KISSIMMEE — Each year, the path to the final day of the FHSAA duals series gets more familiar, if not necessarily easier, for Fleming Island.
But the Golden Eagles certainly made things look easy Friday afternoon in securing their fifth straight Region 1 title — something no other school in the north has done — as Fleming Island hammered defending 2A-Region 1 duals champion New Smyrna Beach, 64-9.
Fleming Island (season record unknown) will face Tampa Jesuit, the Region 3 champion and last year’s Region 2 runnerup, in Saturday’s state semifinals, after the Tigers started fast against Charlotte, taking a 22-0 lead and making it hold for a 40-30 win over the Tarpons.
After winning its previous four region titles in 3A, the Golden Eagles came in as presumptive favorites against the Barracudas (14-3), and wrestled to that status throughout the dual, rolling out to a 37-0 lead through the first seven weights.
During that stretch, Fleming Island got pins from Matthew Kotler (145) and Jhoel Robinson (182), an injury-default win from Ronan Bozeman (160), forfeits from Joshua Sandoval (170) and Walter Poe (195), plus a 12-3 major to kick off the dual from Kaden Schaefer (138) and 6-0 win from Christopher Chop (152).
The additions back into the lineup of Chop and Ethan Hoffstetter (285) couldn’t have been more timely; after the ‘Cudas staved off a clinching scenario at 220 with Austin Mitchum’s 6-4 win, it was Hoffstetter who slammed the door on New Smyrna Beach with a third-period fall. Chop had been out of the lineup since an injury-default at Keystone Memorial two weeks ago and Hoffstetter out longer than that.
And the Golden Eagles kept up the momentum on the turn in the lowers bookend, with Shane Duhaylungsod (106) and Jayce Paridon (113) piggybacking off Hoffstetter’s pin with falls of their own, plus a 3-0 win from Laird Duhaylungsod at 120. After the Golden Eagles forfeited to NSB senior standout Jamey Bruner, Fleming’s Joshua Mukaddam closed out the day with a fall at 132.
Meanwhile, Jesuit opened up a 19-0 lead on pins from Braden Basile (138) and Tom Crook (145), an 11-3 major from Jack Crook at 152 and a 5-3 win from Gavin Young at 160, a key swing match in the Tigers’ favor.
The Tarpons cut the lead to 31-24 on pins from Isaac Schaeffer (170) and Nathaniel Box (220) sandwiching the Jesuit pins from Josiah Jenkins (182) and Sergio Desiante (195), plus a forfeit for Biaggio Frattarelli at 285 and pin for Camren French at 106.
Jesuit pushed the lead back out to a dual-clinching 13-point gap on decisions from Roman Lermer (7-0 at 113) and Danny Vargas (2-1 at 120); Charlotte got it back down to single digits on Andrew Austin’s fall at 126, but the Tigers’ Nathan McGill finished things off with a 5-2 win at 132.
Here’s a look at the other half of the state duals bracket:
Lake Gibson 64, River Ridge 15: The defending 2A champions had few issues in defending their Region 2 title, as the Braves held a 36-0 lead before having to face an opponent.
Connor Hackett (195), Tristan Vann (220) and Colt Brown (106) added pins for Lake Gibson, with Hayden Whidden (132) taking a 17-5 major.
The Royal Knights, battling to overcome injury and illness with half a team Friday, got pins from Nicklaus Martin (285) and Yianni Mannis (126), with Dominick Smith (120) taking a 9-4 decision.
Merritt Island 58, St Thomas Aquinas 15: The Mustangs roared past STA early in taking their first region title, building a 36-6 lead halfway through the dual.
For the Region 4 champs, Seven Tornga (170), Nick Lesch (182), Kaleb Ivie (195), Bobby Ives (220), Kaden Barrial (106), Kyle Mulley (120) and Eddie Sears (132) all won by pins, with Judge DeYoung (11-1 at 138), Jacob Pitcher (14-4 at 145), Dylan Quiroga (10-0 at 160) and Jeremiah Johnson (12-4 at 126) all adding bonus points with their major decisions.
St Thomas Aquinas picked up pins from Ethan Wigutow (152) and Riccardi Joseph (285), plus a 4-3 win at 113 from Christian Kunkes.
Box scores for Friday’s competitions can be found HERE.
MISSING: We have a lot of missing results, from several teams around the coverage area, and we need YOUR help to clean that up. Please check out our SCHEDULE PAGE; if your school is listed as pending, or an event in which you took part is pending, see if your coach can send in your team’s part of that event. We will post results at any time of year, no matter how late they are when they are sent.