FT WALTON BEACH — No matter who’s suited up in War Eagle blue, red and white, a Wakulla team has been a fixture at or near the very top of the heap in deciding the Beast of the Beach duals champion.
That was true once again this year, as the War Eagles reached the championship dual final in their dual-season kickoff event Monday and Tuesday, winning their first seven duals before falling to Alabama’s Smiths Station, 42-37, in the championship.
On Monday, Wakulla (7-1) had five dominant double-digit wins, taking down Crestview B (84-0), Ft Walton Beach B (83-0), Crestview (66-15), Niceville (51-27) and Choctaw (69-12) to go 5-0 in pool.
In the championship bracket Tuesday, the War Eagles added two more double-digit wins, defeating the host Vikings (51-28) in the quarterfinals and Catholic Brothers (LA), 51-22, in the semis.
But Smiths Station’s strength is up top, and it was too much for a revamped Wakulla upper-weight group still looking to find its form.
The War Eagles had three wrestlers go 8-0 on the weekend, with Julian Harvey (106, 3 pins & major) and Isaiah Wilson (132, 4 pins, tech & major) both bonus-pointing through all rounds of the event.
Joining them with an 8-0 tournament was Hayden Reeves (145, 5 pins, 2 majors & decision), while Wyatt Welch (138, 3 pins & injury-default) was 6-0 in a regular role.
Jae T Thaxton (152, 2 pins, 3 TFs, 2 majors) was 7-1 for the War Eagles, while Juan Jimenez (126, 4 pins) and Jacob Cardoza (285, 4 pins & tech) were both 6-1, with Kohl Pippen (220, 3 pins) adding a 5-1 record in a regular role.
Tyler Edenfield (182, 5 pins) and Sultan Ellington (195, 2 pins) were both 6-2 for Wakulla, as Conner Brown (113, pin) and Caleb Orr (120, 2 pins) added 5-2 records. Aiden Fetterhoff (160, 2 pins) chipped in a 4-3 tournament, with Daniel Brattain (170, 2 pins & decision) going 3-3 in a regular role.
Here’s how the rest of north Florida teams fared in this tournament:
Chiles (6-2 for season & event, 6th overall): The Timberwolves were 5-0 in Monday’s wrestling, with victories over WS Neal AL (60-18), Crestview (66-18), Ft Walton Beach B (84-0), Niceville (54-27) and Niceville B (72-5). After a bye into the championship bracket quarters on Tuesday, Chiles fell to Smiths Station (61-18), rallied in the consi semis after a bye for a 41-38 win over Suwannee (41-38), and then fell to Carrollton GA, 39-30, in the fifth-place match.
Garrett Marschka (126) was Chiles’ only 8-0 unbeaten wrestler, bonus-pointing through the tournament with six pins and a major. In a regular role, Jacob Johnston (138/145, 3 pins) was 5-0.
Chase Brown (106, 2 pins), Everett Stewart (120, 2 pins & 2 decisions) and Andrew Mullins (152, 5 pins & decision) were each 7-1 for the Timberwolves, with Scott Greenwald (145) providing three first day pins in a 3-1 regular-time role.
Sam Tolomeo (113, 2 pins & decision) was 6-2 for Chiles, with Preston Scoggins (138, 4 pins) and Dillon Elliott (195/220, 3 pins & tech) both putting in 5-2 work. Cody Elliott (182/195, pin) was 4-3, with both Ethan Jackson (132, 2 pins) and Cooper Hill (160, pin & decision) adding 3-3 tournaments for the Timberwolves.
Suwannee (23-6 for the season, 5-3 in event, 7th overall): Barely 36 hours removed from a grueling fourth-place stretch at Yulee, the Bulldogs were 4-1 on Monday in pools, with wins over Ft Walton Beach (42-30), Pope John Paul II TN (64-12), Brusly LA (49-22) and Tate (64-6), falling only to Carrollton, 49-25. On Tuesday, Suwannee dropped a 44-29 pigtail to Smiths Station, but came back for a closer win over Ft Walton Beach (40-39) in the consis before falling to Chiles, taking seventh with a walkover bye.
Four Suwannee lowers were 8-0 on the weekend, as Austin McKinney (132, 5 pins, 2 techs) and Marshall White (138, 5 pins, tech & major) both bonus-pointed through the tournament.
Additionally, Eli Jolicoeur (106, 3 pins, major & 3 decisions) and Topher Pearson (113, 3 pins & 4 decisions) were 8-0, with Brody Boehm (126, 5 pins) adding a 5-0 first-day mark.
