Every Page View Is…

A birthday card for me. We almost broke 3,000 page views on my 49th birthday Friday. And, while I take a short break to tap this out midway through the 182s, I want to let it be known here. Thank you for all the cards.

That said, I spent my birthday writing previews. I’m privileged to go cover a couple of tournaments live today, but I am not going to do any writing, from the Friday night or the Saturday districts, until after church on Sunday. Each district will get its own post, no roundups, and I would invite champion coaches to please email me anything they’d like to be quoted for about their teams’ performances. After I get done, I will add a quick note to this post showing how many words we wrote previewing our eight districts, review the brackets from tonight’s action and then pass out.

18,819 words on your kids were written this week in previewing the eight districts in our coverage area. I have enjoyed serving this community and making even my day be all about your kids. This is a truly special time of year for them, and they should be celebrated.


1A-District 5 Preview

Editor’s Note: Coming out weight-by-weight, bouncing between three different districts.

1A-District 5 preview

When & where: Saturday at Villages High School, The Villages, located nearer the Florida Gulf. I’d use the directions Coach Reape gave out last year…I could post them, but I was told mine were not terribly helpful. I’ll wave my hand toward the southwest and go, “Thataway…forever.”

Team preview: Forthcoming after the individual weight classes are all posted.

Projected competitors by school (with Matmen unofficial records for locals): Dylan Fabiani (Clay, 36-9); Marcellus Metson (Palatka, 12-6); Dalton David (Crystal River); Collin Smith (Trinity Catholic); Kevin Rochon (Villages). No expected wrestlers for Eastside, Interlachen, Dunnellon or North Marion.
Projected finish: 1. Fabiani. 2. David. 3. Metson. 4. Rochon.
The skinny: I don’t expect that Fabiani will face a tough challenge from this group this week. David was third at districts a year ago, and while I think that Metson is good enough to take second, I don’t just want to go all locals at the top. Rochon could be interesting, too, as a possible dark horse for second, since Villages and Crystal River are going to battle for second and third.

Projected competitors by school: Chris Merring (Clay, 26-16); Christian Hamilton (Interlachen, 4-22); Dale Green (Palatka, 4-11); Nicholas Bunts (Crystal River); Austin Bonasota (Villages). No expected wrestlers for Eastside, Dunnellon, North Marion, Trinity Catholic.
Projected finish: 1. Bonasota. 2. Merring. 3. Bunts. 4. Green.
The skinny: Merring (9th locally, 11th statewide) has closed out the regular season really nicely, and it truly would not surprise me if he won this bracket, with a very solid third-place finish at Clay Rotary two weeks ago. Bonasota was a district runnerup at 106 last year, however, going 5-2 against now two-time district champion Andrew Klopman, who is now at Matanzas after winning at 106 for the Blue Devils in 2014.

Projected competitors by school: Cody Taylor (Clay, 23-12); Dean Lowe (Palatka, 20-15); Jesse Stills (Crystal River); Bryce Follett (Dunnellon); Graylen Wilson (Villages). No expected wrestlers for Eastside, Interlachen, North Marion, Trinity Catholic.
Projected finish: 1. Taylor. 2. Follett. 3. Lowe. 4. Stills.
The skinny: Taylor (3rd locally, 10th statewide) has some solid finishes this season in some very difficult competition, not the least of which was a finalist berth at Clay Rotary two weeks ago. The reward for all of that hard work and effort is a day where he can go out and dominate, and I expect that will occur Saturday in this bracket. It would not surprise me if Lowe knocked off Follett and reached the final. Lowe was third a year ago and Follett 2nd, but they didn’t wrestle.

Projected competitors by school: Dale Browning (Clay, 29-7); Cade Mason (Interlachen, 13-19); Shade Ward (Palatka, 20-13); Chance Luckey (Crystal River). No expected wrestlers from Eastside, Dunnellon, North Marion, Trinity Catholic or Villages.
Projected finish: 1. Browning. 2. Ward. 3. Luckey. 4. Mason.
The skinny: Browning (#1 locally, 4th statewide) should polish off the bracket with a pair of falls. That doesn’t take anything away from Ward, who should be far ahead of the rest of the group. I don’t have a lot to go off of with Luckey, who may have to call upon the power of his name to avoid finishing fourth when he meets Mason in the third-place match.

