By SHANNON HEATON
North Florida Matmen
KISSIMMEE — Sometimes, the silver lining comes with a heavy cost.
And wrestling teams even as strong as Wakulla’s have to bear that cost as surely as those less accomplished than the War Eagles.
As things stand today in the FHSAA 1A state tournament, a few hours before second-day competition begins at the Silver Spurs Arena, the War Eagles could set a school record for state medalists, with the current record being four and already three in hand by virtue of qualifying for the semis.
But the road to get there? It’s been a hard one, with some unexpected quarterfinal losses, and some tough outs for Wakulla, which has four in the blood round needing to win once more to assure a medal.
“Three in the semis is always nice, with four coming back through. Hoping to smash that record,” Wakulla coach William Pafford said of his team, which stands fifth behind four private schools in central or south Florida, with 53 points after the first day.
“This year we’re so senior-loaded, so you start to think, what happens after these kids graduate? But we have a group of younger guys thar came out and are wrestling well too, and we already have our kids club going. You don’t get a break.”
Raines, also, has three semifinalists, and the Vikings are ninth as a team with 34 points. Clay has one semifinalist and is 12th with 22. Florida High is T-18th, with 13 points, while University Christian (one semifinalist) is T-20th with 12. Bolles and Ridgeview, among others, are T-26th, with the Clay County Panthers having the last area semifinalist.
Below follows a summary of the tournament:
Semis: Jewell Williams (Jensen Beach, 55-9) v Tyler Perrow (Palm Bay, 56-3); Ethan Rivera (Lake Highland Prep, 22-1) v Nicolas Yancey (Cardinal Gibbons, 36-4).
Blood round: Gavin Nolan (Tampa Prep, 23-8) v Jayce Paridon (University Christian, 48-11); Payton Vargas (Coral Springs Charter, 41-17) v Alexander McMiller (Satellite, 35-16).
Local summary: Paridon opened the tournament with a 3-1 win over Admiral Farragut’s Roman Lermer in a battle of 7th-graders, but then fell to top-ranked Rivera (17-2 in 4:44) in the quarters. In the second round of wrestlebacks, Paridon rode out American Heritage-Delray’s Zach Weidler for a 2-2 ultimate-tiebreaker victory. Clay’s Maverick Rainwater was 1-2 in the tournament, starting off with a first-period fall on the front over Carrollwood Day’s Ryan Kissel (1:17), but then took subsequent losses to Williams (5-2) in the quarters and to McMiller (6-5) in WB round 2. Bolles’ Jacob Witt (losses by fall to Nolan in 5:39 on the front and to McMiller in 3:53 on the back) and Suwannee’s Brody Boehm (losses by fall to Berkeley Prep’s Diogo Santos in 2:35 on the front and to Weidler in 4:11 on the back) were both 0-2 in the tournament.
Semis: Egan Gustilo (University Christian, 53-6) v Tyler Cabral (Cardinal Gibbons, 42-2); Elijah Lusk (Merritt Island, 48-2) v Jonny Dobbs (Jensen Beach, 46-10).
Blood round: Guy Yodock (McKeel Academy, 55-8) v DaQuan King (Raines, 54-5); Jonathan Hudson (Am Heritage-Delray, 36-17) v Anthony Edwards (Space Coast, 44-11).
Local summary: Gustilo was solid on the feet on Friday, with a first-round fall in 2 minutes over Miami Jackson’s Joshua Munoz, then used his takedowns to push past Palm Bay’s Shaver Jackson, 8-7, in the quarters, clinching his first state medal. King was 2-1, with a first-round 10-6 win over Hudson, but then fell, 8-1, in the quarters to Lusk. He bounced back with a 13-4 major over Jacksonville city rival Ryan Mayer of Bishop Kenny in WB round 2. Mayer was 1-2 Friday, losing by fall to Cabral (2:23) on the front, but coming back with a 4-0 win in WB round 1 over Tenoroc’s Gage Gately. Wakulla’s George Hernandez was 0-2 in the tournament, with losses to Dobbs (6-0) on the front and to Edwards (8-4) on the back.
They said it: “It (scoring on the feet) was a very big difference. I’m more of a neutral guy, and I need to work on being on top and bottom. It feels great, to be able to bring the (UCS) program back. It was very good in the past, and I like being a part of it at the start.” — Gustilo.
