SANTA ROSA BEACH — Some questions started getting some answers over the weekend at South Walton’s Border Wars IX.
How will Fleming Island hold up against different competition and a different focus? Answer: Pretty well, as the Golden Eagles had two individual champions and was Florida’s top team in the tournament, placing third with 268 points, just six back of long-time Louisiana power St Pauls.
How will Wakulla bounce back from a huge graduation loss? Just fine, as the War Eagles were fourth in the 21-team event with 212 points.
2A teams Chiles (159.5 points), Gulf Breeze (147) and Niceville (145.5) were 6th through 8th in the two-day tournament, won by Alabama’s Vestavia Hills with 314 points. Jesuit (LA) rounded out the top five with 182.5.
Host South Walton was 10th (123.5 points), Mosley 13th (89.5), Crestview 14th (66), Rutherford 15th (51.5), Rocky Bayou 16th (41.5), followed by Wewahitchka (37.5), Tate (35), Arnold (34), Bay (26) and new independent program Destin (4.5).
A rundown of area top-4 performances in each weight class follows. For writing efficiency, we will be looking at Saturday performances only, although when we can start record-keeping, the Friday efforts will be noted.
106 — Wakulla’s Julian Harvey and Fleming’s Shane Duhaylungsod both reached the semis and placed 3rd and 4th, respectively. Harvey pinned Niceville’s Isabella Wall (1:36) and shut out Fleming’s Matthew Newman, 2-0, in the quarters, before losing by fall to the eventual champ from Vestavia Hills. Meanwhile, Duhaylungsod had pins over Rutherford’s Dylan Malott (3:18) and Wewa’s Jake Parker (1:31) before a loss by fall to the runnerup from Jesuit. In the third-place match, Harvey took an 8-0 major.
113 — After being seeded second in the bracket, Fleming Island’s Jayce Paridon bonus-pointed through the rounds to the title. After a bye into the quarters, Paridon falled Wakulla’s Anthony Fondo (:44) before his toughest match of the tournament, a 10-2 semifinal win over Chiles’ Sam Tolomeo. Paridon then built a 7-0 lead in the final over Vestavia Hills’ top-seeded Cale Tucker before winning by fall in 1:53. Tolomeo reached the semis with pins over South Walton’s Bianca Nunez (:39) and Wakulla’s Connor Brown (:41); after the loss to Paridon, Tolomeo fell by major decision (11-2) to St Pauls.
120 — The hosts’ Max Brewster made it back-to-back area titles, with three pins and a decision. Brewster pinned Destin’s Jimmy Singleton (:59, rd of 16) and Mosley’s Calvin Williams (1:32, quarters) before the lone match going six minutes, in which he decisioned Fleming’s Laird Duhaylungsod, 7-2. The final was somewhat simpler, as Brewster decked St Pauls’ Trey Faherty in 2:29. Duhaylungsod had a forfeit and then pinned Wakulla’s Caleb Orr (1:33) in the quarters, coming back after the semifinal loss to battle Jesuit to double-overtime, then ramping up the attacks for a 7-1 win and third.
126 — Chiles’ Garrett Marschka pinned his way into the final, but could not overcome Osceola’s Anderson Heap once there, losing by an 8-0 major. Before that, though, Marschka had falls over Mosley’s Eric Sapp (:59), Vestavia Hills (5:49) and Niceville’s Ethan Pinto (4:23) in the semis. Wakulla’s Juan Jimenez was third, with pins over Crestview’s Gary Gessendorf (:16, rd of 16) and South Walton’s Gibson Moore (1:07, quarters), plus a third-place pin (2:08) over Pinto. Pinto reached the semis behind a fall over St Pauls (3:58) and medical-forfeit win over Vestavia Hills in the quarters.
132 — Gulf Breeze’s Colson Elliott, the #2 seed, bonus-pointed his way into the final, where he lost by tech fall (24-8 in 4:22) to Osceola’s Corey Haase. Before that, Elliott had a forfeit win in the round of 16, a 14-5 major over Holy Cross in the quarters, and 44-second pin over South Walton’s Isaac Brinson in the semi. Wakulla’s Isaiah Wilson, who pinned Bay’s James Moos (1:02) and shut out Vestavia Hills (5-0) before a loss by fall in the semis to Haase, took third place with a 21-second pin over Brinson. Brinson reached the semis behind a 34-second pin over Niceville’s Michael Davis and quarterfinal TF (17-2 in 2:37) over Crestview’s Kiasah Goolsby.
138 — Rocky Bayou’s Luke Latham had three 6-minute wins to reach the final, where he lost by third-period TF (16-0 in 5:29) to St Pauls’ Jacob Houser. Before that, Houser sandwiched a 9-0 quarterfinal major over Wakulla’s Wyatt Welch with two decisions (9-2 over Wakulla’s Nate Jacobs in the round of 16, 10-4 over Gulf Breeze’s Logan Merritt in the semis. Merritt, who pinned Chiles’ Jacob Johnston (1:12, rd of 16) and Rutherford’s Romero Black (1:55, quarters) to get to the semi, took a 4-2 loss to Jesuit in the third-place match.
