FERNANDINA BEACH — In the format used to determine an overall champion at Saturday’s Dual in the Dunes, three pool champions dive into the championship round, with each getting dual shots against the other.
The goal, ideally, is for one team to emerge unbeaten on the day.
But the ideal does not always happen in wrestling, as Pool A champ Suwannee, Pool B champ Mandarin and Pool C champ Bartram Trail each were 1-1 against one another. That led to a tiebreaker ruling settled after the mat action was over, and might have kicked about as much dust as the wrestling did.
Ultimately, by dint of its 12-point win (42-30) over the Mustangs in the first of three championship duals, followed by Mandarin’s 43-42 criteria win over Suwannee, Bartram Trail was declared the tournament winner even after a 41-39 loss to the Bulldogs.
“Last week we went IBT because we needed to get our better guys some work. This week we wanted to go duals because we wanted to see where we were at as a team. And that’s why we picked this one because we wanted to see some good guys,” Bears coach Chad Parker said. “We’ve either got young guys, first-year guys, or guys that are three- or four-year starters. It’s just all about getting better.”
Bartram Trail (4-1 in duals for the season as well as the day) won Pool C with dual victories over host Fernandina Beach (45-30), Brantley County GA (48-26) and Gainesville (66-6) prior to going 1-1 in the championship pool.
The Bears had three unbeaten wrestlers on the day, two of them “max-pointers” that scored 6 team dual points in each round the team wrestled, those being Ethan Vugman (120/126, 3 pins) and Matthew Tayloe (145/152, 3 pins). First-year 220 Shane Armstrong (3 pins & decision) joined them with 5-0 records.
Preston Pena (145/152, 2 pins) and Aydan Nguyen (160/170, 2 pins & 2 decisions) both were 4-1 for Bartram, while Chase Newmans (106/113) was 3-2. In a regular role, first-year 285 Lorenzo Aramayo (2 pins) chipped in a 3-0 day.
Bartram Trail next hosts Ridgeview in a Wednesday night dual.
Meanwhile, Suwannee (12-2 for the season), the inaugural champion of the Dual in the Dunes two years ago, might have won the toughest of the three pools in Pool A, with dual wins over Episcopal (52-27), Charlton County GA (50-30) and Nease (54-24), along with its two-point win over the Bears.
“It’s been fun working with the kids, and we had nine freshmen and first-year kids today, so we’re still happy about that,” Bulldog parent and interim HC Rod Howard said. “We’re just getting them used to a dual meet-style tournament. Get them in this atmosphere, there’s a lot of teachable moments. They’re still learning, but they’ve been working hard in practice and we’ve got a tight-knit community behind them, supporting them.”
Suwannee had five kids go 5-0 on Saturday, with max-point efforts from Eli Jolicoeur (106, 2 pins), Topher Pearson (113, pin) and Tyson Musgrove (145/152, 4 pins). Austin Howard (160, 4 pins & major) bonus-pointed throughout the day, with Austin McKinney (132, 2 pins & decision) also at 5-0.
Brody Boehm (126, 2 pins) was 4-0 on the day for Suwannee, while Ayden Kirby (138, pin, tech & decision) built a 3-1 tournament and James Prentice (170, 2 pins & major) was 3-2.
Suwannee will be among the group of contenders gunning for the top spot in this weekend’s Yulee Duals.
Meanwhile, Mandarin had less claim from a margin-of-victory standpoint, but the third-place Mustangs (8-1 for the season) still won Pool B with dual victories over Rockledge (45-15), Paxon (60-12) and Brunswick B (57-0), plus the criteria win over Suwannee, and all that with four weights not covered.
Tony Carter (182/195) and Jaelen Simmons (195/220) both pinned their way through the day, as each recorded five pins. DaMon Teague (120/126, 4 pins) joined the pair as a max-pointer, while Jameel Smith (138/145, 4 pins & decision) also was 5-0 on the day.
Devin Foster (126/132, 3 pins) and Adrian Rodriguez (170, 3 pins) each were 4-1 for the Mustangs, with Isaiah Diltz (152, 3 pins) and Joshua Edwards (285, pin) both going 3-2 for Mandarin.