Semis: Kyle Hopkins (Raines, 43-5) v David McClelland (Lake Highland Prep, 19-12); Ethan Mojena (Tampa Prep, 33-0) v Skyler Caban (Somerset Academy, 13-1).
Blood round: Luke Davis (Clay, 36-15) v Raymond Hatchman (Wakulla, 50-13); Duke Byfield (Jensen Beach, 45-16) v Andrew DeSola (Am Heritage-Delray, 15-8).
Local summary: Hopkins returned to the semis to clinch his third state medal, with a 10-6 round-1 victory over Leesburg’s Keyshaun Taylor, then falling DeSola in 5:34 in the quarters. Hatchman kicked off the day with a fall over Cocoa Beach’s Billy Day (1:16), but then lost by tech fall to Mojena (15-0 in 3:53). Hatchman rallied back in the consis, with a 4-3 win over Suwannee’s Xander Kirkland. Davis got to the blood round in somewhat similar fashion, also opening with a quick pin (1:33 over Atlantic’s Jamey Bruner, but then taking an 11-1 loss to Caban in the quarters. Davis rallied with a 6-3 win in WB round 2 over Clearwater CC’s Aiden Prunoske. Kirkland and Bruner were both 1-2 in the tournament. After losing by fall to McClelland (1:40), Kirkland came back to shut out Sarasota Military’s Sam Varley, 5-0. Meanwhile, Bruner pinned Lemon Bay’s Justin Brady in 2:03 in WB round 1, but then fell to DeSola in double-overtime, 4-3.
Semis: Matthew Rodriquez (Ridgeview, 65-0) v Rafael Romero (Am Heritage-Delray, 37-10); Danny Nini (Lake Highland Prep, 38-7) v Alan Morano (Tampa Prep, 28-6).
Blood round: Chase Gillis (Somerset Academy, 51-8) v Tyler Reeve (Florida High, 33-6); Dylan Fox (Jensen Beach, 49-17) v Rocco Senia (Palm Bay, 54-7).
Local summary: Rodriquez was in control on Friday, with a first-period fall (1:34) over Cardinal Gibbons’ Sazzad Mabud in the round of 16, then a 7-0 shutout over Senia in the quarters, to make it to 200 career wins (the fall over Mabud was his 154th pin). Reeve was 2-1, with a front-side fall over Fox (2:52) in round 1, but then fell to Nini, 11-0, in the quarters. Reeve came back to major Cocoa’s Ronald Theilacker, 16-4, in the second round of wrestlebacks. Suwannee’s Timothy Jolicoeur was 1-2 on Friday. After losing by fall to Gillis (1:55) in the opening round, Jolicoeur turned back Palatka’s Drevon Wallace, 13-7, in round 1 of the consis, before falling by a 3-1 count to Senia in round 2. Bishop Kenny’s Sebastian Deara (18-4 loss to Romero on the front, 7-0 loss to Theilacker on the back) and Wallace (14-0 loss to Morano on the front) were both 0-2 in the tournament.
Semis: Alejandro Mas (Cardinal Gibbons, 41-2) v Orestes Ferrer (Mater Lakes Academy, 51-5); Collin Mojena (Tampa Prep, 36-6) v Bas Diaz (Somerset Academy, 40-6).
Blood round: Michael Watson (Cocoa Beach, 41-9) v Dominick Carter (Palm Bay, 51-15); William Kennedy (Lake Highland Prep, 15-9) v Matthew Owen (Wakulla, 54-4).
Local summary: Owen, who collected his 200th win at regions last week, opened with a first-period fall over Atlantic’s Azizbek Rustamiy (1:19) in the first round, but then fell, 6-4, to Mas in the quarters and had to rally for a fall in WB round 2 over District 2 rival Jaxon Sansouci of Suwannee (2:55). Florida High’s Brooks Dyer and Sansouci were both 1-2 in the tournament. Dyer fell, 8-5, to Carter on the front, but came back for a 3-2 win in WB round 1 over Am Heritage-Delray’s Aiden Gasper before falling, 13-4, to Kennedy. Sansouci lost by fall to Watson (5:26), but came back with a 9-6 WB round 1 win over Labelle’s Loirel Lopez-Martinez. Rustamiy (10-3 loss on the back to McKeel Academy’s Cody Brown) and South Walton’s Canyon Dart (loss by fall in :44 to Kennedy on the front, 4-0 to Sarasota Military’s Garret Murphy) were both 0-2 in the tournament.
