KISSIMMEE — It’s a long way from Ottawa, Illinois, to Silver Spurs Arena.
Nearly 1200 miles long (1189.4 miles, to be exact). Another life long.
That’s the road that Ft Walton Beach senior Cedric Fairrow traveled along the path to FHSAA Class 2A glory Saturday night in the state tournament at Silver Spurs Arena.
In a rematch of the Region 1 final staged last weekend at Chiles, Fairrow brought an unbeaten record into the 220-pound weight class final, going up against Ridgeview senior Derrick Mosley, whom Fairrow had turned back, 7-4, to win his second region title.
And the battle of 2021 state placers (Fairrow 3rd at 220 for FWB, Mosley 6th for the Panthers at 1A-285) did not disappoint. After a tactical first period resulting in no score, Mosley would get on the board first, escaping 26 seconds into the second period.
But Fairrow would record the match’s only takedown a short while later, adding a penalty point thanks to a second stall warning on Mosley to go up, 3-1, after two. Fairrow would then escape out immediately into the third and continued to press the advantage, forcing two more stall warnings and three penalty points en route to a 8-1 win in completing a 49-0 senior season.
“I need some food!” Fairrow said, on the first thing he’d enjoy upon leaving Silver Spurs. Pressed on specifics? “Nope. Just food.
“I learned (last year, when he took 3rd) you’ve got to wrestle your hardest all three periods. I don’t think I had the adrenalin to do it (in overtime in the semis against eventual champion Tristan Middlebrook of Lake Gibson). This year, I got beaten up all year long by all my coaches. It doesn’t matter where you’re from; if you have the determination, you can do it. But it’s a hard ride.”
Even when that ride is 1189 miles long.
Along with Mosley at 220, five other Region 1 wrestlers had their initial appearance in the state finals, and a bid with Saturday night glory, come up just short.
First among them was Fleming Island freshman Jayce Paridon, already a two-time podium finisher at state from his two years at University Christian, who was hoping to complete an undefeated season at 113.
But Mariner freshman Maximus Brady had other plans. Brady proved more than capable of slowing down Paridon’s relentlessness that had worn down 58 prior opponents this year, with a pair of first-period takedowns and a third one halfway through the second. Paridon chose top, hoping to capitalize on his dominant turning ability, but Brady reversed out from bottom with 44 seconds left for an 8-1 win.
Next would be Matanzas senior Tyson Mills at 152, who’d hoped to complete his dream march through the bracket with a win over defending 2A champion Jack Crook of Tampa Jesuit, who’d lost just one match in high school competition since the 2020 2A quarterfinals.
But Crook, who’s wrestling at Harvard next year, showed just why he’d lost just once since 2019-20, taking down Mills at will, with seven takedowns in the match, plus a 3-point turn late in the second period, en route to a technical fall (19-4 in 5:48).
Two matches later, it would be Mills’ brother Jordan that would take the circle in the 170 final against Barron Collier senior Cory Cannan.
For perhaps the first time throughout the IBT series, Mills was on the defensive from the get-go against Cannan, who picked up a pair of turns along with two takedowns in taking an 8-1 decision. Mills was ridden out for all of the second period and never could complete a shot.
Fleming Island junior Jhoel Robinson took aim at the brass ring next, with a finals matchup at 182 against Countryside junior Brian Burburija.
Burburija, though, had already had one finals experience go against him in 2021 and was determined not to let it happen again Saturday, jumping out early against Robinson, who like Mills before him the match earlier, couldn’t get untracked. Burburija had takedowns in both the first and second periods, with a quick turn in the first as well, going on for an 8-1 win.
Last to go before the Fairrow-Mosley final was Lincoln’s Cayden Bevis, who’d already improved on last year’s showing (3rd) simply by winning in the semis on Friday.
But in facing down 2021 state runnerup Sergio Desiante of Tampa Jesuit, Bevis met his match and then some, taking just his second loss of the year. Desiante, who’d bumped up three weight classes to compete at 195 for Jesuit, picked up takedowns in each period to take a 7-0 decision.
Even with no titles, a very young Fleming Island squad did more than enough in the prior rounds to hold fourth place in a very solid 2A race, finishing with 113 points as a group, a half-point better than fifth-place Brandon and within shouting distance of third-place Lake Gibson.
