YULEE - Clay High wrestling coach Hunter Hill and Fleming Island High wrestling coach P.J. Cobbert both had anticipated targets on their mind for their respective Class 1A and Class 3A region and state duals championships run; Wakulla for Clay and South Dade for Fleming Island, and both executed game plans to win district duals titles Thursday night.
Fleming Island advanced with a 63-15 round two win over Flagler Palm Coast after a 53-18 win over Buchholz in round one.
Fleming Island then doubled down with a 301.0-205.5 team title over Harmony High (19th in 2A last year) at the Milton Winter Memorial Invitational at St. Cloud High on Saturday. 3A-Winter Springs (5th in 3A last year) was third with Venice (37th in 2A last year) fourth. Fleming Island had eight individual champions.
Clay advanced in their Class 1A round one with a 54-15 win over Bishop Kenny before dispatching of Yulee 45-14 to set up the Wakulla round three final for a third consecutive year. Wakulla, who beat Suwannee in their round two to advance, beat Clay last year 59-4 and eventually lost 68-6 to Lake Highland Prep in the duals championship.
"We get a couple guys back into the lineup the next couple of matches; most notably 106 Tazz Hampton and 126 Abdiert Escobar, both with minor injuries, with Josh Kumpf and Tucker Reape expected back to shore up spots," said Hill. "Tazz and Abdiert are probable and that will help."
Ironically, and maybe cruelly, Fleming Island's quest to take on South Dade a second time in duals' state competition gets one match closer as the defending duals champions, South Dade, is on the same bracket side as Fleming Island setting up a possible semifinal clash of the two Class 3A titans. Fleming Island lost to South Dade in the 3A championship last year 32-28 with Fleming Island facing Hagerty in the region final. The Golden Eagles will face Hagerty in this year's region final with South Dade a Final Four possibility.
"We preach wrestle who is in front of you," said Cobbert, about the possibility of a state semifinal match with South Dade. "We want to beat everyone; can't make it about anything, just a match."
Hagerty, who lost to Fleming Island 36-25 last year, gets to the region final with wins over Lake Brantley and Timber Creek. Fleming Island advanced to the final with South Dade last year with a 53-5 win over Fort Pierce Central.
For Clay, the much-anticipated clash for a second time this season with Wakulla, after a 36-34 loss two weeks ago in tournament play at Manatee, is now set for Fri., Jan. 24 at Osceola High School for the region title and a shot at the state Final Four on Sat., Jan. 25, also at Osceola.
For Wakulla, a round two winner over Suwannee High in their 1-1A regional, the third time both teams have been here is something Hill has repeatedly looked forward to.
"Class 1A is really competitive this year and Wakulla is definitely the team to beat in our area," said Hill, who has two tournament wins; one at Bishop Snyder, another in Georgia with a second place finish to Wakulla in tournament three at Manatee amongst a handful of Class 2A and 3A programs. "We have a solid duals team and we get a couple breaks, I think we have shot."
Clay exhibited a strong upper weight lineup starting with 152 pounder Cale Hoskinson and ending with heavyweight Derrick Mosley to punch out Yulee to the tune of a 38-0 early lead with Dominic Martin starting the match with an 8-5 win at 145, Cale Hoskinson teching 15-0 at 152, and Luca Fiannca winning a rugged 2-1 match at 160 in overtime.
Isaiah Clifford got some late points to win 7-4 at 170 with Jordan Bell, Joe Grelli, Garrett Tyre and Derrick Mosley all pinning. Tyre's match featured a punch to the temple that caused concern for Hill, but Tyre turned the tables to pin Yulee's Bradley Durrance in the third period.
"We thought he got caught in a choke hold, but he's a tough kid," said Hill. "He was wobbly to finish that 1.4 seconds left in the second period, but came back strong to end the match."
Fleming Island has exhibited a strong lineup top to bottom, but has been forfeiting at 106 and 113 recently. Cobbert returns a slew of state qualifiers from last year despite only finishing with two time state champion Briar Jackson and third places at 195 from Chad Nix, now top-ranked at 220, and Luke Chop at 152, now third-ranked at 160. Cobbert got a fifth last year from Gavin Smith at 170 and an injury default to Gannon Janssen at 145 for sixth. Janssen, second ranked to South Dade's state champion Bretli Reyna, who lost surprisingly at Osceola's Knockout Christmas Tournament, has been impressive all season with last year's Jeffrey Lascano battling at 220 despite weighing closer to this year's 195 and matching up better with his opponents to get a top five ranking statewide.
At 138, senior Tyler Williams looks to be back to state form after injuries and will be a top point-getter in the mix. Williams, ranked 14th, will match up with Hagerty's top ranked Joe Gonzalez in the region clash.
At 152, Fleming Island's Tanner Hill, fifth ranked, will see Hagerty's Dylan Kohn, sixth ranked, with both getting bounced in the quarterfinals of the Osceola Knockouts in December. At 160, Fleming Island's Luke Chop and Hagerty's Ryan Cody are third and fourth, respectively, with Chop taking a 3-0 win over Cody at Knockout. At 170, Hagerty' Logan Perkins is fourth with Fleming Island's Gavin Smith seventh, with both ousted in the consolation rounds at Knockout.
New to the lineup and faring well is Joshua Sandoval, younger brother to former ace Jacob Sandoval, at 182, a critical jettison point to Lascano, Nix and Gonzalez for a strong Fleming Island flurry at the end of matches.
From arguably 138's Tyler Williams and up, Cobbert is strong all the way to heavyweight Raul Gonzalez despite Gonzalez losing a tough 3-1 match to Flagler's A.J. Cinelli, unranked in 3A, in their duals match.