Semis: John James Yancey (Cardinal Gibbons, 32-4) v Mason Marchbank (Sarasota Military, 58-2); Chris Rivera (Lake Highland Prep, 46-6) v Frankie Tal Shahar (Am Heritage-Delray, 47-0).
Blood round: Brendan Palamar (Carrollwood Day, 29-11) v Michael Squires (Space Coast, 42-5); Darian Diaz (Somerset Academy, 40-16) v Braden Baxter (Palm Bay, 51-12).
Local summary: Only Bolles’ Tyson Riley would get a win out of the coverage area. Riley was 1-2 on the day, with a front-side fall over McKeel Academy’s Owen McNabb (4:33), with subsequent losses by fall to Rivera (3:17) and Squires (2:07). Suwannee’s Tyson Musgrove (14-11 loss to Tenoroc’s Travis Haworth on the front, 6-2 loss to Merritt Island’s Noah Dovin on the back), West Nassau’s Bradley Hulett (losses by fall to Marchbank in 3 minutes on the front and 2:09 to Squires on the back) and Bishop Kenny’s Roberto Cuartero (losses to Palamar by pin in 3:31 on the front & 15-6 to Baxter on the back) were all 0-2 in the tournament.
Semis: Noah Wilson (Wakulla, 54-3) v Eric Temes (Mater Lakes Academy, 56-4); Justin Rivera (Lake Highland Prep, 43-4) v Johnathan Ley (Cardinal Gibbons, 26-0).
Blood round: Vincenzo Napolitana (Am Heritage-Delray, 37-16) v Jack Dinberg (Palm Bay, 38-7); Tehran Piza (Jensen Beach, 51-17) v James Clark-Herndon (Cocoa Beach, 51-10).
Local summary: Wilson falled Imagine School’s Nicholas At (2:16) in the first round, but had to battle to get past Clark-Herndon, 5-3, in the quarters. Florida High’s Dennis Ganim was 1-2 on Friday. After falling, 8-2, to Dunedin’s Mallo Johnson in the first round, Ganim majored Bishop Moore’s Antonio Bundy, 12-1, in WB round 1, before taking a loss by fall to Clark-Herndon (3:45) in round 2. Marianna’s Ethan Heinemann (losses by fall to Bonita Springs’ Mateo Villalobos in 4:34 on the front and to Dinberg in 1:38 on the back) and Clay’s Dominic Martin (9-3 front-side loss to McKeel Academy’s Vish Williams, 7-2 loss in the consis to Piza) were both 0-2 in the tournament.
Semis: Alek Chitty (Coral Springs Charter, 54-4) v Noah Castillo (Lake Highland Prep, 36-4); Chase Roberts (Wakulla, 47-5) v Darian Estevez (Somerset Academy, 48-5).
Blood round: Gavin Wheeler (Bishop Moore, 45-11) v Luke Sopotnick (Jensen Beach, 42-11); Billy Fetzner (Hernando, 40-14) v Cale Hoskinson (Clay, 48-7).
Local summary: Roberts took a 4-1 round-1 victory over Fetzner, but then falled Cardinal Gibbons’ Daniel Korchensky (2:31) in the quarters. Hoskinson took down Palm Bay’s Cameron Komat, 10-4, in the first round, but then fell in sudden victory to Chitty, 6-4, in the quarters, and had to come back for a 13-6 decision in WB round 2 over Yulee’s Aston Ricks. Ricks was 1-2 on Friday; after falling, 15-2, to Wheeler, Ricks came back with a 10-4 decision over Berkeley Prep’s Andrew Crouch. Arnold’s Nick Kendrick (loss by fall in 3:20 on the front to Castillo, 12-4 loss to Sopotnick) was 0-2 in the tournament.
They said it: “I saw he messed up on his feet, saw an opportunity, reached for it and ended up sticking him. It feels great. We did have some upsets today, but there’s still a lot of guys who can come back through and I believe they will. We have a lot of guys that should place.” — Roberts.