Projected competitors by school: Roy Runnels (Clay, 25-18); Jacquez White (Eastside, 16-6); Logan Diana (Palatka, 5-13); Michael Ciccone (Crystal River), Joshua Stopyra (Villages). No expected wrestlers from Interlachen, Dunnellon, North Marion or Trinity Catholic.
Projected finish: 1. Ciccone. 2. Runnels. 3. White. 4. Diana.
The skinny: Ciccone was a district runnerup last year, and while I’m not convinced that he would necessarily beat Runnels — in fact I would think Runnels’ competitive level that he’s seen this year would help him get to that district title — experience in the post-season does count. White is far ahead of Diana and Stopyra, I would think.

Projected competitors by school: Julian Summa (Clay, 26-13); Travis Webb (Eastside, 18-2); Robert Castaneda (Trinity Catholic). No expected wrestlers from Interlachen, Palatka, Crystal River, Dunnellon, North Marion or Villages.
Projected finish: 1. Summa. 2. Webb. 3. Castaneda.
The skinny: Summa (5th locally, 10th statewide) will have hopefully recovered from the injury sustained at Clay Rotary two weeks ago; if not, the Blue Devils will have a backup plan in place. Webb is perhaps Eastside’s best lighter wrestler and has been in the area’s top 10 during the course of the season.

Projected competitors by school: Connor Green (Clay, 24-19); Robert Taylor (Eastside, 8-10); Joel Pelton (Crystal River), Jacob Mentzer (Trinity Catholic), Ryan Hatcher (Villages). No expected wrestlers from Interlachen, Palatka, Dunnellon, North Marion.
Projected finish: 1. Pelton. 2. Green. 3. Taylor. 4. Mentzer.
The skinny: Pelton went six minutes with 2014 Clay graduate Austin Luke last year, and I should think he’d be favored to win the district this go-round. Green is off to a nice start in the Clay program, and he’s got a shot at 30 wins before the seaon’s out. This will be a good learning experience weekend for him, and he’ll have a shot at a decent region draw at home with a runnerup showing here.

Projected competitors by school: Adam Breindel (Clay, 36-3); Harold Woods (Eastside, 17-12); Brennan Wykoff (Interlachen, 20-11); Lutrell Smith (Palatka, 12-13); Anthony Riggins (Trinity Catholic). No expected wrestlers from Crystal River, Dunnellon, North Marion, Villages.
Projected finish: 1. Breindel. 2. Woods. 3. Wykoff. 4. Smith.
The skinny: I think this will be an all-Matmen contingent making it to Clay, although I could certainly guess that there could be some to a lot of shuffling in play. At least, there could be shuffling between the 2 and the 4 spots, as I don’t think anybody is going to get between Breindel and another district title.

Projected competitors by school: Trevor Larson (Clay, 31-13); Tequavius Smith (Eastside, 17-9); Tristan Cannon (Interlachen, 19-6); Evan Gastelum (Palatka, 11-16); Chance Holland (Crystal River); Tyler Clagett (North Marion); Ronnie Fernandez (Trinity Catholic). No expected wrestlers from Dunnellon, Villages.
Projected finish: 1. Larson. 2. Fernandez. 3. Cannon. 4. Smith.
The skinny: We finally see North Marion enter the district picture, and they have some solid uppers, but the most solid wrestler in this bracket is going to be Larson (7th locally, 5th statewide). I don’t expect him to have a huge challenge on Saturday. Am kind of thinking that Fernandez, Cannon and Smith are all on a similar level, and that probably means the best day is going to win, which in this case means reach the final.

