GULF BREEZE — While no Florida team had an answer for Gulf Shores’ run to the Ryan Blackwell Invitational team title on Saturday, a few questions started to sort themselves out in the Panhandle.
After the Alabama Dolphins’ 258.5-point total, Gulf Breeze found itself in second with 217, with Pace (184.5) and South Walton (184) in third and fourth, respectively. Choctaw, with 117 points, rounded out the top five.
Other area teams in the 17-team field were North Bay Haven (6th, 111), Crestview (7th, 93), Wewahitchka (9th, 76.5), Tate (10th, 74), Rocky Bayou Christian (13th, 49), Arnold (14th, 41), Milton (16th, 23) and Destin (17th, four).
Top four area performers at each weight highlighted below:
106 — South Walton’s Brett Canut reached the final behind two first-period pins over Rocky Bayou’s Thomas Pluhar and a Houston AL wrestler; in the title match, Canut lost by fall (2:44) to Gulf Shores’ Noah Guthrie. Pace’s Alex Mendez had a bye into the quarters, where he falled Wewa’s Jake Parker, losing by fall to Guthrie in the semi. Mendez then pinned Houston AL in 2:43 for third.
113 — Choctaw’s Deagan Kilpatrick ran the table with three first-period falls in 2:10, pinning Crestview’s James Metcalf, Gulf Shores and Tate’s Julian Agosto in succession, with the fall over Agosto in 37 seconds. Agosto reached the final with pins over Rocky Bayou’s Ryan Piquette and Pace’s James Spicer, plus a 12-0 major over Houston AL.
120 — Max Brewster of South Walton made it back-to-back tournament wins, bonus-pointing through the tournament. Brewster had falls over Destin’s Jimmy Singleton, Crestview’s Logan Sims and Gulf Shores before majoring Coby Shields of Gulf Breeze, 17-7, in the final, behind three takedowns and three turns. Shields gave up just one point in getting to the final, with a fall over Wewa’s Chris Johnson, an 11-0 major over North Bay Haven’s Zander Stillgess and a 2-0 win over Gulf Shores in the semi.
126 — Gulf Breeze’s Michael Mancuso won four times for his title, opening with a 6-3 win over the top seed from Gulf Shores, followed by first-period pins over Rocky Bayou’s Jeremiah Herron and Crestview’s Gary Gessendoff. In the final, Mancuso had takedowns and nearfalls in both of the first two periods, going on for a 9-1 major over South Walton’s Gibson Moore. Moore reached the final behind pins over Choctaw’s Jacob Johns and Pace’s Todd Pace. For third, Pace pinned Gessendoff in 2:31.
132 — Colson Elliott of Gulf Breeze bonus-pointed through each round, with a bye into the quarters, where he pinned Ocean Springs MS, followed by a first-period TF over Wewa’s Justin Johnson (16-1). In the title match, Elliott needed just one takedown before falling South Walton’s Isaac Brinson in 59 seconds. Brinson reached the final behind pins over Milton’s Zander Jordan, Tate’s Zackary Rogers and the top seed from WS Neal AL in the semi. Johnson, who had two front-side wins to get to Elliott, pinned WS Neal in 1:24 for third.
138 — Pace’s Maeson Otwell had preliminary-round pins over Arnold’s Alexander Neisler and Ocean Springs MS to get to the semis, where he decisioned Rocky Bayou’s Ethan Heathershaw, 11-4. In the final, Otwell had three takedowns, plus a quick turn, in the first two periods en route to an 8-2 decision over Gulf Breeze’s Logan Merritt. Merritt reached the final behind pins over Ocean Springs, South Walton’s Ryan Kurfirst and Gulf Shores. Gulf Shores pinned Heathershaw for third place.
