FT WALTON BEACH — Is Ft Walton Beach emerging as the team to beat when it comes to 2A-District 1 IBT competitions?
The last two years point to yes.
Wednesday on their home mats, the Vikings put together their second consecutive title run behind three weight-class titles and the best tournament depth in the district, winning this year’s District 1 title with 235 points.
Ft Walton Beach will send 13 automatic qualifiers to next weekend’s Region 1 tournament at Chiles, with three runners-up, two 3rds and five 4ths.
In the battle for second, Pace had the titles but Gulf Breeze had the greater number of finalists, and that allowed the Dolphins to outpoint the Patriots, 204-198.
Gulf Breeze will advance 11 wrestlers to regions, with two champions, five runners-up, three 3rds and one 4th. Pace led the district in individual champions, with four; the Patriots qualified nine wrestlers out (one runnerup, four 3rds).
Niceville finished fourth and Mosley fifth, with 184.5 and 143 points, respectively. The Eagles qualified nine to Chiles, with two champs, two runners-up, two 3rds and three 4ths; Mosley’s Dolphins advanced six out, with three champs, one runnerup, one 3rd and one 4th.
Crestview pushed past Choctaw, 98-64, for sixth. The Bulldogs advanced three to regions (one 3rd and two 4ths), while the Indians will take two (one runnerup and one 3rd) to Chiles.
Tate finished eighth with 56 points, while Arnold was ninth with 33 and Milton 10th with 12. The Aggies (one 3rd), Marlins (one runnerup) and Panthers (one 4th) each will take one wrestler to regions.
Below follows a summary of the day —
106: Mosley sophomore Derrick Williams (49-3) won his first district title and qualified for regions for the second time, bonus-pointing through the day with a semifinal TF (20-1 in 5:08) over Ft Walton Beach freshman Landon Burbidge and a 19-11 championship major over Pace freshman Alexander Mendez. Mendez (28-9) earned his first region appearance with a semifinal pin over Gulf Breeze sophomore Alec Poole (11-16), who rallied for third and his second region appearance with two consi-side wins, including a 7-5 medal-round win over Burbidge. Burbidge (29-22, front-side pin) had a bye into the third-place match for his first region qualification.
113: Ft Walton Beach sophomore Zak Vosburgh (37-10) won his second district title/region appearance, pinning his way into the final with falls over Mosley’s Kyle Mahler (1:31, quarters) and over Pace’s James Spicer (2:44, semis), followed by a 14-7 championship win over Choctaw senior Deagan Kilpatrick. Kilpatrick (48-8) qualified for regions for the third time behind pins over Niceville’s Chris Mardis (:52, quarters) and over Tate’s Julian Agosto (1:06, semis). After a loss by fall in the quarters, Gulf Breeze freshman Mashall Hobbs (9-14) won three times in the consis for third, pinning Niceville junior Chris Mardis in 2:53 in the medal round. Mardis (7-12) took two bonus-point wins in the consis for his first region appearance, with a blood-round fall in 1:21 to get out.
120: Mosley senior Calvin Williams (42-6) earned his second region appearance and first title; after a bye into the semis, Williams pinned Ft Walton Beach junior Santiago Mayic (1:51) in that round, going on for a 9-4 decision in the final over Gulf Breeze sophomore Coby Shields. Shields (37-13) picked up his second region qualification after a bye into the semis and third-period fall (5:25) over Niceville freshman Garrett Jarvis; Jarvis (29-15, front-side pin) picked up his first Chiles appearance behind two consi-semi pins, including a third-place fall (2:47) over Mayic. Mayic (23-24, front-side pin) got to regions for the second time behind a 14-7 blood-round win.
