JACKSONVILLE — To be sure, there were glitches in the 2020-21 Clay wrestling season.
The dual loss at home to Creekside in December. Region 1 finals at Osceola. And…
Point being, not a whole lot went wrong in the Blue Devil 2020-21 season, with the northern part of it coming to a close Saturday at Bolles, as Clay led wire-to-wire in taking the 1A-Region 1 IBT after a two-year absence from the top of the heap.
The Blue Devils will take eight qualifiers (two champions, two runners-up, two 3rds and two 4ths) to Friday’s 1A state tournament at Silver Spurs Arena, finishing with a 20-point margin over runnerup and two-time defending champs Wakulla (193.5-173.5).
“To finish ahead of Wakulla, Rotary and Fleming Island, we feel good about how we finished. Ended up, basically, the #1 team in north Florida,” Clay coach Jim Reape said. “We beat the teams we had to beat, so that was a goal, to finish that way.
“We got eight guys going, just one senior among them, and that’s Cale (Hoskinson, the 160 region champ). So seven guys will be returning state qualifiers next year, and that’s pretty good.”
Wakulla was never seriously threatened for second. The War Eagles also will take eight to states, duplicating Clay’s stat in each way (two champs, two runners-up, two 3rds and two 4ths).
“Honestly comes down to two weight classes where we would have wanted a different outcome,” Wakulla coach William Pafford said. “When you have an intense rivalry like we do, it’s back and forth. Neither one likes to lose.
“Hopefully brackets come out tonight (they were posted next day) and we’ll start working on film, working on gameplanning, to get ready for state.”
Suwannee’s final medalist came midway through the medals round, and the Bulldogs’ group of six medalists had enough to hold off Yulee’s challenge for third, as the Bulldogs scored 132.5 points to the Hornets’ 129.
Suwannee will take two runners-up, three 3rds and one 4th, while Yulee had two runners-up and four 4ths.
Fernandina Beach and Florida High each tied for fifth with 106 points. The Seminoles will take four to states (two champs, one 3rd and one 4th), while the Pirates will have three (two champs & one 3rd).
Rounding out the top 10 were Baker County & Raines (both with 71 points; the Wildcats moved one runnerup & one 3rd, while the Vikings will take two champs & one 3rd); South Walton (67, one runnerup & one 3rd); and Episcopal (65.5, one runnerup).
The second 10 teams in the tournament were host Bolles (61.5 points, one champ & one 3rd); Rutherford (59.5, one runnerup); Ridgeview (59, two champs); Bishop Kenny (55.5, two 4ths); Union Cty & West Nassau (43 points each; Union moving through one 3rd and West Nassau one 4th); University Christian (42, one champ); Bishop Snyder (27.5, one runnerup); North Bay Haven (27, one runnerup) and Rocky Bayou Christian (25).
Arnold was the only team in the bottom 10 with a state qualifier, placing 22nd with 19 points and one 4th. Bay was 21st with 20 points and Wolfson 23rd with 15, followed by Wewahitchka (24th, 12); Godby (25th, eight); Ed White & Paxon (T-26th, six); Bozeman & Marianna (T-28th, four) and Baldwin 30th and no points.
Brackets from the weekend’s wrestling can be found HERE. Below follows a survey of Saturday’s second-day competition:
Championship: District 4 champ and second-ranked University Christian eighth-grader Jayce Paridon (51-4) pinned his way through the tournament, with two pins both days. Paridon began Saturday with a semifinal fall over Wewahitchka’s Jay Brown (2:48) to qualify for states on the second time, then followed that up with a second 2nd-period fall in the championship match over District 2 champ and Wakulla junior Julian Harvey (2:13). Harvey (39-2, 5th) reached the final behind two first-period Friday pins and a semifinal tech fall (17-2) over Episcopal’s Cohen Chesser for his first state appearance.
Third place: After losing by fall in the quarters to Harvey on Friday, Union Cty sophomore Christian Simmons (31-15) won four times by fall in the consis, including Saturday pins over Bishop Kenny’s Jacob Harless (1:20), Brown (1:49) in the blood round for his first state trip, and then in the third-place match, pinning Suwannee’s Topher Pearson in 4:14. Pearson (full record not reported) had three consi-side pins after a quarterfinal loss by fall to Paridon, with Saturday falls over District 3 champ Nik Saldana of Fernandina Beach (3:57) and Chesser (3:28) in the consi semis.
Championship: District 3 champ and third-ranked Raines junior De’Quon King (23-1) max-pointed into the final, with a first-period Saturday fall (1:22) over district rival Blayden Tharpe of West Nassau, qualifying for states for the third time. In the championship match, King held off Clay junior and District 4 champ Maverick Rainwater for a 4-2 decision and his first region title. Rainwater (31-6, 5th) reached the final behind two bonus-point Friday wins, plus a 7-4 win in the semis over District 1 champ and South Walton junior Max Brewster to punch his second Kissimmee ticket.
