PALM COAST — Following an undefeated regular season, Flagler Palm Coast wrestling coach Tom Bartolotta seemed confident he could send at least 10 wrestlers to the state meet.
Then postseason injuries happened.
FPC finished third at the Region 1-3A meet, with five wrestlers advancing to the state meet, which will be Feb. 14-15, at the Lakeland Center, in Lakeland.
Headlining the state qualifiers is Alfred Shavers, who took first place in the region in the 120-pound class.
Jake Kosachiner (113 pounds), Kaz Maia (132) and Jonathan Muniz (195) all finished second in the region. Justin Boyle took fourth at 160 pounds.
The Bulldogs had three wrestlers miss qualifying for states by a match. The good news, Bartolotta said, is that there is only one senior in the starting lineup, and although he still has five wrestlers contending for a state title, next year should be successful, too.
“We should have a lot more go to states,” Bartolotta said. “But next year, we bring them all back, and we should be tough.”
Zac Branning, the 106-pounder, missed qualifying by a match. Jake Trivett (152 pounds) competed in the toughest weight class and was ousted by the regional champ in the final second of the match, and then to the third-place wrestler. Trivett also missed qualfying by a match. Evyn Insalaco, a sophomore wrestling at 126 pounds, missed qualfying by a match, too.
Korey Bryl, wrestling at 145 pounds, battled through a neck injury and missed qualifying for states.
“(Jake) was good enough to place and contend for a state title, but he is sitting at home,” Bartolotta said.
Through all the negatives, Muniz qualifying for states was a positive for FPC. Muniz suffered a small tear in one of the ligaments in his knee before districts last season and didn’t wrestle in the postseason. But he’s back, and he says he’s stronger than ever.
This was the first time Muniz, a junior, wrestled in regionals.
“The regional tournament was a tough one,” Muniz said. “All I was thinking about was the match I had next so I could stay concentrated.”
Muniz said he will continue to wrestle smart and focus on the match at hand at the state tournament.
Dennis, Castanheira advance for Matanzas
Clayton Dennis (170 pounds) and Jordin Castanheira (182) both qualified for the Class 2A state meet.
Dennis finished second, losing in a double overtime finals match. Castanheira finished fourth.
Matanzas, much like Flagler Palm Coast, had many wrestlers fall just short of qualifying. Rocky Samples, Carter Goodman, Chad Samples and Troy Magnuson all lost in the consolation semifinals — one match away from qualifying.
Rocky Samples and Goodman both lost by one point.
But Matanzas will return almost its entire starting lineup except for Dennis.
The Class 2A state meet will be Feb. 14-15, at the Lakeland Center, in Lakeland.