#RoadToTheShow: Patriots Set Pace With Back-To-Back 2A-1 Double Titles

North Florida Matmen staff report

FT WALTON BEACH — For the second consecutive year, Pace has completed the 2A-District 1 double.

On Saturday at Choctaw, Pace qualified 13 wrestlers for Friday’s 2A-Region 1 tournament at Chiles, with four champions, four runners-up and five thirds in rolling up 215.5 points, 32 ahead of runnerup Ft Walton Beach.

Derrick Lancero (120), Gabe Jacobs (195), Wyatt Dillon (220) and Cam Goodenow (285) all won titles for the Patriots.

Ft Walton Beach qualified 12 wrestlers for Chiles, with two champions, five runners-up, two thirds and three fourths moving on to regions. Champions for the Vikings were Jean Maldonaldo (152) and Patrick Adams (182).

Ft Walton Beach wrestlers and coaches with the 2A-District 1 team runnerup trophy won Saturday afternoon at Choctaw (Photo submitted to FWB team Facebook page).

Gulf Breeze outdistanced Niceville, 166.5-114, for third place. The Dolphins had more champions than any other team, with five in all, plus one third and three fourths.

Nate Weber (106), Colson Elliott (126), Ian Daily (132), Dylan Lawrence (138) and Hunter Dupont (170) all were champions for Gulf Breeze.

Niceville moved eight wrestlers out, with two champs, two runners-up, one third and three fourths. Ethan Pinto (113) and Keane Creager (145) took home district titles for the Eagles.

Tate outpointed Crestview, host Choctaw and Milton for fifth place, with 58.5 points to the Bulldogs’ 56, Indians’ 52 and Panthers’ 48.5.

The Aggies qualified four wrestlers out (two thirds and two fourths), while Crestview had three (one runnerup and two thirds) and Choctaw three (one runnerup, one third, one fourth). Milton also got three out, led by champion Daniel McDonal (160), plus one runnerup and one fourth.

Below follows a summary of the tournament:

106 — Weber had a bye into the final, where he falled Ft Walton Beach’s Reid Gannon in 3:13 for his first district title. Gannon got to the finals with a 15-6 major over Pace’s Natalie Lugo, who had a bye for third place.

113 — Pinto (11th statewide) took his first district title behind a semifinal pin over Gulf Breeze’s Elijah Johnson (3:37), then powering through a 2-1 decision over Choctaw’s David Tambula (13th statewide) in the final. Tambula falled Pace’s Jacob Hobbs (3:30) in the semis. Hobbs took third with a fall in 2:15 over Johnson.

Pace wrestlers and coaches after successfully defending their 2A-District 1 traditional title Saturday afternoon at Choctaw (Photo submitted by Dominica Lee).

120 — Lancero (3rd statewide) had two six-minute wins for his second district title, majoring Tate’s Daniel McGaha (15-1) in the semis, then taking down Ft Walton’s Brandon Mallin (18th statewide) by a 7-2 count in the title match. Mallin had pins over Milton’s Coleman Barnhill (1:10) and Gulf Breeze’s Logan Merritt (3:19) to reach the final. Niceville’s Noah Tritz, who fell 9-5 to McGaha in the quarters, would get that match back, with a consi-semi pin over Merritt (3:54) and 7-4 third-place win over McGaha, who punched his Chiles ticket with a 6-2 win in the consi semis over Choctaw’s Deagan Kilpatrick.

126 — Elliott (20th statewide) bonus-pointed into the final, with a 41-second pin over Milton’s Brock Wells and 12-0 major over Ft Walton’s Weston Burbidge before taking down Pace’s Ethan Billhimer, 12-8, for his first district title. Billhimer (9th statewide) also bonus-pointed into the final, with a 31-second fall over Niceville’s Andrew Randolph and 15-0 second-period tech fall (3:13) over Tate’s Marcus Virgin. Virgin came back for third with pins over Choctaw’s Steven Banfield (4:07, consi semis) and Burbidge (4:33) in the medal match. Burbidge had secured his region space with an 8-6 win over Crestview’s AJ Richardson in the consi semis.

132 — Daily (13th statewide) won his second district title after missing the 2019 post-season with injury, pinning his way through the draw. Daily had falls over Tate’s Caiden Stone (:19), Crestview’s Tyler Mason (:39) and then pinned Niceville’s Jayden Pinto (15th statewide) in 2:56 in the title match. Pinto got to Daily behind wins over Choctaw’s Jacob Johns (17-1 tech in 2:21) and Pace’s Atticus Waters (7-1 semifinal win). Waters had two pins in 1:26 on the back, falling Stone (:33) and Ft Walton Beach’s Darius Brundidge in :53 for third place. Brundidge punched his Chiles ticket with a 12-2 major over Mason in the consi semis.

138 — Lawrence (16th statewide) pinned or teched his way through the bracket for the Dolphins’ back-to-back-to-back title and his first district championship, teching Niceville’s Ty Hawkins (17-0 in 5:33), then falling Tate’s David Luckey (3:57) in the semis and Pace’s Seth O’Gara (3:29) in the championship. O’Gara had wins over Choctaw’s Eli Devoid (pin in :47) and Milton’s Brandon Nicholson (7-2 in the semis) to reach the final. After falling, 11-8, to Nicholson in the quarters, Ft Walton’s Martin Muniz won three on the bounce to wrestle back for third and get that match back, with pins over Devoid (2:01), Luckey (2:16) and Nicholson (1:24) for third place. Nicholson had secured his region spot with an 8-2 consi-semi decision over Hawkins.