Third place: Brewster (23-3, 7th) bounced back to third behind two consi-side victories, opening with a 14-2 major over Bolles’ Jacob Witt in the blood round for his first state appearance, then shut out Bishop Kenny senior Ryan Mayer, 5-0, in the third-place match. Mayer (24-7, 10th) won three consi-side matches after falling to Rainwater in the quarters on Friday, including Saturday wins over district rivals Jacob Proffit of Yulee (18-2 tech in 4:08) and Tharpe (fall in 2:11 in the consi semis) for his second state appearance. Witt got to that round behind a walkover forfeit win in the consi quarters.
Championship: District 2 champ and sixth-ranked Wakulla senior Raymond Hatchman (34-4) max-pointed through the tournament, with a walkover forfeit into the final on Saturday, qualifying for state for the second time. Then, in the final, he pinned Bishop Snyder senior Christian Villanueva in 1:45 for the championship. Villanueva (27-8, 8th) reached the final with two Friday wins and a tech fall in the semis over district rival Dalton Huckelberry of Clay (15-0) to qualify for Kissimmee for the first time.
Third place: After falling to Villanueva, 10-7, in the opening round on Friday, Suwannee freshman Austin McKinney (43-9, 10th) won five on the bounce in the consis, with Saturday victories over West Nassau’s Jackson Holcomb (fall in :55), Huckelberry (7-4 decision) in the blood round, and a fall in the third-place match over District 1 champ and Arnold sophomore Lucas Biddle (2:34). Biddle (36-11) won three consi-side matches after losing to Huckelberry in the quarters, with Saturday victories over District 3 champ Caden Kubatzke (5-2 decision) and a walkover forfeit in the consi semis.
Championship: District 2 champ and second-ranked Florida High senior Tyler Reeve (43-3) bonus-pointed through to the final, with two Friday pins and a Saturday semifinal 11-3 major over District 3 champ and Fernandina Beach senior Jeremy Mahoney, qualifying for states for the fourth time. In the championship match, Reeve reprised his District 2 finals match against Suwannee senior Timothy Jolicoeur, with a 6-2 decision for his second region title. Jolicoeur (35-10, 5th) had three bonus-point wins as well prior to the final, including a Saturday 11-1 major over district rival and Wakulla junior Isaiah Wilson to qualify out for the fourth time.
Third place: Mahoney (31-1, 6th) came back behind two bonus-point wins in the consis, pinning District 4 champ Thomas Viens of Clay (4:12) in the blood round to get to state for the second time. Mahoney then majored Wilson, 11-1, to claim third. Wilson (34-8) punched his second Kissimmee ticket with a 12-0 major in the consi semis over Episcopal’s Christian Ryan. Ryan and Viens got to that round with wins in the consi quarters, as Ryan downed district rival Tristan Martinez of Yulee, 11-7, and Viens pinned District 1 champ Colin Dutton of Rutherford in 3:13.
Championship: District 4 champ and top-ranked Ridgeview senior Matthew Rodriquez (53-0) max-pointed through the tournament, with three weekend pins in 2:49 to qualify for states for the fifth time and win his fourth region title, a school record. Rodriguez needed just 1:11 on Saturday to claim that title, falling District 2 champ and Wakulla senior Jackson Merrick (:22) in the semis, then pinning District 3 champ and Episcopal senior Joe Jackson in :49 for the title win. Jackson (24-6) won three times to punch his first Kissimmee ticket, with a 10-3 semifinal win over Clay freshman Chandler Thomas on Saturday.
Third place: Merrick (35-7) bounced back from the semifinal loss with a pair of decisions, qualifying out for his first state apeparance with an 8-3 win in the blood round over district rival Brody Boehm of Suwannee. Merrick then held down Thomas, 6-4, to take the bronze. Thomas (20-9) advanced to states with a 5-1 win in the consi semis over Rocky Bayou’s Luke Latham. Latham and Boehm both got to that round with decision wins, with Latham decisioning Fernandina Beach’s Dietrich Woods by a 6-4 count and Boehm pushing past District 1 champ Romero Black of Rutherford, 6-2.
Championship: District 4 champ and seventh-ranked Clay junior Luke Boree (27-7) had a fall and three decisions, including a pair of Saturday wins in the semifinals over District 3 champ and Yulee sophomore Dylan Johns (6-3) for his first state tournament appearance. In the championship match, Boree took down District 2 champ and Suwannee junior Tyson Musgrove for a 2-0 win. Musgrove (45-5, 8th) had a pair of Friday pins and then shut out Episcopal’s Noah Meyer, 5-0, in the semis to secure his second Kissimmee trip.