Semis: Josh Pritz (Hernando, 33-6) v Terrell Taylor (Coral Springs Charter, 49-4); Dominic Isola (Lake Highland Prep, 40-7) v Jonathan Conrad (Carrollwood Day, 45-4).
Blood round: Joseph Nicolosi (Am Heritage-Delray, 36-13) v Caleb Casas (Somerset Academy, 46-12); Cole Baggett (Wakulla, 57-9) v Requan Works (West Nassau, 25-3).
Local summary: Baggett lost by fall to Casas (4:37) in the opening round, but tore through the consis with a pair of pins, falling Mulberry’s Terrar Sim (4:49) and Palm Bay’s Anthony Holden (46-15) in the wrestlebacks. Same with Works, who took a 16-8 loss on the front to Nicolosi, but then came back to pin Weeki Wachee’s Aidan Mayberry (2:25) and Marianna’s Chase Maddox (2:42) in the consi rounds. Maddox was 1-2, with a front-side win by fall (1:52) over Cardinal Gibbons’ Jack Limperis before falling to Pritz, 6-4, in the quarters. Yulee’s Isaiah Shook was also 1-2, with losses by fall (4:27 on front to Taylor, 2:10 on back to Casas) bookending a pin of his own in 1:41 over Berkeley Prep’s Klaas van de Groep.
Semis: Raynarde Thomas (Raines, 47-5) v Lance Schyck (Lemon Bay, 42-0); Bailey Flanagan (Lake Highland Prep, 36-9) v Shane Cannon (Am Heritage-Delray, 47-8).
Blood round: Carl Henry Pierre (Miami Edison, 30-5) v Jayvon Brown (Wakulla, 41-10); Connor Spossey (Pedro Menendez, 46-6) v Ethan Hatcher (Villages, 57-5).
Local summary: Thomas bonus-pointed into the semis, with a round-1 fall (2:24) over Berkeley Prep’s Jonathan Hayden, then coming back with a 12-2 major over Hatcher in the quarters. Spossey was 2-1, with a front-side pin (1:56) over Cardinal Gibbons’ Joseph Whittaker. After losing by fall to Schyck (2 minutes), Spossey came back with an 11-5 decision in WB round 2 over Avon Park’s Austin Spires. Brown, meanwhile, falled Spires in 3:48, but then fell by an 8-0 count to Flanagan in the quarters. Brown then found a takedown in sudden victory for a 3-1 win over Whittaker. Marianna’s John Maddox was 1-2, with a front-side win by pin (1:26) over Tenoroc’s Randall Santana, but then took subsequent losses to Cannon (fall in :57:0 and a 10-9 loss to Henry Pierre. Fernandina Beach’s Jeremiah Giedrys (loss by fall on the front to Schyck in 3 minutes, 4-2 loss to Whittaker in consi round 1) was 0-2 in the tournament.
They said it: “I know he (Schyck) is a state champ and I want to be on his level. Just did a lot of extra cardio, making sure my weight was down. If I can’t get what I want, I’m gonna get what I need at this point.” — Thomas.
Semis: Blake Coleman (Citrus, 40-4) v Matthew Lewis (Palm Bay, 56-10); Hunter Brinkman (Lake Highland Prep, 34-9) v Sean Concepcion (Somerset Academy, 49-6).
Blood round: Tom Fehling (Jensen Beach, 22-6) v Craig Silimon (Key West, 53-14); Payton Cramer (Admiral Farragut, 7-1 in post-season) v Ethan Asbury (Bolles, 23-10).
Local summary: Asbury was the only local left in the tournament, going 2-1. After a loss by fall to Sarasota Military’s Tyre Smith (3:34), Asbury had two bonus-point wins in the consis, falling Leesburg’s Delcory Allen (2:22) and majoring Berkeley Prep’s Manoli Houvardas, 12-1. Wakulla’s Jackson Osteen (16-7 loss to Houvanidas on the front, loss by fall in 2:19 to Fehling on the back), Clay’s Jordan Bell (2-1 loss to Cramer on the front, loss by fall in 2:38 to Silimon on the back) and Suwannee’s Blaine Howard (losses by fall to Tampa Prep’s Cristian Brito in 2:42 and to Coral Springs Charter’s Ethan Wilson in 2:21 on the back) were each 0-2.
