I don’t do comments that take down other programs in my coverage area. You want to have that fight, go to TFWR and have it. It has no place here. Ever. I don’t care who says it. I will shut down this site before I ever allow a message board to appear on it.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Working ’em up. It’s busy at work too.
Like you, I’m waiting on states brackets. While I’m waiting, I’ve just posted the four local region brackets across the classes. If there’s still down time, I’ll see about polishing off each region in turn. Once we get the regions done, we’ll go back to the districts.
TALLAHASSEE — The respite was only for two seasons, but it might have seemed like 20 for Clay and perhaps like two weeks for Clay’s Region 1 opponents.
In the Blue Devils’ return to Region 1 this past weekend at Florida High, Clay — the District 3 champion — dominated the scene, winning six individual titles and qualifying 12 wrestlers for state, enjoying a 285-201 gap over runnerup Arnold, the District 1 champ.
District 2 champ and defending region champion Wakulla was third with 146.5 points, with the host Seminoles fourth (131) and Suwannee fifth (99).
Marianna was sixth with 84.5 points, Bolles seventh (80), District 4 champion Bishop Kenny eighth (71.5), Episcopal ninth (67) and Raines 10th (45).
Teams 11-20 in the field were Wewahitchka (40 points), West Nassau (38.5), Pedro Menendez (35), Godby & Yulee (33 each), Westside (31), Baker County & Mosley (29), Bozeman (27) and University Christian (24).
Teams 21-29 in the tournament were North Florida Christian (23.5), Bradford (14.5), Rutherford (14), South Walton (12), Bishop Snyder (11), Bay (8), Rickards (5), Fernandina Beach (4), Wolfson (3) and North Bay Haven (zero).
Here’s a look at the 14 weight classes, and the 56 Matmen-area kids that qualified for states:
The skinny — Championship: Arnold freshman Ethan Pickren (3rd statewide) got to the finals with a forfeit victory and a pair of falls, in the quarters over Florida High’s Ikeon Myles in 1:53 on Friday and 53-second fall in the semis Saturday morning over Bishop Kenny sophomore Jack Delaney. On the bottom half of the bracket, Clay freshman Louie Gagliardo (4th statewide) also had a first-round forfeit win, 9-4 quarterfinal win over Episcopal’s Kyle Hopkins (8th), and 10-0 semifinal major over Suwannee junior Brandon Trask (9th). In the championship match, Pickren took the rematch win as he had in their first encounter at Clay three weeks earlier, decisioning Gagliardo by a 7-2 count.
The skinny — 3rd place: Trask rallied from the semifinal loss with a 14-0 major in the blood round over Myles in a District 2 title rematch, and then decisioned Delaney 8-6 for third place. Delaney also had a rematch in his consi semi, taking on District 4 rival Hopkins and winning, 7-6.
The skinny — Championship: Clay junior Chris Merring (2nd statewide) pinned his way through to the finals, with a second-period fall over Suwannee’s Chase Clark Friday afternoon in the quarters and then a pin in 1:37 over Bozeman’s DJ Hanson. Likewise in the bottom half, Wakulla junior Larry Smith (3rd) pinned his way into the final, with a first-period fall over West Nassau sophomore Jake Blount (8th) and fall in 2:42 in the semis over University Christian sophomore Daniel Porter (9th). The final didn’t result in another pin, but instead was a nailbiter, with Merring able to outlast Smith for an 8-6 decision.
The skinny — 3rd place: While Blount had won in their meeting in the regular season, this time it was Porter’s turn after losing in the semi. Porter first earned his second state-qualifier berth with a 7-1 decision over Clark in the consi semis, and then took an injury-default victory over Blount for third place. Blount had needed three victories to get to the placing round, with a tech fall and fall, then decisioned Hanson, 10-7, to make it out.
The skinny — Championship: Arnold junior William Pickren (4th statewide) had a pair of falls on Friday, but the road to the title required extra time twice, as Pickren edged Raines junior Joseph Haynes, 5-3 in overtime, in the semis. Meanwhile, in the bottom half, Clay freshman Dylan Taylor (7th) pinned his way to the final, with a 56-second fall in the quarters over Bozeman’s Delton Griffin and a semifinal pin in 2:48 over Florida High freshman Max Metcalf (13th). Pickren found a way in extra time to collect a takedown for the championship match, decisioning Taylor, 3-1.
The skinny — 3rd place: After losing to Pickren in the semis, Haynes had a pair of tightly-fought battles on the backside, but was able to push through both of them, first past Griffin, 9-7, in the consi semis, and then turning back Metcalf, 3-1 in overtime, for third place. Metcalf had punched his ticket for states with an overtime victory in what served as a rematch of the District 2 title matchup, overcoming Wakulla’s Rolin Malik, 8-6, to move on.
The skinny — Championship: Clay senior Dale Browning (2nd statewide) scored bonus points at each phase of the runup to the final, with pins on Friday in both rounds and then a 12-0 major over Arnold’s Alex Cao (15th) in the semifinals. In the bottom half of the bracket, Bishop Kenny’s Kyle Black had a fall and tech fall on Friday, then overcame Raines sophomore Jaquan English (6th), 10-8, in the semis. Browning picked up his second region title with an 8-1 victory in the championship match.
The skinny — 3rd place: English rallied immediately from the semifinal loss, first with a consi-semi fall over Bradford’s Jason Griffis, and then taking an injury-default victory over Florida High’s Bryan Metcalf (5th), whom English had decisioned in the quarters on Friday. Metcalf had won three times to make it into the state field after that loss, with two falls and then a 10-9 decision over Cao in the blood round.