Austin Howard (160/170, 7 pins) was 7-1 for the two days, while Dustin Wood (182, 3 pins) was 4-3 and Christian Harrell (220/285, pin) contributed a 4-4 tournament.
Ft Walton Beach (4-4 for season & event, T-9th overall): The hosts were 3-2 on Monday, with wins over Brusly (43-24), Tate (69-6) and Pope John Paul II (42-36), with a loss to Carrollton (57-18) as well as to Suwannee. Tuesday, the Vikings took down district rival Crestview, 47-30, before subsequent losses to Wakulla and Suwannee.
No FWB wrestler survived both days going unbeaten, but three wrestlers — Alexander Davidson (152, 6 pins & decision), Darius Brundidge (170, 4 pins, major & 2 decisions) and Spencer Mackenzie (285, 3 pins) — all were 7-1.
Steven Banfield (145, 3 pins & 3 decisions) contributed a 6-2 tournament, while Landon Burbidge (106, pin & decision), Zak Vosburgh (113, 3 pins & major), Santiago Mayic (120, 2 pins) and Carter Tobik (182, pin/ID/tech & decision) each were 5-3 for Ft Walton Beach.
Crestview (3-5 for season, 3-4 in event, T-9th overall): The Bulldogs were 3-2 in Monday’s pool competition, with wins over Niceville B (54-24), Choctaw (48-30) and Ft Walton Beach B (66-3) with losses to Chiles and Wakulla. On Tuesday, after the pigtail loss to Ft Walton Beach, Crestview fell in the wrestlebacks to Carrollton, 72-12.
Layne Franks (170, 6 pins) had a 6-0 tournament to lead the Crestview charge individually.
Landon Brown (132, 5 pins) and Caleb Sims (220, pin & decision) both were 6-1 for the Bulldogs, with Gary Gessendoff (126, 3 pins) chipping in a 4-3 tournament.
Niceville (8-4 for season, 5-3 in event, 11th overall, 1st at BOTR): The Eagles struggled to a 2-3 day on Monday, with wins over Choctaw (50-15) and WS Neal (48-30) and losses as noted above and also to Archbishop Shaw LA (54-24). Tuesday, however, was a different story, as Niceville took wins over Daviess County KY (40-36), Pope John Paul II (51-18) and Brusly (48-36) to win the Best of the Rest bracket.
Martin Black (170, 7 pins & tech) led the Niceville effort with a bonus-point tournament, while Bryce Travis (160, 7 pins) and Harrisen Wall (182/195, 7 pins) were both 7-1 over the two days.
Asa Adams (285, 2 pins & major) was 6-2 for the Eagles, with Garrett Jarvis (120, 4 pins) and Ethan Pinto (126, 4 pins) both going 5-3 and Noah Jarvis (132, 3 pins), Andres Maldanado-Negron (138, pin) and Tim Dwyer (145, 2 pins & decision) each chipping 4-4 tournaments.
Middleburg (9-7 for season, 5-4 in event, 13th overall, 3rd at BOTR): The Broncos, making their tournament debut, lost their first three duals (52-23 to Smiths Station, 56-18 to Catholic Brothers and 47-30 to Gulf Breeze), but just once thereafter, with wins in pool over Daviess County (58-24) and Collierville TN (42-39), plus bracketed wins over Tate (66-12) and Choctaw (54-27) before falling to Brusly, 39-33, in the BOTR semis. In the third-place dual, Middleburg hammered Pope John Paul II, 59-18.
Middleburg’s Wyatt Leduc (126) was the only north Florida competitor to pin his way through the tournament, going 9-0 with nine falls in a combined total time of 15:40, with just one going into the third period.
Riley Girgis (132/138, 2 pins, tech & 2 decisions) was 6-0 in a regular role, while Jackson Hornback (106, 3 pins, tech & 2 decisions) and Grady Woodard (113, 3 pins & decision) both were 8-1.
Tucker Cody (220/285, 6 pins after an 0-2 start) finished 7-2 in the tournament, while Dylan Johns (138/145, 2 pins & major) was 5-3 and Austin Cruce (182/195, 5 pins) turned in a 5-4 effort.