145 — Garret Rudick of Gulf Breeze pinned or teched his way through the bracket, with falls over Destin’s Zachary Thomas and South Walton’s Frank Bonjean, plus a second-period TF over Tate’s Caiden Stone. In the final, Rudick amassed three takedowns and a turn before falling North Bay Haven’s Bear Siegal in 3:41 for the title. Siegal reached the final with pins over Choctaw’s Garrett Younghanse and Houston AL. Bonjean rallied for third with a pin over Houston for third.
152 — Pace’s Jordan Baxter bonus-pointed through each round of the tournament, with a 9-0 major over Choctaw’s Bradack Carroll, pin over Escambia County AL and third-period TF over Gulf Shores in reaching the title round. There, Baxter scored in each period, with a turn in the second, before pinning Wewa’s Conner Roberts in 4:58 for the bracket win. Roberts pinned his way into the final, with falls over NBH’s Jack Hauck, Ocean Springs MS and Gulf Breeze’s Riley Scanlon, who medical-forfeited to Gulf Shores in the third-place match.
160 — The Patriots’ Atticus Waters made it back-to-back brackets by pinning his way through the draw, with falls over Ocean Springs MS, Houston AL and Choctaw’s Eli Devoid in the semis. Waters didn’t get scored upon in the final against Gulf Shores’ Weston Reed, going up 6-0 before falling Reed in 2:38 for the title. Devoid claimed third with a pin in 4:31 over Gulf Breeze’s Brennden Nita after both reached the semis behind a decision and pin, in succession, for both.
170 — Crestview’s Layne Franks majored the top seeded Gulf Shores wrestler (12-4) in the rd of 16, then had three first-period pins in taking the title, with falls over Escambia County AL, Gulf Breeze’s Micah Barker and in the championship (1:22) over Pace’s Ty Morgan. Morgan had pins over Escambia County and Choctaw’s Teerachood Mahawongnan, plus a 9-2 decision over Rocky Bayou’s Peyton Andersen in the semi. Anderson, who had two pins to get to Morgan, rallied with a 10-4 win over Barker (2 pins on the front) to place third.
182 — Pace’s Isaac Waters had a bye into the quarters, where he decisioned Gulf Breeze’s Blake Fluck, then pinned Choctaw’s Jesse Sarver in the semi, reaching the final and Gulf Shores’ Keeshon Siaosi. While Waters had a third-period takedown, Siaosi had built a 5-0 lead after two periods and used that lead to go on for a 7-3 decision. Crestview’s Salvador Gallegos, who had two pins before losing by fall to Siaosi in the semi, rallied for third with a pin over Sarver (pin in the quarters) in 1:20 for third.
195 — North Bay Haven’s David Mercado rang up four pins in 6:28, with falls over Houston AL, Gulf Breeze’s Isaac Land and Arnold’s Alister Lollie in the semis before going into the second period for the only time all tournament in the championship match, where he falled Pace’s Aidan Bryan in 2:18. Bryan reached the final behind pins over WS Neal AL and Crestview’s Chris Greene, plus a 4-1 win over Gulf Shores in the semi. Lollie, who reached the semis behind a pin and major, took fourth with a loss by fall to Gulf Shores.
220 — Eimantas Skirius of Arnold pinned his way into the final, where he would lose by fall (2:34) to Gulf Shores’ Charlie Hollis. Earlier, Skirius picked up pins over Escambia County AL, Crestview’s Caleb Sims and North Bay Haven’s Logan McAlister in the semis. McAlister, who had two front-side pins of his own, bounced back for third with a pin (4:14) over Tate’s Landen George (bye into quarters & pin).
285 — After a bye into the quarters, South Walton’s Nick Lee had third-period falls over Gulf Breeze’s Phillip Dillard and Gulf Shores to get to the final, where he needed somewhat less time to fall Choctaw’s Caden Nimmo (1:12) to win the title. Nimmo had a bye into the quarters, followed by two pins over North Bay Haven’s Kam D’Niroux and Wewahitchka’s Briceson Davis to reach the final. Davis (bye and pin on the front) took a second loss by fall to Gulf Shores to place fourth.
Complete brackets and team scores from Saturday’s event can be found HERE.