The skinny — Championship: Clay senior Derek Miller (3rd statewide) pinned his way into the final, with a pair of first-period pins on Friday and then a third-period fall, in 5:01, over Suwannee freshman Julian Borrell in the semis. In the top half, Arnold junior Richie McClanahan (1st) had a forfeit win in the first round, then a fall in the quarters and tech fall in 3:30 over Wakulla junior Max Owen (13th). In the title match, again a rematch of the Clay Rotary final, this time the tables were turned in extra time, as Miller scored a takedown for a 4-2 victory over the defending state champion.
The skinny — 3rd place: Owen rallied from the loss to McClanahan with two majors (in which he didn’t give up a single point) to take third, qualifying for states with a major over Bolles’ KJ Fagan and then picking up a 10-0 major over Borrell in the placing match. Borrell had a tougher fight for his state berth, punching his ticket with a 3-2 decision over Bishop Kenny’s Andrew Slade (16th).
The skinny — Championship: Clay senior Julian Summa (1st statewide) made it 3 Blue Devil titles in a row with his victory. Summa got to the finals behid a forfeit, 13-3 major over Marianna senior Marquez Patterson-Rhodes in the quarters and a fall in 4:22 over Florida High junior Max Harris (9th) in the semi. The top half saw Arnold sophomore Andrew St. Amant (14th) advance to the final with all bonus-point wins, falls on Friday and an 11-3 major decision over West Nassau’s William Tharpe in the semis. Summa added another fall in the title match, pinning St. Amant in 2:45 for his title.
The skinny — 3rd place: Harris dusted himself off quickly enough to punch his ticket for states, first pinning Bolles’ Gray Creed in the third period of the blood-round match, and then decisioning Patterson-Rhodes, 10-3, for third place. Patterson-Rhodes had won three times to get to the placing round, with a decision and forfet before decisioning Tharpe, 9-7, in the consi semis.
The skinny — Championship: Clay senior Keath Sawdo (6th statewide) had bonus points on each step along the way to the final, with two falls (the second in the quarters over Marianna’s Max Martinez) on Friday and then a 14-1 major over Florida High sophomore Jake Richardson in the semis. The top half of the bracket saw Arnold senior Dylan Tuttle (9th) sandwich a 6-4 quarterfinal decision against Wakulla’s Hunter Royce (7th) with a pair of falls, the second against Bolles senior Conner Cronk (16th) in 1:55 during the semis. The title match was tightly-contested, with Sawdo overcoming Tuttle for a 3-2 victory.
The skinny — 3rd place: Cronk rallied from the loss to Tuttle with two bonus-point victories, the first a fall in the consi semis over Martinez and then a 13-2 major over Richardson for third place. Richardson repeated his District 2 title victory in the consi semis, decisioning Royce, 8-6, in the blood round to get out to state.
The skinny — Championship: Arnold senior Paul Patterson (4th statewide) nearly achieved maximum points for the Marlins, but didn’t have a single match go the full six minutes. Patterson had a fall and tech fall on Friday, then picked up a second-period fall in 3:21 over Suwannee’s Joey Borrell in the semis. On the bottom half of the bracket, Marianna senior Christian McIntire defeated two state-ranked opponents to get to the title, with a fall and 18-5 major over Clay sophomore Connor Green (6th) in the quarters, then an 8-4 victory over Pedro Menendez’s Avery Samples (8th) in the semi. However, Patterson needed just 22 seconds to earn a second victory in two weeks over McIntire, taking a fall for the title.
The skinny — 3rd place: After the one-sided loss in the quarters, Green gave four different opponents on the back side equally one-sided losses, as he picked up four pins. Green pinned Borrell in the consi semis, and then followed that up in the third-place match with a fall in 1:56 over Bolles senior Michael Surenyan, who’d lost by fall to Borrell in the quarters. Surenyan rallied from that with two falls and a 7-5 decision over Samples in the blood round to punch his ticket.
The skinny — Championship: Suwannee junior Billy Jenkins (7th statewide) didn’t win a district title, but put himself into the region finals with three falls, none of which required him to go into the third period. Jenkins pinned Bishop Snyder’s Azim Hameed in the quarters and then followed that up with a fall against Mosley’s Jarkeis Bass in the semis — both district champs. On the bottom side, Florida High’s Drew Hostetter (9th), who was fourth in District 2 due to resting an injury, proved himself ready to go by making finals through two majors and then a 4-3 decision victory over District 2 champ Cornelius Brown (11th) of Godby. Jenkins avenged a regular-season loss to Hostetter, though, with a fall in 4:47 for the title.
The skinny — 3rd place: Westside senior Caleb Gibbs, who’d lost to Brown by disqualification in the quarters on Friday, won four matches to take third, with two falls and two decisions. Gibbs pinned Bass in the second period in the consi semis, then decisioned Brown, 5-1, for third place. Brown earned his way into the field with a 10-9 blood-round win over Hameed.
The skinny — Championship: Florida High sophomore Will Haigler (6th statewide) became his school’s first region champion, with a fall and three decisions. En route to the final, Haigler decisioned Rutherford junior Yakeif Duncan 13-9 in the quarters on Friday and then Clay’s Caleb Steinmetz (7th) 9-3 in the semis. In the top half of the bracket, Wakulla’s Chris Surace (5th) ensured another District 2 rematch in the final, with three pins to get there, including a quarterfinal pin over Marianna sophomore Cole Maddox (12th) and fall in 5:46 in the semis over Episcopal’s Christian Rickey. The District 2 title rematch went the same way it had at districts, however, but it required extra time for Haigler to secure it, winning 10-8 in overtime.
The skinny — 3rd place: After falling to Surace in the quarters, Maddox had to win four matches to come all the way back for third, with a pin and three decisions. Maddox decisioned Steinmetz, 5-2, to escape the blood round, then defeated Duncan, 11-7, for third. Duncan earned his way through to state with a 6-5 victory over Rickey in the consi semis.
