PALM COAST — Third place in 2018. Runnerup efforts in 2019 and 2020.
The Buchholz seniors have gotten used to seeing other teams celebrate harder, and with more hardware, at district duals tournaments over the past three seasons — the history of the FHSAA dual team tournament series.
No longer. Due in large part to senior efforts Tuesday night on the road at Flagler Palm Coast, Buchholz came away with the 3A-District 2 team dual title, taking wins over DeLand (45-33) in the semis and over the host and third-ranked (matmenTEN) Bulldogs, 36-28.
The semi saw Buchholz (3-1 in duals for the season) spot DeLand (5-3) leads of 9-0, 15-3 and 21-9 through six weights, but the Bobcats would drop four straight pins to take a 33-21 lead, and it would be senior Drew Lewis’ fall at 220 that would clinch the dual without having to go into potential criteria.
It would be Buchholz that would hold the early lead against the hosts (7-3), going up 30-6 behind three forfeits, a fall from Venumadhava Mirel (126) and key decisions from Siddharth Bianchi (6-0 at 106) and senior Timothy Bowen (2-1 at 138).
FPC would break back with four straight wins from 152 through 182 (fall from Marcelo Gonzalez at 182, a 10-0 major from Kyle Peacock at 160 and decisions from Timothy King at 152 and Felipe Costa at 170), cutting the Bobcats’ margin to eight at 30-22.
But when Buchholz needed experience to see it through the most, the Bobcats got it, as senior Jason Martin took a 6-2 win at 195 and Lewis slammed the door shut on FPC’s bid to repeat as District 2 champions by the narrowest of margins, with a 6-5 win at 220.
Cavarius Liddle (113/120), Mirel, Bowen, Aiden Moore (145), Martin and Lewis were all double winners for the Bobcats.
Flagler Palm Coast reached the final with a 48-25 victory over University (Orange City) in the semis. After going down 7-0 and 13-6 early, the Bulldogs reeled off seven wins in the final nine matches to clinch a spot in the Region 1 tournament.
Kole Hannant (113), King, Peacock and Costa were double winners for Flagler Palm Coast.
The net result is that Buchholz will host the 3A-Region 1 quarters and semis on January 14. The Bobcats will take on the District 1 runnerup, while Flagler Palm Coast will face the District 1 champ; the winners will then wrestle for a berth in the region final on the 22nd, which will be staged as the first day of the state dual tournament at Osceola. District 1 spots will be determined Wednesday evening at Oakleaf.
5 Star Conference rivals DeLand and University (Orange City) wrestled for third Tuesday night, with the Bulldogs taking a 48-36 victory.
Kellen Chapman (120/126), Devon Heil (132) and Gavin Rodriguez-Cayro (170) all were double winners for DeLand, while the Titans (1-2) got two wins from Grady Bryant (106), Malique Hargett (120), James Houck (182) and Christian Kennick (285).
Results for all four duals can be found HERE.
Half of the field swings back into action on Friday. DeLand will have a Friday night dual on the road at New Smyrna Beach, while Flagler Palm Coast will head south for a two-day IBT, heading to Jensen Beach for its Cradle Cancer event. Buchholz and University (Orange City) will get back to competitive wrestling on Saturday, heading over to Lake Mary’s one-day IBT, the Tournament of Champions.