Gulf Breeze (11-4 for season, 6-4 in event, 15th overall, 5th BOTR): The Dolphins were the only north Florida team to get 10 duals in over the two days, with a 2-3 record in pool competition that included wins over Daviess County (42-36) and Middleburg, along with losses to Catholic Brothers (42-24), Collierville (45-32) and Smiths Station (46-33). Gulf Breeze was 4-1 on Tuesday, with a quarterfinal loss (42-35) to Brusly and wins otherwise over Crestview B (48-24), Wewahitchka (42-24), Choctaw (42-30) and WS Neal (42-36).
Colson Elliott (132, 4 pins & 4 TF) was north Florida’s only double-digit winner, going 10-0 over the two-day period.
Coby Shields (120, 5 pins) was 9-1 for the Dolphins, with Michael Mancuso (126, 4 pins & major), Logan Merritt (138/145, 6 pins) and Micah Barker (170/182, 7 pins) each adding 8-2 tournament efforts. Brennden Nita (152, 7 pins) chipped in a 7-3 record over the two days.
Choctaw (7-8 for season, 3-6 in event, 18th overall, 8th BOTR): The Indians struggled to find footing on Monday, going 1-4 with only a win over Wewahitchka (54-18), with losses as noted above and to Archbishop Shaw (63-15). On Tuesday, they were 2-2 in the BOTR bracket, with wins over Ft Walton Beach B (48-12) and Niceville B (39-15) and losses as noted above.
Deagan Kilpatrick (113/120, 5 pins & 2 decisions) was a bright light for Choctaw, going 9-0 on the weekend. Eli Devoid (160, 3 pins & decision) was 7-1 and Jesse King (285, pin) was 5-1 in a regular role.
Samuel Santos (170/182, 4 pins & decision) and Chris Bularon (195) both put in 6-3 records over the two days, while Caden McKinney (220, 3 pins) was 5-4.
Wewahitchka (2-6 for season, 2-5 in event, T-19th overall, T-9th BOTR): The Gators had two wins in pools Monday afternoon, taking down Crestview B (48-18) and Ft Walton Beach B (42-12), with losses as noted above and to Archbishop Shaw (69-12) and WS Neal (51-19). Tuesday, Wewahitchka was 0-2, falling to Daviess County (42-30) and to Gulf Breeze.
Jake Parker (106/113, 4 pins & tech) led the charge with a 7-0 bonus-point effort throughout the tournament.
Justin Johnson (138, 3 pins) was 6-1 and both Tyler Johnson (113/120, major) and Jarrett Spencer (145, 2 pins & major) were both 4-3 for Wewahitchka.
Tate (1-7 for season & event, T-19th overall, T-9th BOTR): After an 0-5 Monday start with losses as noted above and to Brusly (66-12), Carrollton (82-0) and Pope John Paul II (42-34), the Aggies got on the plus side in the consis of the BOTR bracket (after opening with the Middleburg loss as noted), with a 48-12 win over Ft Walton Beach B before falling to Daviess County, 48-30.
Three Tate wrestlers — Julian Agosto (113, 2 pins), Caiden Stone (145, 2 pins & major) and Landen George (220, 2 pins) — all were 4-4 in the tournament.
Crestview B (1-6 in event, T-19th overall, T-9th BOTR): The Bulldogs’ second group picked up its lone win on Monday, taking down Ft Walton Beach B, 48-18, with pool losses as noted above and also against Archbishop Shaw (77-6). After falling to Gulf Breeze in a BOTR pigtail, WS Neal ended the tournament with a 64-5 win over the Bs.
Just one wrestler made it over the .500 hump for the Bulldogs’ second group, as Andrew Russ (195) was 4-3. The Bs had five wrestlers with three wins.
Niceville B (1-5 in event, T-19th overall, T-9th BOTR): The Eagles’ second group had just seven wrestlers in it, but they did pick up a 36-30 win over Crestview B in pool duals Monday, with losses as noted above and against WS Neal (60-16). In the BOTR pigtails, the second group fell to Pope John Paul II (54-6), followed by a loss to Choctaw.
Ty Hawkins (160, 3 pins & tech) was 5-1 for the Eagle second group, while JJ Martinez (152, 2 pins, major & decision) added a 4-1 tournament.
Ft Walton Beach B (0-7 in event, 23rd overall, 13th BOTR): Like Niceville’s second group, the Viking Bs were outmanned, with no more than six weights covered, wrestling all local teams noted above.
After two losses against Wakulla & Chiles, the Viking Bs’ Mathew Sinclaire (152) found surer footing, finishing with a 4-3 tournament that included three pins and a decision.
Complete dual results for the two-day tournament, for all teams, can be found HERE.