LYNN HAVEN — Consider the first shots duly fired between Wakulla and Clay for small-school supremacy in the north.
From a team standpoint, Wakulla won the opening round of this year-long conflict, as the War Eagles held off the Blue Devils, 181.5-171, for top team honors at Border Wars VIII, Wakulla’s first win going back at least seven years for this tournament (the War Eagles were second a year ago).
Wakulla had nine wrestlers place in the top four of the 14 weight classes, with three of those nine taking titles. Clay had 10 placewinners that reached fourth or higher, with two champs.
The secondary battle might have been for 2A-District 1 bragging rights. Saturday, it was defending champ Pace that laid initial claim, taking third with 146 points to fourth-place Ft Walton Beach’s 129 and sixth-place Gulf Breeze’s 110.
Rounding out the rest of the 11-team field was host Mosley (101.5 points), Suwannee (75), tournament manager South Walton (35), Arnold (33.5) and Bay (16.5). In a rare appearance, Osceola made the long trek northwest from Kissimmee, with three individual champions and a fifth-place team finish.
Complete brackets and results from the tournament can be found HERE.
Team scores: 1. Wakulla 181.5. 2. Clay 171. 3. Pace 146. 4. Ft Walton Beach 129. 5. Osceola 113.5. 6. Gulf Breeze 110. 7. Mosley 101.5. 8. Suwannee 75. 9. South Walton 35. 10. Arnold 33.5. 11. Bay 16.5.
Championship matches —
106: Heap (Osceola) p. Derrick Williams (Mosley), 2:34.
113: Maverick Rainwater (Clay) md. George Hernandez (Wakulla), 12-3.
120: Haase (Osceola) md. Gunner Ivey (Clay), 13-5.
126: Isaiah Wilson (Wakulla) p. Brandon Mallin (FWB), 5:05.
132: Colson Elliott (GBreeze) p. Fernandez (Osceola), :53.
138: Hines (Osceola) md. Luke Boree (Clay), 11-3.
145: Malachi Santiago (FWB) p. Nick Hejke (Mosley), 1:16.
152: Ian Daily (GBreeze) p. Seth O’Gara (Pace), :57.
160: Caleb Tourgee (FWB) d. Joseph Cortez (Pace), 6-4.
170: Cale Hoskinson (Clay) p. Brody Andrews (Pace), 5:10.
182: Jackson Osteen (Wakulla) p. Aiden Bryan (Pace), 2:50.
195: Wyatt Dillon (Pace) p. Tyler Edenfield (Wakulla), 3:35.
220: Cedric Fairrow (FWB) d. Garrett Tyre (Clay), 9-2.
285: Jayven Hearns (Wakulla) d. Spencer Mackenzie (FWB), 4-2.
ACES OF THE DAY:
Wakulla: After a year where he was largely away from the War Eagle lineup, junior Isaiah Wilson (132) made his return this weekend, with a 4-0 weekend that included three wins over 2020 or earlier state qualifiers. After a 7-5 decision to open the tournament, Wilson had three max-point wins, with two pins and a forfeit in taking the gold.
Clay: Junior Maverick Rainwater (113) was one of two Blue Devils champions, with a win over Wakulla in the effective championship match. Rainwater bookended his tournament with decision victories, with a fall and major in between en route to the perfect weekend.
Pace: Senior Wyatt Dillon (195) was 4-0 on the weekend in taking his weight class. Dillon had three pins, including in the effective championship match, and added an 8-4 decision over a district rival en route to the final.
Ft Walton Beach: Junior Cedric Fairrow (220), in his first varsity season with the Vikings, took home the gold in his first varsity tournament with them, with four pins, three of which came in the first period. In the effective championship match, Fairrow defeated a 1A state placer.
Gulf Breeze: Sophomore Colson Elliott (132) won the bracket by pinning his way through the weekend. Elliott pinned two 1A state qualifiers en route to a matchup — rare for Panhandle kids — with a 3A wrestler from a high-quality program, and handled things smoothly, with a 53-second pin.
Mosley: Freshman Derrick Williams (106) had a 4-1 runnerup effort in his first high school tournament, winning his pool with two pins and two decisions. Williams then faced off against one of Class 3A’s most highly-touted freshmen in Osceola’s Anderson Heap, taking a loss by fall in the second period.
Suwannee: Senior Xander Kirkland (126) was one of three Bulldogs to place third on Saturday, with a 3-1 weekend record. Kirkland lost his first match to the eventual weight-class champ, but then had a forfeit win and 18-2 tech fall in pool play to get back to the third-place match, which he won by fall in 53 seconds.
South Walton: Seahawks varsity newcomer Max Brewster (113) won his pool with three pins, two over Mosley wrestlers and a third over Ft Walton Beach, but then fell twice in the championship pool, going 6-3 with the eventual champion of the weight class, himself a Region 1 champ in 2019-20.
Arnold: Varsity newcomer Valarie Solorio (106) was 3-2 in the tournament and placed fourth, one of two Marlins to reach a top-four finish. Solorio had two decisions and a fall before dropping a 9-8 loss to the eventual runnerup in pool play, losing by fall to Wakulla in the third-place match.
Bay: Jaime Balmaceda (132) won just two matches, but tied for his team’s top place finish, pinning a district rival and former state qualifier along the way. Balmaceda had two pins, but then lost three times — once in Pool B and twice in the fourth-place medal round — to fall to sixth.