3A-District 1 preview capsule

3A-District 1
Team synopsis: A year, it took all that a short-handed Fleming Island team had to forge a tie at Palm Coast with the host Bulldogs. This year, Palm Coast has — on the face of it — more returning talent, with some of the Bulldogs’ best now unencumbered by now-graduated Golden Eagle stars of 2013-14.

Fleming Island is the clear favorite for no worse than second. Like last year, I see Sandalwood, Buchholz and Fletcher all jockeying for position behind the leaders. Sandalwood and Fletcher might be the strongest Gateway Conference 3A reps, but First Coast pushed them hard a year ago. The Gateway teams don’t have a returning state qualifier among them, at least that has wrestled in 3A.

Projected finish: 1. Palm Coast. 2. Fleming Island. 3. Sandalwood. 4. Buchholz. 5. Fletcher. 6. First Coast. 7. Atlantic Coast. 8. Mandarin.

Atlantic Coast Stingrays
Coach: Mike Schmelz, 4th year in position.
2013-14: 7-8 in duals. 4th at Parker Optimist Invite, 13th at Kiwanis Invite, 32nd at GCS Rotary, 4th at Gateway Conference, 5th at 3A-District 1, 22nd at 3A-Region 1.
Returning starters (15+ matches);
Seniors: Ectrus Barber (13-6 at 145 in 13-14); Chris Hoyt (8-10 at 182 in 13-14); Richard Johnson (district 3rd, 11-10 at 285 in 13-14); Nacierre Williams (18-9 at 126 in 13-14).
Juniors: Alex Insixiengmay (3-14 at 138 in 13-14).
NEFLM’s take: Graduation hit the Stingrays hard. Numbers were also a problem at times for AC last year. Will need to keep all their experienced kids in the lineup.

Buchholz Bobcats
Coach: Billy Pankey, 9th year in program.
2013-14: 3rd at 3A-District 1 meet, 11th at 3A-Region 1, T-62nd at 3A states.
Returning starters (15+ matches):
Seniors: Myckel Hutchinson (district champ, 39-8 at 152 in 13-14); Daniel McNeil (district 4th, 37-14 at 126 in 13-14); Anthony Moore (district runnerup, region 4th, 34-12 at 145 in 13-14); Rhett Rutledge (21-19 at 132 in 13-14);
Juniors: Tommy Howell (28-12 at 120 in 13-14).
Sophomores: Paul Harris (19-16 at 113 in 2013-14); Dylan Lewis (6-29 at 195 in 13-14); Gant Moore (district 4th, 30-22 at 106 in 2013-14).
NEFLM’s take: As mentioned on the team rankings page, the #8 Bobcats will need to find some consistent uppers to have the best chance for success.

First Coast Buccaneers
Coach: David Miller, 1st year in position.
2013-14: 15-8 in duals. 6th at Westside Kiwanis Invite, 7th at GCS Rotary, 3rd at Gateway Conference, 6th at 3A-District 1, 23rd at 3A-Region 1.
Returning starters (15+ matches):
Seniors: Leonard Bingham (25-13 at 138 in 13-14); Glaston McKenzie (district champ, 28-7 at 182 in 13-14); Shannon Taylor (15-18 at 126 in 13-14); Jahlan Walker (district runnerup, 30-9 at 195 in 13-14).
Juniors: Scott Dollison (district runnerup, 35-7 at 220 in 13-14); Joshua Rivers (16-15 at 145 in 2013-14); Erik Sirmans (district 3rd, 29-8 at 113 in 13-14)
Sophomores: Darien Holder (7-9 at 152 in 13-14).
NEFLM’s take: Don’t count out the Bucs in the Gateway. This team had a solid January in 2014, once everyone worked into wrestling shape. Could see a couple of state qualifiers this year.

Fleming Island Golden Eagles
Co-coaches: Jeff Jordan, 1st year in tenure (was 1st coach at FIHS when school opened) and PJ Cobbert (2nd year in position)..
2013-14: 7-3 in duals. 1st at SJR Conference, 3rd at Bill Scott (Lyman) Invite, 13th at Osceola Knockout Christmas Classic, 2nd at GCS Rotary, 3rd at Palm Coast Rotary, T-1st at 3A-District 1, 2nd at 3A-Region 1, 7th at 3A states.
Returning starters (15+ matches):
Seniors: Chase Robison (district champ, region 4th, 37-11 at 113 in 13-14); Austin Smenda (11-4 at 182 in 13-14).
Juniors: David Detwiler (district champ, region runnerup, 5th at state, 43-11 at 138 in 13-14); John Martorano (district champ, region 3rd, 37-9 at 145 in 13-14); Xaiver Sampsel (district runnerup, region 3rd, 42-11 at 120 in 13-14).
NEFLM’s take: Fleming started so very quickly in 2013, and injuries took their toll over the course of the year. This year’s group will be younger, but still loaded with talent.

