Eagles, Blue Devils surge to district grappling titles

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GREEN COVE SPRINGS – Clay and Fleming Island wrestling have taken slightly divergent turns to getting to their respective district titles with the Blue Devils; smarted twice in 10 days by the Golden Eagles; Clay Rotary and Tussle of Muscle, regrouping to a 21st district title, in newly aligned District 4-1A, while the Golden Eagles continued their disruption of northeast Florida wrestling with their sixth straight title; district 1-3A, in a week of state meet preparation.

A resurgent Oakleaf High team, under coaches Marcus Miller and Sean Conroy finished second to Fleming Island ahead of Creekside and Bartram Trail, two new teams to district 1-3A and former 2A programs. The Knights got one district title with 285 Josh Murrell winning in overtime over Fleming Island’s Raul Gonzales.

In district 2-2A, Orange Park chased behind annual 2A powers Tallahassee Lincoln and Columbia for most of that tournament before finishing fourth with Mosley sneaking ahead in the championship rounds. Columbia would snare the team title with a 167 point total with Lincoln second at 149 and Mosley 128. Orange Park scored 125.5.

Also in district 2-2A, Middleburg finished sixth with 67 points. The Broncos advanced seven wrestlers with Jeffrey Parker, at 113) and Riley Girgis, at 120, both tops for the Broncos with third place finishes.

For Fleming Island, with 12 champions and 13 region qualifiers, the onslaught has been in step with the last three weeks of coach P.J. Cobbert’s preparation to finally wrestle away the elusive 3A title from South Dade High this year.

Top four finishers in each district advance to region championship meets with top four finishers there advancing to the respective state meets.

Region wrestling tournaments

(Fri.-Sat., Feb. 28-29)

Region 1-3A at Fleming Island High (District 1-3A top three: Fleming Island 276, Oakleaf 140.5, Creekside 126.5; 3-3A top three: Apopka 136, Colonial 129.5, Windermere 117; 2-3A top three: Flagler 220, Buchholz 195, University 145.5; 4-3A top three: Timber Creek 199.5, Hagerty 189.5, Lake Mary 141). 2019 Class 3A: 2. Fleming Island; 6. Hagerty; 17. Seminole; 19. Buchholz; 21. Lake Mary; 27. Freedom; 42. University; 49. Timber Creek. Creekside 42nd in 2A.

Region 1-2A at Tallahassee Chiles (District 1-2A top three: Pace 215.5, Fort Walton Beach 183, Gulf Breeze 166.5; 2-2A top three: Columbia 167, Lincoln 149, Mosley 128; 3-2A top three: Fletcher 205, Robert E. Lee 147, Ponte Vedra 132; 4-2A top three: Matanzas 231.5, St. Augustine 143.5, Seabreeze 140.5). 2019 Class 2A: 12. Matanzas; 16. Orange Park; 22. Pace; 28. Terry Parker; 33. Lincoln; 42. Columbia. (Mosley, 45th in 1A; Robert E. Lee 56th in 3A).

Region 1-1A at Wakulla  (District 4-1A top three: Clay 255, Bolles 171, Ridgeview 95; 1-1A top three: Bay 141, South Walton 139, Marianna 135; 2-1A top three: Wakulla 259.5, Suwannee 167, Florida High 94; 3-1A top three: Yulee 180, Bishop Kenny 133, Raines 119. 2019 Class 1A: 6. Wakulla; 8. Florida High; 17. Suwannee; 21. Clay; 23. Bishop Kenny; 23. Raines; 23. Arnold; 27. Yulee

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At Nease High School, Fleming Island’s entire lineup, minus a 106 forfeit and a third quarter pin at 182 to Nick Janssen from Creekside 2019 state qualifier Jalen Hines, a slew of pins ensued led by Gannon Janssen’s pancake in just 38 seconds over Stephen Farris of Bartram Trail.

Gannon Janssen had pins of 16 seconds, 43 seconds and 38 seconds to dominate his 145 weight class.

Nix, top ranked in Florida at 220, executed a 16 second pin in his semifinal match while Jeffrey Lascano scored a pin at 37 seconds in his semifinal.

At 170, Gavin Smith pinned Nease’s Colin White in 41 seconds in his semifinal with Tanner Hill, at 152, flatting Creekside’s Zach Johnson in 44 seconds in his semifinal.

In 2019, Fleming Island won the region title over Winter Springs and Hagerty. Fleming Island returns just one region champion; Chad Nix at 195 last year, 220 this year, with eight region top four finishers; Riley Holton (2nd at 113), Ryan Hobson (2nd at 126), Tyler Williams (2nd at 138), Gannon Janssen (3rd at 145), Luke Chop (3rd at 152), Tanner Hill (3rd at 160), Gavin Smith (3rd at 170) and Jeffrey Lascano (3rd at 220).

Oakleaf had no state qualifiers last year with four district finishers losing in the consolation rounds at regions; Marcus McGee, Abdiert Escobar (now at Clay), Logan Gilbert and David Parkes.

With Murrell crowned 2020 champion, Oakleaf sends nine wrestlers to the region meet with five wrestlers losing in finals to Fleming Island wrestlers; Trevor Owens to Isaac Padgett at 132; David Parkes to Tanner Hill at 152; Onjel Caraballo to Gavin Smith at 170; Isiah Schevchook to Lascano at 195 and Jason Mitchell to Nix at 220.

At Clay High, the Blue Devils dominated the field with 255 points with Bolles second at 171 and Ridgeview third at 95 with just nine wrestlers.

Seven Panthers wrestlers would advance to region with two crowned champions; Matthew Rodriguez, third two years ago in 1A, second last year, at 126 and Gabe Guzman, a state qualifier last year, at 145.

The Panthers got a second place to Shawn Tahir at 132, and thirds to Ian Finnorn at 138 and Spencer Robertson at 182.

For the Blue Devils, led by Luke Davis at 120, who has had his finest final week of wrestling with back-to-back wins against Fleming Island, put out nine champions for the day with three second place finishers and two thirds.

With district titles were Davis, Luke Boree at 138, Cale Hoskinson at 152, Tucker Reape at 160, Isaiah Clifford at 170, Jordan Bell at 182, Joe Grelli at 195, Garrett Tyre at 220 and Derrek Mosley at 285.

In 2019, Wakulla dominated the region 1-1A tournament with 241 points to Florida High’s 129. Clay finished fourth with 123.5; just half a point behind Suwannee.

Clay returns region champions Tazz Hampton (106) and Cale Hoskinson (132). Joe Grelli (4th at 220), returns as a state qualifier.

Last year, Ridgeview had Rodriguez as a region 1-2A champion with Guzman third for the Panthers top returners this year.

At Lincoln, Orange Park came home with three district champions; Davon Bailey (120), Cameron Broughton (145) and James McArthur (220), one second placer, one third and one fourth place finisher. Middleburg finished with two thirds and four fourth place finishers.

In 2019, Lincoln inched away from Matanzas for the region 1-2A title, 193.5-185, with Orange Park sixth with 92 points, Ridgeview (now 1A) 10th and Middleburg 11th. Bartram Trail (4th) and Creekside (5th) are now in region 1-3A.

The Raiders return state qualifiers Cameron Broughton (second at 138) and Jacob Moore (third at 182) from last year’s team.

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