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DISTRICT IBTS

#RoadToTheShow: S. Walton Advances Full Team In 1A-1

South Walton wrestlers and coaches with the team’s 1A-District 1 team championship trophy won Thursday at Wewahitchka (Photo submitted by Travis Laxton).

WEWAHITCHKA — One tournament win is not a streak, of course.

But all streaks, good or bad, start with two in a row.

Thursday at Wewahitchka, South Walton built the beginnings of a district title streak, taking the 1A-District 1 title for the second straight year.

The Seahawks held nearly a 70-point margin on the rest of the field, out-distancing Rocky Bayou Christian, 213-143.5, to win the team championship. South Walton brought 12 wrestlers to Wewa, and all 12 finished 3rd or better in qualifying the entire group to next weekend’s Region 1 tournament at Wakulla, as the Seahawks had four champs, six runners-up and two 3rds.

Rocky Bayou Christian wrestlers and coaches with the team’s 1A-District 1 runnerup trophy Thursday afternoon at Wewahitchka (Photo submitted by Kevin Walsh).

Rocky Bayou Christian will take 10 wrestlers to regions next weekend, with two champions, two runners-up, five 3rds and one 4th.

Rutherford held off North Bay Haven, 125-121.5, for team third. The Rams will move seven wrestlers to regions, with three champions, two runners-up, one third and one fourth. The Buccaneers — who are in host mode for girls’ Region 1 on Saturday — qualified more kids out (nine), with two champs, two runners-up, two 3rds and three 4ths.

Fifth-place Bay was able to get past host Wewa, 95-84.5, with the Tornadoes qualifying out eight wrestlers (one champ, one runnerup, two 3rds and four 4ths). The Gators will qualify seven to Wakulla, with two champs, two 3rds and three 4ths.

Bozeman, with one automatic qualifier (runnerup) was seventh with 16 points.

Below follows a summary of the day —

1A-District 1 lower-weight champs take a knee, with 106-145 in order from left to right in the front row. Upper weight champs stand in the back, with 152-285 in order from left to right (Photo submitted by Tracy Malcolm).

106: Wewa freshman Jake Parker (43-9) pinned his way through the tournament for his first district title and region qualification, with falls in the quarters over Rutherford’s Gabriel Breen (:39), in the semis over Bay freshman David Drake (2:11), and in the championship match over Rocky Bayou 7th-grader Wyatt Moore (1:18). Moore (19-10) reached the region round for the first time as well, with pins over North Bay Haven’s Gavin Ricca (:31, quarters) and over South Walton senior Brett Canut (4:48, semis). Canut (30-10) got to regions for the third time behind two bonus-point wins in the consis, majoring Drake by a 14-4 score in the third-place match. Drake (18-13) secured at least fourth behind a fall (:27) in the blood round.

113: Bay sophomore Leonardo Sanchez (29-15) won his team’s lone title, pinning his way through the bracket. After a bye into the semis, Sanchez falled Wewa 8th-grader Tyler Johnson (:33) in that round, then took a second pin in the finals over Rocky Bayou 8th-grader Thomas Pluhar. Pluhar (27-19) qualified out for the second time after a quarterfinal bye and fall (2:35) over NBH 7th-grader Caleb Fuster; Fuster (17-9) rallied in the consis to pin his way back to third for his first region appearance, pinning Johnson in 2:09 in the medal match. Johnson (18-22, front-side pin) had a bye into the medal round for his first region qualification.

120: South Walton senior Max Brewster (47-1) needed just 2:56 of combined mat time to pin his way to a second district title and region appearance, with falls in the quarters over Bay’s Cameron Parrish (:11), in the semis over Rutherford sophomore Cyrus Nichols (1:57), and then again for the title over NBH 8th-grader Zander Stillgess in 48 seconds. Stillgess (31-20) won twice to get out to regions for the first time, with a quarterfinal pin over the hosts’ Wesley Spencer (:14) and a semifinal tech over Rocky Bayou 7th-grader Clay Nelson (25-10 in 5:24). Nelson (19-6) had a pair of pins in the consis to secure his region space, falling Nichols in 4:05 for third place, while Nichols (15-22) had a 50-second fall in the consi semis in punching his first Wakulla ticket.

126: Seahawk freshman Isaac Brinson (31-8) made it back-to-back South Walton titles in winning his first district championship and securing a first region appearance, taking first-period falls over Wewa junior Justin Johnson (1:27) in the semis and over Bay junior Elijah Stillgess (1:53) for the bracket win. Stillgess (25-19) reached the district finals for the third time after a quarterfinal bye and semifinal fall (2:46) over NBH senior Tristan Le’ (26-17), who pinned his way back to third in booking his second region trip, including a medal-round fall (2:18) over Johnson. Johnson (32-20, front-side pin) had a bye in the consi semis to qualify for regions for the third time.

132: Rocky Bayou senior Luke Latham (44-2) earned his third region trip in winning his first district title, with pins prior to the the final over Bay’s Christen Patterson (3:54, quarters) and over Bozeman’s Daniel Pierce (1:55, semis), taking a third-period TF (16-0 in 6 minutes) to win the championship over South Walton freshman Gibson Moore. Moore (29-11) will take his first region qualification after pins over Wewahitchka’s Luke Bryan (:31, quarters) and over Rutherford freshman Giovanni Vinczan (1:55, semis). Vinczan (15-18, front-side pin) added two more victories in the consis, with a third-place fall (3:24) over North Bay Haven 8th-grader Will Lundgren, duplicating his quarterfinal pin over Lundgren. Lundgren (17-14) also won twice in the consis, with an 18-12 blood-round win.

