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Second annual South Walton Border Wars to feature three Louisiana teams (Tournament Flyer)
December 1st, 2014 | Written by: Editor | Contributor: Chris Pickren

The second annual South Walton High School (click for map) "Border Wars" tournament kicks off on Friday December 5th.  Twenty-four teams are scheduled to participate in the two day tournament, including Jesuit, Rummel and St. Paul's from Louisiana.  Alabama powerhouse Vestavia Hills, Georgia's vaunted Cambridge High School, one other team from Georgia and 19 schools from the Florida Panhandle region are also scheduled to compete.

East Ascension and St. Paul's participated in the inaugural event last year, but it was the Louisiana Division III state champion Brusly Panthers who ran away with the team title by scoring 168.5 points, 61.5 points ahead of the runner-up, Florida's Clay High School (107 points).  Brusly had champions in Kendon Kayser (also voted the Outstanding Wrestler in the lower weight classes), Noah Landry and Dillon Prejean.  The Panthers had four runners-up in Baret Sanchez, Wyatt Lejeune, Trevor Schermer and Jo'vonte Wheeler.  St. Paul's finished 1.5 points behind Clay, taking third place behind a championship by Tanner Leblanc.  East Ascension also had a champion in Conor Karwath.

Jesuit and Vestavia Hills may be the favorites, as the 2014 Louisiana Division I runners-up and the Alabama Class 6A runners-up each return seven state placers (1st-6th), each having one state champion.  Other top contenders should be Cambridge, the Georgia Class 5A state champions, which returns five state placers including three state champions, and Lake Highland Prep which returns two state champions and a runner-up in Florida 1A.

Florida state champions in attendance are Lake Highland Prep (Class 1A¹) Joey Silva and Jake Brindley, while Springstead (Class 2A¹) has Michael McDonald.

The home team will feature the Pickren brothers.  William Pickren placed second in the 2A¹ state championships in 2014 as a freshman and won this event (as well as the Trygg Memorial) last year. Cody Pickren was a Florida regional champion and also won the Trygg last year, handing Brother Martin's Danny Evans his first defeat until February.  Cody also went undefeated at this summer's Jazz Town Duals, hosted by Jesuit.  Daniel Soto, a finalist in last year's Border Wars, is also expected to fare well for the Seahawks.

Jesuit will feature Division I state champion Ben D'Antonio and runner-up Guy Patron, Jr., as well as Brody Martin (5th), Jacob Rovira (6th), Will Lafranca (3rd), Griffin Mason (5th) and Dominic Carmello (3rd), who placed for the Blue Jays in the 2014 state championships.  Rummel has Division I fourth-placer Robert Fairchild.  St. Paul's may have a stronger team than last year even without Mr. Leblanc, as five returning wrestlers were one win away from placing at the 2014 state championships.

Patron, Jr., Carmello and Fairchild are undefeated so far this season, and combined have won seven Louisiana tournaments in November.

2014 State Champions Expected to Compete at the 2015 South Walton Border Wars

Joey Silva
Lake Highland
106 lbs.
Jake Brindley
Lake Highland
113 lbs. 
Ben D'Antonio
120 lbs. 
Michael McDonald
120 lbs. 
J.R. Salemi & Brandon Filosi
120 lbs. & 126 lbs. 
Devin Kane
145 lbs. 
Morgan Paugh
Vestavia Hills
152 lbs. 

2014 Louisiana State Placers Expected to Compete at the 2015 South Walton Border Wars

 Jacob Bernard
East Ascension
3rd @ 120 lbs.
Brody Martin
5th @ 106 lbs.
Jacob Rovira
6th @ 132 lbs.
Will Lafranca
3rd @ 138 lbs.
Griffin Mason
5th @ 145 lbs.
Guy Patron, Jr.
2nd @ 182 lbs.
Dominic Carmello
3rd @ 285 lbs.
Robert Fairchild
4th @106 lbs.

A list of the teams, and when applicable their returning wrestlers who placed first through sixth in their respective state championships, is presented below:

Jesuit - LA DI
Ben D'Antonio - 1st
Guy Patron, Jr. - 2nd
Will Lafranca - 3rd
Dominic Carmello - 3rd
Brody Martin - 5th
Griffin Mason - 5th
Jacob Rovira - 6th
Vestavia Hills - AL 6A
Morgan Paugh - 1st
Jack Stoves - 3rd
Quin Estes - 4th
Hayden Hill - 4th
Spencer Haddock - 5th
Jeremy Strong - 6th
Max Hopkins - 6th
Cambridge - GA 5A
J.R. Salemi - 1st
Brandon Filosi - 1st
Devin Kane - 1st
Will Britain - 2nd
Luke Williams - 4th
Lake Highland Prep - FL 1A
Joey Silva - 1st
Jake Brindley - 1st
Elijah Cleary - 2nd
Bryce Rogers - 4th
Anthony Petrone - 5th
Springstead - FL 2A
Michael McDonald - 1st
Williams Swift - 2nd
Andrew Smith - 3rd
Union Grove - GA 5A
Noah Craft - 4th
Anthony Spencer - 2nd
Tyler Patterson - 6th
South Walton - FL 1A
William Pickren - 2nd
Arnold - FL 1A
Richard McLanahan - 2nd
Rummel - LA DI
Robert Fairchild - 4th
Columbia - FL 2A
Kaleb Warner - 5th
Suwanee - FL 1A
Sasha Key - 5th
St. Paul's - LA DI
5 tied for 7th-8th
Chiles - FL 2A
Choctawhatchee - FL 2A
Ft. Walton - FL 2A
Gulf Breeze - FL 2A
Lincoln - FL 2A
Niceville - FL 2A
Pace - FL 2A
Florida High School - FL 1A
Marianna - FL 1A
The Villages - FL 1A
Wakulla - FL 1A
Wewahitchka - FL 1A

¹    Florida's classification numbers are the opposite of Louisiana's in that the 1A schools are the smaller ones whereas 3A schools have the largest enrolments.

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