In addition to the two runners-up efforts from Paridon and Robinson, the Golden Eagles picked up eight more medals, with a fourth from Joshua Sandoval (170), a fifth from Christopher Chop (152), 6ths from Laird Duhaylungsod (120), Matthew Kotler (145) and Ronan Bozeman (160), 7ths from Kaden Schaefer (138) and Ethan Hoffstetter (285) and an 8th from Shane Duhaylungsod (106). Heads up, Florida 2A: All 10 medalists return next year.
Matanzas, as well, finished in the top 10, with a ninth-place finish (41 points) fueled on the runnerup efforts of the “Sunshine Mafia” Mills brothers, while Lincoln, behind Bevis’ runnerup medal at 195 and Omarion LaRoach’s 6th at 220, was 13th with 31.5 points.
Fairrow’s title run pushed Ft Walton Beach to a T-16th finish (28 points), while Mosley, with medals from Nick Hejke (3rd at 152) and Derrick Williams (5th at 106), was 19th with 26.5 points.
New Smyrna Beach, thanks to 6ths from Jamey Bruner (126) and Dylon York (195), was T-21st with 23 points, while Derrick Mosley’s runnerup finish propelled Ridgeview to 23rd (21 points), and Toby Matson’s 3rd (285) led Fletcher to 24th with 20 points. Niceville, behind a 5th-place finish from Harrisen Wall (182), was T-25th with 19 points.
Joseph Rice’s 7th at 170 fueled Columbia, with eight points and T-40th; Chiles, thanks to Hunter Brown’s 8th (132) and Pace, behind Atticus Waters’ 8th at 160, both had six points and tied for 45th.
Our North Florida Matmen Facebook page has galleries from each day of the tournament, including action photos from Saturday’s medal round and finals session as well. Or, those same photos can all be found on our Instagram page, nflamatmen.
A complete listing of medalists for the state, with all coverage-area wrestlers first-listed in bold print, follows.
Championship: Roman Lermer (Tampa Jesuit) d. Camren French (Charlotte), 6-4.
3rd: Fredrick Mitchum (Southridge) d. Roberto Rodriguez (Brandon), 6-2.
5th: Derrick Williams (Mosley) d. Colt Brown (Lake Gibson), 7-4.
7th: Grady Murphy (Braden River) d. Shane Duhaylungsod (Fleming Island), 4-3.
Consi semi: Mitchum md. Williams, 13-3.
Championship: Maximus Brady (Lemon Bay) d. Jayce Paridon (Fleming Island), 8-1.
3rd: Draven McCall (Tampa Jesuit) d. Kaiden Ballinger (Charlotte), 3-2.
5th: Enis Ljikovic (Barron Collier) d. Pedro Sifuentes (East River), 4-2, SV.
7th: Elijah Lowe (Lake Gibson) p. Logan O’Leary (Mitchell), :56.
Championship: Tyson Lane (Brandon) md. Ryan Phillips (Winter Springs), 14-5.
3rd: Patrick Nolan (Charlotte) d. Danny Vargas (Tampa Jesuit), 2-1.
5th: Voshawn Baker (Dixie Hollins) d. Laird Duhaylungsod (Fleming Island), 3-2.
7th: Dominick Smith (River Ridge) p. Gregory Mendez (Mater Academy), 2:00.
Consi semi: Vargas d. Duhaylungsod, 4-2.
Championship: Andrew Austin (Charlotte) md. Darrell Tabor (Brandon), 14-0.
3rd: Nathan McGill (Tampa Jesuit) d. Damian Rodriguez (Gaither), 5-1.
5th: Alexander Exalant (North Miami) ID over Jamey Bruner (New Smyrna Beach).
7th: Lowden Ward (Dixie Hollins) md. Silas Mantero (Winter Springs), 14-5.
Consi semi: Rodriguez ID over Bruner.
Championship: Braden Basile (Tampa Jesuit) d. Hayden Whidden (Lake Gibson), 5-3.
3rd: Kaleb Freel (East Bay) d. Roman Maldonado (Heritage), 6-3.
5th: Charlie Armstrong (Okeechobee) d. Austin Revell (River Ridge), 4-2.
7th: Blaine Jones (Brandon) d. Hunter Brown (Chiles), 6-3.
Championship: Christopher Minto (Mariner) md. Gianni Maldonado (Brandon), 9-1.
