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Off topic: Week 1 football picks

I can’t do Gainesville-Columbia…I know Gainesville will be ahead 36-29 after 3 quarters…lol. Thanks Twitter. Also know FSDB played tonight. Wolfson is off this week.

Here are the rules: I don’t pick games involving two teams that don’t have wrestling. For now I can only pick the Jax area games…as I don’t have easy peasy access to the south and west schedules yet. Plus I’m under the gun time-wise. Work has been INSANE.

Atlantic Coast at Andrew Jackson — Stingrays big.

St. Augustine at Baker County — Yellow Jackets edge.

Baldwin at Lee — Generals edge.

Bartram Trail at Bishop Kenny — Bears edge.

Duval Charter at Bishop Snyder — Panthers edge. Much leadership to replace.

Hernando at Bolles — Bulldogs decisive.

Suwannee at Bradford — Tornadoes edge.

Sandalwood at Creekside — Saints decisive.

Eagle’s View at Episcopal — Tossup. Edge Eagles….the nickname, not the school name.

Paxon at Englewood — Hard to pick against my 4th boy’s potential future school, but have to. Rams decisive.

Fernandina Beach at Yulee — Hornets edge.

First Coast at Ribault — could be closer than people think for a while. But Buccaneers decisive.

Stanton at Fletcher — another matchup of potential future boy schools…Senators big.

Keystone Heights at West Nassau — Tossup. Warriors edge.

Mandarin at Parker — Mustangs decisive.

Middleburg at Pedro Menendez — Falcons edge. These were hard teams to pick last year.

Ponte Vedra at Nease — Rivalry game. Panthers decisive.

Oakleaf at Westside — First game under the new name. Probably have to wait a week for a win. Knights decisive.

Orange Park at Ridgeview — Raiders edge in a rivalry game.

Palatka at Vanguard — Palatka edge.

Atlantic at Providence — Stallions decisive.

Raines at Ed White — Monster Gateway event. Love the Commander drumline. Tossup. Commanders edge.

Carrollwood Day at University Christian — Christians decisive.

Game of the Week: Clay at Fleming Island — Prelude to The Uncivil War…the Twitter feed has been fun this week. We’ll see if Clay answers my questions…but for now…Tossup. Golden Eagles edge, perhaps a late field goal to win it.

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Adding dates on Friday

That’s going to happen Friday. We’ll get all the dates updates on that page. If you haven’t hit me yet, send me your dates. If you have…patience for just another day, please.

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Duval private & charter coaches 2014-15

Finally, we get to Duval County. A few coaching changes — mostly in the assistant or associate levels, which I am not listing here, because I didn’t for the outer counties — but here’s what I think I know, subject to your feedback…

I am pretty sure, because the new assistant coach told me so, that Kevin Wiley will be returning as head coach for University Christian. We’ll have to have a new provider of stats and results, though, unless they compete in largely the same schedule — I didn’t have too much trouble securing their results last year. (Side note: Everybody should use trackwrestling).

I am also pretty sure that Brian Adkins will be returning to coach at Duval Charter — he’s been organizing off-season events, both wrestling and otherwise. Results were never an issue with the Panthers last season, and I am not thinking they will be this season.

I believe Matt Morris will probably return as the head coach for Bolles. Would like to make sure results are a bit more firmed up in 2014-15. We had most of them, but not all of them, a year ago.

I am guessing, but don’t know for sure, that Paul Schloth will return as the head coach at Bishop Kenny. My stats source is wrapping up college studies, and I’ll see him often enough for sure, but that might not help me with Crusader stats in 2014-15.

I believe Mike Rickey will be returning as head coach at Episcopal. Results were not a problem a year ago, and I don’t think they’ll be a problem again next year.

Lastly, I am guessing but don’t know for sure that Justin Daniels will return at Providence. I know he ran an offseason camp this spring/summer. Results were not the issue for the Stallions a year ago (getting match experience was more of a concern); I think things will be more or less the same next season from a results standpoint.

I know there’ll be a new head coach at Bishop Snyder, and that it is Jeremy Mosley, according to a comment I just read. Powerhouse resume. I know there’ll be several avenues with which to get results next year. Coach Kellum was one of the best about that.