Projected competitors by school: Tristain Sichmeller (Clay, 35-7); Camilo Moraga-Lewy (Eastside, 9-8); Logan Hasting (Interlachen, 18-14); Kedrick Davis (Palatka, 11-9); Jaret Flynn (Crystal River); Willie James (North Marion); Isaiah Stafford (Trinity Catholic). No expected wrestlers from Dunnellon or Villages.
Projected finish: 1. Sichmeller. 2. James. 3. Hasting. 4. Flynn.
The skinny: Last year, Sichmeller (3rd locally, 5th statewide) was a weight class up from this one at 182, and James was at 160, where he finished fourth after losing by fall to Caleb Loyd. I think Sichmeller should be able to control his own destiny fairly well. Hasting is slightly ahead of Flynn and Davis, but I could see Davis in the fourth spot as well.

Projected competitors by school: Jon Whiting (Clay, 38-9); Alandre Abrams (Eastside, 8-18); Lance Hasting (Interlachen, 25-4); Bryan Smith (Palatka, 10-16); Eddie Bennis (Crystal River). No expected wrestlers from Dunnellon, North Marion, Trinity Catholic or Villages.
Projected finish: 1. Whiting. 2. Bennis. 3. Hasting. 4. Smith.
The skinny: It’s the first weight class in the district where someone other than a Clay wrestler has a state ranking. In this case, it’s Bennis (6th statewide) who should be going up against Whiting (3rd locally, 5th statewide). Last year, it was Sichmeller who defeated Bennis in the district final here, and this time Whiting will take his shot at it. Hasting will be far ahead of Smith and Abrams for third, and Smith has a second-period fall in hand against Abrams.

Projected competitors by school: Kaleb Collins (Clay, 29-9); Kenneth Vance (Eastside, 23-7); Jesse Brown (Interlachen, 8-15); Ira Dixon (Palatka, 8-11); Dante Ayala (Crystal River); Josh Packard (Dunnellon). No expected wrestlers from North Marion, Trinity Catholic or Villages.
Projected finish: 1. Collins. 2. Vance. 3. Ayala. 4. Dixon.
The skinny: About all I’m sure of here is that Collins (3rd locally, 6th statewide) and Vance — who dropped down from 220 late in the season for Westside Duals two weeks ago — are the class of the field. It wouldn’t surprise me to see a number of different combinations after that. Vance has been very close to an area top-10 ranking both times this season.

Projected competitors by school: Jeremy Beaulieu (Clay, 26-8); Harrison Meyer (Interlachen, 8-5); Eron Carter (Palatka, 29-7); Thomas Najdek (Crystal River); Andrew Benitez (Dunnellon); Alex Williams (North Marion). No expected wrestlers from Eastside, Trinity Catholic or Villages.
Projected finish: 1. Carter. 2. Beaulieu. 3. Williams. 4. Najdek.
The skinny: Beaulieu (3rd locally, 7th statewide) has been out for some time, while Carter (4th locally, 6th statewide) has been building himself into a statewide podium threat to match Beaulieu. They haven’t met yet this season, they’ll travel a combined total of around 600 miles to do so. Should be a great final. I could see Meyer in the mix to make it out.

Projected competitors by school: Roland Samec (Clay, 30-11); Bernard Vance (Eastside, 5-12); possibly Dallas Vaughn (Interlachen, 19-3); Jared Hendrix (Palatka, 8-9); Phillip Baer (North Marion); John Glenn (Trinity Catholic). No expected wrestlers from Crystal River, Dunnellon or Villages.
Projected finish: 1. Samec. 2. Vaughn. 3. Baer. 4. Glenn.
The skinny: Samec beat Vaughn in the finals of last year’s district tournament, but the interesting development this year is that Vaughn hasn’t been in the lineup after a disqualification against Lee’s Demetris Harris. Perhaps Saturday will be his first day back. Hendrix has an outside shot of making it into the field, but this bracket should be Samec’s, who seems to be getting noticeably better every week.


1A-District 4 Preview

1A-District 4 preview

When & where: Saturday at The Bolles School, Jacksonville. First round starts at 10 a.m., with the finals scheduled for 7 p.m. per the FHSAA website.

Team preview: Forthcoming after the individual weight classes are all posted. Keep in mind: I do not have fully updated records for Providence and Wolfson kids, so the records I post will not be what they actually have).