138: In a weight class that contained three 2021 1A-1 champions, Rutherford junior Romero Black (39-2) was the one to add another title to his resume, taking his second championship and third region tournament space in the process, with pins over the other two champs. Black falled Bay senior Corban Cherry (5:01) in the semis and then South Walton senior Ryan Kurfirst in 34 seconds to win the bracket. Kurfirst (27-13) reached the final behind a quarterfinal pin (:47) over Bozeman’s Jeremy Tavernier and an 8-5 semifinal decision over Rocky Bayou freshman Ethan Heathershaw, reaching the region round for the fourth time. After the semifinal loss, Cherry (40-17) pinned his way back to third, with a third-place fall in 3:52 over Heathershaw for a fourth region trip of his own. Heathershaw (34-8) earned his second region qualification, with a bye into the third-place match.

145: South Walton senior Dylan Billingsley (32-5) bonus-pointed his way to a first district title and region appearance, with a semifinal pin (2:27) over Bay senior Trenton Wood and an 11-0 major in the finals over North Bay Haven 8th-grader Bear Siegal. Siegal (34-15) picked up his first region trip behind pins over Rutherford’s Wyatt Griffin (1:33, quarters) and over Wewahitchka sophomore Jarrett Spencer (3:06, semis). Wood max-pointed through the consis to take third and qualify out for the third time, with an injury-default win over Spencer in the medal round. Spencer (17-17) had a bye into the third-place match, making his first region appearance.

152: After a year away from the region level, Wewa junior Conner Roberts (26-9) qualified out for the third time, adding a first district title behind a semifinal pin (1:09) over North Bay Haven freshman Julian Hernandez and a championship-round TF over South Walton junior Chase Maas (15-0 in 4:03). Maas (25-18) made his second region tournament after a year away, with a quarterfinal bye and semifinal pin (1:53) over Rocky Bayou sophomore Owen Parry; Parry (16-16, front-side pin) advanced to his 3rd second-round tournament with a bye into the third-place match, where he pinned Hernandez in 39 seconds. Hernandez (12-21) took his first region qualification after a blood-round fall in 4:22.

160: Rutherford junior Keaton Schirmer (23-8) bagged his second region appearance, taking his first district title after pinning his way through the day on falls over NBH’s Jack Hauck (1:16, quarters), over Bozeman’s William Groves (2 minutes, semis) and over South Walton senior John Lopez (2:54) for the finals win. Lopez (22-12) reached his third district final after pins over Bay sophomore Shaun Sandidge (4:58, quarters) and over Rocky Bayou senior Jaden Scruggs (1:37, semis). Scruggs (23-18, front-side pin) earned his third region qualification with two more falls in the consis, pinning Sandidge in 1:09 for third. Sandidge also won twice by pin in the consis, with a consi-semi pin in 2:43 for his first Wakulla ticket.

170: In a rematch of last year’s 1A-1 final at 182, Rocky Bayou senior Peyton Andersen (38-14) bonus-pointed through the tournament, beating all of the other Region 1 qualifiers, including a win by medical forfeit in the final over Rutherford senior Chad Allgood. Andersen majored Bay sophomore, Dominick Gianfrancisco, 13-5, in the quarters, then falled South Walton senior Shane Lane (2:12) in the semis. As for Allgood (12-4), he needed 38 seconds to earn his third region trip, with pins over Bozeman’s Bricen Surber (:14, quarters) and over NBH’s Joseph Cox (:24, semis). Lane (8-8) max-pointed through the consis, with a win by disqualification over Gianfrancisco in the third-place match; Gianfrancisco (3-6) earned his first Wakulla space with a 21-second pin in the blood round.

182: Rutherford junior Bryson Schirmer (12-4) joined his brother atop the podium after pinning his way through the bracket for his first district title and region appeearance, with falls over Bay junior Joshua Fine (1:30) in the semifinals and over South Walton freshman Kaden Shaw, with a 53-second pin in the championship round. After a bye into the semis, Shaw (9-6) reached the final with a semifinal pin over Rocky Bayou senior Russell Merrifield in 3:57. Merrifield came back for third and his 2nd second-round appearancce with two consi-side wins, pushing past Fine, 13-8, in the medal round for third. Fine (8-19, front-side pin) got into the third-place match and will qualify out for the first time after a consi-semi bye.

195: In a three-person bracket, North Bay Haven sophomore David Mercado (48-1) had a bye into the final to earn his second region trip, then pinned South Walton senior Elijah Ramirez in 3:17 to win his second district title. Ramirez (18-10) took his first region space with a semifinal pin (1:17) over Rocky Bayou senior Jeremiah O’Sullivan (22-19), who will also be at regions for the first time after a bye in the third-place match.

220: North Bay Haven freshman Logan McAlister followed Mercado’s path to a district title, in this case his first (and first region tournament as well), with a bye into the final, where he falled Bozeman 8th-grader Asher Burris in 1:49. Burris (5-11) pinned Wewa 8th grader James Hardy in :53 to reach the final and also is a first-time region participant; same goes for Hardy (5-11), who had a bye in the third-place match.

285: South Walton junior Nick Lee (32-5) closed out the day by earning his second title and taking his third region trip, with three pins in a combined mat time of 1:07, falling Bay’s David Lester-Sagehorn (:14, quarters), Wewahitchka senior Briceson Davis (:19, semis) and Rutherford freshman Edward Johnson in 34 seconds to win his title. Johnson (18-12) also bagged two first-period pins for his first region appearance, falling Bozeman’s Kerian Tripp (:32, quarters) and North Bay Haven freshman Kam D’Niroux (:58) in the semis. Davis (23-28) max-pointed through the consis for third, with an injury-default win in the medal match over D’Niroux (26-17), who got to his first region tournament with a blood-round fall (1:19).

You can see complete brackets from this tournament and other 1A contested brackets in Region 1 and throughout the state HERE.

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