#RoadToTheShow: Yulee Defends Home Mat For 1A-3 Title

Yulee wrestlers and coaches celebrate their first district title since 2015 with a win Monday in the 1A-District 3 tournament at home (Photo submitted by Brandon Crowder via Facebook).

North Florida Matmen staff report

YULEE — It had been five years since Yulee last won a district traditional championship.

It only felt like that long since the Hornets had gotten on the mats last — Yulee last wrestled as a varsity team at Fleming Island on January 29 — but the rust fell away pretty quickly Monday at home, as the Hornets picked up three weight-class titles and qualified out 12 wrestlers for the Region 1 tournament at Wakulla, outdistancing Bishop Kenny, 180-133, for the team title.

Yulee had three champions in Bryce Bees (17th at 132), Jesse Johnson (20th at 145) and Keleb Reddish (182), with four runners-up, four thirds and one fourth on the day.

The Crusaders matched Yulee’s 12 qualifiers, but had no champions; instead, Bishop Kenny had six runners-up, one third and four fourths.

Raines outpointed West Nassau by a half-point, 119-118.5, for third. The Vikings and Warriors combined for nine weight-class wins.

Raines had all six of the wrestlers it brought move on to Wakulla, with five champions in DaQuan King (3rd at 113), Kyle Hopkins (3rd at 120), Raynarde Thomas (8th at 170), Jamari Watson (18th at 195) and Jamon Goodwine (2nd at 285), plus one third.

Likewise, West Nassau moved all of its wrestlers — seven in all — to regions, with four champions in Blayden Tharpe (106), Bradley Hulett (17th at 138), Requan Works (15th at 160) and Jackson Rowell (220). The Warriors had two thirds and one fourth.

Episcopal held off Fernandina Beach, 87-68, for fifth, with seven region qualifiers led by champion Reid Hampton (15th at 152), with two runners-up, two thirds and two fourths. The Pirates qualified five wrestlers out, led by district champion Jeremy Mahoney (17th at 126), with two runners-up, one third and one fourth.

Ed White (30 points, three qualifiers) and Paxon (23 points, three qualifiers) rounded out the district field. The Commanders had two thirds and one fourth, while the 1A Golden Eagles had one third and two fourths.

Below follows a summary of the tournament:

106 — Tharpe won the title behind two pins over Bishop Kenny’s Allan Bustos (1:12, semis) and Episcopal’s Scott Busey (3:06, championship match). Busey reached the final with a pin over Yulee’s Duhan Lewis, who then pinned Fernandina Beach’s Nik Saldana (:50; Saldana had lost by fall to Bustos in a pigtail) and Bustos (:32) for third place.

113 — King won his weight class with a semifinal pin over West Nassau’s Jackson Holcomb (2:32) and an 11-9 decision over Bishop Kenny’s Ryan Mayer (15th) in the final. Mayer punched his Wakulla ticket with a 3-1 win over Episcopal’s Christian Ryan, who then pinned his way back to third over Yulee’s Jacob Proffit (1:52; Proffit had lost by fall to Holcomb in a pigtail) and Holcomb (2:58) for third.

120 — Hopkins bonus-pointed through two rounds, with a first-period fall over Fernandina Beach’s Caden Kubatzke (1:20) in the semis and a 17-5 major in the final over Episcopal’s Joe Jackson. Jackson reached the final with a fall over West Nassau’s Brendan Ferenchik (4:32); Ferenchik then pinned Bishop Kenny’s Jack Raynor (:31; lost by fall in a pigtail to Kubatzke) and Kubatzke in 1:42 for third place.

126 — Mahoney powered past Episcopal’s Ben Helton (fall in 4:31) in the semis and turned back Bishop Kenny’s Sebastian Deara (20th), 7-1, in the championship match. Deara pinned Yulee’s Tristan Martinez (3:47) in the semis to get to the final. Martinez then falled Helton in 1:21 for third.

132 — Bees pinned his way through the bracket, with falls over Ed White’s Sebastian Gonzalez (3:49, semis) and over Bishop Kenny’s Brock Hinson (1:51) for the title. Hinson reached the final by pushing past Episcopal’s Noah Meyer, 9-8, in the semis. Meyer then wrestled back to third with falls over Paxon’s Ashton Burgess (:32; Burgess had lost by fall to Gonzalez in a pigtail match) and over Gonzalez (1:32) in the third-place match.