The skinny — Championship: Arnold senior Brian Girard (3rd statewide) pinned his way to the finals without having to go past the second period, falling Bolles’ Caleb Calhoun in 2:27 in the semis. Likewise, Clay freshman Abbott Taylor pinned his way to the final, with a first-round fall over Rickards’ Jaden Merritt and a semifinal pin in 3:14 against Wakulla senior Josh Strickland (8th). Girard, though, was too much for Taylor in the final, taking a 9-2 victory for the championship.
The skinny — 3rd place: Yulee senior RJ Adams (10th) lost in the first round, 9-8, but then didn’t lose again for the rest of the tournament, taking five victories for third on three falls and a pair of decisions. Adams pinned Calhoun in the third period of the blood round, and then decisioned Strickland for third place, 7-4. Strickland earned his place at state next week with a second-period fall over Merritt in the consi semis, following his loss to Taylor.
The skinny — Championship: Clay junior Kaleb Collins (2nd statewide) pinned his way into the final without going past the second period, falling Wakulla’s Andrew Annand in the quarters and then Bozeman’s Ryan Kruger in 3:33 in the semis. In the bottom half of the bracket, Florida High junior Cam Brown (3rd statewide) likewise pinned his way through without going past the second, falling Marianna sophomore Nick English in the quarters and then Wewahitchka freshman Alex Edwards in 1:12 for his semifinal win. Collins was able to outlast Brown in double-overtime, however, escaping with a 6-5 decision and the region title.
The skinny — 3rd place: After winning his first two matches by fall and then losing by fall to Brown in the semis, Edwards bagged two more pins to take third. First to fall was Annand in the blood round, but Edwards wasn’t done yet, winning with a pin over English in 4:04, good for third place. English got out with three wins — all by fall — with the third one a 33-second pin over Kruger to advance to states.
The skinny — Championship: Arnold senior Randy Koscak (6th statewide) pinned his way through the draw without going past the second period at any point, including a fall in 1:59 over Pedro Menendez’s Joseph Phelts in the semifinals. In the bottom half of the bracket, Episcopal’s Scott Dollison (3rd) also pinned his way through, falling Baker County’s Corey Paine (14th) in 51 seconds to get to the final. Koscak gained the title with a second-period fall over Dollison.
The skinny — 3rd place: Clay senior Jeremy Beaulieu (9th) rallied from a quarterfinal loss by fall to Phelts with four victories to come back all the way to third, decisioning Paine 10-4 in the blood round and then pinning Wakulla senior Austin Beaulieu in 24 seconds to take third. Austin Beaulieu had lost to Payne in the quarters, but rallied with three wins to get out to state, the last a forfeit victory over Phelts.
The skinny — Championship: Episcopal senior Conor Chepenik (3rd statewide) reached the final with two falls on Friday (the second over Suwannee’s Rossie Williams) and then decisioned Clay senior Roland Samec (9th), 4-1, to get to the title match. In the top of the bracket, Wakulla sophomore Jacob Marin (7th) had two falls sandwiched around a 7-2 decision over Bishop Kenny’s Josiah McCallum, with the second pin in 3:15 over Godby’s Devaughn Stephens in the semis. Chepenik needed two overtimes to win the title, his first region championship, 2-1 over Marin in the finals.
The skinny — 3rd place: After losing to Chepenik in the semis, Samec had an overtime consi-semi victory over McCallum, 7-5, and then pinned Stephens in 55 seconds to finish third. Stephens reached the placing round with an overtime victory of his own over Williams (8th) in the blood round, 3-2.
TALLAHASSEE — When two teams battle to a photo finish in a large tournament, particularly when both are elite, it’s not always a surprise.
For six teams to engage in a kind of battle royale like that, though, is difficult to conceive.
That was the story of the 2A-Region 1 tournament this past weekend at Chiles, where the leaders started shifting almost as each weight class’s group of matches were complete Saturday.
However, when it was all done, a new champion was crowned at the end of the day Saturday evening, as District 3 champ Middleburg took down six-time defending region champion (and seven-time District 2 champ) Lincoln, 111.5-108.5, to win the title by a slim margin indeed.
“It’s a classic sum being greater than the parts (situation),” Middleburg coach Rick Wetherill said via email on Sunday. “Every wrestler contributed their individual best. I’m especially proud, as I see Middleburg as a true organic team from the ground roots.”
Wetherill wasn’t sure if this was the Broncos’ first region title in school history.
All four district champions were in the mix, and had either team faltered further at any point down the stretch, a host of squads from both sides of the state were poised to assume control, as Matanzas (District 4 champ) was third with 105 points, Ed White fourth at 102, Creekside fifth at 101 and Tate (District 1 champ) sixth.
Even the teams in the 7-8-9 slots weren’t all that far out of the picture, as Leon had 92 points for 7th, Orange Park 91 for 8th and Pace 82 for 9th, with Bartram Trail closing out the top 10 at 67.
“The region has seen a leveling effect, with more teams being more competitive,” Wetherill said.
Teams 11-20 were Nease (63 points), Columbia (61), Niceville (59), Ridgeview (52), Chiles (49.5), Crestview (48), Gainesville (47), Gulf Breeze (46), Fort Walton Beach (39) and Choctaw (34).
Finishing 21-27 were Englewood & St Augustine (both with 30), Terry Parker (25), Milton (13), Ponte Vedra (eight) and Paxon & Stanton (each tied with 2).
A summary of each of the 14 weight classes, and the 56 Matmen-area kids that qualified for states, follows:
The skinny — Championship: St. Augustine senior Kristopher Smith (6th statewide) got to the final with two falls and an OT decision over Tate’s Jacob Cochran (12th) in the semis, while Niceville junior Dominic Cerillo won three tight decisions to get there, including a 5-4 semifinal win over Nease’s Sean Arnold (16th). The finals match was Smith’s, in a 7-3 decision.
