By SHANNON HEATON
North Florida Matmen
KISSIMMEE — Experience has counted in large amounts for Lincoln this post-season run.
But so, too, has resilience.
And it was that story that powered the Trojans into the FHSAA 2A dual team state semifinals for the second time in as many years, as Lincoln started fast and finished with a closing run to defeat Fletcher, 51-24, and win the Region 1 championship.
“Even our kids, if they hadn’t been here before, were a little in awe of the experience, but the kids who’ve been here before, they knew what to expect,” Lincoln coach Mike Crowder said.
“If you’d asked me in May, knowing what we had at that point and knowing that we had Region 4 in the semis, I would have said no way anybody could beat us. But we have had adversity after adversity and the kids just keep fighting and keep fighting.”
Lincoln will face St Thomas Aquinas in Saturday’s noon 2A semifinal. STA defeated Okeechobee, 45-36, in the Region 4 finals. The winner will face either Tampa Jesuit (29-27 over 2A 2019 state champion Lake Gibson in the Region 2 final) or Palmetto Ridge (37-31 in the Region 3 final over Charlotte) at 6 p.m. for the state championship.
“The first two years, we didn’t get what we wanted. This year, we felt like we had aa solid chance,” Lincoln 195 Tanner Washburn said. “We just had to come in with the same intensity.
“I told Jimmy (Martin), our first match, to set the tone. If he’d lost, the whole team would wrestle in the same vicinity.”
Martin had a 23-second fall at 113, followed by Adam Barnes’ 19-second fall at 120 to put Lincoln up 12-0. Fletcher would answer with pins from Gabriel Daltro (126) and Kaden Solomon (132) and it was game on.
The Senators even took a 21-18 lead after Lincoln’s Curtis Jones (138) had a pin and Fletcher’s Tyson Petrie won by decision (4-3 at 145) and Joel Rodriguez won by fall at 152.
“I don’t think the team was flat; I just think that they were better at spots where we needed to be better,” Fletcher coach David Harrison said. “We thought the dual would be decided between 145 and 195. If our better guys didn’t beat their better guys, we were going to lose.”
Lincoln would win six of the last seven matches, five of them by fall, as Cayden Bevis (160), Andrew Collins (170), Washburn (195), Tyler Moss (285) and Elijah Hendley (106) all had pins and Jeremiah Brown had a 5-3 win at 220. Only Stone Rockhill’s 182 8-7 win marred the Lincoln close.
“If we are able to make this happen (reach the finals), it’s going to be a story of our resiliency. Of keep fighting and not giving up,” Crowder said.
Below follows a brief summary of the other 3 duals:
Region 4: STA won the final four matches of the dual to clinch it, as Noah Lusk (195), Tyreak Sapp (285) and Carter Bass (106) had pins and Anthony Mingarelli (220) won by decision. Otherwise, the dual was back and forth, with Michael Sarron (126), Ethan Wigutow (132), Patrick McNamara (145), Skyler Hall (160) also had pins for St Thomas, while Okeechobee got pins from Jace Brown (113), Charlie Armstrong (120), Cody Deloney (138), Shaun Penrod (152), Travis McKenna (170) and Isaac Herron (182).
Region 2: Jesuit also closed with a 13-0 run to come from behind for the victory, dethroning the state champs. Ethan Basile (145) and Mason Arnold (285) won by fall for Jesuit, while Jack Crook (132) and Kai Owen (106) had majors and Braden Basile (120), Tom Crook (126), and Andre Mortensen (220) all had decisions. Ashton Habeil (182) had Lake Gibson’s lone fall, while Jesse Gehr (113), Brendon Abdon (138), Evan Butler (152), Frank Solorzano (160) and Raul Soto (170) won by decisions.
Region 3: Palmetto Ridge won the final two matches to come from behind against the defending Region 3 champs. Brennan Van Hoecke (126), Landon Taylor (145), Angel Mendez (195) and Trillyon Fils-Aime (285) all had pins for Ridge, while Roman Garcia (132) took a major and Adrian Ayala (138), Antonio Petraglia (182) and Tyler Washburn (106) won by decisions. Charlotte got pins from Lucas Willis (152), Matthew Andou (160) and Biaggio Frattarelli (220), while Andrew Austin (120) won by major and Derek Paull (113) took a decision.
Complete dual results from the day 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 has ONE WEEK OF REGULAR SEASON left! Check out our latest reports on our affiliated site at http://sgamatmen.wordpress.com
Please support our independent journalism!