Final Thoughts On The Regular Season And More

Well, everyone’s still alive to wrestle, since Columbia got the ball rolling Thursday night and didn’t lose anybody.

In 24 hours, a lot of you won’t be going to one of four region meets — except in street clothes.

Win or lose Saturday, I want to tell you how much I have appreciated your efforts this year. I really thought I had stopped this for good when I moved down to Florida. I was, quite happily, wrong.

I want you to understand that wrestling is not just something you do. It is something you ARE. When you make that leap, if you have not been successful in this sport, you will be ready to start enjoying some success.

Look at the wrestlers in your weight class, the ones on your team, the ones on your rival school’s team. The ones who are highly successful have made this leap.

I forgot that about myself for two years. I thought that wrestling was just something I’d written about. I was wrong. Wrestling is something that I am.

And in finding that out once again, I came across several heroes this year. In no particular order:

I think about somebody like Cody Eastwood of Middleburg. He could have quit after starting the year 1-8 with just a forfeit win to his credit. He didn’t. His first match at Clay to start the new year? Win by fall.

Or there’s Columbia’s Christian Thompson. I had his overall record at 1-19 going into districts Thursday night. His one win was by default, not sure why or how, it was at Border Wars. Otherwise, my records for him have a lot of “p. BY” next to an opponent’s name, meaning Thompson was pinned.

He could have quit. He didn’t. He is now a district runnerup. How awesome is that? I think that’s incredible.

I think about the Lee wrestling team going to Clay Rotary. The Generals had very few wrestlers. They ALL went 0-2 and were done competing by the time I got there Friday night. But they showed up, weighed in, and stepped on the mat. A few teams just didn’t show up for things this year. Follow Lee’s example instead. Show up. Take your lumps. Learn how to get better.

Talk about lumps. Providence sent only two wrestlers to compete in the Ippolito IBT tournament at Brandon. Surely, the Stallions could have found an event closer to home. But those two wrestlers — Ty Merry and Max Cobb — got to rub shoulders with some of the best in Florida.

Adversity. Anthony Petrelli went up THREE weights — after winning a St Johns River Conference title at 132 — to face Clay’s Imier Almanzar in The Uncivil War at 152. And how about Jon Whiting needing a pin and getting it to win the 2014 version of the War for Clay?

It’s not even just the wrestlers that are heroes.

I think of little Kathryn Warner, whom I’ve not met. She could have spent her 8th birthday doing anything. She chose to drive four hours, round trip, to Tallahassee to watch her big brother Kaleb and his friends all qualify for region together, as a group, for their school and their town of Lake City.

I think of the stat girls for Fletcher. There’s too many to name, but without them there would have been several tournaments that were entirely too short on volunteers and a lot of stat sheets that would have been impossible to read, were it not for their effort.

I think about how happy I was to see my Youngest Boy helping work a tournament at Terry Parker, helping clean the gym and helping me make sure I had all the results from the Army Duals a month ago.

I think of the parents, the site readers. Fortunately, there aren’t many haters — yet — but I think about them, too. At least they’re reading.

I think about the coaches. Coaches like Tom Pankey at Buchholz and John White of Matanzas, who have gotten nothing out of helping me this year but did so anyway. I wish I remembered the coach from Ocala Forest’s name, I have it at my work email. He sent me brackets from his tournament. It was held THANKSGIVING WEEKEND. I got them the Monday after. Unreal.

I think about your coaches, who have gotten you ready for this day. Their faith in a Yankee they barely knew and energy in helping getting this enterprise started has been impossible for me to calculate. Without their willingness to believe, this site wouldn’t exist.

I think about what I saw a year ago at Mandarin, watching the 3A-District 1 meet. Without coach and (now) referee Larry Yudin being so gracious and helpful at the start. I only knew him because Third Oldest Boy was in his government class and had told me about him. At that time, I literally knew no one and nothing about what I was seeing (other than the familiar mats, hard-working kids, and excitement of a tournament), the idea to build the website wouldn’t exist.

And I think about you. I’m saddened, in a way, that many of you — about half, maybe a little more — won’t get to continue next week. For you seniors, it will be the final time.

The journey ends for some 24 hours from now. But, I think, this is true only if you see wrestling as something you do. If wrestling is something you are, the journey never ends. I’m living proof of that.

February is here. It wants to know what you did all summer. And it can be quite unforgiving. It is, to quote the classic movie Vision Quest, time to find out all the answers.

But what if you don’t know the questions?

You don’t have to. You’re here. You are a wrestler. Even if you lose, you’ve won already.


Tigers Move All 13 Wrestlers Out Of 2A-2

Northeast Florida Matmen staff report

TALLAHASSEE — #7 Columbia went into the lion’s den Thursday night and wrestled like, well, tigers.

Despite having no seniors in the lineup, the Tiger team qualified all 13 varsity starters for next week’s Class 2A-Region 1 tournament at Tallahassee Chiles, and finished second in the five-team District 2 field at Leon High School.

Columbia finished with 183.5 points, just 34.5 behind Tallahassee Lincoln (#8 statewide). Going into the finals, the Tigers were only 14 back.

“Last night was fun,” Columbia coach Kevin Warner said of his team’s showing. “Considering half of our lineup are underclassmen, I’m excited about what the future holds. We don’t have a single senior, and we have a great group coming to us next season from the middle schools. These kids impress me everyday.”

Columbia had three regional champions on the night. At 106, fourth-ranked Cole Horton had two pins to win his championship, pinning statewide #9 Traevon O’Neal of Gainesville in the final. Horton is ranked 11th statewide.

“Cole’s confidence is climbing, and he’s peaking at the right time,” Warner said; “He wrestled lights out last night.”

At 132, #2 Kaleb Warner (4th statewide) had a pin and 15-3 major decision over Chiles’ Winslow Robinson to take first.

“Kaleb was sidelined some this season with a nagging injury, but he’s ready for his run into the post-season now,” Warner said of his son. “He has a goal and he is marching towards it.”

At 195, the Tigers’ Lucus Bradley only wrestled once, but then edged Chiles’ Fred Saliba, 7-4, to win his title.

“His conditioning was lacking, coming from football, but he’s getting it back at the right time,” Warner said of Bradley. “He is making strides every day.”

Josh Lynch (120), Dustin Regar (138), Jake Maguire (145), Jordan Nash (170), Christian Thompson (182) and Marcus Zeighler (285) each were second in their weights, with Josh Wine (113) and Austin Chapman (152) taking thirds and Brandon Wine (126) and Josh Rodgers (160) were each fourth.

Gainesville (20th statewide) finished third in the meet with 122 points, qualifying 10 for region. Jon Gardner (126) was Gainesville’s only champion, winning twice by fall for his title.


2A-District 3 Preview

2A-District 3 meet preview

When & where: Saturday starting at 10 a.m. at Englewood High School, located due northeast of University Avenue and & I-95. Finals are to be determined per the FHSAA website.

Teams in the field: Headlining the field is co-#3 Orange Park, which took its lumps in early-season competitions in order to prepare for the post-season. The Raiders’ strongest challenge is likely to come from fellow Clay County opponents Middleburg and Oakleaf, but honorable mention Ed White should perform well. Terry Parker finished the regular season with its strongest effort of the year, taking fourth in its own 14-team dual tournament. Englewood, Lee and Stanton may struggle for team points, but will have a chance to qualify a few individuals out for region next week in Tallahassee.

We’ll do this like we did last night, starting with what we know and what we think and then make projections from there.

106 — I do not see a 106 for Oakleaf or Stanton. I expect the following wrestlers to compete: Roderick Evans for Ed White, either Toni McDonald or Archie Brown for Englewood, Dylan Rossetti for Middleburg, Brandon Rice for Orange Park, possibly Aaron Craun for Ridgeview, Ivory Durham for Lee and Chris Walker for Terry Parker. Based on what I’ve seen, I would project Rossetti to be the district champion. Rossetti would certainly have been ranked during the regular season if we had received all results for the Broncos, and he’s right there in the mix for a top-3 spot, maybe even the #1. I don’t think the field will be too much for him this weekend. I would expect to see Evans in the final along with Rossetti. Evans was the runnerup at Gateway, and has had several positive tournament experiences, but he did struggle at Clay Rotary. If Brown is at 106, I would probably go with him and Durham 3-4; if not, then I would go with Durham and Walker moving on to next week.

