CRAWFORDVILLE — Heading into last weekend’s Regional 1-1A meet, Suwannee coach John Wainwright was expecting a good showing from his Bulldogs.
Wainwright said he could see around five SHS wrestlers qualifying for the state meet.
The Bulldogs did one better with six finishing in the top four to advance to this weekend’s Class 1A state meet at the Silver Spurs Arena in Kissimmee. Suwannee finished fourth in the region as a team.
“They’re coming around,” Wainwright said. “It’s been a long year with all the tournaments we’ve went to, but it’s paid off for them.
“I’m proud of all of them.”
Sophomore Tyson Musgrove won the regional title at 138 pounds to lead Suwannee’s showing. Also qualifying for state for the Bulldos are Brody Boehm at 106 pounds, Xander Kirkland at 120, Timothy Jolicoeur at 126, Jaxon Sansouci at 132 and Blaine Howard at 182.
Musgrove improved throughout the tournament. After a first-round bye, Musgrove won by decision and then a major decision before pinning Bishop Kenny’s Roberto Cuartero in the final. Musgrove is now 39-18 on the year.
That followed a district title for Musgrove on Feb. 22.
It has Wainwright excited about what is still to come.
“Tyson really, he got to that moment where, as a coach, me and Coach (David) Laxton was sitting on the other side helping coach, and we were looking at him and there comes that moment where you’re watching them and you’re like, ‘OK, is he going to pull through right now because it’s tough out there,’” Wainwright said. “You watch them and they just make something work. That’s usually when it starts clicking and they start getting better every match. They finally figure out that ‘If I just push a little bit harder here, that’s where it is.’
“I’m hoping he’s getting there.”
At 106 pounds, Boehm won a 3-1 decision against Wakulla’s Julian Harvey to clinch his state ticket. Boehm then dropped a 4-2 decision to Union County’s Jayce Paridon for third. Boehm, who is 33-27 on the year, won three matches in the regional meet.
Kirkland, a junior, is the Bulldog that Wainwright wasn’t sure was going to be headed to state. Battling a rib injury, Wainwright said he didn’t know if Kirkland would be able to even wrestle at the regional meet. He then won four matches, including three by pin before forfeiting the third-place match due to the injury.
Finishing third were Jolicoeur, Howard and Sansouci. Jolicoeur, who is 56-9 on the year, opened the regional with a pin and then won three other matches by decision after falling to Ridgeview’s undefeated Matthew Rodriguez by a 16-3 major decision.
“Jolicoeur is just in a weight class this year that’s just slam packed with really good kids,” Wainwright said.
Howard, who also won a district title, won his first two matches at the regional by pins before losing to Bolles’ Ethan Asbury. Howard then beat Clay’s Jordan Bell for third.
“He just had a tough match with the Bolles kid that just didn’t work out for him,” Wainwright said. “I’m hoping Blaine learned his lesson with the Bolles kid. He’s got to understand that you can’t focus on one kid. I think that’s what happened to him and it just worried him to death.
“So I think we learned a lot from it and Blaine will go from here on out and go out on every kid like he knows he can.”
At 132 pounds, Sansouci won two matches by decision and two more by major decision to place third.
Also wrestling for Suwannee at the regional meet were Austin Howard, Caleb Parsons, Foster Swain, Cayden Williams and Dustin Wood.