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REGION DUALS

#3Aregion1: FIHS Dominates For 4th Straight Region Title

Fleming Island’s Hunter Williams (195) with one of multiple turns he had Friday night at the 3A-Region 1 final against Timber Creek at Osceola HS in Kissimmee (Photo by Shannon Heaton; more action photos can be found at the Matmen Instagram account, nflamatmen).

KISSIMMEE — It didn’t feel as close as even 55 to 19.

Fleming Island dominated the scene Friday night in the 3A-Region 1 final, rolling up eight straight wins between 138 and 220 against Timber Creek at Osceola HS, taking seven of those wins by pin, and most of those in very short order.

The result was a 55-19 victory and fourth straight Region 1 championship for the Golden Eagles (14-0), and it felt like even more of a blowout than it actually was. Several first-period falls over the Wolfpack had a lot to do with that.

“Kids had a great week, great week of practice,” Fleming Island coach PJ Cobbert said. “So many young kids, still behind on matches, numbers of matches that we’d like them to have going into the district tournament.

“But they’re getting there.”

The win marks Fleming Island as the only northern team to win four region duals titles.

Fleming Island will face Riverdale in the 3A state semifinals on Saturday morning. Riverdale knocked off 2020 state finalist Osceola, 39-26, to win the Region 2 title Friday afternoon.

Start time is a little bit fluid, around 11 a.m.; as soon as 1A/2A semifinal mats are open, 3A semis will begin. The winner will compete in the state final, which are set in all classes for 1 p.m., even with the later start for the two 3A semis. A Golden Eagles win would be their third appearance in the final, joining earlier efforts in 2018 and 2019.

The Golden Eagles never trailed against Timber Creek, dominating from jump on Riley Holton’s third-period tech fall in 5:16 at 126. While one of the Wolfpack’s aces picked up a decision at 132, that would be the last points that they would score until the meet was put far out of doubt.

In the meantime, Fleming picked up falls from Garrett Cole (1:28 at 138), David Parkes (1:46 at 152), Joshua Sandoval (1:17 at 160), Jhoel Robinson (1:00 at 170), Gavin Smith (:34 at 182), Hunter Williams (3:17 at 195) and Raul Gonzalez (1:40 at 220). In barely more than 11 minutes, the Golden Eagles racked up 42 points, with a decision win from Matthew Kotler as well, by a 10-9 count at 145.

“It went mostly like I expected, the four that we won were the four I expected we would win,” Wolfpack coach Jonathan Cone said. “Those will be big in the region and in the state. We competed, we wrestled hard, and it was a good experience for the guys.”

But the Golden Eagles weren’t done yet, even after the Wolfpack tacked on 10 more points via fall at 285 and a 19-5 major at 106. Hunter Herrington needed just 92 seconds for Fleming’s eighth pin of the night. Timber Creek would close out the dual with a fall at 120.

“Our younger kids have got to stay off their backs. You can’t go to your back, especially in duals. Any time in wrestling really. We just have to get tougher mentally,” Cobbert said.

“Now, we’ll just go back (to the hotel), relax, put our feet up, and tomorrow we’ll dance with what we brought.”

Ft Pierce Central rolled past Wellington, 51-20, to win the Region 3 title, while South Dade put itself in position to reach its fourth straight 3A final, and possible championship, with a 62-9 win over Cypress Bay. Summaries on the other three regions follow:

Region 2: Two 15-0 runs propelled Riverdale to the Region 2 title, with three wins in a row from 160-182 (including pins from Dominic Rodriguez at 170 and Jonathan Lavandera at 182) and again from 220-106 (with pins from Shayne Parris at 220 and Jon Baxter at 285).

Region 3: After spotting Wellington leads of 5-0 and 14-5, Ft Pierce Central dominated, with six straight wins between 170 and 106, with pins from Kevin Finn (170), Charles Allison (182), Steven Krantz (195) and Gabriel Jacas (220), plus a major from its backup 285, Henry Jones (12-3).