Projected competitors by school (with Matmen unofficial records): Jack Delaney (Bishop Kenny, 16-7); Josh Bono (Bolles, 4-6); Antonio Urolia (Bradford, 11-5); Daniel Porter (Duval Charter, 31-4); Kyle Hopkins (Episcopal, 12-1); Christian Miranda Reyes (FSDB, 11-15); Limuel Mallari (Pedro Menendez, 16-13); Cameron Wiley (University Christian, 5-13); Quetin O’Berry (Wolfson, 11-6). No expected wrestler from Providence.
Projected finish: 1. Porter. 2. Delaney. 3. Mallari. 4. Hopkins.
The skinny: This is Porter’s weight class to lose, and I don’t see that happening for Porter (5th locally, 12th statewide). He’s taken a few setbacks in bigger events, but they were against battle-tested kids from bigger schools, and they’ll only prepare him for what’s needed if he wants to get to Kissimmee in two weeks. Delaney appears to have a significant edge over Mallari, Hopkins, Urolia and also O’Berry.

Projected competitors by school: Kyle Mayer (Bishop Kenny, 16-12); Dalton Posick (Bolles, 4-4); Dalton Marroletti (Bradford, 2-3); Jack Fagan (Duval Charter, 9-8); Reid Hampton (Episcopal, 16-5); Ty Snow (FSDB, 6-6); possibly Brandon Gardner (Pedro Menendez, 10-8). No expected wrestler from Providence, University Christian or Wolfson).
Projected finish: 1. Mayer. 2. Hampton. 3. Gardner. 4. Fagan.
The skinny: When there’s a lot of room for play in the possible outcomes because there’s no established star like a Porter at 106, I always look to the teams that have year-long starters with the strongest competition in the books. In my book, that’s Bishop Kenny and Mayer. I would have Hampton over Gardner, by a slim margin, but I could be wrong there — particularly if Gardner isn’t competing. If so, then move Fagan up to third and I think I would put Posick in the fourth spot.

Projected competitors by school: Ryan Timmons (Bishop Kenny, 20-9); Bennett Zimmerman (Bolles, 13-13); Jason Griffis (Bradford, 12-4); Andrew Slade (Duval Charter, 26-9); Tayshaun Smith (FSDB, 8-16); Stefan Sladojevic (Pedro Menendez, 8-11); Zack Oakley (University Christian, 1-6). No expected wrestler from Episcopal, Providence or Wolfson.
Projected finish: 1. Griffis. 2. Timmons. 3. Slade. 4. Sladojevic.
The skinny: Griffis (9th locally, 12th statewide) didn’t get a whole lot of mat time, but was solid enough when he was out there. Timmons (8th locally) has had some setbacks after starting the year 10-1, but has a slight edge over Slade (10th locally), I believe. Sladojevic gets the nod for fourth, but Zimmerman is someone to look at as a dark horse. Bolles seems to find a way at districts time.

Projected competitors by school: Nick Toney (Bishop Kenny, 18-4); KJ Fagan (Bolles, 10-9); Shay Boggess (Bradford, 2-3); possibly Hunter Lawson (Duval Charter, 13-10); Connor Evans (Episcopal, 7-12); AJ Rice (FSDB, 20-9); Dominique Bordley (Pedro Menendez, 23-10); Jack Anderson (Providence, 9-22); John Leone (University Christian, 5-11); Charles Kessinger (Wolfson, 12-14).
Projected finish: 1. Toney. 2. Rice. 3. Bordley. 4. Fagan.
The skinny: Hey, a full set of 10 kids! That’ll work! Toney (8th locally at 132, 9th statewide) should be the class of the field here after making the drop and finishing third at 126 at Clay Rotary. I think it could be a strong semi between Rice and Bordley (16th statewide). Rice has had a thing with IBTs; in duals, he’s far stronger. Let’s hope for his sake it changes. Fagan gets the nod for fourth over a still-maybe-hurt Lawson and Evans.