113 — I do not see a 113 for Lee, Stanton or Terry Parker. I expect the following wrestlers to compete: Kevin Johns for Ed White, either McDonald or Brown for Englewood, Robert Hammock for Middleburg, Chris Griffin for Oakleaf, Marcus Reid for Orange Park (10th statewide) and either Harmen Scareman-Stoops (more likely) or Jeremiah Watson for Ridgeview (15th statewide at 120). Based on what I’ve seen, I would project…a conditional pick. If Watson is here, I think I would go with Watson in a tight match over Reid to be the district champion. If Watson is at 120, as appears to be more likely, then I would take Reid decisively to be the district champion. Ridgeview’s lineup worked best for duals with Watson down at this weight, but with his frame, it had to be a tough slog to make 13. What that means is that it’s likely that Justin Trinh won’t wrestle 20 as he has for the Panthers in dual meets this year. Watson-Reid would be a great final. Not as sure about Reid-Griffin, as I only have five of Griffin’s matches, but he did beat Tristen Lucessi of Nease at Orange Park, so he can compete. I would see Brown battling for third and fourth, possibly Johns in the mix too if Watson is at 120.

120 — I do not see a 120 for Lee and possibly not for Middleburg. I expect the following wrestlers to compete: Chase Callaway for Ed White, either Jonathan Galeas or Tanner Kern for Englewood, (if anyone) Michael Pratt for Middleburg, either Luke Simons or Marc Ataiza for Oakleaf, Tyrese Germain for Orange Park, Watson or Trinh for Ridgeview, Justin Cowell for Stanton and Dalton Deckerhoff for Terry Parker. Based on what I’ve seen, I would pick Watson decisively to be the district champion if he’s at this weight and either Callaway or Germain if Watson is not here. Watson is a fun wrestler to watch with his length and leverage advantages. I would see him being in substantial control of this weight class on Saturday. I have not seen much of Germain this year, but Callaway surprised and impressed me at Gateway. He had eventual champion Brandon Bemister mostly beaten until he had no answer for Bemister’s jiujitsu-influenced style late in the title match. The Oakleaf entry will contend, either way, for 3-4, as would Trinh if he’s here.

126 — I do not see a 126 for Lee or Terry Parker. I expect the following wrestlers to compete: Armond Holmes of Ed White (if healthy, he’s been out for quite a while), either Galeas or Kern for Englewood, Tristan Tollison for Middleburg, either Ataiza or Riggs Wolf for Oakleaf, Fuhteh Tsai for Orange Park, either Trevor Belden (most likely) or Nick Robinson for Ridgeview and Stephen Hlawnchhing for Stanton. Based on what I’ve seen this season, if all are healthy, I would project Holmes (15th statewide) as the district champion, but only after a hard-fought match with Belden in the finals. Holmes and Belden went 10-6 during the season, in the finals at Optimist two months ago, and it had its back-and-forth moments before Holmes seized control down the stretch. I just hope he’s healthy enough to go. Oakleaf’s entry and Tsai should battle for third. Tsai has spent quite a bit of time at 132 to help the team this year, which has been a stretch for him. Tollison is a bit of a wild card possibility to advance, but he could be in the mix.

132 — I do not see a 132 for Englewood or Lee. I expect the following wrestlers to compete: Juwan Lee of Ed White, Tyler Langford of Middleburg, Anthony Hauser of Oakleaf (8th statewide), Joey Epstein of Ridgeview (11th statewide), Jacob Cowell of Stanton and Jessica Gardepe of Terry Parker. Based on what I’ve seen, I project Hauser as the district champion. Hauser might sometimes get overlooked in this crazy-deep weight class, but he’s the fourth-highest ranked wrestler among all 2A local competitors at all weights. It’s going to be a rematch among friends in the final, as Hauser should face Epstein. But Lee is a very solid third; hopefully he’ll be able to get through without jeopardizing his hurt ankle, sustained at Gateway two weeks ago. I think Langford might be the best of the rest to take fourth and move on to region next week.

138 — I do not see a 138 for Lee or Terry Parker. I would expect the following wrestlers to compete: Darien Tucker for Ed White, Kevin Herrera for Englewood, Travis Neubeck for Middleburg (12th statewide), Tristen Roderick for Oakleaf, Jordan Harbin for Orange Park, Mark Coaxum for Ridgeview and Josh Briones for Stanton. Based on what I’ve seen, I would project Neubeck as the district champion. He can get over-aggressive at times, but when he’s on he’s incredibly difficult to defeat. I like guys who wrestle with a high motor, and Neubeck’s is always cranked over. He’s got a ptetty solid field, actually, to contend with, what with Tucker, Herrera, Roderick and Coaxum all here. Somebody’s not going to get to compete next week. I don’t think it will be Herrera, who also has something to prove after not taking home a Gateway title. Tucker has been consistent all year, Roderick seems very comfortable at 138 after starting the year at 126, and Coaxum has had some good matches. This will be a solid foursome going to Tallahassee, whoever winds up going.

145 — I do not see a 145 for possibly Ridgeview. I would expect the following wrestlers to compete: Devonta Malcolm for Ed White, Tavian Whitehead for Englewood, Keath Sawdo for Middleburg, Rachael Kreier or (possibly) Cole Benson for Oakleaf, Demetruis Phillips for Orange Park, Nicholas Stiles for Stanton (16th statewide) and Shaqur Lampkins for Terry Parker. It’s possible that Chase Gold may appear here for Ridgeview. Based on what I’ve seen, I would project Stiles as the district champion. I was surprised, to be sure, when Stiles was pinned in the finals of the Gateway, and the first thing I thought was, “Competition.” His opponent had seen more of it. I suspect Stiles, who is by far Stanton’s best wrestler, will be ready for the varying looks he’ll see Saturday. I think it is most likely to see either Sawdo or Phillips in the final. Both are solid wrestlers and have had good seasons. Sawdo would have been in the rankings mix at 145, or right near it, and Phillips is talented. I think Malcolm and Lampkins, or Benson if he’s here, will battle it out for the final qualifying spot.

152 — I would expect the following wrestlers to compete: Darius Martin for Ed White, Justin Griffis for Englewood, JT Davie for Middleburg, Andre Carter for Oakleaf, Mitchell Harris of Orange Park (11th statewide), John Blizzard for Stanton and Samary Duncombe for Terry Parker. Pretty deep field, but based on what I’ve seen, I would project Harris as the solid to heavy favorite to win the district. Harris is crazy quick and strong, and can string together moves really quickly for an upper-middleweight. I think he will have a reasonably easy go of it, even in this deep field. I have to think he will be facing Carter in the final, but it could also be Davie, as those two went 5-4 with Carter winning earlier in the season. Davie benefited so much from dropping down from 160, where he had a bit of a strength disadvantage. Carter and Davie and Blizzard are the choices for 2-4, and it’s going to be another very solid field going on to Tallahassee. Davie and Carter could be a great semifinal to watch.

160 — I expect a full nine-man bracket with the following wrestlers competing: Sergio Jordan of Ed White, Hosea Jones of Englewood, John Rance or Cody Eastwood of Middleburg, Lucas Karl of Oakleaf, Skyler Taylor of Orange Park (14th statewide), Marcus Gomez of Ridgeview, David Worrell-Johnson of Lee, Sothea Nou of Stanton and Keaun Watts of Terry Parker. Based on what I’ve seen, I project Taylor as the solid favorite to become the district champion. Taylor’s drop to 160 has only helped the Raiders, and it’s helped him. He didn’t start the year expected to be a star for Orange Park, but he has been one this year. It should be an interesting three-way battle for second through fourth beetween Jordan, Nou and Karl. I would give tne nod at this point to Jordan. Gomez hasn’t had a lot of matches for the Panthers, but he could be in the mix for the top four.

170 — I do not see a 170 for Lee. I do expect the following wrestlers to compete: Andrew Holdman for Ed White, Joseph Garcia for Englewood, either David Ayres (more likely) or Eastwood for Middleburg, Josh Detrick for Oakleaf, Frank Waters for Orange Park (11th statewide), DJ Gibson for Ridgeview, Sean Mangum for Stanton and Jessie Pafford for Terry Parker. Based on what I’ve seen, I would project Waters as the solid favorite to become the district champion. I wish I could have seen a full season out of Waters; I’m sure he and the Raiders would concur with that. It’s a sneaky-deep field, this one. I think he’d be most likely to face Ayres, if he’s here. Ayres has been state-ranked himself during the course of the season. Detrick and Gibson have both had some good wins and solid seasons for their teams, and Pafford is the Braves’ team leader. I’d like to see him get out as well. It’s going to be a very competitive quartet that goes to Tallahassee next week.

