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Eagles and Leopards Dominate the Mat on Day 1 of State Wrestling Tournament

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It was an eventful first day for Hernando County teams at the FHSAA State Wrestling Tournament in Kissimmee, Florida. Springstead, Nature Coast, and Weeki Wachee each brought three competitors to Silver Spurs Arena in the hopes of bringing home a title. Hernando brought a whopping 14 athletes (9 girls, 5 boys) as well, and the Sun will be chronicling the Hernando girls’ exploits in a separate issue. So, how did the squads fare on day one?

Nature Coast 132 pound Dominic Buckwalter dropped his first round match to Derrique Mytial from Gateway, (Fort Myers) 17-1 in the first round of the FHSAA State Championships in Kissimmee . [Photo by Joe DiCristofalo]
Nature Coast 132 pound Dominic Buckwalter dropped his first round match to Derrique Mytial from Gateway, (Fort Myers) 17-1 in the first round of the FHSAA State Championships in Kissimmee . [Photo by Joe DiCristofalo]
The Sharks had the roughest outing as all three of their wrestlers lost in their first-round bouts with only one emerging victorious in his second matchup of the day. Benjamin Goyaneche lost by fall to Jensen Beach’s Sebastian Degennaro a mere 28 seconds into his class 1A 126 bout before losing his second to Keaton Ellis (Liberty County). Kaden Ethridge would also fall early in his class 1A 150 showdown with Kealan Clifton (Oasis) and lose again by a 15-0 technical fall to Bradyn Peters (Jensen Beach) in the consolation round. Dominic Buckwalter lost 17-1 by technical fall four minutes into his class 1A 132 match with Derrique Mytial (Gateway (Fort Myers)) as well, but would return to dominate Sterling Hollingsworth (Florida) in his second match on Thursday. Buckwalter won by fall 32 seconds into consolation round one to become Nature Coast’s sole player to advance.

Coach Mike LaRocca’s Eagles would score a 100 percent success rate on Thursday as all three of his wrestlers advanced to round two of the champions’ bracket. Gianella Walczak was first up in the girls’ 105 weight class. She downed Jazlynn Golder (Matanzas) 14-5 by major decision in the first round before Jasmine Serrano won by fall four minutes into her bout against Delenis Rogert (Palmetto Ridge). Vincenzo Lee won by fall over Zak Vosburgh (Fort Walton Beach High School) 4:45 into the contest to advance as well.

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Springstead High 105 pound Gianella Walczak won against Jaclyn Golden from Matanzas High 14-5 in the first round of the FHSAA State Championships in Kissimmee. [Photo by Joe DiCristofalo]
Springstead High 105 pound Gianella Walczak won against Jaclyn Golden from Matanzas High 14-5 in the first round of the FHSAA State Championships in Kissimmee. [Photo by Joe DiCristofalo]
Springstead High 125 pound Jasmine Serrano won by fall over Delenis Rogert at 4:00 in her first round match in the FHSAA State Championships in Kissimmee [Photo by Joe DiCristofalo]
Springstead High 125 pound Jasmine Serrano won by fall over Delenis Rogert at 4:00 in her first round match in the FHSAA State Championships in Kissimmee [Photo by Joe DiCristofalo]
“I am very proud of them all!” Coach LaRocca said. “After the initial nerves wore off, they all focused and dominated their opponents and that is what we will need going on. Focus and trust in their skills! They all have the ability to be great! They just need to let it fly!”

Weeki Wachee 144 pound Ricky Bowermeister beat Dostmukhammad Bakhtiyorov 14-1 in the first round of the FHSAA State Championships in Kissimmee . [Photo by Joe DiCristofalo]
Weeki Wachee 144 pound Ricky Bowermaster beat Dostmukhammad Bakhtiyorov 14-1 in the first round of the FHSAA State Championships in Kissimmee . [Photo by Joe DiCristofalo]
Weeki Wachee 106 pound , Nick Guy tangled with Kevin McLean from St. Johns Country Day in the first round of the FHSAA State Championships in Kissimmee, Guy lost 9-3. [Photo by Joe DiCristofalo]
Weeki Wachee 106 pound , Nick Guy tangled with Kevin McLean from St. Johns Country Day in the first round of the FHSAA State Championships in Kissimmee, Guy lost 9-3. [Photo by Joe DiCristofalo]
Weeki Wachee 170 pound competitor Jordan Sandro lost to Bennett Sweitzer of Bishop Verot by fall at 1:43 in the first round of the FHSAA State Championships in Kissimmee. [Photo by Joe DiCristofalo]
Weeki Wachee 170 pound competitor Jordan Sandro lost to Bennett Sweitzer of Bishop Verot by fall at 1:43 in the first round of the FHSAA State Championships in Kissimmee. [Photo by Joe DiCristofalo]
Weeki Wachee fared somewhere in between as Ricky Bowermaster won by major decision (14-1) over Dostmukhammad Bakhtiyorov (Key West) to advance to day two. Jordan Jandro’s day would prove to be tough, though. The Hornets’ wrestler was pinned by Bennett Sweitzer with 17 seconds remaining in round one before losing by a 5-0 decision to Christopher Aud (Yulee) later that evening. Nick Guy would lose in the first round of his class 1A 106 matchup but return in the consolation round to defeat Trey Viens (Jensen Beach) by major decision (10-0).

In class 1A 126, Hernando’s Kyle Pearson lost his first match to Ethan Tran (Mater Lakes Academy) by technical fall 2:55 into the bout. He came back in the consolation round to defeat Troy Thaxton (Wakulla) by a tight 5-3 decision. Cael Phillips also had a rough outing as he lost to Jonathan Moder (First Baptist (Naples)) 11-3 as well as his second match to Anthony O’Dell to be eliminated from the tournament. Shaw Garrett (157 pounds) won his first round by fall over Austin Ryales (Wakulla) to advance. Morgan Johnston emerged victorious over John Kelly from Boca Ciega by a 10-4 decision as well. Kian Blyss also won by fall (5:46) over Collin Bishop (Florida).

Hernando High 175 pound Morgan Johnston won over John Kelly from Boca Ciera 10-4 in the first round of the FHSAA State Championships in Kissimmee. [Photo by Joe DiCristofalo]
Hernando High 175 pound Morgan Johnston won over John Kelly from Boca Ciera 10-4 in the first round of the FHSAA State Championships in Kissimmee. [Photo by Joe DiCristofalo]
“Our girls won eight of our nine matches on the championship side,” Hernando Head Coach David Pritz said. “On the boys’ side, we won three out of five. We have set up ourselves really well going into day two. Proud of our overall effort on day one.”

Somerset High School is currently sitting first among boys’ teams with a score of 34.5 while Hernando is the highest placing of the county’s schools at eleventh place (11 points). The four county schools will be gearing up for day two of the state tournament on Friday.

Austyn Szempruch
Austyn Szempruch
Austyn Szempruch is a Graduate with Distinction, University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications. He's written numerous articles reporting on Florida Gators football, basketball, and soccer teams; the sports of rugby, basketball, professional baseball, hockey, and the NFL Draft. Prior to Hernando Sun he was a contributor to ESPN, Gainesville, FL and Gator Country Multimedia, Inc. in Gainesville, FL, and Stadium Gale.
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