126: Niceville junior Ethan Pinto (28-13) reached the district finals for the third time, winning his second title behind two pins in 61 seconds, followed by an 11-1 major in the finals over Gulf Breeze sophomore Michael Mancuso. Earlier, Pinto falled Tate’s Zackary Rogers (:29, quarters) and Crestview sophomore Gary Gessendoff (:32, semis). Mancuso (35-15) secured his first Chiles appearance behind a quarterfinal pin over FWB’s Layne Lutz and a 12-7 semifinal win over Pace sophomore Hazen Esary. Esary (14-6, front-side forfeit) pinned his way into third for his second region qualification, falling Gessendoff in 2:24 for the bronze. Gessendoff (17-18, front-side pin) added a consi-semi pin (2:31) for his second Chiles appearance.
132: Gulf Breeze junior Colson Elliott (36-1) won his third title/region appearance, pinning his way through the draw with falls over Arnold’s Alexander Neisler (:14, quarters), over Crestview’s Landon Brown (3:56, semis) and over Mosley sophomore Sebastian Schultz (2:18) in the championship. Schultz earned his first Chiles appearance behind a 9-5 quarterfinal win over Pace’s Todd Pace and a semifinal pin (1:34) over Ft Walton Beach junior Caden Lutz. Brown (13-11, front-side pin) won twice in the consis for third, finding a takedown in sudden victory for a 15-13 decision over Lutz, taking his second region appearance. In getting to Chiles for the first time, Lutz (21-17, front-side pin) won by fall (5:13) in the blood round.
138: Pace freshman Maeson Otwell (36-7) became a first-time champion behind a quarterfinal pin (2:21) over Choctaw’s Gavin Henegar, with subsequent decisions over Ft Walton Beach junior Matthew Sinclair (7-2) in the semis and over Gulf Breeze senior Logan Merritt, 14-10, for the chapionship. Merritt (30-15) qualified for regions for the third time behind a pair of pins over Tate’s Caden Graham (1:40, quarters) and over Niceville junior Andreas Maldanado-Negron (:42, semis). Sinclair (22-12, front-side pin) earned his first region trip with two consi-side wins, taking a 6-3 medal-round decision over Maldanado-Negron (13-15, front-side decision), who also advanced to Chiles for the first time behind a 9-7 consi-semi win.
145: Niceville sophomore JJ Martinez (25-14) picked up his second Chiles appearance and first district title. After a quarterfinal pin (1:51) over Pace’s Lucas Herder, Martinez took decisions over FWB junior Steven Banfield (10-6, semis) and over Gulf Breeze junior Garret Rudick, 3-2, for the bracket win (Martinez and Rudick had met for 3rd in last year’s district meet). As for Rudick (28-10), he reached the post-season second round for the third time behind first-period falls over Mosley’s Landon Jacobs (1:45, quarters) and over Tate junior Caiden Stone (:53, semis). Banfield (34-17, front-side pin) won twice in the consis for third to take his second region appearance and first with the Vikings, with a 7-2 third-place decision over Stone. Stone (23-18, front-side pin) took a 12-0 major in the blood round to qualify for regions for the second time.
152: Mosley senior Nick Hejke (40-4) won his fourth district title and reached his fifth district final, bonus-pointing through the field by sandwiching a semifinal TF (15-0 in 3:25) over Pace junior Jordan Baxter with pins over Crestview’s Christian Brito (:42, quarters) and over Ft Walton Beach junior Alexander Davidson in 1:09 for the championship. Davidson (40-9) earned his second Chiles appearance with a quarterfinal pin (1:29) over Tate’s Carson White and a semfinal 5-2 win over Niceville senior Aidan Kyllonen. Baxter (38-10, front-side pin) took two bonus-point wins for third, with a fall (2:14) over Kyllonen in the medal round. Kyllonen (38-7, front-side pin) earned his first region appearance with a third-period consi-semi pin (5:09).
160: Pace senior Atticus Waters (39-2) qualified for regions for the fourth time, earning his first district title by pinning his way into the final, where he took down Ft Walton Beach senior Marquis Muniz, 8-2, to win the title. Waters had earlier falls over Gulf Breeze’s Major White (1:07, quarters) and over Mosley senior Peyton LaFountain (4:51, semis). Niceville senior Bryce Travis (27-10, front-side pin) added two more falls in the consis, taking third with a pin (1:46) over LaFountain (18-9, front-side pin), who took a shutout, 7-0, in the consi semis.