Region 4: The Buccaneers tore through the first 10 matches, building a 51-0 lead, with pins from Misha Arbos (126), Gavin Balmeceda (132), Adrian Neco (145) and Joshua Swan (170), plus three forfeit victories. Cypress Bay scored its only wins at the bookends, with a double-overtime decision at 285 and fall at 106.

Box scores for all of these duals can be found HERE.

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REGION DUALS

#2Aregion1: ‘Cudas Seal Deal With First Region Title

New Smyrna Beach’s Michael Shannon (top) hits a cradle during 145-lb action in Friday’s 2A-Region 1 final dual between the Barracudas and Pace at Osceola HS in Kissimmee (Photo by Shannon Heaton; more action photos on New Smyrna Beach v Pace are accessible on the Matmen Instagram account at nflamatmen).

KISSIMMEE — Something had to give in the 2A-Region 1 dual tournament final between first-time finalists New Smyrna Beach and Pace.

Ultimately, it was the Panhandle-side Patriots that gave way Friday at Osceola HS, as the Barracudas controlled both ends, early and late, of the dual as New Smyrna Beach went on to take a 43-27 victory over Pace.

The ‘Cudas (16-1) built early leads of 8-0 and 12-3, and also closed with a flourish, winning the final four contested matches with maximum points.

“It might not have been a perfect start, but it was a good start. Our kids are a cohesive, tight-knit group,” New Smyrna Beach coach Kevin Kehoe said. “Obviously we’ve still got things to work on, but we’re getting better every day.

“The room has such a good energy.”

The ‘Cudas will need that on Saturday, as they’ll face 2019 dual state champions Lake Gibson in the semis at 10 a.m., with the winner advancing to a 1 p.m. finals dual. The Braves took down 2020 state champion Tampa Jesuit, 37-29, in the Region 2 final.

NSBHS got an 8-0 start behind a third-period tech fall from Jace Engberg (16-0 in 5:17), plus Jamey Bruner’s 9-6 win at 126. Pace would get three back on an 11-5 win from Camden Friend at 138, but the ‘Cudas’ Michael Shannon was one turn short of a tech fall, taking a 13-0 major at 145.

The Patriots (6-1) made a charge from 152-182, taking three pins out of those four matches, with Seth O’Gara (4:45 at 152), Brody Andrews (:53 at 170) and Aiden Bryan (1:15 at 182) winning by and taking their only lead of the dual, 21-18.

“We’re blessed to be here,” Pace coach Reggie Allen said. “The boys did good; we had a hard drive yesterday getting down here. First time some of them have been to Orlando when it comes to wrestling. Pace has come a long way. Last time we beat Lincoln (to qualify for the Region 1 final) was Wakulla Duals in 2012.”

The lead was short-lived, though, as NSB’s Doug Dittmer (9-3 win at 195) and Austin Mitchum (fall in 1:19 at 220) gave the ‘Cudas a lead that Pace would not see again.

“As wrestled As twice (at 145 and 195, where A-level kids faced off) and the second time, that’s where the mistake was made; I would normally have sent Wyatt (Dillon, who fell to Dittmer at 195) at 220, and that was my mistake,” Allen said.

New Smyrna Beach forfeited to Pace’s Kegan O’Shell at 285, and those would be the Patriots’ final points, as the ‘Cudas bonus-pointed out the dual, with pins from Aidan Sutton (113) and Tristen Winfrey (120), plus a 12-1 major from Simjay Engberg at 106.

Afterward, Jace Engberg, Sutton and Hunter Childress (152) celebrated with backflips in light of the NSB victory.

“We weren’t looking past Pace at all,” Kehoe said of the prospect of facing a Lake Gibson in the state semis. “We’ll let them enjoy this, see how we match up, come out, wrestle our best and compete. That’s what I’m looking forward to (Saturday).”