Projected competitors by school: Kyle Black (Bishop Kenny, 12-10); Gray Creed (Bolles, 16-14); Dustin Laricsey (Bradford, 3-12); Sean Bennett (Duval Charter, 3-11); Tyre Singleton (FSDB, 9-15); Derrick Stumph (University Christian, 5-12); Joshua Cade (Wolfson, 2-1). No expected wrestlers from Episcopal, Pedro Menendez or Providence.
Projected finish: 1. Black. 2. Creed. 3. Stumph. 4. Cade.
The skinny: Earlier in the season, Black had a first-period fall over Creed, and that kind of edge is crucial in situations like this, particularly since the Crusaders and Bulldogs will be battling for the team title. Stumph’s resume is better than his record, and I would take Cade with the fourth spot, but if he doesn’t wrestle I’d go with Singleton.

Projected competitors by school: Colin Warren (Bishop Kenny, 10-14); Conner Cronk (Bolles, 23-8); Jesse Burch (Bradford, 6-9); James Allinson (Duval Charter, 6-10); Marcus Maldonado (FSDB, 15-6); David Soule (Pedro Menendez, 3-17); Evan Merry (Providence, 16-12); Reuben Neal (Wolfson, 5-10). No expected wrestlers from Episcopal or University Christian.
Projected finish: 1. Cronk. 2. Maldonado. 3. Merry. 4. Warren.
The skinny: Cronk has flirted with the area top-10 for most of the season, but a bad early loss by fall to Warren has been part of what has kept him out, although he did come back with two decisions. Maldonado’s athleticism and Merry’s strength are both factors in their behalf, as either could also make the final, and it is possible that Warren could find another win. This should be a very competitive bracket.

Projected competitors by school: Sid Madison (Bishop Kenny, 2-5); Josh Calhoun (Bolles, 23-3); Clayton Hicks (Bradford, 10-6); Andrew Duchaussee (Duval Charter, 15-14); Shane Pack (Episcopal, 5-12); Kolton Kimball (FSDB, 6-21); Nicholas DiGregorio (Pedro Menendez, 18-12); John Lee (University Christian, 0-2); Mark Harrington (Wolfson, 10-15). No expected wrestlers from Providence.
Projected finish: 1. Calhoun. 2. DiGregorio. 3. Duchaussee. 4. Hicks.
The skinny: This is Calhoun’s house and it will be his bracket. Calhoun (2nd locally, 3rd statewide) just has too much experience and too much firepower for the rest of the group. I would say that DiGregorio has a lot of separation from the rest of the group. Duchaussee and Hicks are separate enough that they should be able to qualify from this group.

Projected competitors by school: Nick Beenen (Bishop Kenny, 4-7); Michael Surenyan (Bolles, 24-6); Ryan Fishburn (Bradford, 2-13); Ben Fitzpatrick (Duval Charter, 11-6); Alex Fowlin (FSDB, 3-1); Max Worthington (Pedro Menendez, 6-6). No expected wrestlers from Episcopal, Providence, University Christian or Wolfson.
Projected finish: 1. Surenyan. 2. Fitzpatrick. 3. Worthington. 4. Beenen.
The skinny: With Fitzpatrick recently bumped up (I would guess, as he’s too good to not be in the lineup for the Panthers), Surenyan (8th locally, 16th statewide) would still be the overwhelming favorite to win this bracket. I would take Fitzpatrick over Worthington, but it could be a good battle. Beenen gets the nod over Fowlin for fourth — I just don’t have enough history to get a read on Fowlin yet.

Projected competitors by school: Tim Bianco (Bishop Kenny, 11-15); Rushton Roberts (Bolles, 5-14); Ethan Barry (Duval Charter, 4-8); Christian Rickey (Episcopal, 14-6); Wesley Homewood (FSDB, 27-6); Avery Samples (Pedro Menendez, 26-9). No expected wrestlers from Bradford, Providence, University Christian or Wolfson.
Projected finish: 1. Homewood. 2. Samples. 3. Rickey. 4. Bianco.
The skinny: It should be a nice rematch in the final between Homewood (10th locally) and Samples (9th locally, 15th statewide), a match that Homewood won by third-period fall in the regular-season finale for both teams. Both could, should be well-positioned for a run to Kissimmee that starts on Saturday. Rickey is significantly ahead of the rest of the group, and I would put Bianco in the fourth spot.