3rd: Alex Walker (Lake Gibson) p. Joshua Gallo (Springstead), 1:48.
5th: Gabriel Ferreira (Heritage) d. Nicholas Dukes (Southridge), 7-6.
7th: Kaden Schaefer (Fleming Island) d. Kylen McQueen (Sebastian River), 9-3.
Championship: Tom Crook (Tampa Jesuit) d. Blake Walker (Lake Gibson), 11-4.
3rd: Riley Chapdelaine (Winter Springs) d. John Vadyak (Ft Myers), 6-4.
5th: Joseph Gallo (Springstead) d. Matthew Kotler (Fleming island), 7-3.
7th: Michael Farrelly (Dixie Hollins) d. Dylan Howard (Braden River), 11-8.
Consi semi: Chapdelaine d. Kotler, 6-0.
Championship: Jack Crook (Tampa Jesuit) tf. Tyson Mills (Matanzas), 19-4, 5:48.
3rd: Nick Hejke (Mosley) d. Isaac Church (Charlotte), 8-7.
5th: Christopher Chop (Fleming Island) d. Tyler Smith (Brandon), 6-3.
7th: Logan Simpson (Citrus) p. Keygon Jepson-Lee (St Petersburg), 4:05.
Consi semis: Hejke d. Smith, 4-1; Church p. Chop, 1:28.
Championship: Brendon Abdon (Lake Gibson) d. Frank Diaz (Brandon), 7-1.
3rd: Elijah Penton (Winter Springs) d. James Baltutis (Charlotte), 5-4.
5th: Lawrence Rosario (Southridge) d. Ronan Bozeman (Fleming Island), 8-3.
7th: Jessey Colas (Braden River) md. Atticus Waters (Pace), 8-0.
Consi semi: Penton d. Bozeman, 1-0.
Championship: Cory Cannan (Barron Collier) d. Jordan Mills (Matanzas), 8-1.
3rd: Frank Solorzano (Lake Gibson) md. Joshua Sandoval (Fleming Island), 9-1.
5th: Davis Deal (Winter Springs) d. Jonh Milian (Hillsborough), 6-3.
7th: Joseph Rice (Columbia) p. Ethan Bell (Palmetto), 2:39.
Consi semi: Sandoval p. Deal, 2:30.
Championship: Brian Burburija (Countryside) d. Jhoel Robinson (Fleming Island), 8-1.
3rd: Dylan Deal (Winter Springs) d. Tyrone Livingstone (Cypress Lake), 7-1.
5th: Harrisen Wall (Niceville) p. Jeremy Urena (Barron Collier), 2:59.
7th: Chris Matos (East River) d. Jayvien Haynes (Lake Gibson), 3-0.
Consi semi: Deal md. Wall, 9-0.
Championship: Sergio Desiante (Tampa Jesuit) d. Cayden Bevis (Lincoln), 7-0.
3rd: Cael Newton (Charlotte) p. Nigel Williams (Jones), 2:40.
5th: Luis Valdes (Winter Springs) d. Dylon York (New Smyrna Beach), 5-3.
7th: Gabriel Thomas (Palmetto) ID over Rafael Camarena (Sebastian River).
Consi semi: Williams p. York, 1:13.
Championship: Cedric Fairrow (Ft Walton Beach) d. Derrick Mosley (Ridgeview), 8-2.
3rd: Morvens Saint Jean (Ft Myers) d. Cassidy Grubbs (Pasco), 4-2.
5th: Jose Monroy (Okeechobee) p. Omarion LaRoach (Lincoln), 4:49.
7th: Nathaniel Box (Charlotte) d. Theotis Smith (Zephyrhills), 7-2.
Consi semi: Grubbs p. LaRoach, 4:32.
Championship: Jeremiah Jackson (Kathleen) p. Brainys Robles (Liberty), 3:07.
3rd: Toby Matson (Fletcher) p. Paul Valdivia (Golden Gate), 2:40.
5th: Biaggio Frattarelli (Charlotte) p. Nate Gabriel (Auburndale), 3:00.
7th: Ethan Hoffstetter (Fleming Island) d. Williams Clement (Heritage), 2-1.
Consi semi: Matson d. Frattarelli, 4-3.
Final brackets for the state tournament can be found HERE.