By MATMEN, Sunday, 3:05 p.m.
TALLAHASSEE — For the first three seasons of the FHSAA state dual series, Lincoln was a fixture at Osceola, with two region titles.
Only the Class of 2023 wrestlers on the Trojan squad, however, were part of that fixture, as Lincoln fell in the region semis in 2021 and did not make the region round last year.
This year, after winning the 2A-District 2 title by the narrowest of margins, the Trojans (ranked 9th-2A for duals) had another scare in the Region 1 quarters last Thursday at home, as District 1 rivals Ft Walton Beach and Gulf Breeze pushed them hard before falling by 35-34 and 39-30 counts, respectively.
Things won’t get much easier in the 2A-Region 1 final at Osceola, as the Trojans (12-4) will face second-ranked Fleming Island (16-0; records for both teams following weekend wrestling) at 2 p.m. (1 p.m. weighin) Friday, for the region title and a berth in Saturday’s state semifinals.
Below follows a summary of each dual wrestled at Lincoln —
Quarterfinal 1 — Lincoln 35, Ft Walton Beach 34: The teams traded punches early on, with Lincoln’s Zaire Fernanders-Jackson (138) and FWB’s Steven Banfield (9th at 145) trading pins; after a brief Viking lead thanks to a Matthew Sinclair 11-9 decision at 152, the teams would do it again at 160 & 170, with Connor Edwards (3rd at 152, competing at 160) pinning for Lincoln and Alexander Davidson (7th at 160, competing at 170) falling for Ft Walton Beach. … The Vikings (8-6) would extend to a double-digit, 24-12 lead behind a pair of bonus-point wins from Connor Roberts (18th at 182, 17-2 tech) and Darius Brundidge (19th at 195, 13-3 major), but Lincoln would string together four in a row at the bookends to take a six-point lead with pins from Ryder Luck (13th at 285) and Joe Tucker (8th at 106), plus decisions from Jakob Nowak (4th at 195, competing at 220; 6-4 win over #7 Carter Tobik) and Vaniel Caceres (10th at 113, 5-2 win). … Ft Walton would cut the lead on Zak Vosburgh (10th at 120)’s 13-4 major, but the teams would trade pins, with Jashawn Washington (14th at 126) providing the clinching pin for the Trojans and Landon Burbidge closing the dual with a fall at 132.
Quarterfinal 2 — Gulf Breeze 45, Chiles 30: After Garrett Marschka (4th at 138) drew first blood for the Timberwolves (6-2), the District 1-champion Dolphins (13-6) put out three pins in a row from Michael Mancuso (20th at 138, competing at 145), Colson Elliott (7th at 152) and Brennden Nita (160). … Chiles then strung together four wins in succession to take a 27-18 lead, with Luke Pickels (170), Langston Tillman (182) and Dillon Elliott (8th at 195, competing at 220) all by fall for the Timberwolves, plus Cody Elliott’s 8-7 win at 195. … However, Chiles had no answers as the Dolphins put on a 27-3 run to close out the dual; after Gulf Breeze took a forfeit at 285, it added pins from Garrett Ferguson (11th at 106), Aiden Macken (8th at 113) and Nathan Weber (13th at 132), plus a key 7-2 win from Coby Shields (14th) over 16th-ranked Sam Tolomeo at 120. … Chiles’ Ethan Jackson (9-1 major at 126) had the Timberwolves’ final win.
Semifinal — Lincoln 39, Gulf Breeze 30: After some early back-and-forth with a pin from Lincoln’s Vincent Crump (145) and the Dolphins’ Elliott (152) and Nita (160), the Trojans would put on five straight wins to race out to a 33-12 lead, with pins from Edwards (this time at 170), Israel Williams (182) and Luck (285), a 22-7 tech fall from Kendrick Scott (220) and Nowak’s 11-3 major at 195. … The Dolphins would take six back on decisions from Ferguson (4-1 over Tucker) and Macken (9-2 over Caceres), but not getting extra points would hurt, as Zakary Jurado (120) clinched the dual with his 31-second pin, as Lincoln was up 27 (39-18) with three weights to go. … Gulf Breeze would win out the rest of the way, with Weber taking a pin at 132, while Shields (1-0 at 126) and Mancuso (5-2 at 138) grabbing decisions.
You can find full results for this site’s quarterfinal and semifinal rounds HERE.