By MATMEN, Monday, 11:05 p.m.
JACKSONVILLE — An all-Clay County party in the FHSAA region round? Why not?
Last Wednesday in the 2A-District 3 duals tournament at Westside, Middleburg and Oakleaf finished their half of the bargain, going 1-2 and putting on a thrilling final late into the evening.
Bronco bigs Porter Loveland (220) and Tucker Cody (285) made sure that Middleburg (12-2) would win its first FHSAA district title and make its first trip to the region-duals round since 2019, with back-to-back falls to secure a 39-29 win over the Clay County Knights that capped earlier victories for Middleburg over Ponte Vedra (68-12) and Ridgeview (65-12).
Oakleaf (10-8) reached the final by virtue of wins over Ed White (reported to Track as 48-3, later determined to be 54-18) and Westside (57-17); when the Wolverines went on to finish third, Oakleaf’s space at regions was secured.
It won’t be a long ride on Thursday for the region duals round, nor will it be an unfamiliar one. Middleburg will face Clay (12-2) in one 2A-Region 1 quarterfinal at Fleming Island, while the Knights will face the host Golden Eagles (6-0); the winners will then meet for a space in the FHSAA 2A state duals tournament at Osceola on January 20 (2A-District 4 story forthcoming later in the week).
Middleburg saw five wrestlers go 3-0 on the night; Loveland (195/220, 2 pins) and Cody (220/285, 3 pins) were among them, and they were joined by Grady Woodard (120, 2 pins & decision), Joseph Forte (138, 2 pins & decision) and Logan Moore (145, 3 pins).
The Broncos got 2-0 performances from Wyatt Leduc (132, pin & decision) and Daniel Raines (152, injury-default & decision), while Bryan Davis (113, 2 pins), Aden Thornton (160, pin & tech) and Keensdee Roseme (170, pin & decision) all were 2-1.
As for Oakleaf, Angel Rodriguez (113, 2 pins), Sebastian Bonochea (126, pin & major), Jerimiah Baker (170, 3 pins) and Isaiah Shevchook (195, 2 pins) each were 3-0 on the night to lead the Knights.
Roman Polinsky (160, pin & decision) was 2-0 for Oakleaf, with Conner Barnes (106, major) and Ion Hortinela (120, 2 pins) each completing 2-1 performances.
Westside (11-3) and Ridgeview (12-9) did not wrestle a third-place match; after taking a 75-6 quarterfinal win over Englewood and falling to Oakleaf in the semis, the Wolverines did not get another dual, with an advancement forfeit in the consis over Ponte Vedra.
Jacob Jackson (106, decision), Olleon Hickmon (138, 2 pins), Gha-is Cooper (145, major) and Nathan Williams (152, major & decision) each were 3-0 for Westside, with Layah Mixon (120) going 2-0 and Jayden Joseph (113, pin), Ismael Santos (132, pin), Preston Davis (160), Ponchelo Cadet (170), Darius Loveless (182, pin), Elijah Williams (195, pin) and Wayne Rogers (220, pin) all going 2-1.
As for the Clay County Panthers, Ridgeview had a front-side win over Terry Parker (54-27) and consi-side win over Ed White (54-26). Timothy Danz (106, pin) and Bailen Culver (182, pin) each were 2-0 on the night.
Additionally, Sean Davis (120, 2 pins), Kaiden Tibbetts (132, 2 pins), Tanner Tague (170, 2 pins), Raymond Goforth (195, pin) and Trenton Manis (285, pin) all were 2-1 for Ridgeview.
Ponte Vedra (3-4) and Ed White (4-9) each won one dual in the tournament, with the Sharks turning back Terry Parker, 60-24, and Ed White defeating Englewood, 36-27.
Ponte Vedra got two wins each from Talan Babin (182, pin) and Richard Grieco (220/285) in its two duals, while Benny Lewis (160, tech & decision) and Jordan Jackson (220, 2 pins & tech) were 3-0 for the Commanders. Xavier Wimmer (182, pin & decision) and Alex Benitez (285, 2 pins) were both 2-1 for Ed White.
Terry Parker (3-7) and Englewood (0-3) were both 0-2 on the night as a team; individually, Shamar Jones (113, 2 pins) and Ben Helton (152, pin) were 2-0 for the Braves.
Results of last week’s event, along with all other area district competitions that are mostly or completely reported, can be found HERE.