North Florida Matmen staff report
SANTA ROSA BEACH — One more win. One more pin. One more advancement.
That was essentially the difference between the champion and runnerup trophy for Wakulla Saturday night, as the War Eagles’ bid to push past Louisiana long-time powerhouse St Pauls fell just short.
Wakulla amassed 324.5 points, just two behind St Pauls and 100 more than third-place Vestavia Hills, itself a long-time power in Alabama. Holy Cross (LA) was fourth at 214e and Oak Mountain (AL) fifth at 195.5.
Pace was the next area team in the field, taking sixth at 173 points, with Columbia just 2.5 points back in seventh. Gulf Breeze, still overcoming the news that one of the program’s assistant coaches was recovering from gunshots taken at NAS Pensacola in the shooting on Friday, was ninth at 141.5.
Niceville was 11th with 96 points, while Suwannee was 13th at 87.5, Crestview 14th (65.5), followed by Arnold (64), Rutherford & host South Walton (40.5) in a tie for 16th, Choctaw (34), Bay (29.5) and Bozeman (18.5).
Below follows a summary of the tournament, with all area placers:
106 — St Pauls’ Jake Houser pinned his way into the final (3 first-period falls); there, he took down Oak Mountain’s Camden Tipton by an 8-3 count. Wakulla’s Julian Harvey placed third, reaching the semifinals. Harvey had two second-period pins over Suwannee’s William Swain (4:00, rd of 16) and Villages’ Ezra Yoder (2:57, quarters) before losing by fall in 4:35 to Tipton. Harvey rallied for a fall in 5:21 over Holy Cross’ Brandon Gainey in the third-place match. Columbia’s Brett Millard was fifth; after a loss by fall to Tipton in the quarters, Millard had two pins on the back side to reach Gulf Breeze’s Nate Weber in the fifth-place match (Millard had pinned Weber in 3:34 in the round of 16). Weber then had three bonus-point wins to get on the podium, and it was a wild fifth-place match, with Millard taking a 17-10 win.
113 — Holy Cross’ Evan Frost pinned or teched his way through the draw, with a first-period fall in the final over Wakulla’s George Hernandez. Hernandez had reached the title match with a 21-second pin over Rutherford’s Elijah Stillgess (rd of 16), a 9-2 win over Oak Mountain’s Kirk Smitherman (quarters) and a fall in 3:10 over St Pauls’ Trey Faherty (semis). Arnold’s Lucas Biddle, who’d lost by fall in the quarters to Frost won twice to reach the podium, with a fall over Daphne AL’s Owen Eiland and 7-2 decision over teammate Porter Beach in the consi semis. Biddle then lost by fall to Smitherman in 4:55 in the 5th-place match.
120 — Holy Cross’ Jacob Frost bonus-pointed through the tournament, with three first-period falls and a 10-0 major for the title, in which he pinned St Pauls’ Carter Duet in 24 seconds for the title. Pace’s Derrick Lancero reached the semifinals and placed third. After a 21-second fall over Bozeman’s Mason Shuler (rd of 16) and 13-1 major over Vestavia Hills’ Carson Farris (quarters), Lancero went six minutes with Frost, giving up the major. He rallied to take third place with a pin over Suwannee’s Xander Kirkland (2:32) in the place match. Kirkland had pinned Niceville’s Noah Tritz (2:32, rd of 16) and Crestview’s AJ Richardson (5:51, quarters) before taking a 10-4 loss to Duet. Richardson would come back and finish sixth. After his loss to Kirkland, he pinned Villages’ Brett Wilke (5:22) and decisioned Arnold’s Will Ashby, 7-3, in the consi semi. Farris then took down Richardson, 11-2, in the fifth-place match.
126 — Pace’s Ethan Billhimer became the first area champion late Saturday afternoon, in an all-area final. Billhimer pinned Niceville’s Ethan Bueno (:36, round of 16), Arnold’s Spencer Korol (:56, quarters) and Oak Mountain’s Austin Buird (2:55, semis) to reach the final, where he pushed past Columbia’s Ian McGuigan, 7-6, for the bracket win. McGuigan also had pinned his way through to the final, with falls over Villages’ Kennor Rutz (1:07, rd of 16), Wakulla’s Raymond Hatchman (2:29, quarters) and Gulf Breeze’s Colson Elliott (2:27, semis), racking up his 100th career win along the way. Suwannee’s Timothy Jolicoeur, who’d lost in the quarters by 1 point, came back for sixth, with a tech fall (15-0 in 3:18) over Rutz and 14-0 major over Arnold’s Spencer Korol in the consi semis, before falling 7-5 in the fifth-place match to St Pauls’ Michael Rader.
