By SHANNON HEATON
North Florida Matmen
KISSIMMEE — All Lincoln coach Mike Crowder could do was sit back and watch, fingers laced on top of his head.
A dual meet that looked so very much locked up so very much wasn’t Saturday afternoon in the FHSAA 2A dual team tournament semifinals, as the Trojans had a 23-point lead against St Thomas Aquinas slip away, as the Raiders won the final five matches of the daul and took a 39-35 victory.
“What did I like early in the dual?” Lincoln coach Mike Crowder asked in response to Matmen’s question.
“The problem is we were trading pins for pins. Can’t have that happen here. They (STA) pinned when they needed to pin.
“It’s the story of our season, clawing and clawing through adversity. Kids that were here, that aren’t here. We’re trying to build it back up. I thought we had a chance to win this, but they got a little bit more than we did.”
Lincoln had a 24-6 lead through 220, as Patrick Blanca (152), Andrew Collins (170) and Wyatt Yown (182) each had pins. Additionally, Tanner Washburn (4-2 at 195) and Jeremiah Brown (11-5 at 220) powered through decisions.
The teams then traded pins at 285 and 106, with STA’s Tyreak Sapp (285) and the Trojans’ Elijah Hendley (106) both winning by fall. Jimmy Martin (113) then won by forfeit to put Lincoln up by a 35-12 count.
The bottom then fell out of the Trojans’ tournament, on four consecutive STA pins from Brock Coburn (120), Michael Sarron (126), Ethan Wigutow (132) and Frank Messina (138).
“Last couple of weeks, the kids were buying in to what we were telling them, and if you buy in, you starting trusting yourselves,” Raiders coach Robert Wimberly said. “We had to make adjustments. Get back to basics, do the little things right, and things will start taking care of themselves.”
Lincoln still had a chance with one match to go. In an evenly-matched 145 weight class, one moment of hesitation made the difference, and STA’s Patrick McNamara capitalized for a 4-3 win to clinch the dual and send the Raiders into the final.
“It’s not any one kid’s fault. Can’t have seniors get pinned, can’t have kids up 12-1 get pinned,” Crowder said. “We got a lot of stuff to do. We’re not done. It’s one of the things I always wanted to do as a coach (make the state final). Just didn’t get it done.”
In the other semifinal, Tampa Jesuit advanced with a 47-19 win over Palmetto Ridge in a battle of first-time semifinalists. Tim Eberly (170), Mason Arnold (285), Kai Owen (106), Braden Basile (120) and Jack Crook (132) all had pins, while Andre Mortensen won by a 15-0 tech fall at 195, and Sergio Desiante (152) and Tom Crook (126) won by decision. Palmetto Ridge got a fall at 220 from Trillyon Fils-Aime, a major from Hector Henriquez (160) and decisions from Antonio Petraglia (182), Cullen Guerrero (113) and Adrian Ayala (138).
In the championship, Jesuit hammered St Thomas Aquinas, 71-6, winning 13 matches. Jesuit’s falls came from Aidan Gingell (160), Eberly (170), Joe Santana (182), Owen (106), Daniel Vargas (113), Braden Basile (120), Tom Crook (126), Jack Crook (132), Ethan Basile (145) and Desiante (152), while Mortensen (195) and Alfonso Vargas (138) took majors and Arnold had a decision. Anthony Mingarelli (220) had a fall for the Raiders’ only points in the final.
Complete dual results from the day can be found HERE.
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