KISSIMMEE — Even for a program with as much history as Clay has built over the years, there’s still new ground for the Blue Devils to break.
And that remains true as the quest to add an FHSAA state duals title to the one IBT title in the Clay trophy case continues into 2022-23.
After the Blue Devils reached their first 1A duals final with a 42-30 semifinal win Saturday morning over Region 3 champion Lemon Bay, a rematch with Region 4 champion Jensen Beach largely went the same way the first dual did, with the Barracudas claiming their first state title with a 42-21 win over Clay.
Clay (14-2 in duals) came out rolling against the Manta Rays, rolling up a 36-point run after defending state champ Lance Schyck put up the dual’s first points with a 7-4 win at 182.
Pins from Kedtric Wilbon (195), Garrett Tyre (220), Braden Glavin (113) and Maverick Rainwater (120), a 17-2 TF from Jacob Bucci at 106, a 9-0 major from Gunner Ivey (126) and a 6-3 win from Ethan Daniels (285) fueled that run.
The teams then traded pins at 132 and 138, with Justin Brady winning by fall for the Manta Rays and Josh Kumpf providing the dual-clinching pin at 138 for Clay. Things turned a bit dodgy for the Blue Devils down the stretch, as Lemon Bay put on a 21-0 run to close the dual out, but the dual was in hand for Clay.
That brought on the Falcons, who’d advanced with a 38-30 semifinal win over Region 2 champ Palm Bay and who’d been the only team to beat the Blue Devils in a dual this season. Jensen Beach had defeated Clay, 44-31, in pool competition at the Battle of the Beach, the Falcons’ annual season-opening competition, back on December 3 with a Clay lineup — save a couple of tweaks — largely the same as Saturday’s.
After scoring first points with a Matt O’Hara 11-4 win at 195, Jensen then forfeited to Tyre at 220 and Daniels at 285 to put itself behind, 12-3.
With those two Blue Devils successful in the scorebook but unable to provide the emotional lift of securing those 12 points against an actual opponent, Clay didn’t get the momentum boost it would ordinarily take, and Jensen Beach stepped into the breach — hard.
The Falcons then ripped off six wins in a row from 106 through 138, with pins from Sebastian Degennaro (106), Ryan Duguay (132) and Jewell Williams (138), a major from Ryan Mooney (120), and decisions from Gian Ortiz (13-6 at 113) and Johnny Dobbs (5-3 at 126) to go up, 31-12.
Clay got six back on a pin from Kumpf (145), the hero of the semi, but Jensen Beach put on an 11-0 run with a 3-0 win from Dylan Fox at 152 and majors from two wrestlers that didn’t compete in the Palm Bay win, as Duke Byfield (160) clinched the victory for the Falcons with a 9-1 win, followed by Nate Sopotnick’s 11-1 major at 170. The Blue Devils’ Dominic Martin, who opened the day for Clay with a loss, closed it out for the Blue Devils with a win, 7-1 at 182.
Box scores for the entire weekend 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.