182 — I do not see a 182 for Ridgeview or Stanton. I would expect the following wrestlers to compete:Bianca Lumsden or Juliet Medina for Ed White, Ashton Harris for Englewood, Jonathan Shoen for Middleburg (15th statewide), Sean Tairovski-Romeu for Oakleaf, Chase Lasater for Orange Park, possibly (it’s been a while) Tyrone Williams for Lee and Barry Pierre of Terry Parker. Based on what I’ve seen, I would project Shoen as the solid favorite to be the district champion. Shoen is another Middleburg who would have been ranked except for those dadgum results. He’s beaten some pretty solid wrestlers during the course of the year. Now’s his chance to shine on a brighter stage. I would expect an all-Clay final between Shoen and Lasater, who’s a big freshman with a nice frame. He will be a monster in a couple of years. I would take Harris over Pierre for third in this group. It’s a pretty well-defined foursome. Tairovski-Romeu would have to pull an upset to advance.

195 — I do not see a 195 for Oakleaf, Lee or Stanton, making this a six-person bracket. I would expect the following wrestlers to compete: Atyrus McDonald or Lumsden for Ed White, Xavier Nieves for Englewood, David Thompson for Middleburg, Chasen Irvine for Orange Park, Robert Smith for Ridgeview and Andy Meda of Terry Parker. Based on what I’ve seen, I would project Irvine as the heavy favorite to become the district champion. With the small bracket, tests by competition are going to be key, as only one or two matches will make a district titlist. Irvine has improved a great deal since the beginning of the season, and should show off that improvement Saturday. I would expect Nieves to make the final as well. Was hoping to see how he’d do at Gateway, but he didn’t wrestle on the second day. In a one-day tournament, he should do better. He’s got a good frame. Meda has a slight edge over Smith and Thompson for the third spot, but it could go for any of them. A healthy McDonald, if he’s here, could take third as well.

220 — I do not see a 220 for Oakleaf, possibly Middleburg or Lee as well. I would expect the following wrestlers to compete: Avery Wilds for Ed White, Nicholas Wiggins for Englewood, Devon Brooks for Orange Park (7th statewide), Jarek Horner for Ridgeview, Alex Richardson for Stanton and Kerry Hardine for Terry Parker (16th statewide). I’m not as sure about Middleburg or Lee. Ammon Meeks will be either at this weight or 285 for the Broncos, while Lee did have Nicholas Woodward for a few matches, and he was very good, but we haven’t seen him since December. Based on what I’ve seen, I would project Brooks as the overwhelming favorite to win the weight class. Brooks has been very good all season for the Raiders and should be a medalist threat once again even after dropping down from 285, where he was fifth at state. I don’t think he’ll face anybody besides Hardine in the title match. I would see Wilds as the choice for third, and a battle for fourth between an improving Richardson and Horner for the fourth spot.

285 — I do not see a 285 for Stanton, possibly Middleburg or Oakleaf as well. I would expect the following wrestlers to compete: Kelton Johnson for Ed White, Eric Hill for Englewood, Christian Tejada for Orange Park (11th statewide), Malcolm Kirce for Ridgeview (4th statewide), Demetris Harris for Lee and Demetris Hembert for Terry Parker. I’m not as sure about Middleburg, because Meeks — who would certainly have a good shot at moving on at 220 — might be there, and Oakleaf had a 285 in Joseph Prieto to start the year, but he hasn’t wrestled for several weeks. Based on what I’ve seen, I would project a helluva match between Kirce and Tejada in the final, with Kirce taking the district championship. That will be a great match for both of them, who have excellent shots to podium in two weeks. I would expect Johnson to be the solid choice for third in this field, learning a lot behind the two seniors. If Meeks is here, he would be looking at fourth, but it would probably be his to have; if he’s at 220, it will be interesting to see who makes it to the third-place match.


Friday Note 1/31

Um…in case anybody’s interested, regular-season individual final rankings are updated. They’re good to go. Records are matches wrestled through January 18, but I did look at the final week to make a few tweaks.

Got 2A-2 brackets in my email and I have posted them on the site under the FHSAA Results Page. Just follow the dropdowns to 2014, District Results, Class 2A.

Here’s the remaining itinerary for today:

  • 2A-3 preview to wrap up the district previews. Four classes are written out. They will be published in chunks. This way, you don’t have to wait forever to get something. I might mix it up and do the four heavies next after 106-126.
  • Writeup from 2A-2 (have quotes from Coach Warner, this will be published after the 2A-3 preview; I know you guys are waiting on that one).
  • A “final thought” reflection I like to write before the post-season begins. I am gonna invite my former Iowa and Illinois kids to read it as well.

1A-District 4 Preview

1A-4 meet preview

When & where: Saturday starting at 10 a.m. at Episcopal School of Jacksonville. Per the FHSAA website, the finals start time has yet to be determined.

Teams in the field: #4 University Christian and #10 Bishop Kenny should battle for top honors in the 10-team district — which is the largest among the local district tournaments. The Crusaders have more numbers, but only just barely, while the Christians have more star power. Several solid teams — Florida School for the Deaf & Blind, Pedro Menendez and Bradford — should also be near the top. Episcopal closed the regular season with a flurry, while Duval Charter showed willingness to dual anyone, anywhere. Bolles found more numbers, and a bit more success, as the season wore on after opening the year with a preseason #5 ranking, while Wolfson and Providence had the ups and downs that any emerging program would.

We’re going to do weight classes as we did for 1A-3.

106 — I expect the following wrestlers to turn up: Ryan Timmons for Bishop Kenny, KJ Fagan for Bolles, Andrew Slade for Duval Charter, Henry Zimmer for Episcopal, Diego Garcia for FSDB, Brandon Gardner for Menendez, Mikey Mitaly for Providence, Cameron Wiley for UC and Richard Tran for Wolfson. Either Peyton Brown or Shayne Kahakua-Lodivero should start for Bradford. Based on what I’ve seen, I will take Timmmons as the favorite to win the district title. While Timmons does have 10 losses on his resume, they’re all — for the most part — against regional-level qualifiers, and all are either 2A or 3A. How 2-4 shakes out could be very interesting, as Garcia has pinned Slade and been pinned by Wiley (twice), who, in turn, has been pinned by Slade. Could be all about style and matchups. Slade’s fall was later in the year than the first Garcia-Slade and Garcia-Wiley matchups, so if you’re above tossing a coin, that could be somewhat instructive. Don’t sleep on whoever Bradford puts out at 106; that wrestler is OK enough to extend the season by a week, and Tran might be a wild card entrant after spending most of the year at 113 before dropping to this weight for Gateway.

113 — I do not see a 113 for Bishop Kenny, Bolles or Wolfson (though the Warriors could throw out former 106 Quetin O’Berry at 113). I expect the following wrestlers to turn up: whichever didn’t wrestle at 106 for Bradford between Brown and Kahakua-Lodivero, either Daniel Porter or Hunter Lawson for Duval Charter, Jake Tessar for FSDB, Elliot Callison for Providence and Derrick Stump for UC. Not so sure about Menendez, who could put out Gardner, Limuel Mallari or James Carter. Also not entirely sure about Providence, as three or four kids have each wrestled one or two matches and that’s about all I’ve got reported. Based on what I’ve seen, I’m going to make a conditional pick: If Porter is at 113, he is the solid favorite to win the district title. Porter has been the Panthers’ top wrestler all season, but he has also had several matches at 120 throughout the year. It would be better for him to be here, though, as opposed to a loaded bracket at 120. I look at the Bradford 113 and Tessar as the likeliest challengers for the finals. I’m not sure that anybody else leaps out at me to project them as a fourth-place finisher and regional qualifier. The spot’s open for the taking, though.