Palmetto Ridge came from behind to defeat Charlotte, 37-34, for the Region 3 title, while Southridge pushed past Heritage, 42-30, to win in Region 4. Summaries for the other three regions follow:

Region 2: After Jesuit built a 17-0 lead through the first five weights, Lake Gibson broke through with Brendon Abdon’s fall at 160. The Braves then won five weights in a row, from 182 through 106, behind a 27-0 run that included three Jesuit forfeits. In the final match, Alex Walker clinched it for Lake Gibson with a 9-0 shutout major at 120.

Region 3: The Tarpons started fast, with a 10-0 lead that they rebuilt into a 29-16 gap with five weights to go, but Palmetto Ridge answered with three pins from Austin Foye (285), Tyler Washburn (106) and Jean Valoria (120) and a 5-4 win from Antonio Petraglia (220) down the stretch.

Region 4: Like their semifinal opponents did in Region 3, Southridge came back with a late rush to take the victory, with four pins in the final five weights. Dedric Marshall (220), Marcelo Rosario (285), Fredrick Mitchum (106) and Conner Hueck (120) each won by fall down the stretch to pull Southridge into the lead for good.

Box scores for all four duals can be found HERE.

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REGION DUALS

#1Aregion1: War Eagles Claim Episode IV, Region Title

Wakulla 285 Jayven Hearns (back) looks to assert control prior to winning by fall Friday morning in the 1A-Region 1 final against Clay at Osceola HS in Kissimmee (Photo by Shannon Heaton; more action photos from Wakulla v Clay can be found on the Matmen Instagram account, nflamatmen).

KISSIMMEE — Some sequels never disappoint.

And Clay vs Wakulla, Part IV, surely didn’t Friday morning in the 1A-Region 1 championship dual staged at Osceola HS, on the first day of the FHSAA state tournament.

Ultimately, as they did in 2019 and again last year, the War Eagles would prevail and move on to Saturday’s state semifinals, though the Blue Devils made them earn every point in a 36-35 dual victory.

The War Eagles will face Palm Bay in Saturday’s 1A state semifinals at 10 a.m. Finals, for all three classes, are scheduled for 1 p.m. Palm Bay rolled past Hernando, 61-12, on Friday to win the Region 2 title.

“It was fun. I love it,” Wakulla coach William Pafford, with equal measure accuracy and relief in the voice, after the victory.

“Having those moments, that’s what it’s all about. Moments they can take for the rest of their lives.”

Wakulla (25-2) had a few anxious moments, particularly early on, as Clay (8-2) built leads 14-0 and 26-3.

The Blue Devils jumped out behind three bonus-point wins from Chandler Thomas (fall at 132) and majors from Gunner Ivey (15-1 at 126) and Luke Boree (9-0 at 138).

Wakulla got one back, only just, on a 5-4 Hayden Reeves win at 145, but the Blue Devils got back-to-back pins from Dominic Martin (152) and Cale Hoskinson (160) to build a 23-point lead not even halfway through the dual.

“We wanted the guys to go out and compete. We had our chances,” Clay coach Jim Reape said.

“But, partially, it was death by a thousand cuts.”

Those cuts started drawing blood at 170 and ever after, as the War Eagles strung together back-to-back-to-back falls from 170-195 from Cole Baggett (170), Jackson Osteen (182) and Tyler Edenfield (195).

Clay got six back on Garrett Tyre’s fall at 220 to restart a double-digit lead at 32-21, but Wakulla pinned back-to-back at the bookends, as Jayven Hearns (285) and Julian Harvey (106) pins got the War Eagles their first lead, 33-32.

“We had some young guys that got put in jeopardy and we didn’t do enough on bottom to stay off our backs,” Reape said. “I’m proud of the progress we made, but sometimes you don’t know until you get into live situations that you can’t always do the junior-high things that used to work.”

Clay got the lead back on Maverick Rainwater’s 8-1 decision at 113, but Wakulla’s Raymond Hatchman slammed the door with a 5-3 win at 120.

“That’s what sucks with Covid; normally we’d go and do something fun, but we have to go back and sit in the dadgum hotel room,” Pafford said. “We can go eat something. Hang out, watch film and game plan.

