LAKE CITY - Fleming Island and Clay wrestling had dominating wins for their respective district duals titles, but it was Orange Park who provided the most theatrics for the week with a toe-to-toe battle with defending region finalist Tallahassee Lincoln in the district 2-2A semifinal Friday at Columbia High in Lake City.
"It was close," said Orange Park coach Justin Daniels, after watching his Raiders fight back to a 36-33 gap against Lincoln behind consecutive pins from Vince Walker, Arlo Wilson and Cameron Broughton to set up a dramatic 12-11 loss from Trevon Sermons in what could have been a game decider. "It's fun to see our guys rise up to the level of competition that teams like Lincoln and Columbia bring to the mat. We are exponentially better today than we were four weeks ago."
Lincoln, who beat Orange Park 45-33, eventually defeated Columbia for their third consecutive duals title. Chiles, who Orange Park lost a three point match last week at the Ron Bierbaum Invite in Jacksonville, beat Columbia 42-28 in their semifinal. Columbia beat Orange Park for third place.
In the other districts, district 1-3A, Fleming Island put a 69-12 win over Oakleaf in that final with the Knights garnering their first invite into the region playoffs in duals tournament play.
In district 4-1A, Clay High exercised nearly 10 first period pins en route to beating Wolfson 77-6 in that final.
Round One regions duals: January 16 (3A) at Fleming Island - Flagler Palm Coast vs. Oakleaf; Fleming Island vs. Buchholz. At Hagerty, Apopka vs. Timber Creek, Hagerty vs Lake Brantly. Round two follows at both venues. Region finals scheduled for January 24 at Osceola High School. State Semifinals/Finals scheduled for January 25 at Osceola.
Round One regions Duals: January 16 (1A) At Yulee - Clay vs. Bishop Kenny, Yulee vs. Wolfson. At Arnold - Arnold vs. Suwannee, Wakulla vs. South Walton. Round two follows at both venues. Region finals scheduled for January 24 at Osceola High School. State Semifinals/Finals scheduled for January 25 at Osceola.
Clay win came after a 67-12 semifinal win over University Christian that had nine forfeits from the Christians, now coached by former Oakleaf coaches Wes Champs and Tyler DeHart. On the University Christian; two former Clay area wrestlers, Jayce Paridon and Egan Gustilo, younger brother to former Oakleaf High wrestler Ethan Gustilo, now wrestling at Reinhard University, who both won their matches against Clay.
For the Blue Devils, returning to the top tier of Class 1A wrestling started with the duals district win, according to coach Hunter Hill, but is targeted another match with frontrunner Wakulla High. Wakulla and Clay tangoed two weeks ago in Manatee with Wakulla winning a hard-fought 36-34 win. Wakulla beat Suwannee in their district final 66-12.
"A good win, back to a title, but still got to find a way to beat Wakulla," said Hill, who repeated as district champion, but faces a Wakulla team that dethrottled the Blue Devils last year 59-4 in the region final. "We had a couple guys not here for illnesses (106-er Tazz Hampton most notable), but we are just going to go in a battle hard."
Against Wolfson, Clay rattled off first period pins from Dalton Huckleberry (:39), Leo Garcia (1:10), Luke Davis (:42), Aiden Mayo (:39), Thomas Viens (:39) and Dominic Martin (1:48) before Cale Hoskinson had to go three rounds to win 18-1. Clay got back on the pin train after Hoskinson with Jordan Bell (:27), Garrett Tyre (1:13) and Derrek Mosley (:58) ending the mismatch.
For Fleming Island, the state runnerup to South Dade last year, rifling through their district duals was not a surprise for the red-hot Golden Eagles who showed no mercy on their county compadres with the 69-12 win with Oakleaf scoring on two forfeits. In the 11 pin scorecard, the fastest of the day went to Riley Holton at 126 who edged Luke Chop at 160 with a 26 second tip versus 27 for Chop.
In the closest match of the day, at 285, Fleming Island's Raul Gonzalez fought to a 2-0 win over Oakleaf's Josh Murrell.
Fleming Island beat Creekside 65-12 in their semifinal with the Creekside Knights scoring off two forfeits. Oakleaf advanced with a 37-34 win over Bartram Trail.
