PANAMA CITY — The combination of a solid turnout plus the allure of an inaugural traveling the trophy kicked off the competitive 2021-22 season in the Panhandle Thursday afternoon.
And visiting South Walton, the 1A-District 1 defending champion and favorite, proved up to the task, taking down Bay, 54-27, in front of an in-school dual crowd of Tornado students.
With the victory, the Seahawks were the first winners of what will be an annual tradition for the schools, taking home the traveling belt in the “Battle for the Belt” that kicked off Thursday.
The teams traded pins at 113 and 120, with Leonardo Sanchez opening for Bay at 113 and Max Brewster picking up his 100th career win for South Walton at 120, followed by a 17-10 win for Elijah Stillgess, in his first win as a Tornado, at 126.
South Walton (1-0) then went on an 18-0 mini-run to go up, 24-9, on pins from Isaac Brinson (132), Ryan Kurfirst (138) and Dylan Billingsley (145). Trenton Wood (152) stopped the run, briefly, with a pin for the Tornadoes (0-1), but falls from Seth Marshall (160) and Blain Stout (170) made the dual 36-15 with five weights to go and a forfeit in hand, essentially clinching the outcome.
Bay’s Shaun Sandidge won by fall at 182, and the teams traded forfeits at 195 and 220 before the Seahawks closed out with back-to-back pins from Nick Lee (285) and Brett Canut (106).
South Walton next will be hosting — and Bay will be competing in — Border Wars IX, which starts today and concludes on Saturday.
A box score from Thursday’s dual can be found HERE.