“We didn’t get to see Palm Bay (at St Cloud’s Bulldog Brawl last month). We crapped the bed against Winter Springs and Harmony and we never got to wrestle them.”

Lemon Bay romped past Anclote, 78-3, to win the Region 3 title, while Somerset Academy took the Region 4 title with a 40-21 victory over Cardinal Gibbons.

Brief summaries of the other region duals follow:

Region 2: Palm Bay built a 43-0 lead, clinching the dual before allowing Hernando on the scoreboard behind eight straight wins, including pins from Rocco Senia (126), Braden Baxter (132), Ronald Theilacker (138), Nathan Furman (145), Anthony Holden (152) and Alexzander Owens (182).

Region 3: The Manta Rays won the first 10 weights, seven of them by pin, before Anclote got on the board with a decision at 285. Johnathon Hartsikov-Newsome (126), Justin Brady (132), Ashton Tucker (138), Caleb Corridino (145), Austin Werden (152), Marcus Lopez (160) and Louis Baldor (195) each had pins during that early run.

Region 4: Somerset had a key stretch from 145 through 160 where it went on a 15-0 run, with Bas Diaz (152) and Darian Estevez (160) each taking pins and Chase Gillis (145) had an 8-2 win as part of that run. The Panthers won five of the last seven matches of the dual as well.

Box scores from all of today’s duals can be found HERE.

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REGION DUALS

#2ARgn1Duals: ‘Cudas Punch State Dual Ticket

NEW SMYRNA BEACH — No team has improved more in one year than New Smyrna Beach.

One year ago, New Smyrna Beach was beaten out of sight twice at district duals (the Barracudas also won twice), and while there would be some individual successes, from a team standpoint there was still tough sledding to be done.

Fast forward to 2021, after the craziest offseason and preseason and, yes, even regular season to date, and the Barracudas are now not only district dual champions but just one step away from region champions. Thursday night at home, New Smyrna Beach took down Ponte Vedra (72-12) in the 2A-Region 1 quarterfinals, then came back to secure a 45-33 semifinal win over Fletcher to qualify for dual state for the first time.

The Barracudas (11-1) will face Pace in the Friday mid-afternoon session of state duals on January 22 at Osceola, with the winner advancing out to Saturday’s 2A semifinals against the Region 2 champion.

The semi saw New Smyrna Beach jump out to a 22-0 lead after four weights, with back-to-back-to-back pins from Jace Engberg (132), Justis Chandler (138) and Michael Shannon (145), plus a 12-4 major at 126 from Jamey Bruner.

Fletcher (11-4) then made its move in the upper half of the lineup, winning five of seven matches to cut the Barracuda lead from 22 to seven, behind falls from Christopher Strong (160), Ryan Klein (182), Ethan Hollenbach (220) and Toby Matson (285), plus a 7-1 win at 152 for Joel Rodriguez.

But the Barracudas were able to hold the lead thanks to Steven Harshman’s fall at 170 and a forfeit win at 195, and freshman Simjay Engberg’s fall at 106 sealed the deal, as New Smyrna Beach was up 13 with two weights to go. The teams would trade pins at 113 and 120, with the Barracudas’ Aidan Sutton (113) and Fletcher’s Cole O’Brien (120) closing out the dual with respective falls.

Fletcher put itself in place to return to state duals with a 39-25 win over St Augustine in the quarterfinals. More on both of those matches follows:

Fletcher 39, St Augustine 25: The Senators built a hot start, getting out to a 15-0 lead behind pins from Ryden Ashmore (126) and Josh Daltro (132), plus a 9-2 win for O’Brien at 120.

St Augustine (6-7) cut the lead to six, then five, and then behind back-to-back pins took a 7-point lead, 25-18, with four weights to go. Carlos Quintanal (138), Connor Spossey (170) and Ryan Murphy (182) had falls during that Yellow Jacket surge, with Clint Griffin winning by major decision (12-4) at 160 and Gabe Galloza pushing through for an 8-6 win at 145.