120 — I do not see a 120 for Pedro Menendez or for Wolfson. I expect the following wrestlers to turn up: Nick Toney for Bishop Kenny (as of today, 11th statewide), Ben Barton for Bolles, Jason Griffis for Bradford (16th statewide at 113), (probably) Hunter Lawson for Duval Charter, Connor Evans for Episcopal, AJ Rice or Nick Thompson for FSDB, Brian Storandt for Providence and Brysen Allen of UC (who was ranked statewide until today). Based on what I’ve seen, Toney is the solid pick to win the district title. Toney spent a lot of time 1 or 2 weights up, but his coaches believed in his possibilities at 120. We’re starting to see those possibilities play out, as he’s 9-2 since the drop, with both of those losses coming at Clay Rotary, a grind for anybody. I would take Allen as my choice to reach the final as well, over Griffis as of today. Right now, if Rice were at 120, he would the choice at 4 over Lawson, but depending on who’s here and who isn’t Lawson is still a candidate to move on to the next round. Evans could be in the mix to contend as well.

126 — I do not see a 126 for UC. I expect the following wrestlers to turn up: Nate Caron of Bishop Kenny (15th statewide), Gray Creed of Bolles, Brandon Funderburk of Bradford, Chris Duchaussee of Duval Charter, either Curry Pajcic or Shane Pack for Episcopal, either Setth Snow or Rice for FSDB, Michael Brown for Pedro Menendez (9th statewide), Evan Merry for Providence and Charles Kessinger for Wolfson. Based on what I’ve seen, I’m going to take Brown as the solid-to-heavy favorite to win the district title. Brown’s only local losses (non-injury default, anyway) have been to 3A’s Evan McCall. I’m troubled, though, that he didn’t wrestle at Bartram Trail’s duals tournament two weekends ago for the Falcons, but if he can be back he should be. Caron is the solid #2 and Snow (or Rice) is a solid #3 at this weight. Fourth is going to be an interesting fight, with Bradford’s Funderburk (my choice now if I was backed up against a wall), the Episcopal 126, Merry and Kessinger all in the mix. Should be a good, competitive bracket.

132 — I do not see a 132 for Providence. I expect the following wrestlers to turn up: either Kyle Black or Jonathan Chiotti for Bishop Kenny, Josh Calhoun for Bolles (7th statewide), Blake Addison for Bradford, Blaise Puig for Duval Charter, Pack or Pajcic for Episcopal (whoever didn’t wrestle at 126), Jose Mercado for FSDB, (probably) Dominique Bordley for Pedro Menendez, David Glies for UC and Joshua Cade for Wolfson. Admittedly, Bordley hasn’t been in the lineup for quite some time. Based on what I’ve seen, I think Calhoun is the heavy favorite to win the district title. Calhoun has had struggles against some really strong competition in the area’s strongest weight class. But that has prepared him for this postseason. As for who he might face in the finals, I’m not entirely certain. As I figure the Dragons’ Snow will be at 26 and I don’t truly know if Bordley will be back, it appears that there is, or certainly could be, quite a bit of gap out there between Calhoun and the rest of the field. That means that almost everyone has a chance to find their way into the mix with a strong Saturday.

138 — I do not see a 138 for Bolles, Bradford or UC. I expect the following wrestlers to turn up: Chiotti or Black for Bishop Kenny (whoever isn’t at 132), either Ethan Barry or Ben Fitzpatrick for Duval Charter (both have split time with roughly-equal results), Christian Rickey for Episcopal, Marcus Maldonado for FSDB, either Daniel Desario or Nicholas DiGregorio for Pedro Menendez, Spencer Turner for Providence and Jorge Hernandez for Wolfson. Based on what I’ve seen, I think…it’s a complete tossup. I’m tempted right now to go with Maldonado as the slight favorite based on how he and the Dragons have wrestled, but I’m not 100 percent certain. It’s been quite awhile since DiGregorio has been in the lineup for Menendez; I might have tipped him as the pick if he had been in the lineup more recently. It’s unfortunate that Bishop Kenny’s Logan Bote won’t be available after sustaining a concussion. He would have been a solid choice for the title as well. His replacement has a shot of getting out, still, as does Rickey. So I think Maldonado, but it’s an even, wide-open field.

145 — I do not see a 145 for Bradford or Providence. I expect the following wrestlers to turn up: Colin Warren for Bishop Kenny, Michael Surenyan for Bolles, Andrew Duchaussee or James Allinson for Duval Charter, Peter Pitochi for Episcopal, Kyle McCreath for FSDB, Brandon Anderson for Pedro Menendez, Cody Joseph for UC (11th statewide) and Albert Quintanilla for Wolfson. Based on what I’ve seen, Joseph should be the heavy, if not overwhelming as well, favorite to win the district title. I actually feel Joseph is a bit underrated statewide and should be seen as a state podium threat. Saturday, I”m not sure anyone will be able to stay six minutes. Who will be in the final? I am thinking it could be McCreath when it’s all said and done. He’s taken a lot of strides during the course of the season, and the rest of the field either hasn’t seen enough time on the mat this year, or the competition that FSDB has gone and faced. I think Warren and Surenyan should battle it out for 3-4, but don’t sleep on Pitochi making things interesting for the hosts.

152 — I do not see a 152 for Bradford or UC, and possibly not for Providence, either. I expect the following wrestlers to turn up: Christian Schloth or Will Myer for Bishop Kenny, Bradshaw Steele for Bolles, either Allinson or Mike Dinkla for Duval Charter, Hunter Selton for Episcopal, Nick Stanfield for FSDB, Rodney Padgett for Pedro Menendez (14th statewide), Khalif Carter for Wolfson and probably Charlie Rush for Providence. Based on what I’ve seen here, Padgett is the solid favorite to win the district title. Padgett has quietly been great for the Falcons, anchoring the middle of the lineup with solid performances throughout the season. I expect that to continue on Saturday, and I would expect that he would meet Steele in the finals. That could be a good match. Steele is starting to look like he’s found the same form he had early in the season. I do think there is a sizable gap between the first two and the rest of the group. I think Kenny’s 152, Stanfield and Selton are all in the mix for the 3-4 slots. It wouldn’t surprise me if Selton, a senior, finds a way into one of those spots in his final appearance on the home mat.

160 — Oh man. This weight and 170 could be the spotlight weight classes of the tournament. I’m not sure there’ll be a 160 for Menendez. I do expect the following wrestlers to turn up: Tim Bianco or Jack McMorrow for Bishop Kenny, Garrett Bennett for Bolles, either Jarraid Forsyth (3rd statewide at this weight) or Richard Hill for Bradford, Josh Miller for Duval Charter, Mac Weldon or Alex Woodward for Episcopal, Wesley Homewood or Michael Shoemaker for FSDB, Ty Merry or Smith Aaron for Providence, Daniel Folkner for UC (6th statewide), Joao Celso for Wolfson. If Menendez has a 160, it would probably be Jonathan Samples, but it’s been a while. Based on what I’ve seen, I am making…a conditional pick. The question is: Where will Forsyth go? If he’s here, which I think he will be, he’s the favorite to win the district title. If he’s at 170, then I would go with Folkner. Both are exceptional wrestlers, I would say that I think Folkner’s schedule might be a bit more challenging. His only 1A loss was to Lake Highland Prep, if that says anything. Would be a great finals match. I think third and fourth go to Weldon and Homewood, if they’re both at this weight. If that’s the quartet that makes it out, that’s one of the strongest foursomes the district will have going to region next week. Should Merry be here, he could be in the mix, too.

170 — I don’t see a 170 for Menendez and Wolfson. I do expect the following wrestlers to turn up: Kuba Kaszuba for Bishop Kenny (5th statewide), Brandon Dattoli for Bolles (14th statewide), Forsyth or Hill for Bradford, Dillon Morency for Duval Charter, Woodward or Weldon for Episcopal, Shoemaker or Homewood for FSDB, Aaron or Merry for Providence, and Michael Marshall for UC. Not sure there’d be any mats left after the 160 final, but based on what I’ve seen, it’s…another conditional pick!  Should Forsyth be here, and I don’t think he will be, he would be the choice, with Kaszuba 2nd, Dattoli 3rd and Weldon or Merry (if either are here) or Marshall for the fourth spot. If he’s not, then move Kaszuba and Dattoli up a slot, slot in Hill for third and the rest more or less the same. How’s that for decisiveness? You can’t get that level of decisiveness from ESPN, I tell you. There’ll be a lot of great matches wrestled, I know that much for sure.

