By SHANNON HEATON
Northeast Florida Matmen
TITUSVILLE — It’s usually quite a wakeup call for Palatka, Interlachen and Eastside when the local teams meet up with the rest of 1A-Region 2 on the first day.
So far, 2017 appears to be no exception. After the first day of competition, hosted by Astronaut HS, Palatka stands 14th out of 28 teams in the field, with 30 points. Interlachen is tied for 25th, with three, and Eastside is 28th and the only team not to score Friday.
Florida’s top HS team, Lake Highland Prep, leads after the first day with 100 points, 26.5 ahead of runnerup Hernando.
Palatka has two wrestlers left in the tournament, both on the championship side of the bracket.
At 195, Bryan Smith is in the semis after a first-round bye and a 3-2 win over 40-match winner Joseph Gurley of Weeki Wachee in the quarters. Smith is taking on the highest state-ranked wrestler found in the bracket in the semis, however, facing Space Coast’s Zaqueri Viers.
At 220, Ira Dixon is also in the semis after two pins on Friday. Dixon falled Cocoa’s Hunter Gfell in 2:39 in the first round, then had another fall, this one in 5:21, in the quarters against Hudson’s Damien Hay. Dixon will take on #2 Matt Whitehouse of Atlantic in the semis.
All other Palatka wrestlers in the tournament were 1-2 and have been eliminated as of Friday.
Interlachen sent only Cade Mason at 138 to the tournament. Mason did have one win in the consi first round, by fall, for the Rams’ three points. Five Eastside wrestlers participated Friday, with all five going 0-2.