Wrestling qualifies for state duals

Senior David Mejia is lifting his opponent in the air because he is trying to return him to the mat. Mejia won this match by pin.

photo by Karson Cuozzo

Senior David Mejia is lifting his opponent in the air because he is trying to return him to the mat. Mejia won this match by pin.

The varsity wrestling team came out on top against Timber Creek in regional duals on Jan. 13. The team faced Timber Creek last year in the regional finals match and lost to them, so this year it was their goal to beat them at districts and regionals. 

The boys eased through district duals, with their first two duals being wins against Lake Brantley and University, leaving them to wrestle Timber Creek in the finals. Timber Creek proved to be the team’s toughest competition during the previous season, beating the team at regional duals and knocking them out of the tournament.

“We knew that they were going to be the hardest team there to go against, but I think we fought pretty hard against them,” senior Ethan Gomez said. 

The dual went back and forth throughout, with Timber Creek taking early wins in the 126 and 138 weight classes. Hagerty eventually won the heavyweight matches, as Gomez secured his win at the 170 weight class, passing Timber Creek and securing the lead. The final score of the dual was 39-27. 

Junior Kamdon Harrison broke the school pin record with 86 pins against Timber Creek. The parents and team were ecstatic; his teammates rushed to his side and cheered with him. Adding onto Harrison’s success, the varsity wrestling team placed first at district duals. 

“It was a very impressive personal achievement for me and I hope to make it even larger in the future,” Harrison said. 

The team won districts – head coach Scotty Diaz’s third consecutive district dual win – and their next stop was regional duals, which took place at Hagerty on Jan. 13. 

“I felt confident that we were going to be successful and place first. The team was ready,” Gomez said. 

The team wrestled Windermere in the first round, which was no surprise to them since they have seen the school in the first round the past three years. After that they got a 72-3 dual win against Windermere, with almost every wrestler pinning their opponent. Their next match was against Timber Creek for the regional dual champion title. 

“I felt that we did really well against Windermere. We dominated them and we only lost one match,” sophomore Hunter Tate said. 

The dual against Timber Creek started off strong, with the team holding a 10-point lead.  However, they later fell behind,  losing big matches in the 138, 180, 285 and 115 weight classes that nearly cost them the dual. However, having seen them a week prior to regionals, the team knew what to expect and planned their match-ups. 

At the end of the dual, they came out on top when freshman Gavin Nelson won his match. 

“I think that we could have done better. We could have gone to our back less and we could have gotten more pins, but other than that, I think we did pretty good,” Gomez said. 

There were a lot of emotions on the mat against Timber Creek, as the team was determined to win the regional title. The final score of the dual was 46-30, advancing the team to their second state dual tournament on Friday, Jan. 21. 

“I am excited for the opportunity. We missed out last year,” Diaz said. “We have never made the state semifinals, and Friday we get another chance to compete and advance to day two of the state duals for the first time in program history.” 

The state dual tournament will be hosted by Osceola High school on Jan. 21-22 and  is a single elimination tournament. Teams from all over the state who won in their region will now compete for the FHSAA state dual title. The team will wrestle Flagler Palm Coast in the first round Friday night. This will be another redemption match, as Flagler beat the team 42-36 at the Johnny Rouse Invitational back in December.