182 — I don’t see a 182 for Bradford, Episcopal, Menendez or Providence, which makes this a six-man district and only two wrestlers eliminated. I do expect the following wrestlers to turn up: Bayley Judah or, possibly, Ethan Yates of Bishop Kenny, Philip DeWees of Bolles, Max Weaver for Duval Charter, Imed Touahri for FSDB, Mack Green for UC and Nassiem Waitley for Wolfson. Based on what I’ve seen, I think it’s a three-person race between DeWees, Touahri and Judah, for the moment, to win the district title. Not sure between the three who has the horses to go all the way to the title, I can actually see it playing out in favor of each of them. I’m not certain that Yates can drop down, but if he’s able to, he might have the capability to win the title. I think Green is probably the best of the remaining three. He certainly has had some entertaining matches during the course of the season for the Christians.

195 — I do not see a 195 for Bradford, Wolfson or possibly Providence. I do expect the following wrestlers to turn up: Yates or Judah for Bishop Kenny, Caleb Calhoun for Bolles, Matthew Agostino for Duval Charter, Hayes Oken for Episcopal, Thaddeus Smith for FSDB, Garrett Fairbanks for Pedro Menendez (7th statewide) and Trey Miller for UC (1st statewide), with possibly Stovall Welms for Providence. Based on what I’ve seen, I would choose Miller as an overwhelming favorite to win the district title, with a slam-dunk final between Miller and Fairbanks. That could be a good match for a while, but Miller is just too strong and has too high a motor to overcome this weekend. Oken is the solid choice for third at this weight, and I would see Yates fourth here, which is why it might be advantageous for him to move down, because Judah might be able to come up here and still nab fourth over Calhoun and possibly Smith. That’s how I see it playing out, anyway.

220 — I do not see a 220 for Bishop Kenny, Bradford, Menendez and possibly DUval Charter, which could make for another six-person bracket and only two eliminations. I do think the following wrestlers will turn up: Jordan Jackson for Bolles, either Conor Chepenik (more likely) or Travis Williams for Episcopal, either Frankie Stewart or Jordan Philyor  (more likely) for FSDB, Max Cobb for Providence, David Trigg for UC (10th statewide) and Joseph Brokaw for Wolfson. 220 could even be open for FSDB, as Stewart hasn’t wrestled for quite a while. Based on what I’ve seen, I would pick Trigg as the solid favorite to win the district title. Trigg has improved a lot wrestling in between two statewide #1s in MIller and Jamal Fiffer, and the time has improved his skills a great deal. I would slot Cobb in as the other finalist at this weight, with Episcopal and FSDB battling it out for third. If FSDB’s open, then Episcopal would be the slam-dunk third, regardless of who they have there. If Michael Booker is able to come back for Duval Charter, he would have a solid chance at the 4 spot.

285 — I do not see a 285 for Bolles, Duval Charter, Providence and possibly FSDB if Philyor is at 220, which is a strong possibility based on who is here. I do think the following wrestlers will turn up: Alexander Condoroteanu-oroveanu for Bishop Kenny, Kyle Brooks for Bradford, Chepenik or (more likely) Williams for Episcopal, William Gwin for Pedro Menendez, Jamal Fiffer for UC (#1 statewide) and DeAngeles Harris for Wolfson. Based on what I’ve seen, I see Fiffer leading a very strong class of heavies into regions next week. Fiffer is, in almost every instance, the strongest heavyweight in any field he’s in, but this field could give him a good workout for the next couple of weeks. I’m not sure who will be the 2. The head says Condoroteanu, but the gut says Harris. Either way, both will get in, as should Gwin, and perhaps I can finally get settled whether it’s William or Austin, as I often see Gwin’s first name in results. If nothing else, I want to get that straight at least. This is going to be a monster weight next week at Bishop Snyder, and we’ll get a little taste of how monstrous at Episcopal on Saturday.


1A-District 3 Preview

1A-3 meet preview

When & where: Saturday starting at 9:45 a.m. at Yulee High School. Finals schedule to be determined per the FHSAA website.

If you go: From Jacksonville, take I-95 North to Exit 373 for Florida 200/A1A toward Callahan/Fernandina Beach. Go 0.2 miles, keep right at the fork, follow signs for Yulee/Amelia Island/Fernandina Beach and merge onto A1A South/FL-200. Follow A1A south for 4.0 miles until you reach Miner Road; turn right. Follow Miner for 1.5 miles, Yulee High School should be on right-hand side.

Teams in the field: Only just today was local #6 Bishop Snyder added to Scout’s list of state-ranked teams. The Cardinals enter the rankings ranked 21st overall, and should be a solid favorite to win the district championship. It could be quite a good fight among several times for second through sixth places, as I could see five teams (Forrest, Fernandina Beach, West Nassau, Yulee and Baker County) all battling for spots. The Rebels were a top-five team at Gateway two weeks ago, the host Hornets are Nassau County champions and Fernandina is a team on the move of late. Paxon, Raines and Andrew Jackson are short-handed by comparison. Each of those schools have a chance to move kids on, even several kids on, but probably won’t be factors in the team race.

106: Projections are difficult here, because we have a grouping of teams that don’t see each other all that much, between the west/north side of Duval County and Nassau County. Plus one of the teams is missing an awful lot of results during the regular season. So we’re going to start with what we know, and these are going to read a little differently than the others: I have not seen a 106 for Jackson, for Baker County, for Forrest or for West Nassau at least recently. I have a pretty good idea that the following wrestlers will go: Parker Poitevint for Bishop Snyder, Rafael Charriez for Fernandina Beach, Wesley Sadler or Adam Foster for Paxon, Nephi Haynes or Jemell Jones for Raines. Who I’m not sure about is Yulee. Dylan Youmans  spent some time here but as best as I can tell didn’t wrestle at Camden’s duals two weeks ago. I will make a conditional pick, therefore. If Youmans is here, I would choose him as the favorite to win. If not, I’m going to go with Poitevint over Charriez, although the two haven’t met this year, that I can see. Not sure who the fourth would be between Sadler/Foster and Haynes/Jones. If I knew Foster was at 106, he’d be the fourth. NOW…if Baker brings in a kid or two that they have (Cody Miller might immediately leap to 1st, but I only have 4 matches for him all year, and Sydney Williams has beaten a couple of kids, so might be in the mix for fourth if she wrestles as well).

113: I have not seen a 113 for Jackson, for Baker County (in a while), or for West Nassau (for a while). I have a pretty good idea that the following wrestlers will go: Brenden Bizier of Bishop Snyder, Zachary Watson of Fernandina, Delmontae Davis of Forrest, Foster for Paxon (if he’s not at 106), whoever between Haynes and Jones didn’t go 106 for Raines, and am less sure that Yulee will have John Parker here. I am thinking Watson must have come over to Fernandina from Yulee, as I do have a few matches for a Zachary Watson of Yulee, but all were early. Based on what I see, I am going with Bizier as the favorite to win the district. He’s had the most varied competition this year. For the 2-4 spots, I see it being a Nassau fight between Watson and Parker, with Foster also perhaps in the mix there and maybe Davis as well. Baker did have a few 106s in the course of the season; any of them could go at 113 and upset this apple cart. Again, if Miller were here, even with limited mat time I might vault him to the top.

120: I have not seen a 120 for Jackson or for Raines. I have a pretty good idea that the following wrestlers will go: Shawn Martin for Baker, Troy Bilodeau for Bishop Snyder, Joseph Helm for Fernandina, Aniko Patterson for Forrest, Hayden Lenman for Paxon, TJ Thompson for West Nassau and Ty Youmans for Yulee. Based on what I see here, Helm is the favorite to win the district. I would say the solid favorite, except that he did lose 3-2 to Youmans earlier in the season. Those are the solid top two. I look at Bilodeau, Martin and Thompson as the likeliest candidates to fight it out for 3 and 4; both Bilodeau and Thompson have pins over Martin, but haven’t met each other. Patterson and Lenman might find rough going and will likely have to try to fight their way through out of the consis.

126: I have not seen a 126 for Baker County, Bishop Snyder or Raines. This makes it a Nassau County battle, for the most part. I have a pretty good idea that the following wrestlers will go: Daisan Biffle for Andrew Jackson, Tharin Hessenauer for Fernandina, Kuyvonta Broadwater for Forrest, either Ryan Ochoa or Osiris Mancera for Paxon, Zach Hixson for West Nassau and Demarcus Scott for Yulee. I see this as a 1-2-3 Nassau sweep, with Hessenauer the solid favorite to win the title. Hessenauer beat another West Nassau wrestler earlier in the year and has a pin over Scott, and has been locally ranked all season. Assuming that Hixson and Scott stay here, this should be a good semifinal. Fourth will be interesting. If Ochoa represents Paxon, he should be the fourth, given that he pinned Biffle at the Gateway. If Mancera is there, then I think Biffle would be the fourth.

