NEW PORT RICHEY — Clay, the runnerup team at the Class A state meet last season, was dominant in emerging from a 23-team field with the 10th annual Gulf Holiday Duals championship, winning its finals dual 62-6 over Dunedin on Saturday.
"Clay stood out amongst all the teams," Gulf coach Travis DeWalt said. "They always have a high-caliber team with a quality product. I'm very pleased they traveled this far to compete."
Dunedin, which came out of Pool A with Clay during Friday's pool competition, fell to the Blue Devils for the second time in the tournament after the Falcons posted a 51-27 victory over Pool B champ Countryside in the semifinals.
Clay knocked off Pool D champ Nature Coast 60-18 in the semifinals but the Sharks won their consolation final over Countryside 39-30 to finish third.
"That was just a really tough team," Nature Coast coach Mike Lastra said. "I was really happy with the level of competition we saw this weekend. It was our best finish at this tournament."
State placer Sean Nguyen (112 pounds) went undefeated in Nature Coast's eight matches during the two-day event, pushing his season record to 20-1. Nguyen is expected to be back competing at 106 pounds for the Springstead Invitational on Jan. 4. Brandon Vovan (160) suffered his first loss of the season due to blood time allowance and moved to 18-1 overall by going 7-1 over the weekend.
Defending event champion Fivay did not get out of the quarterfinals after losing to Clay 54-22. The Falcons advanced out of Pool B with solid efforts from Andrew Scherer (145) and Kelly Meus (285). Both went 8-0.
"We've had a problem with consistency, and this was a good wakeup call for us right before Christmas break," Fivay coach Andy Medders said. "Everyone needs that wakeup call to find out they're not untouchable."
Colin Hahn (182), who came into the weekend with a 24-0 record, suffered his first loss when Gulf's Dylan McAllister pinned him in the first period.
Gulf also fell in the quarterfinal round, to Dunedin 40-36. Jared Kruse (195) and Spencer Baxter (160) both went undefeated for the Buccaneers. Anthony Agazarm (120) also had a solid tournament, going 7-1, but he fell to Dunedin's Clarence Arrington in the tight quarterfinal.
"We have a lot of work to do," DeWalt said. "We have to move some kids around and make some adjustments. We will be a much better team in the second half (of the season)."