By MATMEN, Sunday, 1:55 a.m.
TALLAHASSEE — Eight will definitely not be enough for Fleming Island.
But for now this year, eight region titles in a row will certainly suffice, as the Golden Eagles put it to the rest of the field this weekend in the 2A-Region 1 IBT tournament at Chiles HS, with Chiles and Lincoln serving as co-hosts.
Fleming Island ran away from the rest of the field early Saturday morning, pushing 11 wrestlers into the finals; of those, eight would win weight-class titles, with all 11 qualifying for the 2A state championship, which starts Thursday at Silver Spurs Arena in Kissimmee.
That large number of finalists would allow the Golden Eagles to nearly double up runnerup Lincoln in the point standings, as Fleming posted 265 points to the Trojans’ 134.5.
Lincoln picked up that point total behind six state qualifiers (two champs, two 3rds and two 4ths), providing the Trojans a 15.5-point cushion over third-place Clay. The Blue Devils matched Lincoln’s total of qualifiers, with six on one champ, two runners-up, one 3rd and two 4ths.
In the battle of the Beaches, Ft Walton pushed past New Smyrna for fourth, 110-100. The Vikings qualified four wrestlers out (one of each qualifying place), while the Barracudas moved five out (three runners-up, one 3rd and one 4th).
Co-host Chiles edged Middleburg by a half-point, 93-92.5, for sixth and seventh, respectively. The Timberwolves qualified two wrestlers out (one champ & one 4th), while the Broncos will take four (two 2nds and two 3rds).
Oakleaf and Pace tied for eighth with 88 points, with Gulf Breeze rounding out the top 10 at 70.5 points. The Clay County Knights will move three on to states (one runnerup, one 3rd and one 4th), while the Patriots qualified four out (one runnerup & three 3rds). As for the Dolphins, Gulf Breeze had one champion and a pair of 4ths.
Matanzas, in 11th place with 51 points, will take two 3rds and one 4th to Kissimmee, while Riverside was 14th with 35.5 points and two qualifiers (one 3rd and one 4th). Two additional teams, Westside (15th, 33 points, one 4th) and Ed White (T-16th, 31 points, one runnerup), each had one qualifier.
Mosley and Ridgeview, both of whom were T-12th with 44 points, were the highest-finishing teams in the field with no state qualifiers.
Below follows a summary of each weight class.
Final: Jacob Bucci (Clay, 3rd; all rankings as of Saturday night update from KabraWrestling.com) d. Matthew Newman (Fleming Island, 5th), 2-1, TB-1.
3rd: Timothy McLean (Matanzas, 8th) d. Garrett Ferguson (Gulf Breeze, 9th), 7-2.
Finalists’ path: Bucci bonus-pointed his way into the final, with a forfeit and pin over Ridgeview before majoring McLean, 8-0, in the semis, while Newman had Friday pins over Niceville and Westside befroe decisioning Ferguson, 8-1, in the semis.
Punching tickets: McLean (tech & major on front) added a blood-round pin over Westside to secure his Kissimmee space, while Ferguson (pin & tech on front) picked up a second pin in the consi semis over Ridgeview.
Who else impressed us: Westside’s Jacob Jackson proved his capability in a bigger event like this, with a front-side win and then two pins in the consis to get to the blood round.
How were our picks?: We had three of our projecteds qualify out, including the correct final, with our fourth projected getting to Saturday. Ferguson and Ridgeview’s Jason Barrett were our dark horses, and Barrett made it to the blood round. Oakleaf’s Connor Barnes was a second-day qualifier after we listed him as under the radar.
Final: Vaniel Caceres (Lincoln, 6th) d. Shane Duhaylungsod (Fleming Island, 7th), 2-1.
3rd: Santiago Mayic (Ft Walton Beach) p. Drew Holmquist (Clay), 4:45.