Next up sometime this weekend (we’ll have to see — my father is visiting from Las Vegas) will be the Gateway Conference…

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Clay & Nassau coaches 2014-15

Here’s what I know about Clay and Nassau County wrestling coaches for next season:

I am pretty sure (OK, certain) that Jim Reape will return as Clay’s coach next year and that the pipeline of results should continue as they did last year.

I am pretty sure (OK, certain) that P.J. Cobbert has replaced Travis Cunningham as head coach for Fleming Island and with last year’s University Christian results pipeline now moved to Fleming, I believe results should continue as they did last year (so long as the Keystone results are a little more organized this season — that was the only glitch we had).

I am pretty sure (OK, certain) that Chad Parker will return as Orange Park’s head coach next year and that the pipeline of results should continue as they did last year. We had to work at it a couple of times, but Coach Parker came through even with OP’s far-flung schedule as it was.

I am somewhat sure that Ron Warner will return as Ridgeview’s coach next year. I’m not 100% certain on that. But if so, I’m not worried about results coming through as they did a year ago.

I am also somewhat sure that David Knapp will return as Oakleaf’s coach next year. We did miss out on the Knights’ last event at Seabreeze, but otherwise we had pretty much every Oakleaf result a year ago.

I am somewhat sure that Rick Wetherill will return as Middleburg’s coach next year. I’ve had a couple of Middleburg parents volunteer to serve as results coordinators, and I’m grateful. I know the Bronco fans want full results in 2014-15. Let’s see if that can’t happen.

While we’re on the subject of wanting complete results in 14-15, I’ll switch gears to Nassau County and start with Yulee. I am somewhat sure that Brandon Crowder will return as head coach. Like with Middleburg, I’ve heard some things about results getting to me being better next year. That’s encouraging.

I already know (or I have been told, more accurately) that there’ll be a coaching change at West Nassau, as I’ve been told that Forest Wheeler retired after the 13-14 season. So hopefully I will find out soon as to the new coaches.

I already know there’ll be a coaching change at Fernandina Beach, as Joseph Monaghan announced he was stepping down. What’s a little less clear is who will become the head coach next year. Looks like at least one of the assistants will be returning. We’ll see how the results come out.

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Couple of #NextLevels

I have been alerted to Christian Tejada (Orange Park ’14) wrestling for Newberry (new roster not updated on college’s website) and that Travis Laxton (Suwannee ’10) will be at Coker for his final season while he’s in graduate school. Laxton is not on the Coker episode yet, but I’m told he will be.

That gives me four for-sures in Josh Fox, Robert Parland and now Tejada and hopefully Laxton. Not sure about whether Coll Robertson (Ridgeview ’13) will return to North Central (IL) College. I’d heard a few things in the air about Anthony Hauser (Oakleaf ’14), but nothing concrete…who else will be competing next year?

On a related note, I did hear that Charles Cuthbert (Fleming Island ’14) won the U.S. Naval Academy’s “Plebe Smoker” event at 141 pounds this summer. Cuthbert pinned an Indiana state runnerup to win the event. His graduating class, so I have been told, has 20 state placewinners and one additional qualifier in Thomas Monaghan (Fernandina Beach ’14).

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Everybody’s in school now. I think.

So that’s a good thing. I have a few more coach posts to work on this week. I’ve added the Springstead Invitational brackets to the 13-14 Tournaments category within the History page. Think Palm Coast is going to be right there in the top three mix and with most of their returning region points back and a solid off-season, might be right there with Clay for the 1 spot.

Clay/Nassau post should go out today, perhaps the Duval private school post as well.

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Coaches’ list — Southern

OK, so this is the southern post I promised. Clay and Nassau more likely to be forthcoming on Friday, along with the Duval private schools, with the Duval public schools post coming over the weekend or early next week.

Bartram Trail — Am guessing Ed Snyder will return as head coach; I have not had the occasion to touch base since the season came to an end. I should get all of the Bears’ results for 2014-15, particularly if I can make the Bartram dual tournament this coming year as I’d planned to last year.

Creekside — Am guessing with a high level of certainty that Rick Marabell will return as head coach, as I have had contact on a few occasions over the summer. I have his email address and am fairly confident I will get 2014-15 results.

