LIVE OAK — Could Suwannee knock off 11-time defending district champion Wakulla off the top of the mountain?
The dual result the teams had in January suggested, perhaps, maybe so. The War Eagles, however, had other ideas on Friday, not only adding a 12th straight district IBT crown to their possession, but doing so in Suwannee’s gym with former Wakulla head man John Wainwright running the show for the Bulldogs.
As things stood at the day’s end, the teams were separated not so much by quality as by numbers. Wakulla qualified an entire 14-person roster for next weekend’s Region 1 tournament at home, as the War Eagles took down Suwannee, 246-230, for the District 2 title and 12th consecutive district championship.
Wakulla will have five champs, seven runners-up, one 3rd and one 4th competing at home.
As for the host runnerups, Suwannee also qualified its entire team, with 13 moving on to regions, fueled by five champs, five runners-up and three 3rds. That one missing weight, 285, was key, as Wakulla picked up advancement and bonus points in that weight class that the Bulldogs couldn’t match.
Florida High was third with 174.5 points, and will match Suwannee’s region-qualifying number of 13 wrestlers, with three champions, one runnerup, five 3rds and four 4ths.
Marianna outpointed first-year program Liberty County, 77-58.5, for fourth. The Bulldogs will take six to regions, with one runnerup, two 3rds and three 4ths. Liberty County advances its entire four-man squad to Wakulla for regions, with one champion, two 3rds and one 4th.
Godby was sixth with 39 points and three region automatic qualifiers (one 3rd and two 4ths).
Below follows a summary of the day —
106: Suwannee sophomore Topher Pearson (47-5) picked up his second region qualification with a semifinal pin over Florida High sophomore Dewan Richardson (1:54), then pushed past Wakulla senior Julian Harvey, 3-1, to win his first district title. Harvey (1-1 post-season) advaned to regions for the third time with a semifinal pin of his own in 1:16 over Liberty freshman Keaton Ellis. Richardson (20-13) won twice on the back for third, with a 6-3 medal-round decision over Ellis for third place. Ellis (28-19, front-side pin) had a bye in the consi semis.
113: Liberty County freshman Jay Brown (39-4) will make his second trip to regions, first time as a district champ, after a 13-second semifinal pin over Florida High freshman Reis Suskey and a 7-0 decision in the final over Wakulla junior Conner Brown. Brown (1-1 post-season) edged Suwannee freshman Eli Jolicoeur, 4-3, to make the final, qualifying out for regions for the first time. Both Jolicoeur (36-14) and Suskey (8-17) were also first-time region qualifiers, with Jolicoeur winning the third-place by fall in 2:45.
120: Wakulla junior Caleb Orr (2-0 post-season) won his second district title and region appearance behind a 40-second semifinal pin over Florida High freshman Cash Ganim and an 8-4 championship decision over Suwannee freshman Justin Contreras. Contreras (27-18) got to the final behind a 6-4 semifinal win over Liberty sophomore Hunter Brown (31-18), who qualified out for regions for the second time. Brown teched Ganim (7-13), 16-0 in 2:39, to place third.
126: Suwannee junior Brody Boehm (45-6) qualified for regions for the third time, winning his first district title by pinning through the bracket, with falls in the semis over Marianna freshman Sam Basford (:45) and in the title match over Wakulla senior Juan Jimenez in 5:56. Jimenez (1-1) post-season secured his finals spot with an unrecorded fall time and pin in the semis over Florida High junior Hunter Stanley; Stanley (9-18), in turn, took third with a third-period fall (4:06) over Basford. Jimenez, Stanley and Basford are all first-time region qualifiers.
132: Bulldog sophomore Austin McKinney (52-6) got out to regions for the second time as a first-time district champion, bonus-pointing through the day with a semifinal pin (:47) over Florida High freshman Troy Carroll and an 11-2 major in the championship match over Wakulla senior Isaiah Wilson. Wilson (1-1 post-season) pinned Marianna freshman Josh Mercer in 2:54, taking his third appearance in the region tournament. Carroll (20-16) shut out Mercer (10-13), 8-0, for third place; both are first-time Region 1 qualifiers.
138: In a three-person bracket, War Eagle junior Wyatt Welch (2-0 post-season) won twice for his first district title and region qualification, pinning Florida High junior Isaiah Ridlen (1:58) in the semis, then decisioning Suwannee junior Ayden Kirby, 4-1, to win the bracket. Kirby (32-19) had a bye into the semis, qualifying for regions for the second time, while first-time region qualifier Ridlen (8-16) had a bye in the third-place match.
