PANAMA CITY — To win every dual in a duals tournament, you have to win each one, one at a time.
Wakulla might have had to wait until its final two rounds of competition Saturday at The Bash, with Rutherford serving as physical host for the weekend-long event, but the War Eagles were ready nevertheless.
After rolling up an average margin of victory of 71.1 points per dual in the first eight, the War Eagles (22-2 in duals for the season) got tests in the final two rounds, first from 2A-Region 1 duals qualifier Ft Walton Beach in a 45-30 victory.
That set up a matchup of unbeaten vs unbeaten against Holy Cross (LA), a team Wakulla has never beaten before, per coach William Pafford.
After spotting the Bayou Staters a 22-0 lead, the War Eagles would roar back, winning the final seven matches of the final dual to take a 41-33 victory and The Bash title along with it.
In that run, Cole Baggett (bumped up a weight to 170), Tyler Edenfield (195), Jack Mispel (220), Jayven Hearns (285) and Julian Harvey (106) all had pins, while Jackson Osteen (182) had a 22-10 major and George Hernandez (113) closed it out with a 5-4 win in a match that could have still given Holy Cross the win.
Earlier in the tournament, Wakulla rolled past Rutherford (78-6), Niceville (67-12), Bay (84-0), Marianna (72-12), Arnold (79-0), North Bay Haven (75-6), Holy Cross B (72-6) and Bozeman (84-0). The War Eagles lost just six contested matches during that stretch of eight duals.
Ft Walton Beach was third with an 8-2 record. The Vikings (11-3 for the season) took wins over Bozeman (74-0), Niceville (48-24), Marianna (72-6), North Bay Haven (78-6), Rutherford (60-22), Bay (72-6), Holy Cross B (63-4) and Arnold (72-11), with a round-2 loss to Holy Cross A (47-27).
Niceville was fourth at 7-3 after an 0-3 start that included a 67-12 loss in Round 1 to Holy Cross. The Eagles (8-4 for the season) then reeled off seven straight wins over Bozeman (60-24), Rutherford (52-26), Bay (69-6), Marianna (71-6), Arnold (54-24), Holy Cross B (60-15) and North Bay Haven (59-24).
North Bay Haven began its season last weekend, putting together a 6-4 record for fifth. The Buccaneers had wins over Bay (54-27), Holy Cross B (57-15), Arnold (60-24) before a three-loss skid that included a 72-12 loss to Holy Cross in round 5. After that, NBH took wins over Bozeman (60-12), Rutherford (42-34) and Marianna (54-11).
Rutherford was right in the middle of the field, placing sixth with a 5-5 weekend that included a round-4 loss to Holy Cross (72-11) in addition to the losses noted above. The Rams (7-7 for the year) had wins over Holy Cross B (51-18), Bozeman (66-6), Marianna (60-18), Arnold (48-24) and Bay (54-12).
Arnold had no more than seven weights filled at any time (and that only once), but the Marlins were seventh and still won four duals on the weekend. Arnold (7-7 for the season) had a round-8 loss to Holy Cross (66-18), plus those noted above, with wins over Bay (30-23), Marianna (30-24), Bozeman (36-24) and Holy Cross B (25-24 in criteria).
Bay took eighth with a 3-7 tournament record that included an 84-0 loss to Holy Cross in round 7, plus the losses noted above; the Tornadoes (4-9 for the season) took wins over Holy Cross B (36-18), Bozeman (42-30) and Marianna (30-12). The Bucks (2-10 for the season) picked up two wins over the weekend, downing Marianna (42-21) and Holy Cross B (27-18), with a round-10 loss to Holy Cross (78-6). Marianna, suiting up just six wrestlers, found tough sledding in a 1-9 weekend (same duals record for the season), with a 24-18 win in round 1 over Holy Cross B and a 78-6 loss in round 3 to Holy Cross.
Box scores for all 54 duals can be found HERE.
First up will be Niceville, which travels to Crestview for a Tuesday dual. Wakulla will host 1A-Region 1 quarters and semis on Thursday, while Ft Walton Beach goes to Lincoln for 2A-Region 1 duals in those same rounds, also on Thursday. The entire rest of the Florida-based The Bash field — North Bay Haven, Rutherford, Arnold, Bay, Bozeman and Marianna — next go to Wewahitchka’s one-day Gator Brawl on Saturday.
ACES OF THE DAY
Wakulla: Seniors Cole Baggett (160/170) and Jackson Osteen (182) shared the honor for the War Eagles, as both were 10-0, both with big victories in the final dual over Holy Cross that turned the tide for the dual win. Baggett had six pins and one decision in running the table, while Osteen had four pins and one major decision in his unbeaten weekend.
Ft Walton Beach: Juniors Cedric Fairrow and Spencer Mackenzie shared the award for the Vikings, as both split time between 220 and 285 and both were 10-0. Fairrow had nine starts at 220, collecting seven pins and a decision for his 10-0 weekend, while Mackenzie had nine starts at 285 and was one of just three Florida-based “max-pointers,” scoring six team dual points in every dual the team wrestled on the weekend.
Niceville: Junior Martin Black (170) was 10-0 over the course of the weekend for the Eagles. Black bonus-pointed through the weekend, with max points through the first nine duals. He finished the weekend with four pins and one tech fall.
North Bay Haven: Freshman David Mercado (195) made his high school varsity debut last weekend, putting up a 10-0 weekend for the Buccaneers. Mercado had seven pins and was one of the three Florida max-pointers across all teams in the event.
Rutherford: Senior Xavier Stillgess (220) was one of three Rams to go 9-1 on the weekend, with his only loss coming to a fellow Ace. Stillgess led Rutherford in pins over the weekend with six; the rest of the Rams had eight as a group.
Arnold: Freshman Valorie Soloria (106/113) was one of two 8-2 wrestlers for the Marlins, with one of her two losses a weight up in order for her to get a match. Soloria had five pins and one technical fall over the course of the weekend.
Bay: Junior Corban Cherry (145/152) was one of two Tornado wrestlers to go 5-5 on the weekend, making his first appearance of the season at 152 as well. Cherry had both of his falls at 152 on Saturday, with a tech and decision at 145 on Friday.
Bozeman: Freshman Austin Comer (220) was the only Bucks wrestler to reach a .500 record on the weekend, going 5-5. Comer had three pins to lead Bozeman in that regard as well.
Marianna: The Bulldogs might have struggled as a team, but junior Ethan Heinemann (145) was a force all weekend long. Heinemann was one of just seven Florida-based wrestlers to go 10-0 on the weekend, and had more pins than any other Floridian, with nine, and was a max-pointer.
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