Projected competitors by school: Bayley Judah (Bishop Kenny, 11-8); Forrest Andrews (Bolles, 9-9); Mike Dinkla (Duval Charter, 3-15); Rodney Padgett (Pedro Menendez, 17-9); Ty Merry (Providence, 22-12); Nassiem Waitley (Wolfson, 4-11). No expected wrestlers from Bradford, Episcopal, FSDB or University Christian.
Projected finish: 1. Merry. 2. Padgett. 3. Judah. 4. Andrews.
The skinny: Merry and Padgett (10th statewide) have met twice this year. Merry won the first time, Padgett won the rematch. Assuming both are at this weight, they will meet in the final and settle it. When they (whoever the nameless “they” are) say a match like this can go either way, this time the “they” are right. Judah has a win in hand over Andrews — albeit in overtime — from earlier in the season.

Projected competitors by school: Paxton Driscoll (Bishop Kenny, 14-10); Brandan Anderson (Pedro Menendez, 15-6); Michael Marshall (University Christian, 7-13); Rafeal Leon (Wolfson, 15-4). No expected wrestlers from Bolles, Bradford, Duval Charter, Episcopal, FSDB or Providence.
Projected finish: 1. Leon. 2. Anderson. 3. Driscoll. 4. Marshall.
The skinny: Leon (10th locally) might be one of the most unknown possible champions out there. He was a Gateway medalist this season, but even I don’t know as much about him as I would like, and how he’ll do with this group is up in the air. It might not surprise me to see any of the top three wind up as champion, but Leon’s had enough wins against wrestlers I’d think are ahead of this group to make me think he’s capable of winning here.

Projected competitors by school: possibly Jack McMorrow (Bishop Kenny, 2-6); Caleb Calhoun (Bolles, 18-12); Andrew Sadler (Bradford, 6-6); Imed Touahri (FSDB, 26-7); Aaron Smith (Providence, 7-6); Deevon Jenkins (Wolfson, 10-6). No expected wrestlers from Duval Charter, Episcopal or Pedro Menendez.
Projected finish: 1. Touahri. 2. Calhoun. 3. Jenkins. 4. Sadler.
The skinny: No area-ranked wrestlers here, although Touahri has often been “11th” many times. This should be the time, finally, that he gets to shine in a post-season event. Calhoun, who has been state-ranked during the course of the year, should be a good test and also should be able to gain some confidence. Jenkins is the next best in the group, and although I have Sadler fourth, I could see Smith there, too.

Projected competitors by school: Josiah McCallum (Bishop Kenny, 6-12); Justin Mitchell (Bolles, 7-13); Eddie McCormick (Bradford, 5-9); Michael Booker (Duval Charter, 10-7); Conor Chepenik (Episcopal, 23-6); Colby Shedd (FSDB, 4-3); Max Cobb (Providence, 27-4); David Trigg (University Christian, 15-9); Ronald Brunson (Wolfson, 1-1). No expected wrestlers from Pedro Menendez.
Projected finish: 1. Cobb. 2. Trigg. 3. Chepenik. 4. Booker.
The skinny: It’s still surprising to me that Cobb (7th locally, 8th statewide) still has yet to face Trigg (8th locally, 10th statewide) or Chepenik, but he does have a second-period fall over Booker. Trigg does have a fall in hand over Chepenik, but hasn’t faced Booker yet. If you’re looking for a wild card, I might take a look at Brunson, who gets to work with one of the best 285s anywhere, every day.

Projected competitors by school: Alexander Condoroteanu-oroveanu (Bishop Kenny, 22-6); Jordan Luke (Bradford, 8-7); Travis Williams (Episcopal, 14-7); DeAngeles Harris (Wolfson, 21-5). No expected wrestlers from Bolles, Duval Charter, FSDB, Pedro Menendez, Providence and University Christian.
Projected finish: 1. Harris. 2. Condoroteanu-oroveanu. 3. Williams. 4. Luke.
The skinny: Harris hasn’t seen a lot of competition outside of Jacksonville yet this year, and he’ll have to wait a week for a heavier dose of it, but he should be in charge of this bracket. `Condor’ is ahead of Williams for the runnerup spot, I should think, but Williams has made a lot of strides this season, and won’t be an easy out at regions.


