Tristan Sommer knew he made history in Saturday’s FHSAA Wrestling Finals in Lakeland, but he wasn’t celebrating for the reason one might think.
The Lincoln High junior became only the second individual state champion from Tallahassee when he posted a 10-5 decision over Kenny Boyd of Fort Lauderdale Stranahan in a Class 2A title match at 152 pounds at the Lakeland Center.
Sommer joins Godby High’s B.J. Fletcher (1999) as the city’s only two state winners.
But Sommer, polite and modest, was more excited that he helped veteran Lincoln coach Mike Crowder record his first individual state winner in 18 seasons. The Trojans finished seventh in the team standings.
“That doesn’t make me feel as good as giving coach Crowder his first state (individual) title at Lincoln,” Sommer said of becoming Leon County’s second state champ.
“Still, it feels pretty unbelievable right now.”
After posting a 2-1 decision in his quarterfinal match on Friday, Sommer dominated his next two matches en route to the crown. He outscored Alex Destra of Lake Gibson and Boyd 21-6.
Overall, Sommer outscored his four opponents 39-9. Crowder said Sommer’s performance was special.
“Honestly, I couldn’t be more pleased because he wrestled so great,” Crowder said.
“After that quarterfinal match, he just exploded after that round. He just steps up any challenge, at all times. He wants to wrestle kids who are bigger and push him, and you can’t put a price on that.”
In the championship match against Boyd, Sommer actually trailed 2-0 before he settled down.
“My nerves were racing, going through all the scenarios in my head of what could go wrong or what could happen,” Sommer said. “But that went away after the first period, so I actually started to be able to wrestle like myself.”
Sommer built a commanding lead by the third and final period, and he focused on not making a mistake. He finished the season with a record of 46-3.
Sommer’s effort capped a strong showing from Big Bend wrestlers with nine medalists (one through sixth place).
In Class A, Wakulla High captured a pair of second-place finishes from Zach Malik (113 pounds) and Chris Griffin (285), who has signed to play football at Georgia Tech.
Fifth-place finishers included Wakulla’s Kevon White (132) and Godby’s MaShawn Knight (285). Florida High’s Corey Hicks (170) placed sixth, along with Marianna’s Devin Combs (152). Godby coach Chuck Kilbourn has had a wrestler medal for seven consecutive seasons.
In 2A, medalists included Leon’s T.J. Alexander (fourth at 145 pounds) and Lincoln’s Terry Rosier (fourth at 182 pounds). Chiles High’s Kevin Hilton (160 pounds) places fifth in 3A.