#Recap: Union County Wins 1A-4 Duals Title

Union County wrestlers and coaches celebrate the Tigers’ first FHSAA region duals appearance and 1A-District 4 duals title last Tuesday at home (Photo submitted by union_countywrestling via Instagram).

By MATMEN, Sunday, 4:50 p.m.

LAKE BUTLER — Three seasons ago, Union County had perhaps the largest independent program I’ve yet seen in my 10-year stint at Matmen.

The seniors on this year’s team were freshmen then. And, after two years of finishing either third outright or tied for third in FHSAA district duals competition, the Tigers won their first district title last Tuesday at home, taking wins over Bishop Snyder (82-0), Beachside (58-21) and Baker County (48-34), avenging a mid-December dual loss to the Wildcats in taking 1A-District 4 top honors.

With wins over Baldwin (54-23) and Tocoi Creek (52-24) en route to the final, Baker County qualified for the FHSAA region round for the second consecutive season.

Union County (10-6 in duals) will host a set of 1A-Region 1 quarterfinals and semifinals this coming Thursday. The Tigers will take on District 3 runnerup Yulee (8-5) in one quarterfinal, while Baker County (15-6) will face District 3 champion Episcopal (16-3) in the other. The two quarterfinal winners will then meet in the semis, with the winner of that round advancing to the FHSAA state duals tournament on January 20 in Osceola. A start time for Thursday’s upcoming wrestling was not known at time of this publication.

All but two Tiger wrestlers won at least twice during the day, with six — Gage Howard (120, 2 pins & major), Ian Halfacre (132, 2 pins), Ethan Shea (138, pin), Danny Thornton (195, 2 pins & major), Danny Lane (220, 2 pins) and Ephriam Frometa (285, 2 pins) — going 3-0.

Additionally, Kale Waters (113, 2 pins), Rodney Barnett (145, 2 pins), Dante’ Johnson (152, 2 pins), Colin Hadlock (160, 2 pins), Trenton Klein (170) and Alexander Cortese (182, pin) all were 2-1.

Baker County had four unbeatens on Tuesday, as Jareb Lauramore (113, 2 pins), Jonathon Walker (126, 2 pins), Rasean Rayam (160, pin & major) and Cannon Wimpey (170, 3 pins) all were 3-0.

Brayden Martin (106, pin), Taz Kinghorn (120), Keith Ratliff (152, pin & major), Kelan Hendricks (182/195, pin) and Joseph Stronko (220, 2 pins) all added 2-1 tournament efforts for the Wildcats.

Beachside (3-1 tournament, 5-1 season) lost in the semis to Union after a 69-12 win over Baldwin, fighting its way back to third with double-digit wins over Keystone Heights (48-30) and Tocoi Creek (46-30); there was no contest for true 2nd.

Oliver Hayden (106) pinned his way through the day for the first-year program Barracudas, while Owen Kollener (126, pin), Grady Smith (145, 3 pins & major) and Eddie Craig (182, 3 pins & major) all were 4-0. Makai Mitchell (160, 3 pins) turned in a 3-1 day for Beachside.

Tocoi Creek (2-2, 4-2) saw Willie Sims (132) pin his way through a day where the Toros took wins over Keystone Heights (48-18) and Interlachen (48-21) sandwiching a semifinal loss to Baker.

Sims was Tocoi’s only unbeaten wrestler Tuesday; Aidan Hubbell (106, 3 pins), Alessandro Bazan (113/120, 2 pins), Mark Coniker (138/145, 3 pins), Ryland McGinley (152, 3 pins) and Michael Soffian (195/220, 2 pins) all were 3-1 for the Toros.

Keystone Heights (1-2, 2-8) and Interlachen (2-2, 4-12) tied for fifth place, as both fell in the consi semis. The Indians defeated Palatka, 36-30, in the consis, while the Putnam County Rams had two consi-side wins over Bishop Snyder (37-36 in criteria) and Baldwin (36-30) after a pigtail loss to the Panthers, 54-18.

Steven Raab (220) had three pins for Keystone, while Joshua Dowling (285, 2 pins) joined him as a 3-0 unbeaten; Henry Carhuayo (170, pin) was 2-0 and Luke Graves (145, pin) 2-1 for the Indians.

For Interlachen, Tony Ortiz (106, pin), George Rodriguez (182/195, 2 pins), Shyheem Shivers (220, pin) and Simon Rodriguez (285, decision) all were 3-1 on the day.

Palatka (1-2, 3-6 overall) and Baldwin (0-2, 3-6) both saw their tournaments end in the consi quarters.

Ishmael Foster (138, pin & tech) and Mikade Harvey (152, 3 pins) all were 3-0 for the Putnam County Panthers, while Gavin Chambliss (120/126, pin), Kaifer Valentine (145, 2 pins), Logen Cumbo (170, pin), Barrett Clark (195, pin) and Ben Clark (285, pin) each were 2-1.

Baldwin got 2-0 performances from Kory Mumbolo (138, pin) and Zyon Veale (170, pin).

Bishop Snyder (1-11 for the season) also was 0-2 in the tournament. The Cardinals had three pins in the consi-side loss to Interlachen.

Results from last Tuesday’s event can be found HERE.

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