1A-District 3 preview

1A-District 3 preview

When & where: Saturday at Raines High School. Wrestling is scheduled to begin at 9:30 a.m. with the finals scheduled for 5 p.m.

Team preview: Forthcoming after each weight class is rolled out. Note: Keep in mind that I do not have updated records or full results for Fernandina Beach, Yulee or West Nassau recorded in here (I have the results in hand for the Warriors, just not committed to record form yet).

Projected competitors by school (with Matmen unofficial records): Cole Cushman (Baker County, 15-8); Joseph Haynes (Raines, 22-10); Jake Blount (West Nassau, 9-7); Logan Blaise (Yulee, 2-5). No expected wrestlers from Andrew Jackson, Bishop Snyder, Fernandina Beach, Paxon or Westside.
Projected finish: 1. Haynes. 2. Blount. 3. Cushman. 4. Blaise.
The skinny: Haynes knows how to win in the post-season. The only question was whether he would be able to get down to the weight. He did at Clay Rotary two weeks ago. Should be able to do it again. Blount has a fall in hand over Cushman, so would be my pick to reach the final also. Could maybe see Jordan Arnold of Fernandina here, and if so, I’d look hard at penciling him in for fourth, but he was at 113 at Clay.

Projected competitors by school: Shelbie Martin (Baker County, 11-10); Jordan Arnold (Fernandina Beach, 2-13); Jaquan English (Raines, 31-16); Savanna Pullam (West Nassau, 4-4); Dylan Youmans (Yulee, 19-0). No expected wrestlers from Andrew Jackson, Bishop Snyder, Paxon or Westside.
Projected finish: 1. Youmans. 2. English. 3. Pullam. 4. Martin.
The skinny: Youmans (3rd locally, 14th statewide) and English (10th locally) are far ahead of the rest of the group, and I think Youmans has a decided experience edge between the two. He didn’t get to wrestle in last year’s post-season, and I’m sure that will be some added motivation this year. Most of the match results I have for Youmans were against Nassau wrestlers, so we’ll see how he’ll do against the larger Region 1 pool this week and next. Pullam majored Martin in their one meeting this year.

Projected competitors by school: Zach Bell (Baker County, 16-6); Rafael Charriez (Fernandina Beach, 9-14); Brandon Bostick (West Nassau, 7-13); Blaine Dorsey (Yulee, 17-6). No expected wrestlers from Andrew Jackson, Bishop Snyder, Paxon, Raines or Westside.
Projected finish: 1. Dorsey. 2. Bostick. 3. Charriez. 4. Bell.
The skinny: Dorsey has the edge in this bracket. Bostick has two pins over Charriez and a pin over Bell in hand. What does that have to do with how Dorsey will fare against them? Well, by the oft-lamented but just as oft-true Wrestling Transitive Property, Dorsey has a first-period fall over Bostick. I believe Charriez’s experience is the difference for third.

Projected competitors by school: Shawn Martin (Baker County, 11-13); Brenden Bizier (Bishop Snyder, 18-12); Christian Crews (Fernandina Beach, 9-14); Ryan Ochoa (Paxon, 14-6); William Tharpe (West Nassau, 12-12); Delmontae Davis (Westside, 16-10); John Parker (Yulee, 20-8). No expected wrestlers from Andrew Jackson or Raines.
Projected finish: 1. Parker. 2. Bizier. 3. Davis. 4. Tharpe.
The skinny: Parker has closed fast this season, winning 11 of his last 12 matches at least that Matmen has received. While Parker and Bizier haven’t wrestled this year, Parker does have pins over Davis and Tharpe already in hand. Bizier slots in here mainly because of the Cardinals’ level of competition that they’ve faced. It should stand him in good stead to reach the final. I’d maybe look at Ochoa as a possible dark horse.

