LYNN HAVEN — The last major push toward district wrestling tournaments takes place at Mosley.
The Jim Redfern Gymnasium is the site for the annual Panhandle Championship, the two-day event featuring 15 teams, including each of Bay County’s six schools. Matches begin at 2 p.m. Friday and will continue until around 8 p.m. with Saturday’s all-day schedule also staging a junior varsity tournament.
This is the next-to-last weekend before district tournaments, which are the first steps to achieving a state berth. The county teams will stage their championship next week in the final tune-up.
“It’s a great way to end the season,” Mosley coach Matt Duke said. “It can be a real confidence builder as far as districts go.”
Mosley looks to improve on its 13th place finish in last year’s Panhandle Championship. The Dolphins are again led by Forrest Lang, who returns to defend his 152-pound title. Malik Pender also has been a bright spot in an initial season at heavyweight for the Dolphins, who field a roster of all but one weight class in a stark contrast from recent years.
Mosley competes in Class 2A, while Arnold, Bay, Bozeman and Rutherford are in 1A. North Bay Haven is independent this season. Each county school will face teams Friday and Saturday in its respective district draws.
Arnold leads the remaining county schools with standouts Richie McClanahan (120), Brock Carlan (126) and Paul Patterson (132) anchoring the lighter weights. All three are in state rankings on scout.com, as is Bozeman’s Jonathan Kenney, who recently won a tournament in Live Oak at 138 pounds.
Marianna paces area teams with six wrestlers ranked in the Top 15. The list includes Jameson Maddox (132), Chris Warf (138), Devin Combs (152), Trevon Johnson (170), Marquette Roulhac (182) and Greg Screen (220).
Among the other teams competing are Choctawhatchee, Crestview, Marianna, Wewahitchka, Pace and Gulf Breeze, the latter two finishing Nos. 2 and 3 in this event in 2013. Admission is $5 per person each day and children age 5 and younger are free.