Third place: Florida High senior Emil Ganim (33-10) bounced back from a 9-7 loss to Boree in the quarters with four consi-side wins, including Saturday victories over district rival Jae T Thaxton (10-4 decision), Meyer (fall in 1:25) in the blood round to qualify out for the third time, and an 8-5 decision in the bronze-medal match over Johns. Johns (20-10) secured his first trip to states with a consi-semi fall (4:40) over Union Cty’s Cade Vaughn. Vaughn got to the round with a pin of his own (2:47) over District 1 champ Ryan Kurfirst of South Walton.
Championship: District 2 champ and ninth-ranked Wakulla junior Hayden Reeves (35-7) pinned his way through to the final, with his third pin Saturday in the semis over District 1 champ Corban Cherry of Bay (3:01), securing his first state space. Reeves then turned back District 3 champ and Yulee senior Isaiah Shook, 8-2, in the championship match. Shook (26-9) advanced to the final with a fall and two decisions, the second of those an 11-9 win over District 4 champ and Clay junior Josh Kumpf, sending Shook to states for the second time.
Third place: After a 3-1 loss to Shook in the quarters, Suwannee senior Caleb Parsons won four times on the back to rally back for third and qualify out for the first time, with Saturday wins over district rival Anthony Bedoya of Florida High (fall in :59) and Cherry (fall in 1:39 in the blood round), plus an 8-3 decision in the third-place match over Kumpf. Kumpf (19-6) got to state for the first time with a 6-2 consi-semi win over Episcopal’s Ben Helton. Helton reached that round with a fall (1:48) in the consi quarters over district rival Nolan McKelvy of West Nassau.
Championship: District 3 champ and fifth-ranked Fernandina Beach freshman Enzo Gamba continued his unbeaten season (26-0) by max-pointing into the final, including a Saturday pin in the semis over University Christian’s Mathew Flores (5:01). Gamba then turned back Clay sophomore and District 4 champ Dominic Martin, 4-1, in the championship match. Martin (33-8, 7th) also bonus-pointed his way into the final, with a 14-5 major in the semis on Saturday over District 2 champ and Suwannee sophomore Austin Howard, qualifying for states for the second time.
Third place: Howard (42-14) came back for third and his first state appearance behind two bonus-point wins in the consis, majoring District 1 champ Calvin Wells of Rocky Bayou, 8-0, in the blood round, then falling Bishop Kenny sophomore Colin Hearn in 1:23 for third. Hearn (28-12) won three times in the consis after losing by fall to Martin in the quarters on Friday, with Saturday wins over district rival Jesse Johnson (5-2, avenging a district semis loss) and over Flores (4-2) in the consi semis. Wells reached the blood round with a walkover forfeit win in the consi quarters.
Championship: District 4 champ and top-ranked Clay senior Hoskinson (38-2) pinned or teched his way through the tournament, with four matches in 6:07, including a fall in the semis over Florida High freshman Xander Hawkes (1:17) for his fourth state appearance, followed by a second-period tech fall in the championship match over District 3 champ and Yulee senior Aston Ricks (15-0 in 2:17), which gave Hoskinson his third region title. Ricks (36-8, 6th) reached the final behind two Friday bonus-point wins and a 7-5 semifinal decision over District 2 champ and Wakulla senior Cole Baggett.
Third place: Baggett (40-3, 7th) came back from the semifinal loss with two pins in 2:10, falling Bishop Kenny’s Paul Barakat (1:25) in the blood round to qualify for state for the second time (Baggett had pinned Barakat in the opening round), then falling district rival Hawkes in 45 seconds for third place. Hawkes (19-19) also punched his Kissimmee first ticket with a pin over West Nassau’s Jakob Turnage (4:40) in the consi semis. Turnage had reached that round with a fall over county and district rival Lucas Crawford of Fernandina Beach (2:05), while Barakat turned back District 1 champ Zach Duncan of Rutherford, 5-2.
Championship: District 3 champ and third-ranked Raines senior Raynarde Thomas (25-0) pinned his way into the final (3 pins in 3:01), with his third fall in the semifinals on Saturday coming in 54 seconds over Florida High’s Liam Hawkes for his third state appearance. Thomas then powered past District 1 champ and South Walton senior Chase Maddox, 6-3, to win his second region title. Maddox (18-3, 5th) punched his third Kissimmee ticket by teching or pinning through the first three rounds, including a semifinal pin over District 2 champ Clayton Dennison of Baker Cty (1:50).
Third place: After a 7-5 quarterfinal loss to Hawkes on Friday, Clay junior Ethan Larsen bonus-pointed through the consis, including Saturday wins over Bay’s Caleb Pippin (fall in 2:58), Dennison (10-0 major in the blood round) for his first state appearance, and a win by injury-default over Yulee senior Collin Sewell in the third-place match. Sewell (25-12) had three bonus-point consi wins after losing by fall to Maddox in the quarters; on Saturday, he majored county and district rival Brooks Rohe of Fernandina Beach (15-6) and pinned Hawkes in 2:35 in the consi semis.