138 — In a three-person bracket, Hulett opened by teching Yulee’s Dylan Johns, 18-3, in the semis, then majored Bishop Kenny’s Roberto Cuartero, who’d had a bye into the final, by a 15-3 count. Johns had a bye for third.

145 — Johnson had two pins for his title, falling West Nassau’s Gibreen Ahmad (1:31) in the semis, then taking a second first-period fall in the final, pinning Bishop Kenny’s Daniel Maher in 1:34. Maher reached the final with a pin over Paxon’s Jared Aten (1:13) in the semis. Ahmad (earlier pigfail pin over Episcopal’s Robert Jackson in 3:22) had a bye into the third-place match, falling Aten — who’d edged Jackson, 10-9, in the consi semis — in 1:52 for third.

152 — Hampton powered through a pair of decisions to win the Eagles’ lone title, with a 7-0 semifinal win over Paxon’s Michael Dramis, then pushing past Yulee’s Aston Ricks (19th), 7-6, in the championship match. Ricks reached the final with a 40-second fall over Bishop Kenny’s Barrie Snyder; Dramis then pinned Snyder in 1:24 for third place.

160 — Works took a pair of majors for his weight-class win, majoring Episcopal’s Brennan Doherty, 14-4, in the semis, then coming back to major the Hornets’ Isaiah Shook, 15-5, in the final. Shook punched his region ticket with a major of his own, taking down Bishop Kenny’s Carter Wood, 10-1. Wood (7-0 pigtail winner over Fernandina Beach’s Lucas Crawford) rallied back for third with a fall (1:09) over Paxon’s Logan Holman (lost by fall to Doherty in a pigtail match), and a 9-8 third-place win over Doherty, who’d decisioned Crawford, 9-2, in the consi semis.

170 — Thomas took two pins in winning the weight class, with a 30-second fall over Paxon’s Joshua Leynes (winner by pin in a pigtail over Episcopal’s John Fernandez) in the semis, then pinned Fernandina Beach’s Jeremiah Giedrys (16th; 4:40) in the final. Giedrys reached the final with a 6-3 semifinal win over Yulee’s Collin Sewell, who in turn had pinned Bishop Kenny’s Paul Barakat (1:05) in a pigtail. Sewell (pin in 2:12 over Fernandez) and Barakat (9-7 decision over Leynes) won their consi-semi matches, with Sewell winning the rematch over Barakat by fall in 15 seconds for third.

182 — Reddish was the only wrestler in the tournament that won three front-side matches, with first-period pins over Ed White’s Keyshun Spivey (:51, pigtail), Raines’ Christian McNair (1:51, semis) and Fernandina Beach’s Kolby Kidd (1:09, championship match. Kidd punched his Wakulla ticket with a third-period fall over Bishop Kenny’s Mike Bagan (5:19); Bagan, in turn, falled Paxon’s Cameron Avery (4:35) in a pigtail. In the consi semis, McNair falled Avery (:55) and Bagan pinned Spivey (2:22), with McNair pinning Bagan in 38 seconds for third place.

195 — Watson falled Paxon’s Matthew Brunelli (1:39) in the semis, then came back with a 59-second fall in the final over Yulee’s Joseph Michel for the title. Michel reached the final with a fall over Fernandina Beach’s Tyler Harris (1:22), who came back to pin Brunelli in 2:18 for third.

220 — Rowell took two pins for his title, with a semifinal pin over Ed White’s Larry McCurdy (3:11), then falled Yulee’s Bradley Durrance (7th) in 51 seconds in the championship match. Durrance reached the final with a 51-second fall of his own over Fernandina Beach’s Jared Hutchinson. After a bye into the third-place match, McCurdy pinned Bishop Kenny’s Kevin Thallemer (fell 13-8 to McCurdy in a pigtail, pinned Hutchinson in 3:32 in the consi semis) in 3:52 to take third.

285 — Goodwine had a pair of first-period pins in taking the bracket, with a fall over Yulee’s Darquill Brown (:59) in the semis, then a pin over Bishop Kenny’s Curtis Leggett (1:30) for the title. Leggett qualified for the final with a 7-5 semifinal win over Ed White’s Salvador Rodriguez, who pinned Brown in 1:31 for third.

Complete brackets from this tournament can be found HERE.

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