By MATMEN, Sunday, 10:25 p.m.
GULF BREEZE — Host Gulf Breeze and neighboring rival Gulf Shores (AL) slugged it out for top honors in Saturday’s Ryan Blackwell Invitational.
On a day in which girls’ and IOF competition was also staged Saturday, it was the Alabama visitors that had just enough for the team win, 239-228, over the Dolphins.
Mosley (117) and Niceville (113) also finished in the top 5 team-wise, taking fourth and fifth, respectively, with Louisiana’s Archbishop Rummel finishing third.
The hidden MVP?: After a year away, senior Nate Weber showed little rust in winning the 132 title, pinning his way into the final, where he took a 12-6 win over Gulf Shores’ Ethan Sharkey.
Weber (13th at 2A-126) jumped out to a 5-0 lead after one period thanks to a big turn for 3 NF late, scoring reversals in both the second and third. Weber added another 3-point turn midway through the final period.
Earlier in the day, Weber had pins over Ocean Springs, Rocky Bayou Christian and Archbishop Rummel, without having to go past the second period.
Two more, please: Weber was joined as Blackwell champions by teammates Garrett Ferguson (106) and Colson Elliott (152).
Ferguson (19th at 2A-106) took three 6-minute victories for his win at the lower bookend, bookending a 6-3 semifinal win with majors in the quarters over Mosley (10-2) and over Rocky Bayou Christian’s Thomas Pluhar, 9-0, in which he had two scoring moves and two turns en route to the major.
Elliott (7th at 2A-152) joined his sister as a Blackwell champion and OW winner, pinning or teching through the 152 bracket. After a round-of-16 tech over Bay, he had pins over Mosley (quarters) and Tate (semis) before falling Archbishop Rummel’s Cameron Gandolfi in 43 seconds to claim his bracket win.
Back-to-back-to-back-to-back: Elliott was the second of four 2A-District 1 wrestlers to claim tournament titles between 145 and 170 on Saturday. Closing out that streak were Ft Walton Beach’s Matthew Sinclair (160) and Niceville’s Malachi Lewis (170), both of whom were their teams’ lone champs Saturday.
Sinclair won four times for his 160 bracket, with a round-of-16 pin over Ocean Springs and decisions over Gulf Breeze (6-0, quarters) and Bay (3-2, semis) before majoring Gulf Shores’ Chandler Calloway, 11-2. Sinclair had scoring moves in each period, with turns in both the first and third.
Lewis broke through in a topsy-turvy 170 bracket that saw the 1 seed upset in the round of 16, with majors in the round-of-16 over Gulf Breeze and in the quarters over Destin, followed by decisions over Tate in the semis and an 8-6 win over Milton’s Julian Fuentes in the final. Lewis had takedowns in each period and led throughout the match.
Former teammates share podium: Teammates a year ago at Mosley, the tournament saw Bay junior Derrick Williams (120) and the Dolphins’ Marshall Dixon (220) represent their teams with solo titles.
Williams (1st at 1A-113) eclipsed the 100-win mark over the course of the day, bonus-pointing through the tournament with pins in the quarters over Mosley and in the semis over Gulf Shores before racking up five takedowns in majoring Gulf Breeze’s Coby Shields (16th at 2A-120), 11-3, for the title.
At 220, Dixon (16th at 2A-195) had no trouble with the bracket, needing just 115 seconds over four rounds to pin his way through the draw, with falls over Ocean Springs, Choctaw and Tate before pinning Bozeman’s Asher Burris in 54 seconds for the championship.
Indians on the rise: Choctaw was 10th as a team, but only the team leaders had as many titles as the Indians, as Bradack Carroll (145) and Caden McKinney (195) both went home with championship singlets.
Carroll, who kicked off the 2A-D1 four-pack of weight-class wins, bonus-pointed his way through the 145 field, with pins early over Tate (rd of 16) and Bay (quarters) before majoring Mosley, 10-0, in the semis. He then added a third pin with his fall of Archbishop Rummel’s Austen Shook in 3:36.
McKinney pinned through the 195 bracket with four falls; after a quick pigtail pin over Gulf Breeze, he falled top seed Trent Schlosberg of Ocean Springs (MS) in the quarters in 1:22. McKinney then took two more pins over out-of-state competition with a fall in the semis over Archbishop Rummel and a pin in 2:59 over W S Neal (AL)’s Kameron Kapterville, the second seed.
Results from the tournament can be found HERE.