Championship: District 4 champ and seventh-ranked Bolles senior Ethan Asbury (26-7) had a pin/decision combo on both days of the tournament to make his second state appearance and win first title. On Saturday, Asbury pinned District 3 champ and Yulee junior Keleb Reddish in 1:51 in the semis, then bounced back in the championship match to overcome District 2 champ and Wakulla senior Jackson Osteen in a rematch of the 2020 Region 1 final at the same weight, 6-3. Osteen (40-3, 8th) pinned his way into the final for his second state appearance, with a Saturday pin over District 1 champ Chad Allgood of Rutherford (2:28).
Third place: Baker Cty senior Conner South (11-4, 9th) came back from a 3-1 loss to Asbury in the quarters with four wins in the consis to place third and qualify for state for the first time. South had Saturday wins over Fernandina Beach’s Tyler Harris (fall in 2:51), Allgood (9-4 in the blood round) and a pin in 2:25 for third place over Reddish. Reddish (17-11) secured his first trip to states with a fall over Clay’s Jadon Bell (3:14) in the consi semis. Bell had reached that round with a 5-2 win over Episcopal’s Christian McGarity in the consi quarters.
Championship: District 2 champ and seventh-ranked Florida High senior Micah Perdue (33-6) max-pointed into the final for his second Kissimmee appearance, winning by injury-default in the third period over District 3 champ and Raines junior Jamari Watson. Perdue then took down District 1 champ and North Bay Haven freshman David Mercado, 8-6, to win his first region title. Mercado (29-1, 9th) also bonus-pointed into the final, with two Friday pins and a 14-1 major in the semis over District 4 champ Kedtric Wilbon of Clay.
Third place: Watson (18-1) came back for third behind falls in the blood round over Suwannee’s Blaine Howard (1:45) to punch his second Kissimmee ticket, then pinned district rival and Yulee freshman Braylen Ricks (4:57) in a reprise of the District 3 final last week. Ricks (16-9) lost by fall in the opening round, putting together a state-qualifying effort behind four consi-side victories, including Saturday wins over district rival Da’vaughn Patterson (3:59) of Ed White and a 5-4 win over Wilbon in the consi semis. Howard got to that round with a fall over district rival Toby Kinghorn in 1:47 after forfeiting to Kinghorn the previous week at districts.
Championship: District 3 champ and fifth-ranked Fernandina Beach senior Kolby Kidd (33-1) pinned his way into the final for his first state appearance, with a Saturday semifinal fall over District 2 champ Robert Harrell of Godby (4:40). In the championship match, Kidd overcame District 1 champ and Rutherford senior Xavier Stillgess, 8-3, for the title. Stillgess (23-4, 6th) max-pointed into the final, with two pins, the second of those in the semis over District 4 champ and Bolles junior Jack Pyburn (4:46) to punch his third Kissimmee ticket.
Third place: After the loss to Stillgess, Pyburn (21-2, 9th) secured his second state trip with a 4-1 blood-round decision over Florida High’s Amarrie Harris, then pinned West Nassau senior Jackson Rowell in 1:55 to take third. Rowell (10-5), who’d lost by pin in the quarters to Pyburn on Friday, had three falls in the consis to ensure a second Kissimmee appearance, including Saturday pins over Baker County’s Garrett Cain (:45) and Harrell (1:34) in the consi semis. Harris reached that round with 9-6 deciison over Yulee’s Tim King in the consi quarters.
Championship: District 4 champ and fourth-ranked Ridgeview junior Derrick Mosley kept his unbeaten season going (49-0) with three pins and a 3-2 win in the semifinals over District 2 champ and Wakulla senior Jayven Hearns to earn his second Kissimmee trip. Mosley then picked up his third pin of the weekend in the championship match, falling Baker County senior Daeshawn Larry in 1:29. Larry (11-5, 9th) max-pointed through to the final, with a semifinal pin over Clay freshman Ethan Daniels (3:59) for his first state appearance.
Third place: Daniels (32-9, 10th) came back for third behind two consi-side wins, pinning district rival Angel Lecointe of Bishop Snyder (5:48) in the blood round, then overcoming Hearns, 4-3, in the bronze-medal match. Hearns (36-7) secured his second tournament appearance with a 4-1 consi-semi win over District 4 champ Kevin Thallemer of Bishop Kenny. LeCointe advanced to the blood round with a fall (4:00) over Florida High’s Adam Stinson, while Thallemer decisioned district rival Tommaso Pozzoni of Episcopal, 7-2, in the consi quarters.