145 — Wakulla’s Hayden Reeves max-pointed through the tournament to take the coverage area’s third title. After opening with an injury-default win over Rocky Bayou’s Owen Parry in the round of 16, Reeves had pins over Fleming Island’s Matthew Kotler (2:00, quarters), Gulf Breeze’s Garret Rudick (4:43, semis) and falled St Pauls’ Ethan Viator in 49 seconds for the gold medal. Rudick, who pinned Destin’s Zachary Thomas (:53, rd of 16) and Niceville’s Tim Dwyer (:41, quarters) to reach the semi, also fell in the third-place match to Jesuit, 16-10.
152 — Mosley’s Nick Hejke had three max-point wins to reach the final, where he lost by a 13-2 major to Osceola’s Gunner Holland. Prior to that round, Hejke had pins over Bay’s Trenton Wood (:41, rd of 16) and Wakulla’s Jae T Thaxton (3:35, quarters), winning by injury-default over St Pauls in the semi. Chiles’ Andrew Mullins was a semifinalist and placed third, pinning Crestview’s Dalton Brown (:44) and pushing past Wewa’s Conner Roberts, 9-6, in the quarters before falling to Holland, 17-4, in the semi. Mullins won by medical forfeit to take third.
160 — Fleming Island’s Ronan Bozeman was a semifinalist and placed fourth. After opening with a fall over Wakulla’s Aiden Fetterhoff (1:55, rd of 16) and 14-1 major over South Walton’s Chase Haas in the quarters, Bozeman fell to the eventual champ from St Pauls, 7-0, in the semis, and took a second loss against Vestavia Hills, 5-0, to finish fourth.
170 — The Golden Eagles’ Joshua Sandoval brought home the team’s second title, with four pins in 5:02. After preliminary pins over Holy Cross (1:29, rd of 16) and Gulf Breeze’s Micah Barker (:23, quarters), Sandoval falled Niceville’s Ty Hawkins in :26 to reach the championship match. In an all-area final, Sandoval pinned Niceville’s Martin Black in 2:44 for the title. Black reached the final behind victories over Chiles’ Kadis Nafal (18-3 TF in 2:44, rd of 16), Villages’ Grant Kincannon (8-4 decision in quarters) and Vestavia Hills (fall in :05) in the semis. Hawkins, who reached the semis behind wins over Mosley’s Ronald McKaye (pin in 2:25, rd of 16) and Chiles’ Langston Tillman (12-8 win, quarters), came back to take third with a 5-1 decision over Vestavia Hills.
182 — Fleming Island’s Jhoel Robinson pinned his way into the final, where a takedown from his opponent, Vestavia Hills’ John Edwards, with 35 seconds left helped secure a 4-3 decision and send Robinson to the runnerup spot. Before that, though, Robinson had pins over Arnold’s Christian McDonals (:40, rd of 16), Chiles’ Cody Elliott (1:15, quarters) and Wakulla’s Tyler Edenfield (3:38, semis). Edenfield, who reached the semi behid a forfeit and quarterfinal pin (1:36) over St Pauls, then lost by fall to Jesuit (2:54) to place fourth.
195 — Niceville’s Harrisen Wall had 2 pins and 2 decisions to collect the area’s fifth title of the weekend. Wall falled South Walton’s Zachary Budd (:55, rd of 16) and then shut out Villages’ Nicholas Caudill, 7-0, in the quarters. In the semifinal round, Wall pinned Chiles’ Dillon Elliott in :45 seconds to reach the final. There, Wall scored in each period, with a first-period 3-point nearfall, to take an 11-5 win over Vestavia Hills’ Riggs Manown. Elliott, who advanced to the semis behind a forfeit and quarterfinal pin over Wakulla’s Sultan Ellington (1:48) placed fourth after a loss by fall to Jesuit in the third-place match.
220 — Arnold’s Eimantas Skirius reached the semifinals behind pins over Rutherford’s Ty’quarious Oats (:14, rd of 16) and Villages’ Ashton Hage (4:29, quarters) before losing by fall (1:29) to the eventual runnerup from Vestavia Hills. Skirius then advanced by medical forfeit over another Vestavia Hills wrestler to place third.
285 — Fleming Island’s Ethan Hoffstetter won three times in the bracket, reaching the final and Vestavia Hills’ Mitch Taylor, who secured a takedown for a 5-3 win over Hoffstetter for the title. Before that round, though, Hoffstetter pinned Wewahitchka’s Briceson Davis (:49, rd of 16) and Wakulla’s Jacob Cardoza (5:17, quarters), followed by a 4-2 win in the semis over Gulf Breeze’s Phillip Dillard. Dillard, who reached the semis behind pins over Niceville’s Asa Adams (:31, rd of 16) and South Walton’s Nick Lee (1:14, quarters), then lost in the third-place match by fall (2:09) to Holy Cross.
Full brackets and team scores from the tournament can be found HERE.