But Fletcher would close down the dual with a 21-0 flourish for the victory, with back-to-back pins at 220 and 285 from Hollenbach and Matson, with Matson’s pin in effect clinching the victory, given that the Senators had a forfeit in hand at 113. Ana Bradshaw (9-3 at 106) won the last contested weight class of the dual by decision.

New Smyrna Beach 72, Ponte Vedra 12: The Barracudas opened the dual with a 36-0 run and closed it with another 36-point run, in which 12 New Smyrna Beach wrestlers took max points.

Tristan Winfrey (120) kicked off the first run with a pin, followed by falls from Bruner (126), Jace Engberg (132), Chandler (138), Shannon (145) and Avante Chamble (152) for the hosts.

Ponte Vedra (4-10) stopped the run with back-to-back pins at 160 and 170, with Joseph Skinner and Rett Maritato both taking first-period falls, but New Smyrna Beach was too strong from there, with falls from Doug Dittmer (195), Austin Mitchum (220), Noah Cortez (285) and Sutton (113), plus forfeit victories at 182 and 106.

Results for the bracket’s three duals can be found HERE. New Smyrna Beach will stay in hosting mode for Saturday’s Barracuda Duals, while Ponte Vedra will also compete Saturday, going to Tallahassee for the Trojan Invitational. St Augustine is off until January 23, when the Yellow Jackets will go to Columbia’s Tiger Duals, while Fletcher is off until January 27, when the Senators will host Ponte Vedra.

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#2ARgn1Duals: Pace Reaches Final Eight

TALLAHASSEE — Another year, another step taken for the Pace program.

2018? Didn’t qualify out for region duals. 2019? Lost in the quarterfinals. 2020? Lost in the semis; a one-match swing might have opened the door for the Patriots.

The door to Osceola and the FHSAA state duals tournament was opened by this year’s Pace group, as the Patriots rolled past Chiles (52-29) in the 2A-Region 1 quarterfinals Thursday night at Lincoln, then, in the semis against the host Trojans, relied upon one of their senior captains to find the key to unlocking dual, as the Patriots pushed past Lincoln, 39-36, to qualify for state duals for the first time.

In the Friday mid-afternoon session at Osceola on January 22, Pace (6-0) will face fellow first-time dual state qualifier New Smyrna Beach for a berth in Saturday’s state semifinals, with a possible finals berth in play.

The Patriots got out to a 9-0 lead behind an injury-default win for Aidan Bryan (182) and 6-5 win at 170 for Brody Andrews. The teams traded pins at 195 and 220 (Wyatt Yown at 195 for Lincoln, Wyatt Dillon at 220 for Pace). From there, the Trojans (6-1) went on an 18-0 run, taking four straight weights from 285 through 120 to go up, 24-15. Pins from Elijah Hendley (113) and JayShawn Washington (120) and decisions from Nic Weaver (285) and Vaniel Caceres (106) fueled that run.

Momentum over the next four weights went back-and-forth, as both Pace (Hazen Esary at 126, Atticus Waters at 145) and Lincoln (Zaire Fernanders-Jackson at 132, Connor Edwards at 138) made it 36-27 Lincoln with two weights to go. Needing bonus points in at least one weight class between 152 and 160, the Patriots picked up pins in both, with Seth O’Gara’s fall at 152 opening an opportunity and Joseph Cortez’s fall securing the victory.

Pace 52, Chiles 29: The Patriots struck fast, with pins in the first three weights, building a 30-5 lead. Chiles broke back with three pins in a row to cut that lead to seven; after the teams traded falls at 126 and 132, Pace bonus-pointed out the dual, closing with a 16-0 run.

Cortez (160), Andrews (170), Bryan (182), Dillon (220), Kegan O’Shell (285), Esary (126), Waters (145, with the dual-clinching fall) and O’Gara (152) each won by fall for the Patriots, while Camden Friend added an 11-3 major at 138.