In district 5-1A, Keystone Heights opened with a 36-18 win over Florida Deaf, but lost 54-18 to Pedro Menendez, Palatka 54-18 and Atlantic 48-30.
Keystone Heights win over Florida Deaf featured wins from Sam Ulsch at 126 (pin 1:53), Jonas Cole at 138 (pin at :58), Sheppard Wingate at 160 (pin at 3:55), Eliyah Cole at 182 (pin at 1:46) and Steven Raab at 195 (pin at 2:35).
Ridgeview and Middleburg did not compete in district duals tournaments.
District 2-2A Semifinal
Lincoln 45, Orange Park 33
106: Elijah Hendley (L) p. Yamillie Lopez
113: Jimmy Martin (L) p. Wesley Carlisle
120: Davon Bailey (OP) p. Adam Barnes
126: Steven Leger (L) p. Durrionte Myrick
132: Vincent Walker (OP) p. Mekhi Williams
138: Arlo Wilson (OP) p. Connor Edwards
145: Cameron Broughton (OP) p. Curtis Jones
152: Patrick Blanca (L) d. Trevion Sermons, 12-11.
160: Cayden Bevis (L) p. William Evans
170: Julian Moore (OP) p. Andrew Collins
182: Jacob Moore d. Wyatt Yown, 14-9
195: Tanner Washburn (L) p. Jose Indio
220: Jeremiah Brown (L) p. James McArthur
285: Tyler Moss (L) p. Reese Sheehan.
District 1-3A Championship
Fleming Island 69, Oakleaf 12
106: Denzell Keeton (O) fft
113: Hunter Herrington (FI) p. Andrew Brandt, 1:58
120: Ryan Hobson (FI) p. Marcus McGee, :34
126: Riley Holton (FI) p. Jason Stewart, :26
132: Isaac Padgett (FI) p. Trevor Owens, 2:49
138: Roman Polinsky (O) fft
145: Dalton Baysinger (FI) p. Dean Dahlem, 1:00
152: Gannon Janssen (FI) p. David Parkes, :51
160: Luke Chop (FI) p. James McClintic, :27
170: Hunter Williams (FI) p. Sebastian Lopez, :34
182: Nick Janssen (FI) p. Onjel Caraballo, 4:40
195: Jeffrey Lascano (FI) p. Isiah Schevchook, 1:10
220: Chad Nix (FI) p. Jason Mitchell, 1:04
285: Raul Gonzalez (FI) d. Josh Murrell, 2-0
District 4-1A Championship
Clay 77, Wolfson 6
(first match at 285)
106: Jacob Bobo (Cl) fft
113: Dalton Huckelberry (Cl) p. Strange, :39
120: Leo Garcia (Cl) p. Harbin, 1:10
126: Luke Davis (Cl) p. Lewallen, :42
132: Aiden Mayo (Cl) p. Campbell, :39
138: Thomas Viens (Cl) p. Shad, :39
145: Dominic Martin (Cl) p. Hill, 1:48
152: Cale Hoskinson (Cl) tf. Frison, 18-1
160: Luca Fiannca (Cl) p. Richardson, 1:52
170: Kemp (Wo) p. Eli Montalvo, 5:01
182: Jordan Bell (Cl) p. Davis, :27
195: Joe Grelli (Cl) fft
220: Garrett Tyre (Cl) p. Deas, 1:13
285: Derrek Mosley (Cl) p. Spears, :58.
In weekend action, Middleburg finished fourth at the Joe Bees Memorial Battle of the Border at Yulee High School with Camden County's B team winning over 1A-Yulee and Mosley High. Brayden Weaver won at 170 with a pin over West Nassau's Deonta Robinson. Drew McDaniels lost in the 220 final. Ethan Larsen was third at 182. Michael Higginbotham finished fourth at 152.
Oakleaf traveled to the Marine Corps Duals on Sat., Jan. 11 and came home with wins over Westside (59-24), Gainesville (63-6), Terry Parker (60-16), Paxon (77-3), Lee (57-24), Mandarin (66-18) and Bolles (49-24).