Finalists’ path: Caceres pinned his way into the final, with falls over St Augustine, ORange Park and Mayic in the semis, to get to Duhaylungsod, who had a 2-0 quarterfinal win over Gulf Breeze bookended by pins over Chiles and Terry Parker.
Punching tickets: Mayic (2 pins on front) added two more falls in the consis, with a blood-round pin over Arnold to set his place at state, while Holmquist had lost by fall in round 1 and had to win four times off the back to get out, with a forfeit, a decision over Orange Park and pins over Chiles and Terry Parker.
Who else impressed us: Arnold freshman James Oliver was under the radar (we slotted him there), but he had a front-side pin and added two more bonus-point wins in the consis to get to the blood round.
How were our picks?: We had three of four projecteds get out (the fourth didn’t compete), and while we said Mayic shouldn’t surprise if he made a deep run, I didn’t think it’d be third deep. So on the surface it doesn’t look bad, but it wasn’t a great weight for us.
Final: Coby Shields (Gulf Breeze, 9th) d. Grady Woodard (Middleburg, 10th), 4-2.
3rd: Jashawn Washington (Lincoln) p. Ion Hortinela (Oakleaf), 1:06.
Finalists’ path: Shields had a rd-1 pin over Pedro Menendez before decisions over Chiles and Hortinela to get to the championship round, while Woodard pinned his way into the final, with falls over Columbia, Niceville and over Washington in the semis.
Punching tickets: Washington (pin & major on front) added a 9-6 blood-round win over crosstown and district rival Chiles, while Hortinela (2 pins on front) added a third fall over Ft Walton Beach in the consi semis.
Who else impressed us: Ft Walton Beach’s Zak Vosburgh had three pins in getting to the blood round, with one on the front and two on the back, taking losses against both the 3rd and 4th.
How were our picks?: We had three of the four projecteds make it out, and our projected third-place match happened one round earlier. Hortinela and Vosburgh were our dark horses, so them going deep was good for the picks. Got somewhat squirrelier after that.
Final: Laird Duhaylungsod (Fleming Island, 4th) d. Brady Glavin (Clay, 9th), 4-1.
3rd: Sebastian Bonochea (Oakleaf, 10th) md. Zakary Jurado (Lincoln), 9-1.
Finalists’ path: Duhaylungsod bonus-pointed through the first three rounds; after a forfeit, he teched Ft Walton Beach and then pinned Jurado in the semis, while Glavin had a rd-1 pin over Arnold and decisions over Pace (sudden victory) and Bonochea to get to his #Uncivil rival.
Punching tickets: Bonochea (pin & decision on front) advanced out with an 8-1 decision in the consi semis over Ft Walton Beach, while Jurdado (pin & decision on front) added a second decision (11-6) in the blood round over Pace.
Who else impressed us: After getting teched by Duhaylungsod in the quarters, Ft Walton Beach’s Landon Burbidge — a former state qualifier — kept things together to get to the blood round, with a pin and a 4-0 win over a very good Chiles wrestler.
How were our picks?: We had two of four projecteds get out, but the correct final; both our others fell in the blood round, and our dark horses got out. Our deep run pick got to the second day, so we were pretty close, all things considered, if you go past just the number of qualifiers.
Final: Jayce Paridon (Fleming Island, 1st) d. Jonathan Bruner (New Smyrna Beach, 9th), 7-0.
3rd: Wyatt Leduc (Middleburg, 4th) medfft over Keon Barrientos (Oakleaf).
Finalists’ path: Paridon didn’t give up a point all weekend, with preliminary pins over Ponte Vedra and Leduc (semis), plus a quarterfinal tech, while Bruner powered through three six-minute decisions over Ridgeview, Columbia and Barrientos in the semis.
Punching tickets: Leduc (2 pins on front) secured his state space with a third-period tech over Columbia in the consi semis, while Barrientos (tech & decision on front) advanced on to Silver Spurs with a 2-0 win over Gulf Breeze.
Who else impressed us: In their final high school tournaments, Columbia’s Jayden Thomas and Gulf Breeze’s Nate Weber had six max-point wins (five of them by pin).