145: Wakulla senior Hayden Reeves (2-0 post-season) made it back-to-back War Eagle titles, winning his third district championship and getting out to the second round of post-season for the third time, falling Godby freshman Ahmed Fordham (1:43) in the semis, and then shutting out Suwannee freshman Marshall White, 14-0 to win that third title, one of just two in the district to win three brackets. White (26-10) edged past Florida High senior Caleb Keigans, 6-5, in the semis to get to Reeves in the final. Fordham (4-3) then falled Keigans (8-6) in the second period (2:03) for third place. White, Fordham and Keigans were all first-time Region 1 qualifiers.
152: Suwannee senior Tyson Musgrove (42-7) became the other district 3x champion, earning his fourth region trip behind a semifinal pin over Marianna senior Cody Lewis (1:46) and an 11-0 shutout major in the title round over Wakulla junior Jae T Thaxton. Thaxton (1-1) got to Region 1 competition for the third time behind a 5-2 semifinal win over Florida High junior Dean Wright (14-12), who took two pins in the consis to wrestle back to third, falling Lewis in 27 seconds for the bronze medal. Lewis (7-16, front-side pin) earned his first region-tournament appearance after four cracks at it, with a bye in the consi semis.
160: Bulldog junior Austin Howard (51-7) bonus-pointed through the draw for his second district title (team’s fifth) and third appearance as a finalist, with a 57-second fall in the semis over Marianna senior Trett Phillips and a 10-1 major in the final over Florida High senior Liam Hawkes. Hawkes (22-11) secured his third region qualification in pinning Wakulla senior Aiden Fetterhoff (1:52) in the semis. Phillips (11-13) advanced out for the third time, placing third with a consi-side fall (2:11) over Fetterhoff (0-2 post-season), who will appear at regions for the first time.
170: Florida High sophomore Xander Hawkes (24-3) earned his first district title, moving on to regions for the second time with a semifinal pin over Godby senior Seth Williamson (2 minutes) and a 10-5 decision in the championship round over Wakulla senior Daniel Brattain. Brattain (1-1 post-season) secured his second trip, albeit a much shorter one in the second go, behind a 10-4 decision in the semis over Suwannee senior James Prentice (30-16), who took two pins in the consis, including a third-place fall in 1:37 over Williamson. Williamson (3-4, front-side pin) advanced onward with a bye in the consi semis; both Prentice and Williamson are first-time Region 1 qualifiers.
182: Wakulla senior Tyler Edenfield (2-0 post-season) picked up his team’s fourth weight-class of the day behind a pair of six-minute wins, getting to regions for the second time, this time as a first-time district champion. Edenfield decisioned Marianna junior Marquis Patterson-Rhodes, 8-1, in the semis, then shut out Suwannee junior Dustin Wood, 8-0, in the championship round. Wood (18-15) qualified for regions for the third time (but couldn’t compete last year due to injury) behind a first-period semifinal pin (1:13) over Florida High freshman Matthew Tucker. Patterson-Rhodes (8-5) took his second region qualification, pinning Tucker (12-17) in 4:52 for third place; it’s Tucker’s first trip to regions.
195: Florida High senior Diego Duprey (11-3) will make his fourth trip to the region tournament, and first as a district champion after a year away. In a three-person bracket, Duprey had a bye into the final, where he took a second-period fall (2:32) over Suwannee freshman Torynn Johns. Johns (12-29) won by forfeit over Wakulla freshman Sultan Ellington (0-1 post-season) in the semis, with Ellington taking a bye for third place. Both Johns and Ellington are first-time region qualifiers.
220: In another three-person bracket, Florida High sophomore Collin Bishop (21-8) made it back-to-back titles for the Seminoles, with a bye into the final, where he pinned Wakulla freshman Kohl Pippen in 4:49 for his first district title. In the semis, Pippen (1-1 post-season) pushed past Suwannee freshman Christian Harrell (14-34), 3-2, to get to Bishop, with Harrell taking a bye for third. All three wrestlers in the weight class are first-time Region 1 qualifiers.
285: Wakulla senior Jacob Cardoza (2-0 post-season) closed out the day with the War Eagles’ fifth weight-class win, taking falls in the semis over Godby freshman Gedalyah Fletcher (1:04) and in the final over Marianna junior Zeth Harris in 3:25 to win his first district title and make his first region appearance. Harris (11-7) falled Liberty sophomore Scout Harr in 2:53 to reach the final, while Harr (16-29) won by pin twice on the back side, falling Fletcher in 35 seconds for third place. Fletcher (1-6, front-side pin) had a bye in the consi semis to get out). Harris, Harr and Fletcher are also all first-time Region 1 qualifiers.
You can see complete brackets from this tournament and other 1A contested brackets in Region 1 and throughout the state HERE.