By SHANNON HEATON
North Florida Matmen
PALM COAST — The chant came before each dual.
Seabreeze made the dream happen Saturday afternoon at Matanzas. The Sandcrabs won the first FHSAA district wrestling title in school history, rolling past Mainland (65-9) and New Smyrna Beach (63-18) to reach the final, where they shocked Matanzas, 37-34, to win the 2A-District 4 dual team title Saturday afternoon.
“When I took the team over, there were maybe four or five kids with winning records on the roster. To be here, a year and a half later, is just unbelievable,” Seabreeze coach Michael Fries said.
“Kids have worked their butts off, being better and better wrestlers each day. There’s never been success like this at Seabreeze before, so whenever they wrestle a state qualifier, they get nervous. And (Matanzas) went to state duals, so they’re all state qualifiers. Even in our losses, we didn’t give up too many bonus points. If we were going to do this, we would need to win all the matches we should win, and not give up bonus.”
A back-and-forth final round had momentum shifting in favor of both teams, but the momentum turned for good when Brock Roberts (152) came from behind to take a 9-6 win, hitting a turn for backpoints late in the third period.
“It was a really big match for me. First time, he teched me, and then I wrestled him again and he pinned me in the first period, so to beat him, here, especially for the district championship, is just unreal,” Roberts said.
“We’ve been trying to get a big win like this. But it never happened in Seabreeze history, until now.”
Seabreeze had four wrestlers “max-point” (score 6 dual points in every dual contested) through the day, as each of those Sandcrabs — Joseph Kent (113), Devin Stickney (138), Chris Thomas (182/195) and Caiden Patton (195/220) — pinned each opponent put in front of them.
Kayla Nguyen (106, major), Roberts (152, major & 2 decisions) and Victor Lipsey (170, 2 pins & major) all also were 3-0 for Seabreeze. Connor Flagg (285) was 2-0, and Kobe Baret (120, 2 pins) and Nathan Boyd (220/285, pin) were both 2-1 for the Sandcrabs.
Grant Schwartz (145) had a fall in the New Smyrna Beach win and Pedro Bonilla (160) won by pin in the Mainland victory.
After the shock of the loss to the Sandcrabs in the final, Matanzas — which had defeated Pine Ridge (63-15) in the quarters and Belleview (58-21) in the semis — had to regroup and face off against New Smyrna Beach in a dual for true second. Four forfeits in their favor helped, but the Pirates won a majority of the contested matches as well, defeating the Barracudas, 64-15, to return to the Region 1 round for the third time.
“We dualed them before and lost at 285 and 120, and I felt like we could get those back and we did, so we felt pretty confident,” Matanzas coach TJ Gillin said of the Seabreeze dual. “But we had two matches that we won the first time that we lost this time. Mike (Fries) did a great job of making adjustments; now it’s my turn to make adjustments.
“If there’s a plus to it all, as much as we love to win, at least we still get a second shot next week.”
Gillin was referring to the 2A-Region 1 quarterfinals at Fletcher on Thursday night. Seabreeze will face District 3 runnerup Robert E. Lee in one quarterfinal, while the Pirates take on the host and District 3 champion Senators. Quarterfinal winners then face off in a second dual (no wrestlebacks) to determine which of the four teams will go to Osceola for the first day of state duals on the 24th.
“We’ve got to find a way to not give up so many bonus points,” Gillin said. “Still feel we’re one of the best teams in the area on this side of the dual bracket, but there’s lots of adjustments to make.”
Matanzas had six 4-0 wrestlers on the day, with two of them — Shaun Culbreth (126, 3 pins) and Tristian Williams (160, 3 pins) — max-pointing their way through the tournament.
Ethan Goodman (120, major & 2 decisions), Griffin Wilder (145, 2 pins & major), Quenteen Robinson (170/182, 2 pins & tech) and Robert Elder (285, pin & decision) also were 4-0 for the Pirates. George Joanos (132/138, 2 pins) and Pete Grimm (220, 2 pins) were both 3-1, while Quincy Cuthbert (170, 2 pins) was 2-1 and Henson White (113, pin), Logan Mayer (132/138, 2 pins) and Noel Alicea (152, 2 pins) each were 2-2.
