By MATMEN, Friday, 1:40 p.m.
PANAMA CITY — When Zane Turnipseed last worked on the staff of a district duals champion, he was at Arnold then, with dreams of running a program of his own.
Thursday night, the head coach made the earlier assistant coach’s dream reality, as North Bay Haven rolled to double-digit wins over Wewahitchka (54-30), South Walton (51-30) and Bay (48-30) to win the FHSAA 1A-District 1 duals title Thursday night at Bay.
In kicking off their dual season with the district win, North Bay Haven earned its first team trophy in the sport and had its highest finish in the district duals event. With the possible exception of last year (where results were not submitted), the Buccaneers had never finished higher than fourth in district duals before Thursday night.
North Bay Haven will wrestle the 1A-District 2 runnerup in the Region 1 quarterfinals on January 12 in the District 2 champion’s gym. The District 2 meet will be staged on January 5 at Suwannee.
Four NBH wrestlers finished the night with max-point 3-0 records, as Bear Siegal (152, 2 pins), Brayden Harper (182/195, pin), David Mercado (195/220, pin) and Logan McAlister (285, 2 pins) all had perfect nights.
Nathan Mercado (113, 2 pins), Bodie Barlup (120, 2 pins), Caleb Fuster (132, 2 pins), Zander Stillgess (145, win by injury-default and decision) and Julian Hernandez (170/182, 2 pins) all were 2-1 for the Buccaneers.
Taking the loss in the championship final, Bay (3-1) had to rally in a dual for true second place. And rally the Tornadoes would, though two-time defending duals champ South Walton made them work for that rally, erasing an early Bay lead before the Tornadoes would close things down in the middle for a 47-36 win.
The victory was Bay’s best finish in the district duals event, with the possible exception of last year, since 2018, when the Tornadoes were T-3rd. Bay will take on the District 2 champion on January 12 in the Region 1 quarterfinals.
Earlier in the day, Bay took wins over Freeport (72-12) and Rocky Bayou Christian (70-12). Five Tornadoes wrestlers were 4-0, with David Drake (120/126) pinning his way through the tournament. Derrick Williams (120/126, 2 pins) and Shaun Sandidge (160, 3 pins) also were max-pointers, while Leonardo Sanchez (113, 2 pins, major & decision) also was 4-0.
Elijah Stillgess (138, 3 pins), Deven Bradshaw (145, 3 pins), Christen Patterson (152, 3 pins), Tanner Collins (170, pin & decision) and Henry Bolton (195) all were 3-1 for Bay, while Grady Oenbrink (106, pin) and Garrett Pelt (220) both were 2-2.
South Walton (2-2) opened the day and its dual season with a 54-18 win over Bozeman, getting a team forfeit win in the consolation final against Rocky Bayou Christian, allowing the Seahawks to get a shot at true second and attempt to maintain what had been its permanent place in the region round (South Walton was second in the 2018-20 duals tournaments).
Nathan Lyttle (106, 3 pins), Isaac Brinson (126/132, 2 pins), Gibson Moore (132/138, 3 pins) and Kaden Shaw (170, 3 pins) all were 4-0 max-pointers for the Seahawks, while Noah Withers (120/126, 2 pins) had a 3-1 day. Nick Lee (285, pin) was 2-1 in the tournament for South Walton, while Dylan Hardin (113, pin), Jackson Roach (145, pin) and Blain Stout (160) were each 2-2.
Rocky Bayou Christian (1-1) had the closest dual of the night, edging Rutherford by a 39-36 count in the quarters. The Knights got two wins from Clay Nelson (132, pin & decision); Thomas Pluhar (113) and Owen Parry (152) picked up pins in the Rutherford victory, while Parker Sage (182) won by fall in the loss to Bay.
Freeport (unknown duals record due to missing dual), Rutherford (2-1), Bozeman (0-2) and Wewahitchka (1-2) all got just one dual in the competition.
Travis McDermott (182) and Lewis Adams (285) had pins for the Bulldogs, while Dylan Malott (106), Ja’dion Hughes (145), Keaton Schirmer (160) and Bryson Schirmer (182) all had pins for the Rams against RBC, with Michael Lurvey (120) winning by injury default.
Bozeman got pins from Daniel Pierce (152) and Asher Burris (220), while Wewa had falls from Zeke Cooper (106), Jake Parker (126), Jarrett Spencer (145), Conner Roberts (160) and James Hardy (220).
North Bay Haven has the longest trip this weekend, going to Hagerty HS in Oviedo for the two-day Johnny Rouse Duals, while Bay and South Walton will reconvene in Valdosta GA for the two-day Allstate Wildcat Invitational. Rocky Bayou Christian, Freeport and Bozeman will all be at Saturday’s Rocky Rumble, while Wewahitchka will stay north, competing at today’s two-day Yulee Duals. Rutherford is now off until Mosley’s Panhandle Championships on January 6-7.
Results from Thursday night’s duals can be found HERE.