The Mustangs will join Suwannee as a team to watch at Yulee Duals this weekend.
Here’s a look at the other five area teams in the tournament:
Nease (8-3 season, 4-1 in event): The St Johns Panthers completed a 7-3 marathon weekend (they were at Oakleaf’s Friday Knight Lights just 12 hours earlier) with wins in Pool A over Charlton County GA (42-36) and Episcopal (42-39), then took fourth with crossover wins against the host Pirates (51-30) and Rockledge (66-15).
Jacob Lutz (152) pinned his way through the day Saturday, five falls in all, for Nease, which also got an unbeaten effort in a regular role from Peter Simon (3-0 at 182, 2 pins).
Parker Stamschror (132, pin & decision) was 4-1 for the Panthers, with Mateos Zajni (138, 3 pins), Chad Severt (170, pin) and Albio Jakupi (195, 2 pins) all chipping in 3-2 Saturdays.
Nease will host Wolfson on Wednesday.
Fernandina Beach (3-2 season & event): The hosts kicked off their home and dual seasons Saturday, with Pool C wins over Gainesville (66-6) and Brantley (46-27), plus a 4th-place crossover win over Rockledge (42-24) to claim fifth overall.
Enzo Gamba (160) also pinned his way through the tournament with five falls, while Nik Saldana (126, 4 pins) joined Gamba as a max-pointer.
Cael Kubatzke (120, 2 pins & major), Caden Kubatzke (132, 2 pins) and Dietrich Woods (138, 3 pins) all were 4-1 for the Pirates, with Cole Misciagna (145, 2 pins), Blake Harrington (152, pin) and Remington Housley (220, 2 pins) each adding 3-2 tournaments.
The Pirates hosted a quad meet with Baker County, Riverside and Wolfson attending, while this recap was being written, Tuesday night.
Episcopal (2-5 season, 2-3 in event): The Eagles were actually fourth in Pool A, but when third-place Charlton, which defeated them by a 40-20 count, left early, Episcopal seized the opportunity, knocking off a pair of pool 3rds to finish seventh overall. The Eagles defeated Brantley (44-24) and Paxon (54-18) to close out the day.
While no Eagles won five matches Saturday, Turner Glenn (113, pin & tech) was 4-0 and Baylor Maurer (145, 2 pins) 3-0 to record unbeaten days for Episcopal.
Scott Busey (120, pin & 2 decisions), Christian McGarity (182, 3 pins & decision), Matt Salek (195, 4 pins) and Mark Rinaman (285, 2 pins & decision) all chipped in 4-1 days, while Chance Wolffe (152, pin & major) and John Fernandez (160/170, pin & major) each were 3-2 for the Eagles.
Episcopal will be at the Yulee Duals on Friday and Saturday.
Paxon (2-5 season, 1-4 in event): The Golden Eagles took third in Pool B, with a 39-21 win over Brunswick GA’s B team and a 46-24 loss not earlier noted against Rockledge. In crossover, Paxon also fell to Brantley (45-28) as well as to Episcopal, placing ninth in the overall field.
Louis Eckels (106) and David Kang (132, major) each were 4-1 on the day for the Golden Eagles. Matthew Brunelli (220, 3 pins) was 3-1 in four appearances, while Naden Nile (138, 2 pins) and Brendan Lawson (152, 2 pins) each were 3-2 for Paxon.
The Golden Eagles will next appear at Raines’ quad meet on Wednesday night.
Gainesville (0-4 for season & event): The Hurricanes took a Pool C loss to Brantley (66-3) and a crossover loss to Brunswick B (54-6) in losses not earlier noted, finishing 11th out of 12.
Gainesville had just three wrestlers start the day and two finish it. Aiden Kittelson (195) was the team’s lone bright light, going 4-0 with three pins and a decision on the day.
The Hurricanes will next appear at Villages’ Amanda St John Memorial IBT on Saturday.
You can see the full set of box scores for the tournament HERE.