Beast of the Beach Recap: Wakulla Dominates Scene

North Florida Matmen staff report

FT WALTON BEACH — Wakulla entered the Christmas holiday on a winning note after finishing second twice in earlier tournaments.

The War Eagles put together a dominating performance at the Beast of the Beach on December 21-22, winning the tournament with a 9-0 record.

But that only tells part of the story. Wakulla lost just two matches (not duals, matches) in five rounds of pool play, and during the tournament shut out four consecutive opponents. That’s a minimum of 56 straight victories, and there was surely a streak of match wins started before, and continued after, those four duals, as Wakulla lost just one match in each of those.

The War Eagles defeated Choctaw (78-6), Mosley (73-6), Crestview (82-0), Veterans B GA (84-0) and Bozeman (84-0) in pool play on Friday. On Saturday, Wakulla stopped Tate, 80-0, in the round of 16, followed by a quarterfinal win over Spanish Fort AL (63-5), a semifinal win over Smiths Station AL (49-13) and then its only semi-close dual in the championship against Arab AL, 41-31.

In that championship, the War Eagles led, 25-10, halfway through the dual, only to see Arab take a 28-25 lead. But Wakulla scored bonus points in three of the final four weight classes to clinch the victory.

Every Wakulla starter had at least six victories during the course of the weekend, including six War Eagles that were undefeated. Leading that charge was Darius Wilkins (285), who was the only wrestler in the tournament to win all of his matches with maximum points (6 pins, plus three forfeits).

Matthew Owen (126, 5 pins, tech & major), Charlie Owens (132, 4 pins, major & decision), Noah Wilson (145, 6 pins & 2 majors), John Trevor Hinsey (195, 7 pins & major) and Slade Watkins (220, 4 pins & 3 decisions) also were undefeated with 9-0 records.

Five Wakulla wrestlers were 8-1, including: Julian Harvey (106/113, 3 pins & decision), Raymond Hatchman (120, 4 pins, tech & major), Chase Roberts (138, 6 pins, tech & decision), Jackson Osteen (152, 3 pins, major & decision) and Cole Baggett (160, 4 pins, 2 decisions). George Hernandez (106/113, 5 pins) and Andrew Annand (182, 3 pins & decision) were both 7-2, while Hayden Reeves was 6-3 with 2 pins & a decision.

Below follows a summary of how other local teams fared at the Beast of the Beach:

Gulf Breeze: After Wakulla’s title effort, the 2A Dolphins were the next best Matmen-area team in the tournament, placing 10th in the championship bracket. Gulf Breeze was 3-2 in pool competition, with wins over Niceville (39-36), North Bay Haven (72-0) and Milton (54-18), with out-of-state losses to Smiths Station (54-24) and Westmoore OK (70-12). The Dolphins fell to Veterans, 63-18, in the round of 16 within the championship bracket, but then defeated Tallassee AL (42-40) in the consi quarters and Florida High (42-33) in the 9th place semis before falling to Brusly LA, 45-36, in the 9th place match. Gulf Breeze’s top performer was Samuel Rosenbalm (195), who was 8-1 during the weekend, with three pins. Five different Dolphin wrestlers pulled together six wins during the weekend, including: Max Kronlage (106, 3 pins), Ian Daily (120, 3 pins & decision), Dylan Lawrence (132, 5 pins & decision), Austin Earle (182, 4 pins & injury default) and Bryson Wick (220, 3 pins). Sean Jones (145, 2 pins) was 5-2 in a regular role and Calvin Malo (152/160, 3 pins) was 5-4.

Ft Walton Beach: The hosts were 3-2 in pool play and 2-2 on Saturday, placing 11th in the championship bracket. The Vikings had pool wins over Godby (66-12), Wakulla B (58-15) and Tate (54-18), with an out-of-state loss to Veterans (70-12). After a round-of-16 loss to Hiram GA (48-24), FWB rallied for a 40-24 consi quarters win over Mosley, only to fall in the 9th place semis to Brusly (42-33). The leaders for the Vikings were Eddie Alexis (182, 4 pins) and Kaleb Williams (195, 2 pins, major and decision), both of whom were 7-1. Caleb Tourgee (160, 4 pins) was 5-3, and five different Viking wrestlers — Weston Burbidge (120/126, 2 pins), Jarrod Hamilton (126/132, 2 pins & major), Martin Muniz (145, 3 pins), Corban Ferguson (170, 2 pins) and Patrick Adams (220, 2 pins, major & decision) all contributed four wins during the weekend.