The skinny — 3rd place: After falling to Smith in overtime, 10-8, Cochran (who had two first-period pins to get to the semis) had two first-period falls on the back side of the bracket to finish third. Cochran falled Middleburg’s Robert Sheridan in 1:43 and then pinned (in 41 seconds) Bartram Trail’s Nicholas Vugman (15th), who had four wins in the consi rounds, including a 4-0 decision over Arnold in the blood round, to punch his ticket after falling 6-3 to Cerillo in round 1.
The skinny — Championship: Gainesville senior Traevon O’Neal (11th statewide) reached the final with two first-period falls and a 12-9 quarterfinal win over Middleburg’s Briar Jackson (16th), while Matanzas senior Rocky Samples (6th) had a fall and two decisions. including a 3-2 win in the semis over Orange Park’s Frank Sawyer. In the title, O’Neal bagged his third fall in the first period, pinning Samples in 1:29.
The skinny — 3rd place: Jackson, a freshman, rallied with a pair of decisions for third, decisioning Sawyer 7-2 in the consi semis and then winning over Tate junior Alex Porter, 11-7, for third. Porter had reached the semis, but lost by fall there in 58 seconds to O’Neal. Porter rallied by winning his blood round match, 9-2, over Lincoln’s Michael Crowder (13th).
The skinny — Championship: Columbia sophomore Chace Curtis (5th statewide) got to the finals out of hte top half of hte bracket with two pins and a 6-1 decision in the semis against Ridgeview’s Justin Trinh, while Nease junior Dylan Martinson (16th) pinned his way there, including a third-period semifinal fall against Niceville’s Zach Hartzog. In the final, Curtis slowed down Martinson’s offense, and pulled together enough scores of his own for a 10-5 decision.
The skinny — 3rd place: Both the 3rd & 4th had to fight their way through the consi rounds to get to states. Orange Park junior Marcus Reid (2nd statewide) had lost in the quarters by fall to Hartzog, but then had two consi-side falls and a 5-2 blood-round win over Trinh, while Choctaw’s Nelson Elder (10th) had lost in overtime to Trinh, 2-1, in the quarters, and had a fall and DQ victory to get to the consi semis, where he pinned Hartzog in 57 seconds. In the placing match, Reid shut out Elder, 4-0.
The skinny — Championship: Lincoln senior Sean Hendley (14th statewide) reached the final with a fall and pair of decisions, punching his states ticket with an 8-4 decision over Gulf Breeze’s Nate Golman. Meanwhile, Nease senior Tristen Lucessi (13th) had two falls (quarterfinal pin over Tate’s Tanner Wood) and a semifinal decision over Middleburg’s Dylan Rossetti (16th), 6-3. The final was Hendley’s, as he doubled up Lucessi, 12-6, for the title.
The skinny — 3rd place: After losing to Lucessi in the quarters, Wood had to gut out three decisions to get through, including a consi-semi winner and District 1 title rematch over Golman, 3-0, to reach the placing match. Rossetti, on the other hand, had a District 3 rematch of his final against Orange Park’s Jeremiah Watson, winning that 5-3. In the placing match, Wood had enough in the tank for a 10-4 decision, his fourth consi-side win after losing in the quarters.
The skinny — Championship: Orange Park sophomore Saeid Ejmali (13th statewide at 138) pinned his way through to the finals, with a first-period fall in the quarters Friday night against Crestview’s Michael Cantwell (14th at this weight) and second-period fall over Bartram Trail’s Matthew Pickett in the semi, while Ridgeview’s Trevor Belden (15th) set up a District 3 finals rematch behind two falls and decision, with a 5-4 win in the quarters over Gulf Breeze’s Noah Losievsky and fall in 2:53 over Chiles’ Logan Mellor (16th) ion the semi. Like the district final, the win was Ejmali’s — this time by a 13-3 major decision.
The skinny — 3rd place: Cantwell won three times after the quarterfinal loss to earn his podium spot, pinning Mellor in the blood round and then adding a fourth victory in the third-place match, pinning Pickett in 2:25. Pickett secured his place at state after a wild consi-semi with Ed White’s Darrell Lampkin, eking out a 12-11 victory.
The skinny — Championship: Pace senior Travis Thompson (15th statewide) had a pair of pins Friday, decisioning Matanzas senior Tristan Kraus (11th) 7-5 in the semifinal to get to the championship match. Meanwhile, Crestview sophomore Diego Calonje scored maximum points to make it a District 1 title rematch, with two pins and an injury-default win, pinning Ed White senior Darien Tucker (9th) in 3:42 in the semi. The final was much tighter for both, but Thompson in the end came away again with the title, decisioning Calonje by a 5-3 count.
The skinny — 3rd place: Kraus rallied from his loss in the semis with a fall and decision to take third, opening with a late fall in the consi semis over Tate’s Daniel Pigg. Meanwhile, Tucker, also, punched a ticket in the consi semis with a victory, although his match with Creekside’s David Tyer was far closer, winning it 8-6. Kraus controlled the pace in the placing round, taking a 12-5 decision.
The skinny — Championship: The final set up another District 1 title rematch, with Pace senior Anthony Krevatas (9th statewide) winning by forfeit, then an 8-2 quarterfinal win over Lincoln senior David Jackson (11th), and finally a second-period fall over Ed White senior Juwan Lee (13th), in 3:43 in the semis. Meanwhile, Niceville sophomore Jack Johnson (15th) had pinned his way through the bracket to the final, falling Creekside’s Steven Stanton in 5:57 in the semis. However, the rematch did not proceed as districts did, as Krevatas gained a measure of vindication for the loss last week, turning back Johnson, 10-5, for the region title.
The skinny — 3rd place: After Jackson lost in the quarters, he needed 3 wins to get out, and got them behind a fall and two decisions, overcoming Stanton in the blood round, 5-3. Lee had just one match to win on the consi side to qualify, and he did so, decisioning Chiles’ Austin Nolan by a 10-4 count. The battle for third was a close one, with Jackson able to take a 7-6 decision.
