FLAGLER - With the annual Tussle of Muscle rivalry dual match between a re-invigorated Clay High wrestling squad and a rock-hard Fleming Island High team that has weathered the toughest schedule on the books, Fleming Island returned home with a runnerup trophy to Class 1A powerhouse Lake Highland Prep and Clay High returned with a third place trophy from Charlotte's Gene Gorman Invite.
Fleming Island senior Chad Nix was the lone title winner at Flagler with another pin-dominated outing with the 46-1 195-pounder pancaking his first three opponents in a total of 13, 18 and 21 seconds before muscling out a 7-1 win in his semifinal against Winter Springs' Marvin Collins. Nix then beat Lake Highland Prep's Matt Kaplan, 5-2, for the Flagler title.
Fleming Island faced off with Lake Highland Prep opponents at 113 with Hunter Herrington, who finished third, beating Joshua Boykin in the consolation semifinal 7-6. Herrington lost in his semifinal to Aiden Poe of New Smyrna Beach by major decision 12-1; Ryan Hobson at 120, who finished second to Lake Highland Prep's David McClelland with a 6-0 loss; Isaac Padgett, sixth at 132, with pin loss to Lake Highland Prep state qualifier Preston Walls; Tyler Williams, second at 138, who lost 20-2 to Lake Highland's Chris Rivera in the final; Tanner Hill, who lost in 152 final to Winter Springs' Joshua Contreras 12-6, but beat Lake Highland Prep's Daniel Williams 6-3 in the semifinal; Luke Chop, second at 160 with 3-1 loss to Lake Highland Prep's Dominic Isola; Jeffrey Lascano, who lost his second match at 195 to Lake Highland Prep's Easton Tobia before finishing fifth with 13-0 win; Nix at 220 over Lake Highland's Kaplan and Raul Gonzalez, at 285, who beat Lake Highland Prep's Francisco Tobar 1-0 in the consolation rounds before losing in overtime 3-1 to Oakleaf High's Josh Murrell in the match for fifth place.
For Oakleaf, Murrell and David Parkes, at 152, both finished fifth. Murrell had five pins in seven matches.
In team scoring, Lake Highland rolled up 391.5 points with Fleming Island chasing in second with 268.5. Harmony, Winter Springs and Flagler finished out the top five; all under 200 points. Oakleaf finished a strong seventh with 96.5 points.
Fleming Island warmed up for the Flagler field with a 69-12 blowout of Yulee on their senior night dual on Wed., Jan. 29.
For Clay, the Gene Gorman Invite, a duals style tournament, was a shot to stay in duals competition with the Blue Devils winning six and losing two; one to Tampa Jesuit, the Class 2A duals state champion and Charlotte High, fourth in Class 2A last year.
Top matches were Abdiert Escobar losing to defending 2A champion (120) Tom Crook of Jesuit, Cale Hoskinson at 152 losing to defending 2A champion (132 in 2018, 152 in 2019) Lucas Lucas of Charlotte and 285's Derrek Mosley losing to Jesuit's Mason Arnold, ranked number one in 2A and 2A runnerup last year at 220.