North Florida Matmen staff report
FLEMING ISLAND — The mission continues forward.
Thursday night, Fleming Island advanced to the FHSAA state dual team tournament for the third straight time, taking two necessary, if unsurprising steps toward their quest for a 3A state duals title at home.
The Golden Eagles gave up just three contested decisions in rolling past Buchholz, 53-18, in the Region 1 quarterfinals and through Flagler Palm Coast, 63-15, in the semis.
Fleming Island will face off for the second time in the Region 1 final against Hagerty on January 24 at 7 p.m. at Osceola. Hagerty, the District 4 champ, defeated Lake Brantley (71-6) and Timber Creek (45-30) at home as well on Thursday night. If the Golden Eagles defeat the Huskies, they would be the only team in the north to reach the state semis in each of the state dual team tournament’s first three season.
The winner of that dual faces Cypress Bay or South Dade in the state semis at Osceola on the 25th; if that winner is South Dade as expected, the winner of that top-half semi would be the odds-on favorite to win in the finals later in the day.
The night started with Buchholz, Fleming’s former district rival, in the quarters. After spotting the Bobcats first points on an Armando Acosta 6-0 win at 182, the Golden Eagles scored 15 in a a row on a pin from Raul Gonzalez (285) and 10-4 win from Jeffrey Lascano at 195.
Buchholz would regain the lead, 18-15, behind two forfeits at 106 and 113, plus a 4-0 decision from Aiden Moore at 120, but Fleming Island would sweep the rest of the way, with six max-point wins and a decision.
Riley Holton (126), Dalton Williams (138), Gannon Janssen (145), Tanner Hill (152) and Luke Chop (160) won by fall and Gavin Smith (170) concluded the dual with a 2-1 win.
Meanwhile, District 2 champ Flagler Palm Coast got to the semis with a 40-25 quarterfinal win over Oakleaf. The Knights led early, 12-3, on pins by Isiah Schevchook (195) and Jason Mitchell (220) after a Jayden Austin 10-8 win at 182 opened the scoring for FPC.
The Bulldogs regained the lead at 18-12 on pins from Kole Hannant (106) and Joseph Rizzo (113), plus a 6-2 win at 285 from AJ Cinelli, but Oakleaf would win three of the next four to go up, 25-24, as Logan Gilbert (138) won by fall, Marcus McGee (120) took a 14-4 major and Trevor Owens a 16-10 win at 132, sandwiched around FPC’s Brendan Buckles’ fall at 126.
But the Bulldogs would take four straight wins to close out the dual, as Timothy King (145) and Blane DeFord (152) won by falls and Marcelo Gonzalez (12-4 at 160) and Garrick Schwartz (10-1 at 170) had majors.
That set up a Fleming-Flagler dual in the semi (the two teams had been 1-2 in 3A-District 1 the past two seasons). The Golden Eagles took a 12-0 lead on pins from Lascano (195) and Chad Nix (220), only to have the Bulldogs win the next three on two forfeits plus a Cinelli 3-1 win at 285.
But as they had against Buchholz, Fleming Island swept the weight classes from 120 through 182, with pins from Ryan Hobson (120), Holton (126), Isaac Padgett (132), Gannon Janssen (145), Chop (160), Smith (170) and Josh Sandoval (182), plus a 3-2 win from Hill at 152.
Fleming Island is at St Cloud for the Milton-Winter two-day IBT today and Saturday, while Flagler Palm Coast is at the Showdown at O-Town one-day dual tournament at Oviedo on Saturday. Oakleaf hosts Ridgeview and Wolfson in a tri-meet on the 22nd, while Buchholz will be at the Parker Duals on the 24th and 25th.
Complete dual results for the competition at Fleming Island — along with five other region-duals locations — can be found HERE.
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