GAINESVILLE — For the fourth consecutive year, Fleming Island rules at least the eastern half of 3A-Region 1 in duals.
Next week, in the first day of the FHSAA state dual tournament in Osceola, the Golden Eagles have the opportunity to make it all of Region 1 — for the fourth time — with its first new finals opponent in two seasons.
After stomping through Flagler Palm Coast (56-16) and Buchholz (58-19) in quarterfinal and semifinal competition Thursday night at Buchholz, Fleming Island will take on Timber Creek for the Region 1 championship in the evening Friday session at Osceola on the 22nd. The Golden Eagles defeated Winter Springs in 2018 and Hagerty each of the last two years in getting to the 3A state semis or final.
The quarterfinal would see it open with bonus points for both teams (Fleming’s Hunter Herrington with a 21-6 tech fall at 113, answered by John Hald’s 15-4 major at 120 for the Bulldogs), but the Golden Eagles (13-0) opened up gap with a 24-0 run fueled by pins from Riley Holton (126) and Garrett Cole (138), plus forfeit wins at 132 and 145. Flagler would get the lead down to 29-13 with a fall from Kyle Peacock (160) and Timothy King’s 8-1 decision at 152, but FIHS would build the lead back out to 28 on pins from Jhoel Robinson (170) and a dual-clincher from Gavin Smith (182).
Flagler tacked on three more with Garrick Schwartz’s 5-3 win at 195, but the Golden Eagles would close out with a 15-0 finish, with pins from Raul Gonzalez (220) and Joseph Forte (106), plus a 3-0 decision from Ethan Hoffstetter at 285.
That brought on the host Bobcats (7-2), who advanced with a walkover into the semifinal. After a 16-0 start for Fleming, pushed by Noah Marsland’s pin at 120 and an 8-0 major from Holton at 126 and a forfeit victory at 132, Buchholz would close the gap to nine twice (16-7 and 22-13), with a two-match run from Timothy Bowen (4-2 decision at 138) and Aiden Moore (13-2 major at 145). That would be duplicated at 152-160, as the teams traded pins (David Parkes at 152 for Fleming, Kason Nichols at 160 for Buchholz).
After that, outside of the Bobcats’ Jason Martin winning by fall at 195, it was all Golden Eagles, who won six of the last seven, all by max points, to pull away. Pins by Robinson (170), Smith (182), Gonzalez (220, in the dual-clinching weight match), Forte (106) and Herrington (113), plus a forfeit win at 285, fueled that late charge.
Results for both duals can be found HERE. With its plans cancelled for St Cloud and the Milton-Winter Invitational (where Fleming was the defending champion), the Golden Eagles opted for a closer opportunity to tune up for next week, and will go to Westside’s roundrobin event on Saturday. Buchholz is off until the 23rd, when it will go to Columbia’s Tiger Duals, while Flagler Palm Coast will also travel a bit, going to Oviedo for that program’s Showdown in O-Town one-day duals event on Saturday.