ST AUGUSTINE — Palatka is starting to reawaken the echoes of the Panthers’ past wrestling glory.
After five consecutive seasons of finishing second in the 1A-District 5 traditional tournament (with a third in 2015 and seventh in 2014), the Panthers brought a second FHSAA district title in the 2020-21 wrestling season back to Palatka Wednesday night.
The Panthers had to hold off a larger contingent from host Pedro Menendez, however, to win that title, with 159.5 points to the Falcons’ 149. Palatka advanced nine of its 10 wrestlers to next weekend’s Region 2 tournament at Palm Bay, with six champions, one runnerup and two 3rds on Wednesday night.
Menendez qualified all 12 of its wrestlers for regions, with one champion, eight runners-up, one 3rd and two fourths.
Atlantic was third in the five-team traditional event with 129 points, the highest average per scoring wrestler among teams in the field. The Sharks, which won last year’s District 5 title, qualified out all eight of their wrestlers to next week, with four champions, two runners-up and two 3rds.
Keystone Heights outpointed Lake Weir, 79-53, for fourth place. The Indians also qualified all eight of their wrestlers for regions, with one champion, one runnerup, four 3rds and two 4ths.
As for the Hurricanes, all five of their wrestlers moved on to regions, as they recorded one title, one runnerup, one 3rd and two 4ths.
One weight class — 120 — had no participants in the event.
Brackets from Wednesday’s tournament can be found HERE.
Palatka: Mikade Harvey (106-1st); Ishmael Foster (113-1st); Alexander McCrystal (126-2nd); Brandon Lewis (132-1st); Delton Nealy (145-1st); Adaris Medina (152-3rd); Gaitlin Carreras (160-1st); Vincent Washington (170-3rd); Jack Tilton (220-1st).
Pedro Menendez: Emma Brackett (106-2nd); Maddox Kaufenberg (126-4th); Joshua Smith (132-2nd); Logan Meehan (138-1st); Jose Ruiz (145-2nd); Justin Whitty (152-2nd); Luke Johnson (160-3rd); Tabias Brown (170-2nd); Ryon Pickles (182-2nd); Dane Litzinger (195-2nd); Stuart Martin (220-2nd); Ron Coleman (285-4th).
Atlantic: Ayden Howington (113-2nd); Jamison Pinyan (126-1st); Bernie Alvarez (132-3rd); William Johnson (138-2nd); Noah Anderson (170-1st); David Arcieri (182-1st); John Wyman (195-3rd); Jared Jackson (285-1st).
Keystone Heights: Ethan Cosby (126-3rd); Tyce Pigga (132-4th); Saige Dennis (138-3rd); Canyon Hayes (145-3rd); Alyx Nichols (152-4th); Sheppard Wingate (160-2nd); Stephan Raab (195-1st); Gabe Adams (285-3rd).
Lake Weir: Hunter Peake (145-4th); Dean Marquis (152-1st); Lamar Williams (170-4th); Preston Guyton (220-3rd); Corian Williams (285-2nd).
THE DISTRICT CHAMPS
106: In a two-person bracket, Harvey (20-5), a sophomore, needed just 26 seconds to fall Brackett in the final, taking his second district championship.
113: Also in a two-person bracket, freshman Foster (17-15) won by fall in the first period over Howington, with a pin time of 1:57, for his first title.
126 (no wrestlers weighed in at 120): Freshman Pinyan won by fall twice for his title, with a fall over fourth-place Kaufenberg in the semis prior to his third-period pin (4:53) in the title match against McCrystal.
132: Lewis (30-4), a junior, won his third district title, each year competing at 132, behind two first-period falls. He pinned fourth-place Pygga (:15) in the semis, then came back to fall Smith (1:51) for the championship.
138: In a three-person bracket, senior Meehan had a bye into the finals, where he won by fall (1:00) over Atlantic’s Johnson for his title win, his first after placing fourth in 2020 and third in 2019 (in 1A-District 4).
145: Senior Nealy (25-11) had two wins for his second district title and first since 2018; he was a runnerup both last year and in 2019. In the semis, Nealy teched fourth-place Peake (22-4) before pinning Ruiz in 52 seconds for the gold.
152: Marquis, a junior, took his second district championship in as many years after an 0-2 freshman experience in 2A. Marquis took falls over fourth-place Nichols (1:40) in the semis and again in the final against Whitty (3:19).
160: Freshman Carreras (9-7) duplicated the feat of his brother Jacob (Palatka 2020 grad) in 2018, winning his first title. In a three-person bracket, Carreras falled third-place Johnson (:55) in the semis, then won by injury default over Wingate in the final round.
170: After a runnerup effort last year, Anderson, a junior, broke through for his first title behind first-period pins over fourth-place Williams (1:21) in the semis and over Brown (1:3) in the championship match.
182: Senior Arcieri qualified for the Region 2 tournament for the fourth time, with fourths in 2018 and 2019, along with titles last year and this year in a two-person bracket. Arcieri won by fall in 1:08 over Pickles in the finals for this year’s title.
195: After finishing third in his freshman year at districts, Raab won the title this year, with pins in the semis over third-place Wyman (his opponent in the third-place match of a year ago, with same result, this time in 1 minute) and over runnerup Litzinger (5:15) for the finals win.
220: Tilton (7-6), a junior, won his second district title for the Panthers, advancing with a bye into the final, where he pinned runnerup Martin in 1 minute.
285: Jackson reached a district final for the third time and won his second District 5 championship behind two pins, each coming in 30 seconds, in the semis over fourth-place Coleman and in the championship over runnerup Williams.