Fletcher Senators
Coach: David Harrison, 1st year in position.
2013-14: 13-9 in duals. 8th at Westside Kiwanis Invite, 15th at GCS Rotary, 1st at Gateway Conference, 4th at 3A-District 1, 14th at 3A-Region 1.
Returning starters (15+ matches):
Seniors: Stefano Devoto (8-11 at 195 in 13-14); William Kohlhaas (district 3rd, 29-13 at 160 in 13-14); Mitchell Lein (district 4th, 15-13 at 113 in 13-14); Jake Loizos (district 3rd, 28-9 at 126 in 13-14); Lucas Lusk (15-18 at 120 in 13-14).
Juniors: Dominick Belew (17-14 at 145 in 13-14).
Sophomores: Trent Dalldorf (5-16 at 106 in 13-14); Julian Fix (2-17 at 195 in 13-14); Reid Odom (6-9 at 220 in 2013-14).
NEFLM’s take: Last year’s leaders are gone, this year’s leaders need to be found quickly. Coach Harrison noted some kids will make some big jumps in 14-15.

Mandarin Mustangs
Coach: John Evans, 2nd year in position.
2013-14: 21-8 in duals. 4th at Bierman Invite, 12th at Kiwanis, 8th at 3A-District 1, T-30th at 3A-Region 1.
Returning starters (15+ matches):
Seniors: Samuel Hernandez (district runnerup, 30-6 at 182 in 13-14); John Perrone (20-11 at 170 in 13-14); Nathan Tomfohrde (15-14 at 138 in 13-14).
Juniors: Derek Elian (11-14 at 145 in 13-14); Joshua Harris (32-6 at 106 in 13-14); Mark Sweat (9-15 at 220 in 13-14); Ian Winton (13-10 at 126 in 13-14).
Sophomores: Andrew Hudgins (6-14 at 152 in 13-14); Chase Mattox (18-18 at 120 in 13-14); Adam Spikes (6-13 at 132 in 13-14).
NEFLM’s take: Mandarin was so very young last year, but it was the younger kids who made the biggest strides. Could help Mustangs move up in 3A-1.

Palm Coast Bulldogs
Coach: Tom Bartolotta, 3rd year in position.
2013-14: 16-0 in duals. 1st at Cougar Invitational, 1st at Springstead Invitational, 5th at Palm Coast Rotary, 1st at Five Star Conference, T-1st at 3A-District 1, 3rd at 3A-Region 1, 20th at 3A states.
Returning starters (15+ matches):
Seniors: Zac Branning (district runnerup, 37-13 at 106 in 13-14); Jake Kosachiner (district runnerup, region runnerup, 3rd at state, 41-6 at 113 in 13-14); Alfred Shavers (district champ, region champ, 41-6 at 120 in 13-14); Jackson Trivett (district runnerup, 35-4 at 152 in 13-14); Jonathan Muniz (district champ, region runnerup, 40-10 at 195 in 13-14); Jakob Dempsey (district runnerup, 10-5 at 285 in 13-14).
Juniors: Evyn Insalaco (district runnerup, 36-10 at 126 in 13-14); Kaz Maia (district runnerup, region runnerup, 39-7 at 132 in 13-14); Tariq Johnson (district 3rd, 19-8 at 138 in 13-14); Eric Rosso (25-9 at 138 in 13-14); Devonte Woods (district 3rd, 18-9 at 170 in 13-14).
NEFLM’s take: This team’s got big goals and has been willing to put in the work to meet those goals, no question about it. Youngsters coming in have the talent to match.

Sandalwood Saints
Coach: Casey Gibson, 2nd year in position.
2013-14: 5-7 in duals. 14th at Ocala Forest Invite, 3rd at Parker Optimist, 12th at Valdosta Tiger Invite, 21st at GCS Rotary, 22nd at Palm Coast Rotary, 2nd at Gateway Conference, 7th at 3A-District 1, T-30th at 3A-Region 1.
Returning starters (15+ matches):
Seniors: Josh Bove (13-12 at 160 in 13-14); Mitchell Pendleton (district 4th, 27-14 at 145 in 13-14).
Juniors: Gary Anderson (district 4th, 12-13 at 220 in 13-14); Alex Barie (24-12 at 113 in 13-14); Blake Delapaz (5-11 at 138 in 13-14); Olugbek Delawar (17-18 at 126 in 13-14); Jaques Hale (district 3rd, 22-14 at 106 in 13-14); Nick Maldonado (4-15 at 182 in 13-14); Hayden Raulerson (district 4th, 15-15 at 120 in 13-14).
Sophomores: Cameron Bell (5-14 at 132 in 13-14).
NEFLM’s take: Adding in transfers with state experience, or at least region experience, is going to help. Expect another big jump from the Saints this year, this time in terms of results as well as last year’s mental improvement.

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