How were our picks?: We had three projecteds make it out, with our fourth projected getting to Saturday, while Weber was one of our dark horses and Thomas was our deep-run pick and Barrientos was our under-the-radar pick. So we were pretty solid here.
Final: Garrett Marschka (Chiles, 2nd) d. Maeson Otwell (Pace, 9th), 7-3.
3rd: Aidan Sutton (New Smyrna Beach) p. Michael Mancuso (Gulf Breeze), 3:43.
Finalists’ path: Marschka followed the pin/decision path on both days, with falls over Matanzas and Mancuso, both in the first period, along with a 1-0 win over Middleburg in the quarters. Otwell had six-minute wins over Westside, Columbia (major) and Ridgeview, all seniors, to get to Marschka.
Punching tickets: Sutton, who lost by a 3-2 count on Friday to Mancuso, won twice by decision (Westside & Lincoln) and twice by pin (Ridgeview as well as Mancuso) in the consis, while Mancuso (2 decisions on front) added a one-point decision win over Clay on the back.
Who else impressed us: We didn’t have Sutton anywhere in our preview. ANYWHERE. He’d struggled last year with a higher weight and had flown WAY under our radar, apparently, this year. To lose once, by one point, and get that loss back in the medal round is a very good tournament. Shoutout, also, to Clay’s Landen Solomon, who also wasn’t anywhere in our preview and made the blood round.
How were our picks?: Well, we had the right final, so that counts, right? A mess after that. Our dark horses did get to Saturday, but both lost in the consi quarters; our deep run pick did get to the blood round, and Mancuso did get out.
Final: Kaden Schaefer (Fleming Island, 2nd) md. Steven Banfield (Ft Walton Beach), 14-3.
3rd: Logan Moore (Middleburg, 7th) d. Cooper Hill (Chiles), 6-0.
Finalists’ path: Schaefer bonus-pointed through all rounds of the weekend, with Friday pins over Oakleaf and Lincoln before teching Moore, 16-0 in 3:40, in the semis, while Banfield had Friday pins over Mosley and Westside before decisioning Hill, 7-1.
Punching tickets: Moore (pin & decision on front) secured his space at state with a blood-round 4-2 decision over Terry Parker, while Hill (2 pins on front) advanced on to Kissimmee with a 3-1 consi-semi win over Niceville.
Who else impressed us: After time away from the sport, and after transferring to a new environment, Terry Parker’s Ben Helton got to the blood round. He proved our best rd-1 match correct in an 11-10 win in that round, then took two pins to take a shot at another senior.
How were our picks?: We had all four picks correct, with the correct wrestlers in each slot (finals vs 3rd), one of our dark horses made the blood round, Helton made a deep run by getting to the blood round, and our other dark horse did get to Saturday. So, they were very good picks.
Final: Connor Edwards (Lincoln, 5th) d. Matthew Kotler (Fleming Island, 7th), 5-3.
3rd: Dylan Parkinson (Matanzas, 10th) d. Nathan Williams (Westside), 9-4.
Finalists’ path: Edwards had Friday pins over Riverside and Tate, plus a 10-8 semifinal win over Parkinson, to get to a rematch with Kotler going back to January’s Keystone Memorial. Kotler, for his part, pinned his way in, with falls over Niceville, Middleburg and Ft Walton Beach in succession.
Punching tickets: Parkinson (pin & major on front) had a third-period tech (19-3 in 4:22) over Middleburg to get out to states once again, while Williams, who’d lost on Friday to Parkinson (12-0), had three consi-side wins over Pedro Menendez (pin), Chiles (major) and Ft Walton Beach (6-2 win) to get a rematch.
Who else impressed us: Freshman Daniel Raines of Middleburg was not listed anywhere in our preview, but he knocked off a senior in round 1, then pushed past two wrestlers with more starting experience in his two consi victories before running into a buzzsaw in Parkinson. Raines will be back.
