FORT WALTON BEACH — Make a statement then, Fort Walton Beach.
Competing Saturday in the District 1-2A wrestling championships at Choctaw High School, the Vikings placed second in the tournament with 183 points behind only Pace and its 215.5 points. Meanwhile, Niceville placed fourth with 114 points, Crestview placed sixth with 56 points and Choctaw placed seventh with 52 points.
With the top four finishers in each weight class advancing to the Region 1-2A tournament, a total of 26 area athletes will represent the Daily News coverage area when regionals begin Friday at Chiles High School in Tallahassee, including four district champions.
Viking junior Reid Gannon took second place at 106 pounds after a long bout with Gulf Breeze’s Nate Weber.
Niceville freshman Ethan Pinto took first at 113 pounds with a 2-1 decision against Choctaw senior David Tambula, who placed second.
At 120 pounds, Fort Walton Beach junior Brandon Mallin placed second after losing a 7-2 decision to Pace’s Derrick Lancero, while Niceville junior Noah Tritz placed third with a 7-4 decision against Tate’s Daniel McGaha.
Viking junior Weston Burbidge placed fourth at 126 pounds after falling to Tate’s Marcus Virgin in 4:33.
At 132 pounds, Niceville senior Jayden Pinto placed second against Gulf Breeze’s Ian Daily, falling 2:56, and Viking freshman Darius Brundidge placed fourth against Pace’s Atticus Waters, falling in 0:53.
Fort Walton Beach junior Martin Muniz won his third-place match at 138 pounds against Milton’s Brandon Nicholson, forcing a fall in 1:24.
Niceville senior Keane Creager gave the Eagles a second district champion with his first-place at 145 pounds, topping Viking freshman Malachi Santiago, who finished second, with a 7-0 decision.
Viking senior Jean Maldonado gave Fort Walton Beach its first district champ with a clutch 7-6 decision against Pace’s Joseph Cortez at 152 pounds.
At 160 pounds, Viking junior Caleb Tourgee took second, falling in 6:36 to Milton’s Daniel McDonal, and Niceville sophomore Martin Black placed fourth, losing a 10-4 decision to Pace’s Brody Andrews.
At 170 pounds, Choctaw sophomore Samuel Santos gave the Indians their second regional qualifier with a victory against Niceville senior Jared Dieters, forcing a fall in 3:48.
Viking senior Patrick Adams picked up a district championship at 182 pounds with a 9-7 sudden victory against Crestview senior Julio Fernandez, and Choctaw junior Gamaliel Harris took fourth after falling to Tate’s Jacob Turner in 0:41.
At 195 pounds, Niceville senior Sean Ripley took second place after falling to Pace’s Gabe Jacobs in 1:21, while Fort Walton Beach senior Eddie Alexis took third place, beating Gulf Breeze’s Julian McCully with a fall in 0:58.
At 220 pounds, Viking junior Kaleb Williams took second after falling to Pace’s Wyatt Dillon in 5:09, and Crestview senior Kennard Madden beat Niceville senior Ramsey Kidder for third place with a 3-0 decision.
And at 285 pounds, Crestview senior Rolando Hernandez topped Viking sophomore Spencer Mackenzie for third place with a fall in 1:59.