Semis: John Trevor Hinsey (Wakulla, 54-3) v Mikey Tal Shahar (Am Heritage-Delray, 8-1 in post-season); Easton Tobia (Lake Highland Prep, 29-9) v Tyler Barnett (Clearwater Central Catholic, 47-10).
Blood round: Ricardo Camay (Key West, 44-10) v Daniel Miranda (Somerset Academy, 51-8); Marcus Haigler (Florida High, 18-9) v Daylyn Randolph (Merritt Island, 41-7).
Local summary: Hinsey falled Camay in 3:26 to open the tournament, then had to fend off a determined effort from Randolph before taking a 6-3 quarterfinal win and securing his third state medal. Haigler lost by fall to Miranda on the front (2:32), but came back with a 59-second pin over Lakewood’s Pharee Reed in WB round 1 and pushed past Lemon Bay’s Louis Baldor, 6-3, in WB round 2. Rutherford’s Xavier Stillgess and Raines’ Jamari Watson were both 1-2 on the day. Stillgess had a forfeit in WB round 1 surrounding losses to Am Heritage-Plantation’s Jeaden Kinlock (loss by fall in 2:45) and a 3-2 loss to Randolph in WB round 2. Watson lost by fall on the front to Tal Shahar (1:44), but came back and pinned Palm Bay’s Jahree Holmes in 4:33 before losing by fall to Miranda (:55).
Semis: Garrett Tyre (Clay, 46-14) v Nicholas Benton (Somerset Academy, 62-2); Matt Kaplan (Lake Highland Prep, 42-7) v Jacob Forbes (First Academy, 32-8).
Blood round: Jonathan Vil (Miami Northwestern, 23-6) v Chase Thompson (Am Heritage-Delray, 42-4); Qwenton Coney (Hernando, 38-8) v Max Ryan (Key West, 44-12).
Local summary: Tyre started the day with a fall over Vil (1:20) in the first round, and then came back with a 9-2 decision in the quarters over Rockledge’s Devon Krajewski. Yulee’s Bradley Durrance was 1-2 in the tournament, starting with a front-side pin over Ryan (4:27) in the round of 16, but then took subsequent losses to Forbes (11-3) and Vil (loss by fall in 4:39). West Nassau’s Jackson Rowell (losses by fall to Benton in :36 on the front and to Tenoroc’s Clyde Williams in 2:33 on the back) was 0-2, while Bolles’ Jack Pyburn did not compete and was scratched today.
They said it: “It feels awesome, but being the only semifinalist, I know I have to be the leader, have to pick the other guys up in the room, in order to get some more kids out.” — Tyre.
Semis: Jamon Goodwine (Raines, 48-2) v Malik Jones (Zephyrhills Christian, 32-0); Jertavis Black (Cardinal Gibbons, 37-6) v Patrick Barnett (Key West, 31-6).
Blood round: Jordan Love (Rockledge, 64-3) v Carlos Gerardino (Palm Bay, 53-12); Joshua Yarbrough (Godby, 21-4) v Ethan Vergara (mater Lakes Academy, 49-11).
Local summary: Goodwine only gave up a late stall point on Friday, with an 8-0 major in the first round over Hernando’s Sam Fleming, then coming back to push past Vergara, 3-1, in the quarters, for his second state medal. Yarbrough was 2-1 on Friday; after a 7-2 front-side loss to Gerardino, Yarbrough falled Labelle’s Justin Connell (2:50) and then edged Somerset Academy’s Matthew Jimenez, 7-6, in WB round 2. Clay’s Derrek Mosley and Wakulla’s Jayven Hearns were both 1-2 in the tournament. Mosley fell to Love, 2-1, in the first round, but then decisioned Berkeley Prep’s Jared Noh, 8-1, before falling to Vergara, 6-4. Hearns lost by fall to Jones (2:27) on the front, but then came back to pin Avon Park’s Chance Larsen in WB round 1. He then fell in sudden victory to Gerardino, 4-2 in WB round 2.
They said it: “I came here and did what I expected to do. (Asked if he’s watched film on Jones) I can’t start watching him, I have to do what I do, and if I do that, I’ll be better. If people can’t score on me, they can’t win. All I have to do then is put points on the board. I’m ready for it. Anything can happen.” — Goodwine.
Complete brackets can be found HERE.
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