In other Class 3A brackets, with last year's final finishes at the state IBT are Fleming Island (2nd) vs. Hagerty (6th), South Dade (1st) vs. Cypress Bay (37th), Palm Beach Gardens (12th) vs. Wellington (33rd) and Osceola (6th) vs. Palm Harbvor (44th).
For Clay's Class 1A brackets, with last year's final finishes at the state IBT are Clay (21st) vs. Wakulla (6th), Jensen Beach (11th in 2A) vs. Somerset Academy (5th), Tarpon Springs vs. McKeel Academy (45th), and Hernando (10th) vs. Lake Highland Prep (1st).
Clay 54, Bishop Kenny 15
106: Allan Bustos (BK) d. Jacob Bobo, 15-10. 113: Dalton Huckelberry (Cl) d. Ryan Mayer, 2-0. 120: Luke Davis (Cl) p. Jack Raynor, :10. 126: Sebastian Deara (BK) p. Madisyn Blackburn, 4:24. 132: Brock Hinson (BK) p. Thomas Viens, 3:30. 138: Luke Boree (Cl) d. Roberto Cuartero, 4-2. 145: Dominic Martin (Cl) d. Daniel Maher, 9-3. 152: Cale Hoskinson (Cl) p. Barrie Snyder, :47. 160: Bryan Prince (Cl) d. Carter Wood, 9-8. 170: Isaiah Clifford (Cl) p. Paul Barakat, :15. 182: Jordan Bell (Cl) p. Adrian Rodriguez, 1:10. 195: Joe Grelli (Cl) p. Michael Bagan, 2:53. 220: Garrett Tyre (Cl) p. Kevin Thallemer, :40. 285: Derrek Mosley (Cl) p. Curtis Leggett, 1:11.
Region 1-1A Semifinal
(first match at 145)
Clay 45, Yulee 14
106: Duhan (Y) p. Bobo, :48. 113: Huckelberry (Cl) p. Proffit, 2:43. 120: Leo Garcia (Cl) fft. 126: Davis (Cl) d. Martinez, 9-6. 132: Bees (Y) p. Josh Kumpf, 1:08. 138: Dylan Johns (Y) d. Boree, 5-2. 145: Martin (Cl) d. Johnson, 8-5. 152: Hoskinson (Cl) tf. Ricks, 15-0. 160: Luca Fiannca (Cl) d. Shook, 2-1. 170: Clifford (Cl) d. Sewell, 7-4. 182: Bell (Cl) p. Reddish, 1:50. 195: Grelli (Cl) p. Michel, 2:14. 220: Tyre (Cl) p. Durrance, 3:58. 285: Mosley (Cl) p. Brown, 2:41.
At Fleming Island
(first match at 182)
Fleming Island 53, Buchholz 18
106: Siddharth Bianchi (B) fft. 113: Venumadhava Mirel (B) fft. 120: Aiden Moore (B) d. Ryan Hobson, 4-0. 126: Riley Holton (FI) p. Alexis Gonzalez, 2:37. 132: Isaac Padgett (FI) fft. 138: Dalton Williams (FI) p. Cole Nixon, 1:46. 145: Gannon Janssen (FI) p. Timothy Bowen, :57. 152: Tanner Hill (FI) p. Liam Buchanan, 1:07. 160: Luke Chop (FI) p. Daniel Rattner, 1:39. 170: Gavin Smith (FI) d. Matthew Vann, 2-1. 182: Armando Acosta (B) d. Nick Janssen, 6-0. 195: Jeffrey Lascano (FI) d. Jason Martin, 10-4. 220: Chad Nix (FI) fft. 285: Raul Gonzalez (FI) p. Jacob Robinson, 5:30.
Flagler Palm Coast 40, Oakleaf 25
106: Kole Hannant (FPC) p. Denzell Keeton, :56. 113: Joseph Rizzo (FPC) p. Kevin Gilley, 2:49. 120: Marcus McGee (O) md. John Hald, 14-4. 126: Brendan Buckles (FPC) p. Jason Stewart, 2:38. 132: Trevor Owens (O) d. Andrew Dance, 16-10. 138: Logan Gilbert (O) p. Sebastian Bedowski, 1:19. 145: Timothy King (FPC) p. Roman Polinsky, 3:24. 152: Blane DeFord (FPC) d. David Parkes, 8-3. 160: Marcelo Gonzalez (FPC) md. James McClintic, 12-4. 170: Garrick Schwartz (FPC) md. Sebastian Lopez, 10-1. 182: Jayden Austin (FPC) d. Onjel Caraballo, 10-8. 195: Isiah Schevchook (O) p. Dalton Schell, :15. 220: Jason Mitchell (O) p. Seth Davis, 1:46. 285: AJ Cinelli (FPC) d. Josh Murrell, 6-2.
(first match at 195)
Fleming Island 63, Flagler Palm Coast 15
106: Hannant (FPC) fft. 113: Rizzo (FPC) fft. 120: Hobson (FI) p. Hald, 1:30. 126: Holton (FI) p. Buckles, 1:56. 132: Padgett (FI) p. Bedowski, :51. 138: Williams (FI) fft. 145: G. Janssen (FI) p. King, 3:16. 152: Hill (FI) d. DeFord, 3-2. 160: Chop (FI) p. Gonzalez, 2:12. 170: Smith (FI) p. Schwartz, :27. 182: Josh Sandoval (FI) p. Austin, 3:29. 195: Lascano (FI) p. Schell, :23. 220: Nix (FI) p. Davis, :30. 285: Cinelli (FPC) d. Gonzalez, 3-1.