The skinny — Championship: Leon sophomore Justin Grant (3rd statewide) scored maximum points in getting to the final, with two falls (including a quarterfinal one in 3:51 over Matanzas senior Eddy Leon de la Cruz) and then winning by injury-default over Tate’s Logan Womack in the semi. Creekside’s Brandon Dickman (8th) picked off a fall, 10-6 decision in the quarters over Gulf Breeze senior Aaron Mantuano and 13-0 major over Englewood’s Tavian Whitehead. Grant was too much, though, in the finals, winning by a 10-6 decision for the championship.
The skinny — 3rd place: Both placing wrestlers had to win three matches to get out, with Mantuano winning twice by fall and then taking an injury-default win over Womack to reach the placing round, where he added another fall over Leon de la Cruz (16th), who’d had two majors (including a 9-1 blood-round win over Whitehead) and a decision to get out.
The skinny — Championship: Lincoln senior Jaycie Rudd (2nd statewide) didn’t need much time to get to the finals, pinning three opponents in 4:08, including falls in the quarters over Ed White senior Sergio Jordan (15th) and in the semis over Pace junior Sullivan Gerlits. Meanwhile, Orange Park junior Nartorian Lee (10th) got to the final behind a decision, fall and 12-1 major over Terry Parker’s Landon Dains in the semi. Rudd couldn’t pick up a fourth fall in the final, as Lee pushed him to the brink before Rudd took a 9-7 decision.
The skinny — 3rd place: After falling to Rudd in the quarters, Jordan went six minutes in each of his next four matches, taking decisions in all of them, including an 11-6 win over Dains in the blood round and then a 10-6 win over Gerlits in the placing round. Gerlits had advanced to states with a second-period fall in the blood round over Englewood’s Zykeim Sermons.
The skinny — Championship: Middleburg senior Jonathan Shoen (5th) nearly picked up maximum points in getting to the final, with a pin and tech fall on Friday night and then a fall in 5:43 over Chiles junior Gavin Hoard (4th statewide) in the semis. Ridgeview senior Daryn Tucker Brown set up a District 3 title rematch in a more difficult route, going a full 18 minutes, with a major and two decisions, the second coming against Gulf Breeze’s Tannen Slack, 7-2, in the semis. Shoen repeated his District 3 title victory by fall, this time in 2:23 for the region win.
The skinny — 3rd place: Hoard, who got to the semis with a first-period fall over Tate senior Heath Herndon (15th) on Friday night, wound up seeing Herndon again in the placing match, rallying from the semifinal loss to Shoen with a 23-second pin over Englewood’s Michel Augustin in the consi semis. Herndon won three matches on the back side to get to the placing round, taking vindication for his District 1 title loss to Slack with a 6-0 decision in the blood round.
The skinny — Championship: Matanzas senior Maverick Dennis (8th statewide) pinned his way into the final, with second-period falls Friday night over Middleburg’s Bryan Heflin and Saturday morning against Choctaw’s Sam Mason. Creekside’s Willy Lulias (13th) set up a District 4 title rematch in the bottom half of the bracket, pinning Terry Parker senior Aquana McCalop in the quarters and then Bartram Trail senior Anthony Stith in the semi. As the rivalry had gone during the regular season and at districts, Dennis was able to close the deal in the region final, winning 10-4.
The skinny — 3rd place: Stith won both of his consi-side matches by fall, and both in pin times of 1:14, first taking down Heflin in the blood round, and then pinning McCalop for third place. McCalop, for his part, had to win three matches on the back side, all by decision and two in wild ones, including a 14-11 consi-semi victory over Mason to get to the placing round.
The skinny — Championship: Creekside senior Gus Fischer (4th statewide) pinned his way through to the final, needing just 3:19 to get there, with the longest match being in the semifinals, a fall in 2:19 over Leon’s Henry Segura. Meanwhile, Ed White senior Atyrus McDonald (7th) had a fall and two decisions, the last one a 6-5 squeaker over Ft. Walton Beach’s Brian Haynes (16th) in the semifinal. In the championship, Fischer completed the run of pins, with a fall in 3:51 over McDonald.
The skinny — 3rd place: After losing in overtime to Haynes on Friday night, Matanzas senior Jordin Castanheira (9th) picked off three victories to punch his ticket for states, edging Segura 7-6 in the blood round. Meanwhile, Middleburg sophomore Kurt Jackson also lost in the quarters to Segura, then rallied with two pins and a major to qualify out, pinning Haynes in the consi semis. Castanheira, in turn, then won by fall over Jackson, in 3:01, in the placing round.
The skinny — Championship: Leon sophomore JT Grant (10th statewide) had two pins, including a first-period fall over Ed White senior Avery Wilds (15th) in the quarters, on Friday night, then decisioned Creekside’s Cory Grower 9-2 in the semis. Meanwhile, Tate senior Gaven McAnally (9th) had a forfeit win, a fall, and 9-5 decision in the semis over Chiles’ Bobby Williams, but Grant was too much in the finals, winning by fall in 1:57.
The skinny — 3rd place: Middleburg senior Ammon Meeks (16th) got off the deck after a quarterfinal loss to Williams Friday night, winning three times to get to states, with a decision, fall and 11-3 major over Grower in the blood round. Meeks then took a 9-3 decision, in a third-place match that was a rematch of the District 3 title match, over Wilds, who also won three matches (all via bonus points), including a 13-4 major over Williams in the consi semis.
The skinny — Championship: Leon senior Gabe Beyer (2nd statewide) absolutely dominated the bracket, never having to go past the first period to win the title. Beyer needed 45 seconds to reach the semis and then won by fall in 1:26 over Ft. Walton Beach junior Joseph Pearson in the semis. On the bottom half of the bracket, Ed White senior Kelton Johnson didn’t need a whole lot more time (1:17) to reach the semis, but then needed the full six to take a 2-1 decision over Columbia senior Marcus Zeighler.