Kyle McGill got Chiles on the scoreboard with a 16-1 tech fall at 195; the Timberwolves would get pins from Sam Tolomeo (106), Garrett Marschka (113), Hunter Brown (120) and Olufemi Egberongbe (132).

Lincoln 42, Ft Walton Beach 36: With two matches to go, Connor Edwards’ 7-2 win for the Trojans at 138 clinched the dual in Lincoln’s favor, giving the Trojans a chance to contend for a fourth straight dual state appearance. Lincoln built an early 33-12 lead, winning five of six matches between 182, and made it stand up. Ft Walton Beach picked up pins in three of the final four weight classes, but Edwards’ win proved to be enough to push Lincoln over the top.

Patrick Blanca (160), Crowder (182), Yown (195), Omarion LaRoach (285), Hendley (113) and Ron Taylor (126) each won by fall for the Trojans, while Caceres had a 9-6 win at 106.

For the Vikings, Caleb Tourgee (170), Cedric Fairrow (220), Brandon Mallin (120), Weston Burbidge (132), Martin Muniz (145) and Malachi Santiago (152) each had pins.

Results for the bracket’s three duals can be found HERE. Chiles and Ft Walton Beach wrestled a subsequent dual, not under the FHSAA bracket, and that dual will be recapped separately.

Pace will compete in Monday’s Arnold Holiday Invitational, while Lincoln will host its annual Trojan Invitational at the Tallahassee Jr Volleyball Club.

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REGION DUALS

#3ARgn1Duals: FIHS Punches 4x Ticket

GAINESVILLE — For the fourth consecutive year, Fleming Island rules at least the eastern half of 3A-Region 1 in duals.

Next week, in the first day of the FHSAA state dual tournament in Osceola, the Golden Eagles have the opportunity to make it all of Region 1 — for the fourth time — with its first new finals opponent in two seasons.

After stomping through Flagler Palm Coast (56-16) and Buchholz (58-19) in quarterfinal and semifinal competition Thursday night at Buchholz, Fleming Island will take on Timber Creek for the Region 1 championship in the evening Friday session at Osceola on the 22nd. The Golden Eagles defeated Winter Springs in 2018 and Hagerty each of the last two years in getting to the 3A state semis or final.

The quarterfinal would see it open with bonus points for both teams (Fleming’s Hunter Herrington with a 21-6 tech fall at 113, answered by John Hald’s 15-4 major at 120 for the Bulldogs), but the Golden Eagles (13-0) opened up gap with a 24-0 run fueled by pins from Riley Holton (126) and Garrett Cole (138), plus forfeit wins at 132 and 145. Flagler would get the lead down to 29-13 with a fall from Kyle Peacock (160) and Timothy King’s 8-1 decision at 152, but FIHS would build the lead back out to 28 on pins from Jhoel Robinson (170) and a dual-clincher from Gavin Smith (182).

Flagler tacked on three more with Garrick Schwartz’s 5-3 win at 195, but the Golden Eagles would close out with a 15-0 finish, with pins from Raul Gonzalez (220) and Joseph Forte (106), plus a 3-0 decision from Ethan Hoffstetter at 285.

That brought on the host Bobcats (7-2), who advanced with a walkover into the semifinal. After a 16-0 start for Fleming, pushed by Noah Marsland’s pin at 120 and an 8-0 major from Holton at 126 and a forfeit victory at 132, Buchholz would close the gap to nine twice (16-7 and 22-13), with a two-match run from Timothy Bowen (4-2 decision at 138) and Aiden Moore (13-2 major at 145). That would be duplicated at 152-160, as the teams traded pins (David Parkes at 152 for Fleming, Kason Nichols at 160 for Buchholz).

After that, outside of the Bobcats’ Jason Martin winning by fall at 195, it was all Golden Eagles, who won six of the last seven, all by max points, to pull away. Pins by Robinson (170), Smith (182), Gonzalez (220, in the dual-clinching weight match), Forte (106) and Herrington (113), plus a forfeit win at 285, fueled that late charge.