Florida High: The young Seminole group was 4-1 in pool play on Friday, but had just one win in the championship bracket on Saturday, placing 12th. Florida High did get an extra dual with Mosley, outside of the tournament, taking a win in that dual (54-26). Friday pool wins included Wakulla B (60-18), Tate (42-36), Godby (68-6) and Ft Walton Beach (39-30), with the one Saturday bracketed win coming in the consi quarters over Crestview (48-27). The Seminoles did take out-of-state losses in pool play to Veterans GA (52-15) and in the round of 16 to Arab (57-18). Florida High had two wrestlers go undefeated on the weekend, as Max Metcalf (138/145) was 9-0 with five pins, one tech and two decisions, while Brooks Dyer (120) was 8-0 with four pins, a tech and decision. Emil Ganim (113, 5 pins) and Noah Perdue (160, 6 pins and tech) were both 8-1, while Chauncy Riggsby (170/182, 4 pins) was 7-2. Dennis Ganim (145/152, 4 pins) was 6-3 and — in a regular role — Dean Wright (126/132, pin) put together four wins.

Mosley: The 1A Dolphins were 3-2 on Friday, but with just half a team available to start, wins were harder to come by in the championship bracket. After losses in the round of 16 to Smiths Station and again in the consi quarters, Mosley’s lone win was in the 13th place semis, when the Dolphins knocked off the Aggies, 39-36, before falling to Tallassee, 51-21, placing 14th. Mosley defeated Veterans B (35-27), Bozeman (42-18) and Choctaw (40-30) in Friday’s wrestling. Garrison Kovacs was the Dolphins’ top performer, going 9-1 on the weekend with six pins and two decisions. Kaydon Lester (138/145, 4 pins, tech & decision) and Caleb Ward (160, 3 pins, major & decision) both were 7-3, while Cole Bell (106, pin) and Logan Gall (145/152, 3 pins & decision) both were 6-4. Daniel Bockstege (285, pin) was 5-5, while Lonnie Bell (132, 2 pins) and Jonathan Griffin (138/145) each contributed four wins.

Crestview: The 2A Bulldogs had a solid start to the weekend, going 4-1 in pool play, but struggled much harder on Saturday, losing their first three championship bracket duals until defeating Tate, 46-28, in the 15th place match. Crestivew rolled past Mosley (54-30), Bozeman (60-18), Choctaw (54-30) and Veterans B (66-18), with two-out-of-state losses to Auburn AL (71-9) in the round of 16 and Tallassee (57-24) in the 13th place semifinals. Kennard Madden (220) was the top individual performer, going 7-2 with three pins. Three Crestview wrestlers were 6-3, including: Javan Alto (113, 3 pins), Karter Watson (132, 2 pins & decision) and Rolando Hernandez (285, 4 pins). Malachi Santiago (152/160, decision) and Luke Baker (182, pin) were both 5-4 during the tournament.

Tate: The Aggies went 2-3 and were the last 2-3 team to make the championship bracket cut, but Saturday was a tough day, as they lost all four duals to place 16th. Tate did defeat Wakulla B (45-30) and Godby (42-30), taking out-of-state losses against Veterans (65-15) in pool play and against Brusly (66-12) in the consi quarters. Azaya Purifoy (195) led the Aggies’ performance during the weekend, going 7-2 with 3 pins and a decision. Tyce Bethard (220, 3 pins & decision) was 6-3, while David Luckey (120, 3 pins) was 5-4. In a regular-time role, Gabriel Durazo was 4-3, with one pin.

Arnold: After a 1-4 start to the tournament, the Marlins rolled to three dominant win;the Best of the Rest bracket. Arnold also defeated Daviess County (42-39) in pool play, with out-of-state losses to Arab (65-6), Spanish Fort (54-20), Tallassee (49-30) and Hiram (51-24). Leading the charge toward Arnold’s successful tournament finish was Tanner Brockman (106, 4 pins and tech), who was 7-1 on the weekend. Nicholas Hejke (120/26, 5 pins & decision) was 6-1 and Griffin Hebert (138/145, 5 pins & decision) were 6-2. Will Ashby (113/120, 5 pins) and Layton Tomasiewicz (132/138, 4 pins) were both 5-3, while Josh Young (220, 2 pins) contributed four victories.

Choctaw: The Indians were 2-3 in pool play, and their reward was a pair of byes in the BOTR bracket, which got them into the semis, where they defeated Daviess County KY in criteria, 43-42, to meet up with Arnold in the bracket final, with wins over Veterans B (53-24) and Bozeman (54-18) in pool play. Choctaw had one unbeaten wrestler, as Logan Myers (152) had five pins and a major. David Tambula (120, 3 pins & decision) was 6-1, while Hunter Pelfrey (160, 3 pins & tech) was 5-2. Deagan Kilpatrick (106, 2 pins) added four wins for the Indians.

