Smith, Palatka
2018  Bryan Smith, Palatka
2019  Ontarriyus Reid, Palatka

Palatka Daily News

1825 St. Johns Ave.
Palatka, FL 32177
(386) 312-5200


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