Results for both duals can be found HERE. With its plans cancelled for St Cloud and the Milton-Winter Invitational (where Fleming was the defending champion), the Golden Eagles opted for a closer opportunity to tune up for next week, and will go to Westside’s roundrobin event on Saturday. Buchholz is off until the 23rd, when it will go to Columbia’s Tiger Duals, while Flagler Palm Coast will also travel a bit, going to Oviedo for that program’s Showdown in O-Town one-day duals event on Saturday.

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#1ARegn1Duals: War Eagles Wreck Dist 1

CRAWFORDVILLE — And then there were three.

Three, as in three teams in north Florida that have qualified for the first day of the FHSAA state duals tournament all four years it’s been held.

Wakulla is one of those three teams after dominating the scene Thursday night on their home mat, rolling past District 1 region rivals Rocky Bayou Christian (81-0) and South Walton (73-6), losing just one match in the process.

That sets up a Region 1 finals match against another four-time dual state participant in Clay. The Blue Devils won the first go-round in 2018, but the War Eagles are the two-time defending region champs and state duals runners-up after wins in 2019 and 2020.

Wakulla (24-2) roared through the first-time region-qualifying Knights (2-2) in the opening round. Jackson Merrick’s 12-5 win at 132 over one of RBCS’ top experienced competitors, a match that kicked off the dual, was the only weight class where full bonus couldn’t be taken, as the War Eagles would go on to get pins from Juan Jimenez (138), Wyatt Welch (145), Hayden Reeves (152), Cole Baggett (160), Daniel Brittain (170), Jackson Osteen (182), Tyler Edenfield (195), Jayven Hearns (285) and Julian Harvey (106), with forfeit victories at 220, 113, 120 and 126.

That brought up the Seahawks (4-1), which advanced with a team walkover into the semis.

Like the first dual, Wakulla opened with a decision, this time a 10-6 win for Jimenez, and built up a 21-0 lead on pins from Welch (145), Reeves (152) and Baggett (160). South Walton would draw blood at 170 with Chase Maddox’s first-period pin, but it was all War Eagles after that, who went on a 52-0 rampage to close out the night.

Osteen (182), Edenfield (195), Jack Mispel (220), Hearns (285) and Isaiah Wilson (126) all won by fall for Wakulla, which got forfeit victories at 106, 113 and 120. Merrick pitched a 12-0 shutout for a major at 132 to close out the night.

Results for both duals can be found HERE. Wakulla will not wrestle again until it reconvenes with Clay on January 22nd at Osceola HS in Kissimmee. South Walton also has a week away before it returns to the mats a bit closer to home, at district rival Bay’s 2nd annual George Mulligan Memorial. Rocky Bayou will go back on the mat next week, traveling to area rival Crestview for a single dual on Wednesday.

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#1ARegn1Duals: Clay Makes 4th Osceola Trip

Clay’s Gunner Ivey (left) sinks in a takedown against Yulee in 1A-Region 1 semifinal competition Thursday night at the Blue Devils’ gym (Photo by Shannon Heaton; 4 albums of action photos at Clay have been posted at the Matmen Instagram page, nflamatmen).

GREEN COVE SPRINGS — State Duals, Episode IV, is set.

For the fourth consecutive year, Clay and Wakulla will clash for the 1A-Region 1 title on the first day of the FHSAA state duals tournament at Osceola. This year’s version will be staged on January 22.

As for the Blue Devils, their path to Kissimmee was secured Thursday night behind dominant wins over Episcopal (62-7) and Yulee (62-10) in the region quarterfinal and semifinal rounds, respectively.

“We’ve made strides with the guys. Getting better every week. We had eight or nine guys going to tournaments (in the off-season) even with Covid. Took seven kids all over the country, and now we’re catching everybody else up,” Clay coach Jim Reape said. “Kids are even showing up on Sundays to work, so it’s a hungry group.”

