By MATMEN, Monday, 8:45 p.m.
FERNANDINA BEACH — Episcopal has been knocking at the door of a district-duals title for years now.
T-3rd in 2019. 3rd outright in 2020. Second both in 2021 and 2022. And last Wednesday, the Eagles pushed the door open at last, taking wins over Bishop Kenny (60-21) and three-time defending district champion Yulee (42-39) to win the 1A-District 3 title, Episcopal’s first district duals title and third Region 1-round qualification.
The Eagles (16-3) and Hornets (8-5), who ensured qualification when they beat host and eventual third-place Fernandina Beach, 50-23, will advance to this week’s 1A-Region 1 quarterfinals at Union County. Episcopal will face Baker County (15-6) in one quarterfinal, with Yulee facing the host (10-6). Quarterfinal winners will meet for the right to attend the first day of the FHSAA state duals tournament at Osceola and January 20, and will battle for the region title on that day.
Episcopal picked up double-win performances from Scott Busey (126, 2 pins), Nicholas Pressley (132, pin) and Chance Wolffe (152, 2 pins).
Cohen Chesser (138), Brennan Doherty (170), Chance Faucheaux (182), Lawson Perry (220) and Mark Rinaman all had falls in the win over their Atlantic Blvd. rivals, while Levi Ritter (120), Baylor Maurer (145) and John Fernandez (160) each took pins in the win over Yulee.
The Hornets advanced to the region round for the fifth straight season. Josh Harris (106, pin), Austin Adamson (138, pin), Dylan Johns (170, 2 pins), Christopher Aud (182, major & decision), Alex Smith (195/220, pin & major) and Braylen Ricks (285, 2 pins) all won twice for Yulee.
In the win over Fernandina Beach, Lincoln Brehmer (120), Samuel Sahrphillips (152) and Cayden Ricks (220) each took pins, while Pheonix Barbour-Yerka (195) won by fall in the loss to Episcopal.
Fernandina Beach (7-2) was the only one of five teams competing last week to get three duals, with a pigtail win over Bolles (60-6) and a team forfeit win over Bishop Kenny to claim third. Caden Kubatzke (126, 2 pins), Cael Kubatzke (132, pin & tech), Cole Misciagna (145, pin) and Enzo Gamba (160, 2 pins) all were 3-0 on the day for the Pirates.
Additionally, Blaike Harrington (152), Cole Harris (170), Henry McDuffy (182), Gauge Housely (195), Peyton White (220, pin) and William Schuster (285) all were 2-1 for Fernandina Beach.
As for the Crusaders (11-7), their lone victory came in the consis against Bolles, with Jacob Harless (120/126, 2 pins), Jack Raynor (145, pin), Roberto Cuartero (160, 2 pins) and Collin Hearn (195, decision). James Futch (220) had a fall in the Crusaders’ dual against Bolles, with Christopher Hampton (138) adding a 15-0 tech.
The very young Bulldogs (0-10) got one contested victory, as Jameson Palmer (120) won by fall against Fernandina.
Results of last week’s event, along with all other area district competitions that are mostly or completely reported, can be found HERE.