132: I have not seen a 132 for Andrew Jackson. I have a pretty good idea that the following wrestlers will go: Brandon Harvey for Baker County, Teddy Guillory for Bishop Snyder, Jade Welsh for Fernandina, Dale George for Forrest, Darius Veals for Paxon, John Jones for Raines, Jacob Savage for West Nassau, and mostly sure that Phoenix Mikell would go for Yulee. Based on what I see here, Harvey should be the heavy favorite to win the district. Newly-minted with a statewide ranking (14th, as of today’s last update), Harvey has only one 1A loss and that was out-of-region. I think that the trio of Guillory – who didn’t start the year until earlier this month – and George and Savage will battle it out for the remaining three slots, but all three have the edge over the rest of the field when it comes to moving on.

138: I have not seen a 138 for Andrew Jackson or for Raines. I have a pretty good idea that the following wrestlers will go: Logan Kish for Baker County, Jonathan Radomski for Bishop Snyder, Luke Baine for Fernandina, Kason Kelly for Forrest, Michael Hutchinson for Paxon, Timothy Worthen for Yulee and probably Tyler Beverly for West Nassau. Based on what I see here, I would tab Radomski as the favorite to win the district. He goes a little unnoticed with some of the star power the Cardinals have up top, but (at least until Guillory came on board) he’s been the catalyst for what usually turns into a run of Bishop Snyder victories. His competition level is the highest in the weight class. I think Kish has probably separated himself from the rest of the group for consideration as a finalist, but I’m bothered that I didn’t see him at Ed White last week. Should be a good fight for two spots between Beverly, Worthen and Kelly, all of whom have shown some good things.

145: I have a pretty good idea that the following wrestlers will go: Andrew Sheffield for Andrew Jackson (unless he slots in at 52), Johnny Ruise for Baker  County, Kody Kellum for Bishop Snyder, Josh Helm for Fernandina Beach, Dushaun Manning of Forrest, Connor Foreman for Paxon, Patrick Dollison for Raines. I’m less sure about who West Nassau will have (possibly John Forehand, unless he’s at 52, or maybe Aaron Thomason) or who Yulee will have (either David Shepard, Jordan Frank or Brian Winkles). Based on what I’ve seen here, Helm (ranked 13th statewide) is the solid-to-overwhelming favorite to win the district. Knock off a John Martorano, you get my attention and fast. We’ve had to wait until mid-January for Helm to appear in the lineup, but in the brief time he’s been well worth the wait. Kellum is the solid favorite for the runnerup position. So tall (taller than me, and I’m a good 6-3) for a 145. Put him in the weight room and he will be a monster upper in the next two years. After that it gets a little murky due to the uncertainty for Nassau and Yulee. I’m inclined to go with Ruise as slightly ahead of the other Nassau entrants, who are a tossup for fourth. I think Forehand might also go 52.

152: I have a pretty good idea that the following wrestlers will go: Sheffield or Demonta Bell of Andrew Jackson, Tyler Imrich of Bishop Snyder, Thomas Monaghan of Fernandina, Brian Thomas of Forrest, Torry Williams of Paxon, Jeremiah Prince of Raines. I am less sure about Baker County (either Simon Brown, Ian Finn or Jake Koburger), West Nassau (Forehand or possibly Trevor Higginbotham) or Yulee (David Beverly, Frank or Winkles). Based on what I’ve seen here, newly-minted state 16th Monaghan is the solid favorite to win the district. Monaghan looks more comfortable the lighter he’s been, and now he has a solid training partner right next to him in Helm. It’s gonna be a really good field and competitive battles for 2-4 at this weight. Bell, Imrich, Thomas, Williams, Forehand and Beverly all have good chances to get out. The wrestlers who’ve been part-time are going to find themselves struggling in this field, because there are no easy outs. Even Prince and Brown have won several matches.

160: I have a pretty good idea that the following wrestlers will go: Bell or Tracy Russell from Andrew Jackson, Tristen Bartron from Baker County, Matt Tate or Nathaniel Cleland of Bishop Snyder, Matthew Schuyler from Fernandina, Dominique Williams from Forrest, Anthony Dukes from Paxon, Sha-Mel Franks from Raines, Michael Dudzinski from West Nassau and Dillion Gadoury from Yulee. Based on what I’ve seen here, the solid-to-overwhelming favorite is Dudzinski (9th statewide) to win the district. He has only one loss this year, and that was to a 2A wrestler. He’s beaten a fellow #1 and fellow solid favorite in this tournament. Almost no one worked harder this off-season, and he’s reaping the rewards now. Another solid field should go to region from this weight class, highlighted by Cleland (if he’s here and not 170), Dukes and either Bell or Russell, whoever is at 160. Williams has had a good Gateway season and Bartron could surprise as well.

170: I have not seen a recent 170 from West Nassau. I have a pretty good idea that the following wrestlers will go: Russell from Andrew Jackson (unless at 160, in which case Jackson will be open here), Anthony Johnson of Baker County, Tate or Cleland from Snyder, Jackson Crews from Fernandina, Isaiah Golson from Forrest, Tyrann Baxter from Raines and either RJ Adams or Cecil Winebarger from Yulee. Paxon may also send up Hudson Sadler at this weight. Based on what I’ve seen here, I have to make another conditional pick: If Cleland is at 170, he’s the favorite to win the district. If he’s at 160, then look for an interesting fight to play out between Golson and Adams. I’ve seen Golson, I haven’t seen Adams this year. They’ll both make it out either way. I lean toward Tate over Crews for the fourth spot…UNLESS Fernandina slots Kelsey Greathouse all the way down here at 170. He did pin Winebarger recently. If he’s here, rearrange everything to put Greathouse at the top and slot everyone down accordingly.

182: I have a pretty good idea that the following wrestlers will go: Kenyon Johnson from Andrew Jackson, Sean Mulkey from Baker County, Brandon Marshall from Bishop Snyder, Greathouse or Crews from Fernandina, DeAngelo Hunt from Forrest, Jeremy Sinclair from Paxon, Jermaine Oliver from Raines, Zach Morgan from West Nassau and Anthony Chiauzzi from Yulee. Based on what I’ve seen here, the solid favorite has to be Marshall in a weight class that, if Greathouse is here, is worth the price of admission by itself. Marshall has just the one loss the very first weekend of the season (to Dudzinski, who bumped up from his then-weight of 170 to face him). Marshall (last local ranking #1, 2nd statewide) can beat you a lot of different ways, and the ones that he hasn’t thought up, Oliver (#2 locally, fifth statewide) just might have tried. That is such a contrast in every way, Marshall’s technical precision versus Oliver’s freakish athleticism. Played straight, Greathouse is the 3 here, with Mulkey the definite 4 by a little ways over either Hunt or Johnson. Should Greathouse drop to 70, that moves Mulkey up and a fight between Hunt and Johnson. They didn’t meet at Gateway, but Hunt majored Englewood’s Ashton Harris, who decisioned Johnson.

195: With Greathouse down at least one weight, I have not seen a 195 from Fernandina of late. I have a pretty good idea that the following wrestlers will go: Rashad McClain of Andrew Jackson, James Carter of Baker County, Nathan Morales of Bishop Snyder, Malik Brown of Forrest, Elijah Mitchell-McGraw of Paxon, Malcolm Kirtsey of Raines, Seth Petty of West Nassau and Gino Carollo of Yulee. Based on what I’ve seen here, Morales is the slight favorite to win the district. He’s consistently good, rarely beats himself and quietly gets the job done for the Cardinals. He has not faced Carter, who I am thinking will be the other finalist – Carter won in a fight up at 220 that weekend – but it should be a closely-matched title competition. I think 3 and 4 is a three-person race between McClain, the Gateway Conference runnerup, Brown and Petty.