Niceville: The 2A Eagles didn’t win a single pool dual on Friday, but rallied to go 3-1 on Saturday and finish third in the BOTR bracket, defeating Bozeman (54-12), Wakulla B (45-30) and Daviess County (45-33) in the third-place match after falling to Arnold in the semis. Niceville did fall to four out-of-state opponents on Friday: Westmoore (60-18), Smiths Station (63-12), Auburn (67-12) and Brusly (52-27). Niceville’s weekend individual leaders were Keane Creager (138, 5 pins & decision) and Collin Lentz (152, 3 pins, tech & major), as both were 7-2. Sean Ripley (182/195, 4 pins & 2 decisions) was 6-3, while Jay Pinto (126, pin & decision) went 5-4.

Wakulla B: Despite having just six wrestlers competing in the tournament, the second group of War Eagles won three duals, including two of their three on Saturday, defeating Godby (30-18) in pool play. The War Eagles defeated Bay, 35-12, in the round of 16 in the BOTR bracket and went on to place fifth, after a quarterfinal loss and bye in the fifth-place semis, with a second win over Godby (30-24). Wakulla took just one out-of-state loss against Veterans (72-10). Jackson Merrick led the way for the Wakulla second group, going 7-1 with two pins, one tech, one major and one decision. Juan Jimenez (106, 2 pins) and Jayven Hearns (285, 3 pins) each were 6-2 for the War Eagles, while Tyler Edenfield (152/160, 4 pins), Ethan Kaufmann (170/182/195, 2 pins) and Jayvon Brown (182/195/220, 2 pins) all were 5-3.

Godby: The Cougars finished sixth in the BOTR division. While all Cougar dual results are and, as received, will continue to be posted on Matmen, we regrettably will not be able to more fully recap the Godby weekend until three of five dual results from the Cougars’ performance at Citrus’ one-day Storm Surge dual tournament are received.

Marianna: The 1A Bulldogs were 3-5 in the tournament, winning one dual in pool play (Bay, 42-30) and taking wins in their final two BOTR duals to place ninth in that bracket, with victories over North Bay Haven (42-24) and Veterans B (42-30). Marianna fell to out-of-state opponents Tallassee (51-30), Hiram (51-30), Spanish Fort (62-12) and Arab (67-9), with a 42-41 loss in the BOTR round of 16 to Daviess County. Despite the team losses, Marianna did have one unbeaten wrestler in Corey Davis (6-0, 3 pins, tech, 2 decisions). Christian Cosson (160, 4 pins) and Jonah Mercer (195/220, 2 pins & decision) each were 6-2, while John Maddox (170, 3 pins) was 5-2 and Hunter Monday (132, 3 pins) was 4-2.

Bozeman: Although the Bucks were 0-5 on Friday, they did scratch out a 25-24 criteria victory in the BOTR consi quarters over Bay, and that was enough to propel Bozeman into the 11th place match, where they received a bye. The Bucks fell to Veterans B (54-24) in their only competition against out-of-state teams. Brian Zerr (126) was Bozeman’s top performer over the weekend, going 5-2 with three pins. Chase Wyzard (160), Jay May (195/220) and David Hagans all pulled together four wins.

Bay: The Tornadoes did not find a dual victory until their final contest of the weekend on Saturday, as they defeated North Bay Haven, 30-18, in the BOTR 13th place match. Bay also took out-of-state losses against Hiram (66-6), Tallassee (60-12), Arab (84-0) and Spanish Fort (66-6). Kyle Roper (145) was the strongest competitor for the Tornadoes, pulling together a 6-2 weekend with three pins. Jeremiah O’Neal (132/138, three pins) and Cameron Butler (182, 4 pins) each added four victories for Bay.

North Bay Haven: There’s always potential for a team not to find a single dual win even at a tournament of this size, and with just four wrestlers in the lineup, the Buccaneers were the likeliest to be that team, although they were in the hunt against both Milton in pool play and Bay in the 13th place BOTR match. North Bay Haven had out-of-state losses to Auburn (84-0), Brusly (72-12) and Smiths Station (76-0). Isaac Biddle (106/113) was 5-3 over the course of the tournament, while Lucas Biddle (106/113, 2 pins) and Ethan Cole (182, 4 pins) each had four victories.

Complete scorelists for this tournament, and full dual results, can be found here.

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I covered wrestling for 15 years up north and "retired" in both 1992 and again in 2011. But I couldn't stay away. Started Northeast Florida Matmen in 2013, Northwest Florida Matmen in 2015. We combined those sites into North Florida Matmen in the summer of 2018. And, we've started South Georgia Matmen in November of 2018. Our work is never paywalled, our content is searchable for all time. We're here because the kids keep lacing 'em up, so we'll keep writing 'em up.

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