Making their first appearance at the state duals tournament, the Bulldogs won their first match to advance to the Class 3A final four.
A day after reaching the state duals semifinals for the first time, Flagler Palm Coast coach Zach Sanford and his wrestlers were ready to focus on the individual portion of the season.
"We're a better IBT team," said Sanford, referring to the Individual Bracket Tournaments.
But the Bulldogs proved they are a pretty good duals team as well. They advanced to the state duals championships at Kissimmee Osceola High School for the first time, defeating Oviedo Hagerty 36-30 on Jan. 21 in the Region 1-3A final before falling to Wellington 43-25 in the Class 3A semifinals on Jan. 22.
Three FPC wrestlers won both of their matches in the tournament. Heavyweight Seth Davis and 170-pounder Blane DeFord each pinned both of their opponents. Kole Hannant pinned his opponent in the Wellington match and won by major decision against Hagerty at 120 pounds.
Hannant improved his record to 24-5 on the season, while DeFord improved to 18-4, and Davis improved to 17-6.
"Kole continued his reign of terror," Sanford said.
Bryce Dodge (160) and Marcelo Gonzalez (182) also won their matches against Wellington. The other FPC winners in the Hagerty match were: Timothy McLean (106, by forfeit), John Hald (126), Felipe Costa (145) and Dalton Schell (220).
One unsung hero in the Hagerty victory was 113-pounder Carson Baert, a first-year wrestler, who lost by decision, 9-3, to highly-ranked Lochlann Higgins. Sanford called it a "positive loss," because he kept it to a decision, preventing Higgins from winning his expected bonus points.
Some of the storylines for the Bulldogs during the IBT portion of the season are DeFord, who will try to win a state title after placing fourth during the past two seasons; Dodge trying to improve on his fifth-place state finish a year ago; and Hannant gunning for a state title.
Hannant, Hald, Tim King, DeFord, Dodge and Gonzalez all qualified for state last year.
The Bulldogs host the Flagler Rotary Tournament on Friday, Jan. 28 and Saturday Jan. 29. They begin the postseason on Feb. 5 with the Five Star Conference tourney.