The skinny — 3rd place: Zeighler needed just one victory to punch his ticket for states, with a consi-semi pin over Milton’s Hunter Hall (who’d lost in the first round and had to win 3 matches to get to the blood round), and then defeated Pearson by a 9-5 score in the third-place match. Pearson also secured his place against an opponent that had lost in round 1 and needed three wins to get back, decisioning Lincoln’s Thomas Moss 7-4.
TITUSVILLE — For the Hastings twins, Logan and Lance, the taste for wrestling might have begun before they were born.
It wasn’t much after that, though, certainly, that the identical-twin Interlachen seniors started squaring off against one another as each other’s first opponent.
That version of brotherly love — of iron sharpening iron — now has brought both Hastings boys to the Class 1A state tournament, as the pair were the only Matmen-area wrestlers to make it out of the Region 2 tournament Saturday.
Lance (195) and Logan (182) finished third and fourth, respectively, in their weight classes, leading Interlachen to a 14th-place finish out of 26 teams in the tournament, with 33 points. The Rams finished ahead of everyone in District 5 except for that district’s champion, Crystal River, which finished fifth.
Lance Hastings had to get on the podium via a difficult road, as his first contested match of the tournament — he had a forfeit in the first round — was a 9-7 loss to Nature Coast’s Kyle Schaefer on Friday afternoon in the quarters.
Lance then had to win three matches to secure a podium spot. He wound up taking four, all of them by fall, pinning wrestlers from Gulf and Rockledge to get to the consi semis. In the blood round, Hastings (15th statewide) stuck Hudson’s Drake Carson (7th at 220) in 3:18, and then pinned Astronaut’s Sam Voor — who’d eliminated Schaefer in the same round with a 10-4 decision — with a fall in 4:58.
At 182, Logan Hastings had a favorable Friday draw, and exploited that draw, with a 4-2 win in the first round and then a 32-second fall over Anclote’s Rayshard Small. In the semis, though, he ran into a wall that so many 1A teams have run into this year, Lake Highland Prep, and its top-ranked 182, Kevin Ford, who pinned Hastings in 1:12.
That sent Logan to the blood round and a matchup with Atlantic’s Wilbur Thomas, which he survived, edging Thomas 4-3 to punch his ticket for states. In the third-place match, District 5 rival Eddie Bennis (ranked fifth at 182), pinned Logan in 3:31.
For Palatka and Eastside, the Panthers’ and Rams’ seasons came to an end on Saturday, as neither team was able to get a wrestler out to states. As it turned out, Palatka and Eastside finished in a tie for 18th place, with each scoring 19 points.
Lake Highland Prep (top-ranked in 1A) picked off 10 brackets and blew away the field, scoring 313.5 points, with host Astronaut (15th) finishing a half-point ahead of Bishop Moore (8th), 146-145.5. A quick note on each champion’s weekend follows:
106 — LHP freshman Ryan Chauvin (2nd statewide) pinned his way through the bracket, falling Bishop Moore freshman Ryan Rowland (10th) in 3:06 in the final.
113 — LHP 8th grader Noah Castillo (1st statewide) won his first match by forfeit and then pinned through the rest of the way, pinning Astronaut’s Louis Cortez (10th) in 3:59 in the final.
120 — LHP junior Mason Wohltman (1st statewide) had bonus points in every round, shutting out Bishop Moore’s Devin Kohn (6th), 12-0, in the final.
126 — LHP sophomore Joe Silva (1st statewide) pinned his way through the bracket, with a fall in 5:15 over Astronaut’s Connor Kirk (4th) in the final.
132 — LHP 8th grader Kai Bele (2nd statewide) had bonus points in every round, teching Weeki Wachee’s Hunter Gibson (11th) in the final.
138 — Bishop Moore senior Aaron Mason (7th statewide) was the first non-LHP wrestler to win, knocking off the Highlanders’ Max Cosmides, 9-6, in the final.
145 — LHP junior Jake Brindley (1st statewide) got the Highlander title train back on track, with three falls and a major decision over Astronaut’s Ethan Ahrens (5th), 15-4, in the final.
152 — LHP sophomore Erich Byelick (1st statewide) picked up bonus points in every round, with an 11-3 major over Bishop Moore’s Ryan Violette (3rd) in the final.
160 — LHP junior Bryce Rogers (1st statewide) pinned his way through the bracket, with a fall in 3:39 over Weeki Wachee’s Nathaniel DeJesus (5th) in the final.
170 — LHP senior Elijah Cleary (1st statewide) almost achieved maximum points through the bracket, with three pins and tech, including fall in 2:56 over Hernando’s Harry Williams in the final.
182 — LHP senior Ford had two falls, a major and then edged out a 3-2 decision over Satellite’s Christopher Ralston (2nd) in the final.
195 — Crystal River senior Jaret Flynn (9th statewide) had a forfeit in the first round and pins thereafter, including a fall in 3:55 over Hernando’s Abel Terkovich (11th) in the final.
220 — Nature Coast senior Anthony Contegiacomo (1st statewide) had two falls and two decisions, outlasting LHP’s Ben Goldin (2nd) 3-2 in the final.
285 — Weeki Wachee senior Dean Brooks (2nd statewide) had a forfeit, injury-default win and two falls, with a pin in 2:30 over Astronaut’s Javohn Maravolo in the final.
It’s true of Doctor Who. And it’s something wrestlers find to be true, too, even if your philosophical bent doesn’t bend you towards Christian thought:
“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it…” (Mt 7:22).
What you do, most kids your age not only don’t do, they don’t understand it and want little to do with it. Wrestling is a path to life through the narrow gate. It’s difficult in ways I can’t even express but only you know. It’s the only 24-7 sport in high school, and many of you live it 24-7-365. And yet, it promises, upon entry, a world that is so very much larger than drills, live-gos, riding the buses to ANOTHER tournament, and so on.