145 — Creager (13th statewide) had two wins for his second district title, falling Pace’s Camden Friend (5:59) in the semis, then shuttng out Ft Walton Beach’s Malachi Santiago, 7-0, in the championship match. Santiago had pins over Crestview’s Jakob Allen (3:06) and Gulf Breeze’s Kelly Scanlon (3:05) to get to the final. Friend won twice on the back, surviving a wild 15-13 consi-semi against Choctaw’s Ben Semonov and then downing Scanlon, 9-4, for third. Scanlon punched his Chiles ticket with a 17-second fall over Milton’s Michael McCain.

152 — Maldonaldo had a bye into the semis, then falled Gulf Breeze’s Garret Rudick (3:23) there and edged Pace’s Joseph Cortez, 7-6, in the final. Cortez also had a bye into the semis, where he pinned Choctaw’s Sherman Fuller in 5:55. Rudick bounced back for third behind a pair of pins over Milton’s Joslyn Anderson (2:02) and Tate’s Chad Luckey (3:30) for third place; Rudick had pinned Luckey in a pigtail. Luckey secured his region spot with a consi-semi pin in 3:27 over Fuller.

160 — McDonal pinned or teched his way through the bracket as the Panthers’ brightest light of the day, winning his first district title with a tech in the quarters over Crestview’s Layne Franks (18-2 in 4 minutes) and falls over Gulf Breeze’s Sean Jones (3:09) in the semis and in sudden victory (6:36) in the title match over Ft Walton Beach’s Caleb Tourgee. Tourgee falled Niceville’s Martin Black (3:17) and pushed past Pace’s Brody Andrews, 2-1, in the semis. Andrews would wrestle back for third, with a consi-semi pin over Franks (1:54) and a 10-4 third-place win over Black, who won twice to punch his Chiles ticket, including an 18-2 tech fall over Jones (3:18) in the consi semis.

170 — Dupont won his first district title and Gulf Breeze’s fifth on the day, pinning his way through the draw with falls over Choctaw’s Samuel Santos (4:00) in the semis and over Pace’s Aiden Bryan (1:51) in the title. Bryan secured a finals spot with a takedown in sudden victory for a 12-10 semifinal win over Ft Walton Beach’s Carter Tobik. Santos came back for third with pins over Tate’s Kaden McDonald (1:32) in the consi semis, and over Niceville’s Jared Dieters (3:48) in the third-place match. Dieters secured a region space with a 14-12 consi-semi decision, also in sudden victory, over Tobik.

182 — Patrick Adams pinned his way into the final, with falls over Niceville’s Dante Barrett (:31) and Gulf Breeze’s Micah Barker (2:28), then found a takedown in sudden victory over Crestview’s Julio Fernandez for a 9-7 win and his first district title. Fernandez had two pins as well, with falls over Milton’s Zane Allen (:14) and Pace’s Nick Adams (2:16), to get to the final. Tate’s Jacob Turner, who lost by fall to Nick Adams in a pigtail, then had three pins on the bounce to get back to third, with falls over Allen (1 minute), Barker (2:51) and Choctaw’s Gamaliel Harris (:41) in the medal match. Harris grabbed his region place with a fall over Nick Adams (1:20) in the consi semis.

195 — Jacobs (6th statewide at 182) stayed unbeaten (50-0) with two pins in 1:54 for his second district title (after a year out of Florida; he last won in 2018). Jacobs pinned Gulf Breeze’s Julian McCully (:33) in the semis and then falled Niceville’s Sean Ripley (8th statewide) in 1:21 for the title. Ripley also had two pins, falling Choctaw’s Caden Nimmo (1:45) and Ft Walton Beach’s Eddie Alexis (15th statewide) in 1:30 in the semis. Alexis had two quick pins in the consis for third, with falls over Crestview’s Mathew Sharp (:26) and McCully (:58) in the medal match. McCully punched his Chiles ticket with a fall over Nimmo in 3:40 in the consi semis.

220 — Dillon (11th statewide at 195) won his first district title, pinning his way through the bracket with falls over Tate’s Gabriel McKinley (5:28), Crestview’s Kennard Madden (3:36, semis) and Ft Walton Beach’s Kaleb Williams (5:09) in the title match. Williams (7th statewide) got to the final behind an 8-4 semifinal win over Niceville’s Ramsey Kidder. Madden (8th statewide) bounced back for third behind an 11-second consi-semi pin over Gulf Breeze’s Bryson Wick and a 3-0 third-place win over Kidder, who’d secured his region space with a consi-semi pin over McKinley (4:58).

285 — Goodenow (15th statewide) won his first district title also by pinning through the draw, with falls over Niceville’s Joe Hanson (1:10), Crestview’s Rolando Hernandez (2:21) in the semis and Milton’s Alec Cavazos (1:23) in the final. Cavazos had first-period falls over Gulf Breeze’s Milton Beganovic (1:09) and Ft Walton Beach’s Spencer Mackenzie (:44) to reach the final. Hernandez had pins in the conssi rounds over Tate’s Landen George (4:58) and Mackenzie (1:59) to claim third, while Mackenzie punched his Chiles ticket with a 44-second fall over Choctaw’s Michael Barton.

Complete brackets from the tournament can be found HERE.

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