By MATMEN, Saturday, 5:50 p.m.
KISSIMMEE — Not many teams have had a successful solution in dealing with Suwannee’s first 10-11 weights or so, from 106 on up. Many teams have tried and failed to find one.
But defending 1A state duals champion Jensen Beach isn’t like “many teams,” and the Falcons were able to dictate terms against the Bulldog lower half of the lineup in Saturday’s FHSAA 1A state semifinal at Osceola HS.
Jensen Beach, en route to a back-to-back 1A championship performance after taking down Zephyrhills Christian, 57-12, in the final round, won seven of the first eight matches from 106 through 152 against Suwannee — including six in a row — as the Bulldogs took just their fourth dual loss of the season, 49-19.
Jensen has some pretty solid uppers, too, and the Falcons put them to good use in seizing a 16-0 run to kick off the dual, on pins from Nate Sopotnick (3rd-195) and Toby Rooney (13th-220), plus a 19-10 major from Malachi Harriel (6th-182), before Suwannee’s Holden Corbin could put his team on the board with a second-period fall at 285.
The Falcons would get an 8-3 decision from Ben Norris (6th-106), but the Bulldogs would answer behind Justin Contreras (9th-113), who would get a second-period pin over #2 Gian Ortiz at that weight to make it 19-12 and a dual that stood at a crossroads for both teams.
Then Jensen Beach took over with its six-match win streak from 120 and 152, with pins from Charlie Armstrong (5th-132), Mikel Pierce-Walker (5th-138) and Dylan Fox (3rd-152), a 15-0 tech fall from Sebastian Degennaro (1st-120), a 14-5 major from Ryan Mooney (1st-126) and a 12-8 dual-clinching win from Jewell Williams (1st-145) against the traditional heart of the Bulldog lineup.
Suwannee (35-4) would close out the dual with a pair of wins, thanks to an 8-0 major from Austin Howard (3rd-160) and a 6-5 win from Dustin Wood (10th-170). The Bulldogs will return to competition on Thursday, traveling to Clay for an away dual.
Zephyrhills Christian 45, Hernando 32: The teams essentially traded points through the first four weights, with ZCA taking a 12-9 lead behind Jeremiah Chavis (16th-170)’ pin at 182 and a forfeit at 220, while the Foxes had a forfeit at 195 and a 2-0 decision for Devin Williams (2nd-285).
Hernando would go up, 21-18, after Reid Yakes (4th-106)’ pin for the Warriors, thanks to pins from Kyle Pearson (12th-113) and Jordyn Valle (8th-120), but Zephyrhills Christian would answer with a 15-0 run on pins from Kyle Gallo (19th-126) and Talon Maple (6th-132), plus a 10-4 win from Landen Holley (8th-138).
The teams then traded pins over the final four weights, with Javier Lopez (8th-152) and Ashton Liddington (170) each winning by fall for ZCA, while Hernando had pins from James Gadson (9th-145) and James Garrett (12th-152, competing at 160).
Championship: ZCA would take an early lead, 9-6, as the teams traded forfeits at 195 and 285 to sandwich Elijah Austin’s 7-6 win at 220.
But the dual irrevocably shifted in Jensen’s favor thanks to a 24-0 run from 106-132, as Ortiz (113), Degennaro (120) and Mooney (126) all had pins, with Norris taking an 11-5 win at 106 and Armstrong winning by a 5-1 count at 132.
Holley would slow the momentum, however briefly, with a 7-1 win at 138, but the Falcons closed out with a fury, stringing together five bonus-point wins, including pins from Colten Byrd (6th-160), Luke Krakoff (170) and Harriel (182), a 22-5 tech from Williams at 145 and a 10-0 major from Fox at 152 to finish off the dual.
Results from all three 1A duals can be found HERE. All rankings from https://www.kabrawrestling.com/rankings/class-1a