220: I have not seen a 220 for Andrew Jackson, Fernandina Beach (since very early in November) or Raines. I have a pretty good idea that the following wrestlers will go: Lenny Carter of Baker County, Nicholas Cleland of Bishop Snyder, Dexter Nickles of Forrest, Jordan Smith of Paxon, Bradley Sikes of West Nassau and Duna Polard of Yulee. Based on what I’ve seen, the pick is Carter as the favorite to win the district. Like the larger Helm at Fernandina, the larger Carter has only been in the lineup a short time. Other than a quick pin at the hands of Orange Park uber-220 Devon Brooks, Carter has drilled all opposition. Cleland (15th statewide) isn’t susceptible to drilling, but he lost to James Carter, 10-7, during the regular season. Lenny Carter looks like he has even more aggression on the mat. Big gap between Carter and Cleland and the rest of the field, Sikes is probably the best of the rest and my choice for third, with a lean toward Polard as the fourth.

285: I have a pretty good idea that the following wrestlers will go: Travaris Shanks of Andrew Jackson, Collyn Green of Baker County, Christian DeLosSantos of Bishop Snyder, Austin Turpin of Fernandina, Kahlil Welsh of Forrest, Julian Leandre of Paxon, Lawrence Jones of Raines and Bradley Kite of Yulee. I’m less sure of West Nassau, who could send out either Jackson Moyle or Matthew Forsythe. Based on what I’ve seen here, Welsh (15th statewide) is the solid favorite to win the district. And it’s a pretty solid field, as Green, DeLosSantos and Moyle (if he goes) all have had decent-to-good seasons and would do well at regions next week. Welsh has a rare combination of size and athleticism, though, that will be very difficult to counter this weekend. Look at DeLosSantos as a fellow finalist, with Green and Moyle (if he goes here) the likeliest 3-4 prospects.


Edge of the Mat #10

Edge of the Mat #10

Remember to click the smaller blue text, not the larger. Just a brief survey of the local district events. I invited readers there to come here if they wanted more comprehensive previews. That is, if I can ever get them DONE. I’m barely going to make my 4 p.m. self-imposed deadline for 1A-3 and have pretty much no shot at getting 1A-4 done early tonight. Late tonight if not into the wee hours at best. 2A-3 on Friday, plus final regular-season rankings also on Friday. Unless I’m pounded at work like I’ve been so far today.


Thursday Note 1/30

OF COURSE Scout would update its rankings today. Have some editing to do. Then maybe I can write 1A-3. I have my projections done. Really wish I had received more Yulee results and that there hadn’t been so much mix-and-match among the Nassau teams (less so for Fernandina Beach than there was for what I have for Yulee and West Nassau). Makes it hard to know how head-to-heads might go.


2A – District 4 Preview

2A-4 meet preview
(Editor’s Note: Switched 138 and 145 slightly, keeping the text the same but moving Creekside wrestlers into correct spots; Second Editor’s Note: Updated to reflect new Scout rankings released today).

When & where: Per FHSAA website, wrestling starts at Creekside Saturday at 11 a.m., with finals expected to start immediately after preliminary competition is completed (probably after the gym is cleared).

If you go: From either the south or north, take US-1 to Race Track Road and turn there (left if coming from the south, right if coming from the north). Follow Race Track for 5.1 miles to Veterans Parkway, turn left (it’s a sneaky one, particularly after dark). Go 1.8 miles to Longleaf Pine Parkway and turn left, the school will be just up and ahead on the right. From the parking lots, walk straight east toward the gym doors.

Teams in the field: Surprisingly, local #5 Creekside and Matanzas (which will be a @NEFloridaMatmen area team in 2014-15) haven’t dueled each other this season, so it is tricky to declare an out-and-out favorite. The Knights and Pirates have been in two tournaments together, both times with Creekside finishing slightly ahead. Creekside was 6th at Clay and Matanzas was 8th, while at Palm Coast the Knights were 21st and Pirates 26th. I’m going to go edge Creekside, since they’re at home and they have shown a slightly-better tournament side while being a really good dual team. But, hey, , anything can happen. When Pirate faced Knight on Deadliest Warrior a few years ago, the computer simulation gave it to Pirate. My three younger sons and I are still mad about that one (but oldest was not, however; I digress). I would have thought Nease might have been the third, but it will depend on which Panther team shows up. The one that showed for Terry Parker, yes. The one at Orange Park, no. Bartram Trail, Ponte Vedra and St. Augustine should all get several through to regionals, what with (at most) only two wrestlers in each weight class having their seasons come to an end.

106 – Creekside junior Austin Wynn is one of just five wrestlers in this tournament who has a state ranking per Scout (#3 in last local poll, 10th statewide), and he’s got to be considered the favorite. He has seven losses, but none are 2A wrestlers at 106, and only one to a 2A wrestler at all. I’d probably put, based on the results, Matanzas’ Rocky Samples second. Wynn and Samples haven’t faced each other yet this year, and that could be an interesting final that sets the tone for the last round of the team race. The waters get murky at this point, mainly because Nease can run out one of three kids at 106. I am thinking the Panthers will send out Dylan Martinson here. Martinson has a win by fall over St. Augustine’s Kristopher Smith, who is the clear 4 in this scenario. Should Nease have Martinson come out at 113, then the likely 106 would be Aaron Mago, based on who’s wrestled more recently, and Smith has a win over Mago in hand. So the order could come down to which Nease 106 is entered. I see Smith as definitely ahead of Ponte Vedra’s John Fox, and Bartram Trail has had no 106 all year.

113 – Life officially becomes really interesting for a person interested in doing projections for this district, starting at this weight. No fewer than three of the six teams can run multiple options here. However, if the rule that every wrestler wants to wrestle down as far as possible is applied, then the favorite is going to be the one state-ranked wrestler in the weight class, St. Augustine sophomore Dustin Vara (last local ranking 4th, 15th statewide). Staying in the lineup during the regular season has been a little bit of an issue, but this is February we’re talking about. I’d put Vara at the top. If everybody plays it straight, I would look at Nease’s Tristen Lucessi (last local ranking 5th) as the runnerup. Vara and Lucessi haven’t met this year, as Lucessi’s three meetings were all against Ralph Hicks (more on him at 120). But. It is possible that Nease could throw out the 106 who isn’t slotted there (either Martinson or Mago) and move Lucessi up to 120. If that happens, I would be looking at Matanzas’ Carter Goodman as the runnerup, or third if Lucessi stays. Any of the rest of the bracket – Bartram Trail’s Kyle Bachman, Creekside’s Josh Cordle, Ponte Vedra’s Tony Giordano or the Nease 106 if Lucessi moves up – could be the fourth. I like Bachman best out of that group, today.

120 – OK, let’s start with what we know. We know Bartram Trail hasn’t had a 120 all season (at least not since late November), so that takes us down to five. Who might be a favorite here? I will take Nease at this weight, leaving aside the question of which Nease will actually be here. It’ll either be Lucessi, mentioned earlier, or Jared Heinrich (last local ranked 5th). They stand out above everyone else in the weight class, either one of them, so pencil in “Nease” as my choice at the top. 2-3 and 4-5 sort of slot together in a group. Right now, I would put in Matanzas and Creekside’s Timothy Allala in the 2-3 group. The Pirates will have either Blane Stefancik or (as they did early in the year) Chad Samples at this weight. No meeting there. I think those two are a step above Ponte Vedra and Ralph Hicks of St. Augustine (assuming that Vara stays at 113; if not, then adjust everybody else at 113 a step up and pencil in “St. Augustine” as my choice at the top here – see what I mean about life being interesting for a guy doing projections?). Ponte Vedra could have James Stanton, Risabh Bhandari or Jairo Hernandez here – all three have seen time at this weight.

126 – Does the uncertainty madness end? No. No, it doesn’t. There’s three wrestlers I like here to move on. That much, I think, I can count on – that those schools will move on at 26. I think the slightest of edges right now probably belongs to Tristan Kraus of Matanzas. Kraus hasn’t faced either Matt Norton of PV or Heinrich/Austin Scott of Nease. Norton has beaten Scott, did so at Terry Parker, and I would have probably looked at Norton as a possible champion if he hadn’t been majored last week by Creekside’s David Tyer. I would have looked at Tyer as a move-on probable; maybe he should be thought of in the finalist conversation as well. Heinrich hasn’t wrestled most of the 26s, but it’s possible he might need to on Saturday depending on that decision at 106/113. Norton should be here, but could also be at 132, with Marshall Frye here at this weight. I’d say that Malik Hicks of St. Augustine faces the most uphill battle getting out on Saturday. That might be the most certain I can be at this weight.

