#2ARgn1Duals: Pace Reaches Final Eight

TALLAHASSEE — Another year, another step taken for the Pace program.

2018? Didn’t qualify out for region duals. 2019? Lost in the quarterfinals. 2020? Lost in the semis; a one-match swing might have opened the door for the Patriots.

The door to Osceola and the FHSAA state duals tournament was opened by this year’s Pace group, as the Patriots rolled past Chiles (52-29) in the 2A-Region 1 quarterfinals Thursday night at Lincoln, then, in the semis against the host Trojans, relied upon one of their senior captains to find the key to unlocking dual, as the Patriots pushed past Lincoln, 39-36, to qualify for state duals for the first time.

In the Friday mid-afternoon session at Osceola on January 22, Pace (6-0) will face fellow first-time dual state qualifier New Smyrna Beach for a berth in Saturday’s state semifinals, with a possible finals berth in play.

The Patriots got out to a 9-0 lead behind an injury-default win for Aidan Bryan (182) and 6-5 win at 170 for Brody Andrews. The teams traded pins at 195 and 220 (Wyatt Yown at 195 for Lincoln, Wyatt Dillon at 220 for Pace). From there, the Trojans (6-1) went on an 18-0 run, taking four straight weights from 285 through 120 to go up, 24-15. Pins from Elijah Hendley (113) and JayShawn Washington (120) and decisions from Nic Weaver (285) and Vaniel Caceres (106) fueled that run.

Momentum over the next four weights went back-and-forth, as both Pace (Hazen Esary at 126, Atticus Waters at 145) and Lincoln (Zaire Fernanders-Jackson at 132, Connor Edwards at 138) made it 36-27 Lincoln with two weights to go. Needing bonus points in at least one weight class between 152 and 160, the Patriots picked up pins in both, with Seth O’Gara’s fall at 152 opening an opportunity and Joseph Cortez’s fall securing the victory.

Pace 52, Chiles 29: The Patriots struck fast, with pins in the first three weights, building a 30-5 lead. Chiles broke back with three pins in a row to cut that lead to seven; after the teams traded falls at 126 and 132, Pace bonus-pointed out the dual, closing with a 16-0 run.

Cortez (160), Andrews (170), Bryan (182), Dillon (220), Kegan O’Shell (285), Esary (126), Waters (145, with the dual-clinching fall) and O’Gara (152) each won by fall for the Patriots, while Camden Friend added an 11-3 major at 138.

Kyle McGill got Chiles on the scoreboard with a 16-1 tech fall at 195; the Timberwolves would get pins from Sam Tolomeo (106), Garrett Marschka (113), Hunter Brown (120) and Olufemi Egberongbe (132).

Lincoln 42, Ft Walton Beach 36: With two matches to go, Connor Edwards’ 7-2 win for the Trojans at 138 clinched the dual in Lincoln’s favor, giving the Trojans a chance to contend for a fourth straight dual state appearance. Lincoln built an early 33-12 lead, winning five of six matches between 182, and made it stand up. Ft Walton Beach picked up pins in three of the final four weight classes, but Edwards’ win proved to be enough to push Lincoln over the top.

Patrick Blanca (160), Crowder (182), Yown (195), Omarion LaRoach (285), Hendley (113) and Ron Taylor (126) each won by fall for the Trojans, while Caceres had a 9-6 win at 106.

For the Vikings, Caleb Tourgee (170), Cedric Fairrow (220), Brandon Mallin (120), Weston Burbidge (132), Martin Muniz (145) and Malachi Santiago (152) each had pins.

Results for the bracket’s three duals can be found HERE. Chiles and Ft Walton Beach wrestled a subsequent dual, not under the FHSAA bracket, and that dual will be recapped separately.

Pace will compete in Monday’s Arnold Holiday Invitational, while Lincoln will host its annual Trojan Invitational at the Tallahassee Jr Volleyball Club.

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