FSDB — Am guessing George Boyd will return as head coach; I have not had the occasion to touch base since the season came to an end. His assistant, Coach Homewood, has been extremely good about getting results to me, and I would expect that would continue for 2014-15. UPDATE: Coach Boyd at FSDB has moved on to a new position. Travis Homewood is serving as the Dragons’ head coach. As he was the main source for results, I see no reason for that not to continue.

Matanzas — Am guessing John White will return as head coach. I did reach out to him in April and didn’t hear back, but I do have email for him and also his Twitter handle. I expect once the season gets closer, I don’t think there’ll be any issues with getting results. I know he has cross country to think about right now.

Nease — Have already heard that Dustin Ducher is not returning as head coach, so this is one I will need to know.

Palm Coast — Am guessing with a high level of certainty Tom Bartolotta will return as head coach, as I’ve had frequent contact over the summer. I have his email address and am fairly confident I will get 2014-15 results.

Pedro Menendez — Morgan DuFresne let me know shortly after the season ended that he would not be coming back as head coach, as he’s going to medical school. This is another one that I will need to know.

Ponte Vedra — Am guessing Mike Ostlund will return as head coach; I have not had the occasion to touch base since the season came to an end. Coach Ostlund was very good about getting results to me last year, and I expect that

Saint Augustine — Am guessing Josean Gonzalez will return as head coach; I have not had the occasion to touch base since the season came to an end. I have his email address and Twitter handle, and should get 2014-15 results.

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Coaches’ list — Western

OK. I’m going to roll these out in chunks, starting with the outer areas and working my way into Duval. Next one will be a southern list, covering both St Johns and Flagler counties, and the one after that will be Clay & Nassau, then Duval private schools, and lastly Duval public schools.

The FHSAA directory, I’m guessing, may not be available online for a few more weeks yet. Below is a list of schools that I would consider are “western” in terms of my 13-county coverage area, whether I have a coach’s name or not, and if I have that coach’s contact information (or the person who’ll handle results submissions if the coach does not): Please let me know of any changes in these positions. I am only listing head coaches for now. When I say “I am guessing,” I have a pretty fair idea that the coach named is coming back. If I don’t say that, then I don’t know for sure.

Baker County — Head coach last year was Adam Brunner. I have his email and, while it occasionally took some doing in 2013-14, I was able to get results from him. Just need a confirm that he’ll be back.

Bradford — I met Bradford’s coach at districts last year, gave him a card, but I don’t now have a name on hand. Directory last year had the coach’s name as John Kramer. This is one I need; perhaps someone in 1A-District 4 can help me out with contact information, since Bradford is in this district as well.

Buchholz — Head coach I am guessing will be Tom Pankey once again this year. I have (at least) one email address for him and am confident that between Trackwrestling and his own efforts, I’ll get all of their results in 2014-15.

Columbia — Head coach I am guessing will be Kevin Warner once again this year. I have a couple of emails for him. Am confident I’ll get their results in 2014-15.

Eastside — I met a guy who was certainly a faculty member at Eastside last year at Clay and was in the lone region qualifier’s coaches chair, but not sure if he was the coach. 2013-14 directory had Adrian Taylor as the head coach, but I don’t think that was the guy I met at Clay. This is one I need — I might be able to reach out to Clay for some confirmation.

Gainesville — Coach Pankey at Buchholz passed along coach information to me — coach’s name is John Davis, and I have an email address for him. I did reach out to him back in March or April, and haven’t heard anything yet. A couple Gainesville wrestlers follow me on Twitter, so hopefully they’ll help me out and let the coaches know I will need their info.

Interlachen — I was able to track down what I was told was an email address for Interlachen’s head coach last year, but didn’t get a reply after sending an email off in April. 2013-14 directory had Craig Borgus as head coach, which seems to match up with the email I had. This is one I need — same as Eastside, I might be able to get confirmation on this.

Palatka — I don’t have much in the way of any specifics for Palatka. Per the 2013-14 directory, head coach was Josh White a year ago. I have no other details at the present time. This is one I need; am hoping I can get more details.