170: Pace junior Ty Morgan (33-9) made it back-to-back Patriot titles for his first championship and region appearance, with a fall over Arnold’s Christian McDonald (1:13, quarters), an 11-7 semifinal win over Ft Walton Beach junior Darius Brundidge, and a win by injury default in the final over Niceville senior Martin Black. Black (49-9) reached the final and his third region qualification with a quarterfinal pin over Mosley’s John Mengel (1:03) and a 14-5 major in the semis over Gulf Breeze senior Micah Barker. Barker (38-19, front-side decision) took two more decisions in the wrestlebacks, with a 3-1 sudden-victory win over Brundidge for third. Brundidge (36-15, front-side decision) secured his first Chiles appearance with a blood-round fall (3:46).
182: In a weight-class with 4 first-time region qualifiers, Gulf Breeze senior Blake Fluck (27-5) won the title with a pair of decisions, downing Ft Walton Beach junior Connor Roberts (13-6) in the semis and then decisioning Niceville senior Harrisen Wall, 3-2, for the gold. Wall (36-6) had a pair of pins over Mosley’s Andre Trice (1:29, quarters) and over Pace sophomore Isaac Waters (1:45, semis). Waters (29-9, front-side major) took two consi-side wins to wrestle back to third, with a 10-8 medal-round win over Roberts (21-12, front-side pin), who got his Chiles ticket with a 9-1 consi-semi major.
195: Pace senior Aidan Bryan (28-5) got to regions for the third time, pinning his way into the final on falls over Arnold’s Bryan Beard (1:52, quarters) and over Choctaw’s Caden McKinney (2:51, semis), then won his first district title with a 5-4 win over Ft Walton Beach junior Carter Tobik. Tobik (32-14) picked up his second Chiles appearance with two six-minute decisions, 6-3 in the quarters over Gulf Breeze freshman Isaac Land and 10-2 in the semis over Turner’s Jacob Turner. After a front-side loss by pin in the quarters, Mosley junior Marshall Dixon (17-12) pinned his way back to third (3 pins in all) for his first region qualification, falling Land in 59 seconds in the place match. Land (18-16) won twice in the consis to qualify out for the first time, winning by 3-2 in the blood round.
220: Ft Walton Beach senior Cedric Fairrow (41-0) won his second district title/region appearance, max-pointing through the day. After needing 73 seconds to fall Niceville’s James Opitz (:44, quarters) and Crestview senior Caleb Sims (:29, semis), Fairrow won by injury default in the final over Arnold senior Eimantas Skirius. Skirius (25-5) secured his first Chiles ticket behind first-period pins over Mosley’s Kaymen Hart (:38, quarters) and over Pace senior Hale Wood (1:25, semis). Wood (33-5, front-side pin) pinned his way back to third for his first region qualification, with a fall (3:36) over Sims in the medal match, while Sims (20-14, front-side pin) grabbed his first Chiles ticket with a consi-semi pin (3:49).
285: Viking senior Spencer Mackenzie (39-7) made it back-to-back to close out the day, pinning through the bracket with falls over Niceville’s Asa Adams (2:43, semis) and over Gulf Breeze freshman Phillip Dillard in 5:23 for the weight-class win. Dillard (17-9) needed just one pin to win his first region appearance, falling Choctaw senior Chase Pelfrey in 3:52; Pelfrey (27-10, front-side decision) needed just 36 seconds to pin his way back to third, with a 25-second third-place pin over Milton junior Kyle Flores. Flores (20-9) punched his first Chiles ticket with a 7-4 decision in the blood round.
You can see complete brackets from this tournament and other 2A contested brackets in Region 1 and throughout the state HERE.