#DistrictDuals: Atlantic, Menendez Punch First-Time Region Dual Tickets

Atlantic wrestlers and coaches celebrate the school’s first dual-team district tournament title Tuesday night in Palatka (Photo submitted to Atlantic HS Facebook page).

North Florida Matmen staff report

PALATKA — Just one victory separated 1A-District 5 champion Atlantic from runnerup Pedro Menendez. Just one win separated the Falcons from third-place Palatka.

That’s how tight the competition was Tuesday night in the Panthers’ gym, as the Sharks ran through the competition with a 4-0 record.

Atlantic turned back Pedro Menendez (40-36) in round 1, Palatka (48-27) in round 2, FSDB (66-12) in round 4 and closed out with a 48-30 win over Keystone Heights to advance to 1A-Region 2 rounds for the first time in the three-year history of the FHSAA dual team tournament. The Sharks will face the District 6 runnerup at home at January 16.

Three Atlantic wrestlers were 4-0 on the night, as David Arcieri (160, 3 pins) and Jared Jackson (285, 2 pins) “max-pointed” (scored 6 dual team points in each dual the team contested). Avante Chamble (145/152, 2 pins & major) was also 4-0. Jamey Bruner (120/126, 3 pins), Jeremiah Epps (138, 2 pins), Noah Anderson (170, pin) and Christian Henry (182, 2 pins) were each 3-1, while Graham Phillips (113), Bernaldo Alvarez (120) and John Wyman (195, pin) each won twice for Atlantic.

Pedro Menendez also qualified out to region competition for the first time in Falcons history, and will face the District 6 champ at Atlantic on the 16th. After falling to the Sharks, the Falcons defeated Keystone Heights (54-18) in round 2, FSDB (42-30) in round 3 and edged the host Panthers, 36-35, in round 4.

Connor Spossey (170, 2 pins) also was a max-pointer in the tournament, while Logan Parham (182/195/220, pin) and Dane Litzinger (195/220, 2 pins) were both 3-1. Gavin Rosario (126, 2 pins), Logan Meehan (132, 2 pins), Jarrett Ellis (138, 2 pins), Jose Ruiz (145, pin), Nathan Luckadoo (152, pin), Bryson VanDunk (152/160, pin) and Robert Richard (182/195, pin) each won twice for Pedro Menendez.

Palatka was 2-2, with wins over Keystone Heights (54-18) in round 3 and FSDB (54-18) in round 5. The Panthers had four max-pointers, as Drevon Wallace (126/132) and Brandon Lewis (132/138) both had four falls to pin their way through the tournament. Mikada Harvey (106/113, 2 pins) and Ontarriyus Reid (120/126, 3 pins) also were max-pointers.

Jack Tilton (220, 2 pins) was 3-0 and Marlon Williams (285, pin) 3-1 for the Panthers, while Adaris Medina (152, pin), Brady Weaver (160, pin) and Samuel Lafferty (170) each won twice for Palatka.

Keystone Heights picked up its lone win in round 1, with a 36-18 victory over FSDB. Eliyah Cole (182, 2 pins) was 3-1 on the night for the Indians, while Jason Bowden (113/120, pin), Jonas Cole (138, pin), Sheppard Wingate (152/160, 2 pins), Steven Raab (195, 2 pins) and Gabe Adams (220) each won twice for Keystone Heights.

Sean Meyers (132, 3 pins) was 3-1 for the Dragons, while Lance Gardenhire (120, pin), Josh O’Connor (138, pin), Jason Lubin (145), Tre’shaun Faison (160, 2 pins) and Max Veloz (182, pin) all were 2-2 for FSDB.

A brief summary of each round follows:

Round 1: Keystone Heights won four straight matches between 160 and 220, with pins from Wingate, Eliyah Cole and Raab, with Ulsch and Jonas Cole adding pins for the Indians, while FSDB had pins from Gardenhire and Meyers. Jackson’s pin at 285 effectively clinched the dual for the Sharks over Menendez, as Atlantic had two forfeits in hand at 113 and 120 that pushed it over the top against the Falcons. Bruner, Arcieri and Henry also had pins, and Chamble added a 12-1 major. Meehan, Ellis, Spossey and Richard had pins for the Falcons.

Round 2: Atlantic all but clinched the title against the other contender for top honors in the district, going on a 42-0 run from 138 through 195. Chamble, Arcieri, Anderson and Jackson had pins for the Sharks, while Palatka had pins from Lewis, Harvey and Wallace, plus a 17-12 decision from Reid. Menendez jumped out to a 24-0 lead, with another mini-sweep from 195-285. Meehan, Ellis, Parham, Litzinger and Rosario all had pins for the Falcons, while Wingate and Eliyah Cole won by fall for the Indians.

Round 3: The dual between the hosts and Keystone Heights was tied at 18 before Palatka closed it out with a 36-0 run to finish off the dual. Weaver, Tilton, Harvey, Wallace and Lewis each had falls for the Panthers, while Keystone Heights’ points all came by forfeit. The Falcons had to work hard to push past FSDB, as its reps up top were the difference. Ruiz, Litzinger and Rosario had pins for Menendez, while Meyers, O’Connor, Faison and Veloz all won by fall for the Dragons.

Round 4: The Falcons opened up a 36-0 lead, then saw it all evaporate, only to catch a break for a team point taken against the Panthers. Luckadoo, VanDunk and Spossey each had pins for Menendez, while Tilton, Williams, Reid, Wallace and Lewis all had pins for Palatka. After starting out at 6-6, Atlantic won nine straight matches between 160 and 126 to cruise to the victory over the Dragons. Chamble, Henry, Wyman, Bruner, Tyler Livingstone (126) and Epps all won by fall for the Sharks, while FSDB got pins from Faison and Meyers.

Round 5: Palatka won all the contested matches against FSDB, with Medina, Lane Heuer (subbing in for Tilton at 220), Reid, Wallace and Lewis taking pins; all of the Dragon points came by forfeit. Atlantic and Keystone Heights were at 24-24 at one point, but the Sharks won four of the last five to put the title on ice. Arcieri, Bruner and Epps won by pin for Atlantic, while Eliyah Cole, Raab, Bowden and Canyon Hayes (132) each had pins for the Indians.

Complete results from all five rounds of the tournament can be found HERE.

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