How were our picks?: We had three of the top four projecteds make it out, including the corrrect final, and our fourth projected reached the blood round, while Williams was a dark horse. Aside from that, well, the rest was not so great.
Final: Christopher Chop (Fleming Island, 4th) p. Benny Lewis (Ed White), 5:00.
3rd: Jordan Baxter (Pace, 10th) p. Landon Wright (Matanzas), 2:29.
Finalists’ path: Chop bonus-pointed through the weekend, with a rd-1 pin over Gulf Breeze and majors over Oakleaf (10-0, quarters) and Baxter (10-2, semis), while Lewis bookended a quarterfinal win over Pedro Menendez with pins over Arnold (rd 1) and over Ft Walton Beach (semis).
Punching tickets: Baxter (pin & decision on front) overcame Mosley by an 8-6 count in the blood round before his pin over Wright, who had to overcome a round-1 loss with four bonus-point wins in the consis (pins over Terry Parker, Chiles and Ft Walton Beach, avenging that earlier 13-7 loss, along with a major over Oakleaf.
Who else impressed us: Wright. It’s hard enough to even get a shot at a rematch in this tournament — there’s only two ways to do it, one is to meet in the quarters and then again for 3rd, and the other is to meet in round 1 and then again in the blood round. It’s even harder to get a revenge win in that scenario after fighting for life every round. Wright did it. Shout out also to Mosley’s Andrew Yeats, a district champ and blood-rounder.
How were our picks?: We got three out of four projecteds to advance, and our fourth projected got to the blood round, while Lewis was a dark horse choice. Yeats was our under-the-radar wrestler and our deep-run choice got to Saturday. Pretty OK, but some mistakes.
Final: Ronan Bozeman (Fleming Island, 6th) d. Dominic Martin (Clay, 7th), 10-5.
3rd: Ty Morgan (Pace, 8th) p. Anthony Kearney (Riverside), 1:50.
Finalists’ path: Bozeman needed just 1:41 of mat time to pin his way into the final, with falls over Chiles, Niceville and Ponte Vedra, while Martin forged an #Uncivil rematch with pins over Arnold and Kearney (semis), plus an 8-7 win over Morgan in the quarters.
Punching tickets: Morgan had to win at least three to get out, taking four consi-side wins on pins over Ridgeview and Ponte Vedra as well as Riverside, plus a 4-3 win over district rival Crestview. Kearney (decision & tech on front) added a 5-3 blood-round win over Milton.
Who else impressed us: Freshman Talan Babin of Ponte Vedra proved he’ll be a force to remember up top, after two front-side wins to get to the semis. It’s not that easy for freshman 170s to do that.
How were our picks?: We got three of four projecteds to move on, including the correct final, and Kearney was one of our dark horses, with the other one reaching Saturday. Babin was our under-the-radar competitor.
Final: Joshua Sandoval (Fleming Island, 3rd) d. Sawyer VanRider (New Smyrna Beach, 9th), 9-3.
3rd: Isaac Waters (Pace, 10th) medfft over Connor Roberts (Ft Walton Beach).
Finalists’ path: Before winning the Golden Eagles’ third straight weight class, Sandoval bonus-pointed through to the final, with a rd-1 pin over Lincoln and majors over Roberts (15-5, quarters) and Chiles (12-1, semis). VanRider bookended an 8-2 quarterfinal win over Waters with pins over Leon (rd 1) and Mosley (semis).
Punching tickets: Waters max-pointed through four rounds of consis, with pins over Riverside, Ridgeview and Chiles, while Roberts had three bonus-point consi wins, with pins over Leon and Mainland before majoring Mosley in the blood round.
Who else impressed us: We’ll see more of Mosley’s John Mengel in future years, as he won twice on the front to get to the semis (pin and major) and then took losses to state qualifiers the rest of the way. But he’ll be back.