After dropping the dual season-opener five weeks ago, Clay is now 8-1 for the season. The Blue Devils took it to Yulee (8-4) from the jump, roaring out to a 46-0 lead before Isaiah Shook’s third-period fall got the Hornets on the board.

Aston Ricks (160) would add a 14-6 major, but that was it for points for Yulee.

“Honestly we were not ready to go. Clay’s a great program, but that’s not us out there…mistakes, slow on bottom, guys not initiating,” Yulee coach Brandon Crowder said. “But Reape has a great program, Hall of Fame coach and hats off to them. We’ve gotta be back-to-work. Doesn’t matter how well we do, or how bad we do, we got to keep working.”

Falls from Jadon Bell (195), Garrett Tyre (220), Ethan Daniels (285), Caleb Thompson (106) and Dalton Huckelberry (120) fueled the early surge for the Blue Devils, who also got techs from Maverick Rainwater (16-1 at 113) and Gunner Ivey (15-0 at 126) and decisions from Chandler Thomas (10-3 at 132) and Luke Boree (5-1 at 138).

After Yulee scored, Clay would pick up pins from Cale Hoskinson (170) and Ethan Larsen (182), plus a 16-4 major from Dominic Martin (152).

“To compete against Fleming Island, Somerset, Wakulla…we had to raise the level of the room,” Reape said. “We’ve got a long way to go yet, but we’re doing it. Had a high level of intensity tonight.”

Yulee 54, Bolles 22: The Hornets would spot the Bulldogs (5-15) leads of 15-6 and 19-12, but didn’t trail again after Tristan Martinez’s first-period pin at 126, winning seven of the last eight weights of the dual to pull away.

“A lot of times that we talk at this time in the year, I think I usually say the same thing, and that’s that we’ll be good in a month,” Bolles coach Matt Morris said. “It’s just about getting guys down to weight, five football players that aren’t in shape yet. We have three state qualifiers wrestling well and a lot of 9th and 10th graders that are young but at it a while.

“We tried to bounce our lineup around to maybe give us a chance to win the dual and it didn’t work out so well.”

Keleb Reddish (182), Lewis Duhan (120), Martinez, Shook (145), Jesse Johnson (152) and Ricks (160) won by pin for Yulee, which got forfeit wins at 106, 138 and 170 to round out its scoring. Bolles had falls from Ethan Asbury (195) and Jack Pyburn (220), a 17-6 major from Jacob Witt (17-6) and decisions from Cooper Fordham (8-3 at 285, in first varsity event) and Denny Vohs (10-5).

Clay 62, Episcopal 7: After holding a 4-3 lead through two weights, the Blue Devils powered through runs of 32-0 and 26-0 against the first-time region qualifier Eagles (14-4).

“I told the guys, big challenges make big opportunities,” Episcopal coach Jefferson Brant said. “Clay and Yulee are tough, tough teams. Kids are so young, but they need this, to square up against tough, experienced teams. We’ve just got to keep seeking those big opportunities out. Glad to be here, it’s been a fun season.”

Pins by Daniels (285) and Thompson (106), plus a tech from Rainwater (16-1 at 113) and 4-1 win for Huckelberry at 126, with forfeit victories at 220 and 120, comprised the first big Clay run, while the second string of points came on pins from Josh Kumpf (145) and Luca Fiannaca (160), majors from Boree (12-2 at 138), Martin (12-4 at 152) and a forfeit win at 170. Larsen’s major (10-1 at 182) got the dual started for the Blue Devils.

For Episcopal, Lawson Perry’s 7-3 win at 195 was the opening salvo, with Joe Jackson (132) later taking an 8-0 major.

Clay goes right back on the mats later tonight, hosting Flagler Palm Coast in a key matchup of region qualifiers across classes. Saturday features Yulee at the Westside Roundrobin and Episcopal going to Tallahassee for the Trojan Invitational. Bolles is off until January 23, when the Bulldogs go to the Camden Callout. Results from this quarterfinal and semifinal round can be found HERE.

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