132 — Wakulla’s Matthew Owen made it back-to-back area titles with his win at 132. After a forfeit in the round of 16, Owen falled St Pauls’ Sam Davidson (1:29, quarters), then powered past Holy Cross’ Charles Sauerwin, 3-1, in the semi. The title match saw Owen find a way to collect a second pin in Saturday’s bracketed component of the tournament, as he falled Vestavia Hills’ Bryant Segars in 3:06 for first place. In an all-area fifth-place match, Niceville’s Jay Pinto majored Gulf Breeze’s Kelly Scanlon, 15-3. Pinto had lost to Scanlon in the round of 16 by fall in 34 seconds, but pinned his way back on to the podium with falls over Daphne’s Zach Smith (2:42), St Pauls’ Davidson (4:55) and South Walton’s Ryan Kurfirst (2:24). Scanlon lost by fall in the quarters to Segars, but came back with a pin over South Walton’s Canyon Dart (1:48) and tech over Pace’s Atticus Waters (15-0 in 4:15) in the consi semis.
138 — Oak Mountain’s Sullivan Tipton pinned or teched his way into the title, with a fall in the finals over Gulf Breeze’s Dylan Lawrence, in 2:47. Lawrence reached the final with a forfeit in the round of 16 and two bonus-point wins, falling Vestavia Hills’ Clay Johnston (2:56, quarters) and majoring Daphne’s Chandler Holder, 12-4, in the semis. Columbia’s Christopher Greene was fourth, reaching the semis with a forfeit and 37-second pin over St Pauls’ Grant Nastasi, but then lost by 16-1 (2:21) tech to Tipton in the semi and medical-forfeited to Holder in the third-place match.
145 — St Pauls’ Peyton Ward bonus-pointed his way into the final, where he took down Wakulla’s Noah Wilson, 6-2, for the title. Wilson got to the title match with pins over Suwannee’s Caleb Paesons (2:35, rd of 16) and Villages’ Cameron Rima (:44, quarters), then turned back Holy Cross’ Cameron Doyle, 2-0, in the semi. Niceville’s Keane Creager, who’d lost by fall in the round of 16, had two pins (3:37 over Choctaw’s Eli Devoid & 1:29 over Vestavia Hills’ Harris Mitchell) and then decisioned Daphne’s Ethan Lassere, 7-1, in the consi semis, before falling to Rima, 9-8, in the fifth-place match.
152 — Wakulla’s Chase Roberts brought the War Eagles their second of what would be four Border Wars VII brackets, bonus-pointing his way through the bracket. After an 11-1 major over Daphne’s Andrew Crumpton (rd of 16), Roberts pinned Holy Cross’ Russell Solomon (1:51, quarters), Holy Cross’ Jake Romig (2:37, semis) and Columbia’s Obie Smith (3:55) for the title. Smith reached the final by bookending an 11-9 overtime quarterfinal win over Pace’s Joseph Cortez with pins (1:19 over Gulf Breeze’s Garrett Ruddick in the rd of 16 and 1:12 over Vestavia Hills’ Jack Lamey in the semis). Arnold’s Nick Kendrick, who lost by fall to Lamey in the quarters, came back to finish fifth behind a 14-6 major over St Pauls’ Grant Vicknair, a forfeit in the consi semis and 16-6 major in the fifth-place match over Soddy Daisy TN’s Gavin Hamrick (whom Kendrick had pinned in the round of 16).
160 — Vestavia Hills’ John Edwards had two pins and a decision before majoring St Pauls’ Ben Davidson, 11-3, in the finals. Wakulla’s Cole Baggett reached the semis and placed fourth. Baggett pinned Crestview’s Layne Franks (1:02, rd of 16) and Villages’ Brandon Terry (1:08, quarters), but then fell to Davidson, 11-8, in the semi, and took a second decision loss to Soddy Daisy’s Landon Lewis, 8-4, in the third-place match. Columbia’s Preston O’Quinn, who’d lost in the quarters to Lewis, came back to take sixth, with a pin over Franks (3:28) and 5-2 win in the consi semis over Oak Mountain’s Landon Holcomb before losing by fall in the fifth-place match to Daphne’s Taylor Foster, in 2:47.