Suwannee — Head coach I am guessing will be David Laxton once again this year. I have two email addresses, one of those for Coach Laxton, and one for the parent who runs the book — thanks to coach Warner at Columbia. I didn’t hear from either of them, though both have my cards. A little concerned that I’ll get their results as the season rolls out.

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Welp

Looks like I had better plan on learning my Tallahassee geography by late February. Region sites have been posted on the FHSAA website, and @NEFloridaMatmen teams and qualifying wrestlers could be facing some sizable travel in their futures.

Region 1 in Class 3A is going to University High in Orange City. Whereas last year’s region tournament was in centrally-located Palm Coast, Orange City definitely shades more toward the Orlando side of the region, forcing (in particular) District 1 teams — which are all represented by this blog as of this year — to travel even further.

Region 1 in Class 2A is staying where it was in 2013-14, as Tallahassee Chiles will be hosting once again. Given the far-flung nature of this region, I can’t say I’m completely surprised by it. Going to try to either get to Chiles for the finals or the early session on Saturday. That’s going to mean an early drive-time.

Region 1 in Class 1A…I don’t know. I completely understand that when you have teams in the Gulf and the Atlantic competing in the same event, sacrifices have to be made. But…why not have the region tournament in something more centrally-located? Geeze. Two of the four districts in Region 1 are Jacksonville-area districts. That means more than half the region is traveling farther than usual, which makes fantastic sense in an era of budget cuts. Surely Wakulla, as well as it travels everywhere else in northern Florida, should be able to have the wherewithal to put on a region event. Even Suwannee, which hosts the Billy Saylor in January, would be a more logical host. But…we’re going to Godby. Sometime Saturday, we’ll go to Godby. Then we’ll drive home, 3 hours, and only probably then be able to write anything (since I’m guessing, as this is Florida, that there won’t necessarily be wi-fi access at either Chiles or Godby and certainly there won’t be hosts who’ll put up with writers staying for an hour or two after the event ends).

Region 2 in 1A is going back to Clay, and the best part of that is that Clay knows how to host a big wrestling event. Hopefully, I can plan to have that Friday off and spend the whole day out in Green Cove Springs. It’s a special day, that day. Ask me why…on my email, if you want.

District sites have not been determined at the present time. More on that to follow.

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Notes on the offseason

I’ll be writing another post where I note every school in the @NEFloridaMatmen coverage area, the (known) head coach’s name and whether I have his contact information. For obvious reasons, I’m not going to publish their phones or emails on the blog. It’s bad enough that I get random emails wanting me to partner with them in a joint venture — they don’t want them also.

Speaking of partnering, I went to the area meeting for the Florida Amateur Wrestling Association on Saturday. I would have liked to see more coaches there. But the people that were there do care. It’s just such a small number. We have tremendous amounts of athletic talent in the 13 counties I cover, even if not all of them are in the area for FAWA purposes. A lot of that talent is churning all over the northeast (and everywhere else in Florida) trying to make varsity football teams.

There will be cuts, and disappointments. For those programs not already very well-grounded, this is the first place to start looking for talent. There will be kids with some athletic ability left off, and it’s worth every wrestling coach’s time to try to get those kids plugged into their schools — the alternative is far worse.

And one of the next things coaches need to do is getting kids wrestling in the off-season. Look, there’s a reason that Clay and Fleming are 1-2 in the area — and will be again this fall, barring something completely unforeseen. Those kids went out a lot of weekends and worked their tails off.

For everyone else, there just weren’t a lot of local events this summer. Ideally, there should be one every weekend that brings local kids together, or is close enough to get kids to make a short hop. Wrestling isn’t a November-February sport. If it is for you, that may prematurely end your season sooner than you’d like. I saw far too many, far too unhappy seniors whose tournament runs came to an end at districts or regions. I remembered not seeing many of them in the few off-season events I got to in 2013. It’s a simple fact — the more one wrestles, the better one gets.

As for me, I’ll be going to the state meeting in Daytona on the 23rd. I don’t know what I have to bring to the table, but I feel like I should try. I’m not about one program or team, or organization — I am interested in the betterment of ALL Northeast Florida wrestlers. Right now, going to Daytona is the next right thing to do.