When I started this thing, I just saw it as stories and results and a way for me to stay involved. What it’s done — and what I am reminded of on so many occasions, and was again yesterday — is so much more than the content it contains. More than the rankings (and the predictions!) it gets wrong.
This is a community. A clan. A tribe.
It’s why my heart is ripped open today for the following kids:
In 2A…Robert Sheridan…Justin Trinh…Jeremiah Watson…Daniel Pigg…David Tyer…Steven Stanton…Logan Womack.
In 3A…Blake Delapaz…Erik Kverneland…Chris Shauman…Alex Barie.
These kids are seniors who didn’t win their last high school match in the blood round on Saturday. I could be wrong, but I think at most three of them have been to states before. The rest never did get there. They sacrificed their time, their sweat and their blood.
I’ll get to the accomplishments shortly. But I want to let this one go first. Wrestling is so brutal. And so beloved.
TALLAHASSEE — Creekside has been the chaser all season.
After Friday’s sparkling third-place performance in the 2A-Region 1 tournament at Chiles HS, the Knights are chasing the biggest game they’ve seen yet this season.
Creekside, with 51 points, and Middleburg, which stands fourth at 50.5, are close behind six-time region champion Lincoln, which leads the first day with 63.5 points. Tate is second at 55.
Ed White is in fifth place, with 49 points, while Matanzas is sixth (47), Orange Park seventh (45), Bartram Trail eighth (42) and Nease 10th (37), with Columbia 12th at 35.
Below follows a list of every wrestler still alive after the first day of competition:
Semis — Jacob Cochran, Tate, v. Kristopher Smith, St. Augustine; Sean Arnold, Nease, v. Dominic Cerillo, Niceville.
Consi quarters — Robert Sheridan, Middleburg, v. Scotty Tacinelli, Gainesville; Jerson Cabiao, Choctaw, v. Nicholas Vugman, Bartram Trail.
Semis — Alex Porter, Tate, v. Traevon O’Neal, Gainesville; Frank Sawyer, Orange Park, v. Rocky Samples, Matanzas.
Consi quarters — RJ Leon, Ft Walton Beach, v. Michael Crowder, Lincoln; Briar Jackson, Middleburg, v. Chris Walker, Terry Parker.
Semis — Justin Trinh, Ridgeview, v. Chace Curtis, Columbia; Zach Hartzog, Niceville, v. Dylan Martinson, Nease.
Consi quarters — Tyree Young, Lincoln, v. Marcus Reid, Orange Park; Tony Giordano, Ponte Vedra, v. Nelson Elder, Choctaw.
Semis — Tristen Lucessi, Nease, v. Dylan Rossetti, Middleburg; Sean Hendley, Lincoln, v. Nate Golman, Gulf Breeze.
Consi quarters — Matt Ross, Columbia, v. Jeremiah Watson, Orange Park; Leland Knoch, Pace, v. Tanner Wood, Tate.
Semis — Trevor Belden, Ridgeview, v. Logan Mellor, Chiles; Saeid Ejmali, Orange Park, v. Matthew Pickett, Bartram Trail.
Consi quarters — Parker Feddersen, Leon, v. Michael Cantwell, Crestview; Darrell Lampkin, Ed White, v. Noah Losievsky, Gulf Breeze.
Semis — Travis Thompson, Pace, v. Tristan Kraus, Matanzas; Diego Calonje, Crestview, v. Darien Tucker, Ed White.
Consi quarters — Daniel Pigg, Tate, v. Connor Cleveland, Ft Walton Beach; McKenzie Williams, Ridgeview, v. David Tyer, Creekside.
Semis — Jack Johnson, Niceville, v. Steven Stanton, Creekside; Anthony Krevatas, Pace, v. Juwan Lee, Ed White.
Consi quarters — Dalton Koike, Nease, v. David Jackson, Lincoln; Austin Nolan, Chiles, v. Kody Waldron, Columbia.
Semis — Logan Womack, Tate, v. Justin Grant, Leon; Tavian Whitehead, Englewood, v. Brandon Dickman, Creekside.
Consi quarters — Aaron Mantuano, Gulf Breeze, v. Chase Cleveland, Ft Walton Beach; Eddy Leon de la Cruz, Matanzas, v. Cody Eastwood, Middleburg.
Semis — Landon Dains, Terry Parker, v. Nartorian Lee, Orange Park; Jaycie Rudd, Lincoln, v. Sullivan Gerlits, Pace.
Consi quarters — Christopher Mixan, Matanzas, v. Sergio Jordan, Ed White; Jarrod Case, Nease, v. Zykeim Sermons, Englewood.
Semis — Tannen Slack, Gulf Breeze, v. Daryn Tucker Brown, Ridgeview; Gavin Hoard, Chiles, v. Jonathan Shoen, Middleburg.
Consi quarters — Justin Lopeman, Lincoln, v. Heath Herndon, Tate; Reed Danielson, Orange Park, v. Michel Augustin, Englewood.
Semis — Sam Mason, Choctaw, v. Maverick Dennis, Matanzas; Anthony Stith, Bartram Trail, v. Willy Lulias, Creekside.
Consi quarters — Aquana McCalop, Terry Parker, v. Robert Carley, Ed White; Bryan Heflin, Middleburg, v. Isaac Gutierrez-Tapia, Lincoln.
Semis — Brian Haynes, Ft Walton Beach, v. Atyrus McDonald, Ed White; Henry Segura, Leon, v. Gus Fischer, Creekside.
Consi quarters — Pete Staviski, Gulf Breeze, v. Kurt Jackson, Middleburg; John Wilson, Bartram Trail, v. Jordin Castanheira, Matanzas.
Semis — Gaven McAnally, Tate, v. Robert Williams, Chiles; JT Grant, Leon, v. Cory Grower, Creekside.