How were our picks?: We had all four projecteds get out, and in the correct order for each. Both of our dark-horse picks made the blood round, but our deep-run choice did not compete and our under-the-radar pick probably needs another year to make more noise.
Final: Darius Brundidge (Ft Walton Beach, 3rd) d. Isaiah Shevchook (Oakleaf, 5th), 8-3, SV.
3rd: Jakob Nowak (Lincoln, 4th) p. Derek King (New Smyrna Beach, 10th), 4:00.
Finalists’ path: Brundidge bonus-pointed into the final, with Friday pins over Leon and Clay before majoring King, 11-2, in the semis, while Shevchook had Friday pins over Seabreeze and Mosley before a 5-3 semifinal win over Chiles.
Punching tickets: After a quarterfinal loss by pin to King on Friday, Nowak bonused through the consis with a tech over Seabreeze and pins over Fleming Island and Chiles to get the shot at a rematch for third. King (2 pins on front), added a third pin in the blood round, with a fall over Mosley.
Who else impressed us: Have to give credit to Nowak here. He was probably the pre-tournament favorite coming into this weekend, and it had to be a shock, but he just leveled the back half of the bracket, rather than losing composure after essentially a home loss in the quarters.
How were our picks?: We got three of four projecteds out, but we had Brundidge and Nowak flipped. Our fourth projected reached the blood round, and our deep-run choice also got to the blood round. King definitely was a bracket-buster, at least for us; our dark horses were 1-2 and 2-2, respectively. So there were some hits we took here.
Final: Jhoel Robinson (Fleming Island, 1st) d. Dylon York (New Smyrna Beach, 3rd), 4-1, TB-1.
3rd: Thomas Jones (Riverside, 4th) d. Kedtric Wilbourn (Clay, 5th), 4-3.
Finalists’ path: Robinson had Friday pins over Middleburg and Mosley before a 5-3 win in the semis over Jones, while York had Friday pins over Oakleaf and Lincoln before turning back Wilbourn, 6-4, in the semis.
Punching tickets: Jones (2 pins on front) added a third in the blood round over Lincoln, while Wilbourn (major and pin on front) earned a third bonus-point victory with a fall over Ridgeview.
Who else impressed us: Ridgeview’s Raymond Goforth was another wrestler that got to the blood round after a round-1 loss (14-2 to Wilbourn), in order to get a rematch against the wrestler that earlier beat him. It went largely the same way as round 1, but Goforth could be in the state mix next year.
How were our picks?: 4-for-4 on projecteds, with the correct final and third-place match. Goforth was a darkhorse and made the blood round, and our under-the-radar choice was the other blood-rounder, so that added some depth to the top-four choices, which were fairly clear.
Final: Ethan Hoffstetter (Fleming Island) d. Tucker Cody (Middleburg), 4-3, SV.
3rd: Will Kelly (Clay) medfft over Ryder Luck (Lincoln).
Finalists’ path: After a rd-1 pin over Choctaw, Hoffstetter powered through three decisions to the title, with a 5-1 win over Englewood and a 2-1 semifinal win over Ed White. As for Cody, he had pins over Ridgeview and Mainland on Friday, with a 4-3 semifinal win over Kelly in the semis.
Punching tickets: Kelly (pin & 6-2 decision over Luck) cleared his calendar for states next weekend with a 5-2 blood-round win over Englewood, while Luck won three times in the consis, with a pin over Choctaw and decisions over Mainland and Ed White to qualify out.
Who else impressed us: The Gateway Conference has been needing a good heavyweight rivalry and the one that could start between Ed White’s Alex Benitez and Englewood’s Keith Forbes (plus another heavy in 3A) could jumpstart that, as both Benitez and Forbes reached the blood round.
How were our picks?: We had three of our four projecteds get out, including the correct final; our fourth projected was Benitez and Kelly was a dark horse, with Forbes being the other one. So we had a line on the top six. Was kind of a swing and a miss further down the depth chart, though.
Complete results from all four 2A regions can be found HERE.