170 — Villages’ Ethan Hatcher rolled up two pins and a decision before majoring St Pauls’ Blain Cascio, 15-6, in the title match. In an all-area third-place match, Wakulla’s Jackson Osteen pinned Columbia’s Joseph Rice in 5 minutes for third. Osteen reached the semis behind a fall over Gulf Breeze’s Hunter Dupont (1:53, rd of 16) and forfeit in the quarters, then fell to Hatcher in his closest match of the day, 11-6, in the semi. Rice got to the semis behind pins over South Walton’s Chase Maas (2:49) and South Walton’s Dylan Garner (3:17), but then took a 3-2 loss to Cascio. Wakulla’s Jayvon Brown was fifth; after losing by fall to Cascio in the quarters, Brown had three pins over Choctaw’s Gamaliel Harris (2:08), Gulf Breeze’s Dupont (4:34) and Niceville’s Martin Black (3:51) for fifth. Black had lost by fall to Hatcher in the quarters, but rallied with pins over William Heal (2:26) and Maas (1:20) to make podium.
182 — Pace’s Gabe Jacobs made his full return to Florida wrestling after a couple of years away, giving the Patriots their second individual title. Jacobs pinned his way into the final, with falls over Choctaw’s Samuel Santos (:44, rd of 16), Villages’ Izaiah Jauma (:23, quarters) and Wakulla’s Trevor Hart (3:56, semis), then pushed past Soddy Daisy’s Hayden Maynor, 7-6, in the title match. Hart would go on to place fourth, with pins on the front over Rutherford’s Chad Allgood (2:24) and Vestavia Hills’ Andrew Sykes (2:00) before losing to Jacobs and then again in the third-place match to Oak Mountain’s Harrison Kinsey, 7-4. Wakulla teammate Tyler Edenfield, who’d lost by fall in the round of 16, made podium with 3 falls over Suwannee’s Dustin Wood (1:26), Jauma (5:55) and Sykes (3:52) before falling a second time to St Pauls’ Joshua Sabadie in 3:35 for fifth (Sabadie pinned Edenfield in 3:04 in rd of 16).
195 — Wakulla’s John Trevor Hinsey pinned his way into the final, where he would turn back St Pauls’ Evan Ulfers, 8-6, for the War Eagles’ third bracket. Prior to the final, Hinsey falled Crestview’s Mathew Sharp (:52, rd of 16), Holy Cross’ Hayden Broadnax (1:17, quarters) and Vestavia Hills’ Trey Saunders (2 minutes, semis).
220 — Slade Watkins made it back-to-back titles and four in all for Wakulla, with a bye and three decisions for the championship. In the quarters, Watkins needed sudden victory to turn back Rutherford’s Xavier Stillgess, 6-4, and then defeated Daphne’s Jon Davis, 6-3, in the semi. The final saw Watkins defeat a defending state champ in St Pauls’ Cole Ulfers, 8-3, for the title. Stillgess would come back and take fifth after the loss to Watkins, with pins over Vestavia Hills’ Jack McMurry (2:39), Arnold’s Justin Harry (2:56) and South Walton’s Nick Lee (3:49) in the fifth-place match. Lee had lost by fall to Ulfers in the quarters, but made podium with pins over Choctaw’s Jesse Sarver (3:33) and Niceville’s Ramsey Kidder (1:50).
285 — Vestavia Hills’ Dawson Ray pinned his way through the bracket, four falls in all, the last over in-state rival Andrew Lee of Oak Mountain (2:31) in the final. Wakulla’s Jayven Hearns was a semifinalist and placed fourth. Hearns had pins over Gulf Breeze’s Cameron Anderson (1:11, rd of 16) and Pace’s Cameron Goodenow (2:34, quarters) before losing by fall (1:55) to Lee in the semis and a 4-1 decision against Holy Cross’ Cole Baiamonte for third. Goodenow would come back for fifth, with a pin over Rutherford’s Bryan Lackey (1:36) and 8-6 win over Columbia’s Jaycob Jones before falling Crestview’s Rolando Hernandez in 3:11 for fifth; that pin was the second over Hernandez on Saturday (Goodenow by pin in 4:48 in the round of 16). But Hernandez had three pins on the back over Anderson (1:42), Bay’s Jonathan Heller (1:39) and Bozeman’s Cole Galbreath (1:55) to make podium.
Complete results from both days of the tournament can be found HERE.
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