Consi quarters — Seth Witt, Niceville, v. Avery Wilds, Ed White; Ammon Meeks, Middleburg, v. Kolton McDaniel, Bartram Trail.
Semis — Joseph Pearson, Ft Walton Beach, v. Gabe Beyer, Leon; Kelton Johnson, Ed White, v. Marcus Zeighler, Columbia.
Consi quarters — Thomas Moss, Lincoln, v. Yessic Spencer, Gainesville; Hunter Hall, Milton, v. Murphy Bennett, Pace.
TALLAHASSEE — With all 14 wrestlers still alive, and 11 in today’s semifinals, #2 Clay established a commanding first-day lead after Friday’s action at the 1A-Region 1 tournament, hosted by Florida High.
Suwannnee is one point ahead of Bolles for fifth place, 59-58, while Bishop Kenny stands in seventh with 45.5 points, Episcopal ninth at 36 and Pedro Menendez 10th with 35.
A host of north-central and Gulf-side schools are chasing the Blue Devils for the team lead, with Wakulla three points ahead of Arnold for second place, 71.5-68.5, and the host Seminoles fourth with 60. Marianna is also in the top ten after the first day, with 44.5 points, good enough for eighth.
Below follows a list of every wrestler still alive for today’s action:
Semis — Ethan Pickren, Arnold, v. Jack Delaney, Bishop Kenny; Brandon Trask, Suwannee, v. Louie Gagliardo, Clay.
Consi quarters — Kyle Hopkins, Episcopal, v. Limuel Mallari, Pedro Menendez; Minh Nguyen, South Walton, v. Ikeon Myles, Florida High.
Semis — DJ Hanson, Bozeman, v. Chris Merring, Clay; Larry Smith, Wakulla, v. Daniel Porter, University Christian.
Consi quarters — Cole Cushman, Baker County, v. Jake Blount, West Nassau; Chase Clark, Suwannee, v. Garrett Tirado, Bishop Kenny.
Semis — William Pickren, Arnold, v. Joseph Haynes, Raines; Dylan Taylor, Clay, v. Max Metcalf, Florida High.
Consi quarters — Reid Hampton, Episcopal, v. Delton Griffin, Bozeman; Rolin Malik, Wakulla, v. Seth Weinthal, South Walton.
Semis — Alex Cao, Arnold, v. Dale Browning, Clay; Jaquan English, Raines, v. Kyle Black, Bishop Kenny.
Consi quarters — Damien Stayer, Bay, v. Bryan Metcalf, Florida High; Jonathan Hunter, Wakulla, v. Jason Griffis, Bradford.
Semis — Richie McClanahan, Arnold, v. Max Owen, Wakulla; Derek Miller, Clay, v. Julian Borrell, Suwannee.
Consi quarters — KJ Fagan, Bolles, v. Triston Tiller, Bozeman; Andrew Slade, Bishop Kenny, v. Shane Ferry, Mosley.
Semis — Andrew St. Amant, Arnold, v. William Tharpe, West Nassau; Max Harris, Florida High, v. Julian Summa, Clay.
Consi quarters — Marquez Patterson-Rhodes, Marianna, v. Austin Malcolm, Wewahitchka; Gray Creed, Bolles, v. Kenneth Foster, Suwannee.
Semis — Dylan Tuttle, Arnold, v. Conner Cronk, Bolles; Jake Richardson, Florida High, v. Keath Sawdo, Clay.
Consi quarters — Max Martinez, Marianna v. Burley Parker, Wewahitchka; Terrell Williams, Suwannee, v. Hunter Royce, Wakulla.
Semis — Paul Patterson, Arnold, v. Joey Borrell, Suwannee; Christian McIntire, Marianna, v. Avery Samples, Pedro Menendez.
Consi quarters — Andrew Thaxton, Godby, v. Connor Green, Clay; Michael Surenyan, Bolles, v. Caleb Griffin, Baker County.
Semis — Jarkeis Bass, Mosley, v. Billy Jenkins, Suwannee; Cornelius Brown, Godby, v. Drew Hostetter, Florida High.
Consi quarters — Garrett Weseman, Clay, v. Caleb Gibbs, Westside; Azim Hameed, Bishop Snyder, v. Max Worthington, Pedro Menendez.
Semis — Chris Surace, Wakulla, v. Christian Rickey, Episcopal; Will Haigler, Florida High, v. Caleb Steinmetz, Clay/
Consi quarters — Dalton Childs, Mosley, v. Yakeif Duncan, Rutherford; Phil Gardner, North Florida Christian, v. Cole Maddox, Marianna.
Semis — Brian Girard, Arnold, v. Caleb Calhoun, Bolles; Josh Strickland, Wakulla, v. Abbott Taylor, Clay.
Consi quarters — Michael Marshall, University Christian, v. RJ Adams, Yulee; Stephon Gaines, Marianna, v. Jaden Merritt, Rickards.
Semis — Ryan Kruger, Bozeman, v. Kaleb Collins, Clay; Cam Brown, Florida High, v. Alex Edwards, Wewahitchka.
Consi quarters — Rushton Roberts, Bolles, v. Nick English, Marianna; Andrew Annand, Wakulla, v. Nolan Kelly, North Florida Christian.
Semis — Randy Koscak, Arnold, v. Joseph Phelts, Pedro Menendez; Corey Paine, Baker County, v. Scott Dollison, Episcopal.
Consi quarters — Ashon Jackson, Mosley, v. Austin Beaulieu, Wakulla; Jeremy Beaulieu, Clay, v. Jonathan Wainwright, North Florida Christian.
Semis — Devaughn Stephens, Godby, v. Jacob Marin, Wakulla; Roland Samec, Clay, v. Conor Chepenik, Episcopal.
Consi semis — Rossie Williams, Suwannee, v. Travaris Shanks, Raines; Mason Yost, Bolles, v. Tariq Hookfin, Westside.