Along the path to claiming third place and getting a shot at true second, New Smyrna Beach defeated St Augustine (42-36, in a key win that would play a role later in the afternoon); after their semifinal loss to Seabreeze, the Barracudas defeated Pine Ridge (42-36) and advanced by prior decision to get to true second.
Michael Shannon (132, 3 pins) was New Smyrna Beach’s lone unbeaten, max-pointing as well to a 4-0 day.
Tristen Winfrey (120) was 2-1 for the Barracudas, while Susan Pacini (113, pin), Jace Engberg (126, 2 pins), Hunter Lupien (152, pin & decision), Thomas Evans (160, pin) and Austin Mitchum (195, 2 pins) each were 2-2.
Justis Chandler (138) had a pin in the Pine Ridge victory, while Braden Sullivan (170) won by fall in the Seabreeze loss.
After falling to New Smyrna Beach in the quarters, St Augustine won twice in the consis, taking down Mainland (48-33) and Belleview (40-30) to reach the top four. There was no pure third-place match, as the Yellow Jackets had fallen to the Barracudas.
Ryan Murphy (182) was a 3-0 max-pointer, pinning all opponents put in front of him. Justin Ballard (285, pin) also was 3-0 and a max-pointer.
Carlos Quintanal (138, pin & decision) and Hayden Yanni (152, pin/major/decision) were also 3-0 for the Yellow Jackets, while Gavin Barro (106), Jordan Levy (132, 2 pins), Clint Griffin (160, 2 pins) and Khaled Gardner (170, 2 decisions) all were 2-1 for St Augustine. Wilson Nguyen (126) had a pin in the Mainland dual as well.
After reaching the semis, Belleview was 1-2 in the tournament. The Rattlers defeated Deltona, 60-20, in the quarters, but then dropped duals to Matanzas in the semis and New Smyrna Beach in the consi semis.
Zackery Young (106, 2 pins & decision) was the only Belleview wrestler to go 3-0 on the day. Mark Willis (113, 2 pins) was 2-0 and Andrew Davis (126, pin & decision), Morgan Cole (138, 2 pins) and Nathan Halstead (195, pin & decision) each were 2-1 for the Rattlers. Luis Martinez (113) and Ke’aundre Solomon (285) both had falls for Belleview in the Deltona dual, while Andrew Dunn (220) had a pin in the loss to St Augustine.
Pine Ridge also was 1-2. After falling to the Pirates in the quarters, the Panthers came back for a 39-33 win over Deltona in the consi quarters before falling to New Smyrna Beach in the semi.
Jonathan Waugh (182, pin) and Jacob Anderson (195, 2 pins) both were max-pointers and 3-0 in the tournament, while Devon Heil (106, 2 decisions) also had a 3-0 day. Walter Warner (145, 2 pins) and Dylan Oglesby (170, pin) both were 2-1. David Cortez (138) had a win by fall in the victory over Deltona.
Deltona and Mainland were both 0-2 on the day.
The Wolves had three wrestlers go 2-0 in Luis Vazquez (120, pin & tech), Carlos Pineda (132, decision) and Ethan Chiu (220, pin & decision).
For the Buccaneers, just Xavier Logan (145, pin & decision) was 2-0 in the tournament. Sean Baughman (126) won by fall in the loss to Seabreeze, while Hayden Heilman (113), Doug Dittmer (195) and Jordan Colubiale (220) all had pins in the loss to St Augustine. Brady Howe took an 8-5 win in that same dual.
Complete results from all rounds of the tournament can be found HERE.
JOIN us on Facebook at North Florida Matmen (you can also friend me on my personal page) or on Twitter at @NorthFLAMatmen.
South Georgia is flying toward the post-season! Check out our latest reports on our affiliated site at http://sgamatmen.wordpress.com
Please support our independent journalism!