132 – This should be a pretty hard-fought draw. If Scott winds up here at 132, it’ll be a five-to-make-four situation; if not, the four who’ll make it out are pretty set, but not entirely certain as to order just as of yet. As of this minute, I have St. Augustine’s Dayton Gilbert and Matanzas’ Troy Magnuson a cut above Creekside’s Cesar Camacho and Bartram Trail’s Matt McMillan. Scott would really throw a wrinkle in here, but if it winds up with Henry Velasquez, I think Nease struggles to get out. I also think Ponte Vedra, whether it’s Frye or possibly Jackson McIntyre, would struggle. A worst-case scenario for two solid kids – great for the fans though – would be Gilbert, Magnuson, Camacho, McMillan, Scott and Norton all at this weight. All six of them should get to move on. Gilbert and Magnuson are 2-2 against each other and could face off a fifth time Saturday. Camacho barely hung on against McMillan at Bartram Trail duals, winning 3-2. Such a deep weight class.

138 — As of this writing, the third of the five ranked wrestlers is here — Matanzas’ Pedro Nieves — is here, and a solid favorite at the top here (9th statewide). I would look at Creekside’s Ryan Baker as the leading pick for second behind Nieves. Baker had a fantastic December and hit a bit of a lull in early January, but seems to have righted the ship and is back in December form now. This could be another good finals match between Matanzas and Creekside. Nease could put together a solid competitor here, too, between Dalton Koike and Johnny Perez, but Perez wasn’t in the lineup of late and Koike has been. He’s figured some things out since the season began, and now stands a solid chance of getting out. That leaves, with St. Augustine not having a 138 at the moment, either Ponte Vedra (either Frye or more likely McIntyre) or Bartram Trail’s Charlie Miller as the likely fourth. Conor Griffin, who had a nice start to the season at 145, could have helped the Yellow Jackets here (or at 45) but has been out of the lineup since early January.

145 — Even though he’s been out for more than a month, I have no issues with adding Creekside’s Jared Langdo — who was cleared late last week after a broken hand — into the top spot and certainly as a finalist. Langdo started the season ranked early in the year and might have stayed there but for the injury.With one exception (Nease, again), each team has one set wrestler in the lineup, and  I see Langdo taking the top spot in a field with no state-ranked wrestlers. On points, I’ll go with Matanzas’ Nathan Pooler as having a slight edge over the rest of the group, with no clear cut 3 and no clear cut 6. It should make for very entertaining first-round and back-end matches, as evenly-matched wrestlers fight to keep their seasons going. St. Augustine’s Justin Gross, Ponte Vedra’s Zach Gregory, the Nease combo of Perez/Bruce Thigpen/Steven Angle and Bartram Trail’s Andy Plish. Gregory also got off to a slow start, as did Koike at 132/138, but has closed with much better form, and Gross has been solid in the middle for the Yellow Jackets.

152 — You might hope as the weights creep upward that the adjusting would settle itself out, but in 2A-4 that would not be the case, as fully three teams have a pair of guys that they could throw in and go. Though he wasn’t in the lineup for the Sharks at the Orange Park 10-Way Duals, I would look at Ponte Vedra’s Colin Peaks as the favorite at this weight. Peaks, the local #3, has been state-ranked during the course of the year and been solid throughout the season — with a couple of missed appearances. He should be there Saturday. Peaks had a late fall over Matanzas’ Eddy De La Cruz early in the season, and it would be De La Cruz who — I think — is most likely to reach the final with Peaks. Like at 145, I could definitely see the entire group fighting for the remaining two spots. Creekside could throw in either Steven Stanton or Mateo Villa at this weight, with Bartram Trail’s Zach Tillman the likely Bears’ choice. The combo of Stacy Murray and Travis Toole should fill this weight for St. Augustine, with Angle or Thigpen going here for Nease. Truly a tossup when it comes to third and fourth.

160 — Nease’s Tristan Barth gets his first and only shot at a Florida postseason tournament starting this weekend, and the Panther senior (5th locally as of now, 10th statewide) would be considered a iikely if not overwhelming favorite to win here, were it not for one thing. St. Augustine’s Will Rinchiusa — perhaps in an effort to find some good competition — did have one match at this weight at Orange Park, and if Rinchiusa is here he might be more than a match for Barth. I tend to think he won’t be here, but at 170 instead, but one never knows. So if that’s the case, then look for Toole to suit up at 160 for the Yellow Jackets. The runnerup spot might be a strong battle between Ponte Vedra’s Michael Swain and Bartram Trail’s John Wilson — I’d know more about how that would play out if I had their dual, but alas… at any rate, Creekside isn’t going away here, either, as either Willy Lulias or David Cline are also more than capable of making a top-four run as well. It’s possible De La Cruz could be up here, but if not, I’m not sure who will go for Matanzas.

170 — It’d be worth being here for this final, as I would expect, between Rinchiusa, who has been state-ranked during the course of the year, and Matanzas’ Clayton Dennis, who is ranked 6th statewide. The pair have seen each other three times already this season, with Dennis winning the first and third and Rinchiusa winning the middle match. This should be a heckuva final, should both stay as (this writer) believes they probably will. Should everybody play 170 straight, I would expect Creekside’s Dakota Cody to be the third here over Bartram’s Joseph Guthrie, Ponte Vedra’s Frankie Norton and Nease’s Jason Geiger, although if either Swain or Barth is up here (not likely for the latter, possible for the former) that could complicate things. Surely things will start to settle out with just four weights to go. Right?

182 — Somewhat right. Both St. Augustine and Nease could go one of two ways at 182 and 195, as they have a pair of wrestlers (Hunter Collis & Xavier Jones for the Yellow Jackets, Cristian Bennar and Christopher Anderson for the Panthers) who could go at either weight. The other three teams fielding 182s — Ponte Vedra has not had a 182 this year — should be fairly set. I’m thinking that Creekside’s Jeremy Beaulieu should be the favorite at this weight, ahead of both Matanzas’ Jordin Castanheira and Bartram Trail’s Brandon Alexanian, who have been established starters all season. I think you’ll see Beaulieu and Castanheira battling for the title. I’m not exactly sure how St. Augustine and Nease will play these two weights. It will be some interesting strategy, that’s for sure.

195 — Expect the St. Augustine and Nease combos (the other half not at 182) to be here and fighting for one spot to make it out, as Ponte Vedra does not have a 195 and the other three spots look to be well-filled between favorite Maverick Dennis of Matanzas and solid challengers Hayden Good of Bartram Trail and Gus Fischer of Creekside. I would expect Dennis, Good and Fischer to go 1-3, with St. Augustine and Nease battling it out for the fourth spot. I am curious to see if Good — who joined the team late after being part of the Bears’ stellar football run in the fall — can make it to the finals and then perhaps give Dennis a challenge there. He’s been impressive for only getting half a season. Fischer was very solid early on, and hopefully can find that form for the post-season.

220 — At long last, some certainty — maybe. Mostly. As of this writing, there are only four certain competitors that should be competing on Saturday. Bartram Trail hasn’t had a 220 for awhile after only competing in a couple of dual meets earlier in December and January, and St. Augustine hasn’t had a 220 for quite some time, either. Should those situations continue to be the case, the four known wrestlers — Creekside’s Rafael Lopez, Matanzas’ Gregorio Torres, Nease’s Michael Steinhour and Ponte Vedra’s Matt Arnett — won’t have to worry about making it out, but only for seeding purposes. I would see Lopez as the heavy favorite in that event, whether there are four wrestlers or six during the course of the year, with the other three pitching an evenly-matched battle for the remaining seeds.

285 — No combos or uncertainties. Mostly. I would put Creekside’s Cole Eubanks as the heavy favorite to win the weight class. Bartram Trail’s Travis Keller should be the #2 after also joining the team late due to football needs, though the season starter at 285, William Lynch, did make an appearance at the Bears’ duals tournament. Matanzas’ Jessy Moseley looks to be ahead of Ponte Vedra’s Taylor Montroy for third, from the look of the late results.


District brackets

First district contested is tonight, 1A-8 at Astronaut. Am thinking there’ll be at least one Clay representative in attendance to watch that play out. If brackets are on Trackwrestling tonight or tomorrow, they’ll be on the site tomorrow. In full. As will every other district in every other class…all in one place. Next week.

Am through 132 so far in my writeup of 2A-4. It’s really been difficult, because there are so many possibilities at so many weights. Thus far, I can see a lot of bumps up and around and all over.