Projected competitors by school: Devon Cole/Brandon Harvey (Baker County, 2-1/22-1); Aldwin Pontejos (Paxon, 11-6); Daisan Biffle (Raines, 14-8); Jacob Boyd (Westside, 12-8); Zackary Watson (Yulee, 4-13). No expected wrestlers from Andrew Jackson, Bishop Snyder, Fernandina Beach, West Nassau.
Projected finish 1 (with Cole): 1. Biffle. 2. Boyd. 3. Pontejos. 4. Watson.
Projected finish 2 (with Harvey): 1. Harvey. 2. Biffle. 3. Boyd. 4. Pontejos.
The skinny: It comes down to whether Harvey (10th locally, 14th statewide) is at this weight class or at 138. Recently, Harvey has spent more time at 138 after opening the year at his lowest weight possible. Biffle has been away for awhile, but returned for Clay Rotary and he has enough talent to make a deep run at regions. I would give him the edge over Boyd, who should be ahead of the rest of the group.

Projected competitors by school: Cole/Harvey (Baker County); Tony Escalante (Bishop Snyder, 12-16); Jade Welsh (Fernandina Beach, 17-7); Darius Veals (Paxon, 5-13); Keyvonta Broadwater (Westside, 6-12); Phoenix Mikell (Yulee, 13-14). No expected wrestlers from Andrew Jackson, Raines or West Nassau.
Projected finish 1 (with Harvey): 1. Harvey. 2. Welsh. 3. Mikell. 4. Escalante.
Projected finish 2 (with Cole): 1. Welsh. 2. Mikell. 3. Escalante. 4. Broadwater.
The skinny: Again, depends on whether Harvey is in this weight class or down at 132. Welsh is the best of the group that is for sure in the weight class, as he has a win by fall over Mikell.

Projected competitors by school: possibly Thomas Harrell (Baker County, 13-3); Joseph Helm (Fernandina Beach, 17-5); Garen Mauney/Torry Williams (Paxon, 12-2/14-4); Demonta Bell (Raines, 43-12); Caleb Gibbs (Westside, 7-11); Dakota Everetts (Yulee, 20-3). No expected wrestlers from Andrew Jackson, Bishop Snyder or West Nassau.
Projected finish: 1. Bell. 2. Helm. 3. Everetts. 4. Paxon.
The skinny: This will be a fun matchup, pitting power and athleticism versus tactics and technique if Bell and Helm reach the final. Both are wrestlers that could be state qualifiers. Bell has had an incredible number of matches this season — he should break 60 before it’s all said and done. I think Everetts is probably ahead of whoever Paxon sends out, but the Golden Eagles have some athleticism either way.

Projected competitors by school: Caleb Griffin (Baker County, 3-4); Jacob Andreoli (Bishop Snyder, 11-25); Anthony Dukes (Paxon, 12-3); Daniel Hill (West Nassau, 6-15); Jordan Frank (Yulee, 12-5). No expected wrestlers from Andrew Jackson, Fernandina Beach, Raines or Westside.
Projected finish: 1. Dukes. 2. Frank. 3. Andreoli. 4. Hill.
The skinny: This might be an interesting bracket. I would like to see it break down this way and see Dukes get a shot at a district title. He’s been so close to a high level of success; it just hasn’t happened yet. Frank, however, is capable of taking the win as well.

Projected competitors by school: Jake Koburger (Baker County, 8-10); Jesse Henn (Fernandina Beach, 7-8); Chance Terrell (West Nassau, 5-7); Calvin Altman (Westside, 8-11); Daniel Beverly (Yulee, 21-3). No expected wrestlers from Andrew Jackson, Bishop Snyder, Paxon or Raines.
Projected finish: 1. Beverly. 2. Henn. 3. Terrell. 4. Koburger.
The skinny: Beverly (6th locally, 14th statewide) is going to dominate everyone in this bracket. I would expect two pins, or possibly a tech somewhere in the day. He just strings moves together far too quickly for this group, which can’t match his experience or motor. Henn has a pin over Terrell, who I think is ahead of Koburger and Altman.

Projected competitors by school: Blake Dicks (Baker County, 11-13); Nathan Cleland (Bishop Snyder, 34-5); Mike Evans (Fernandina Beach, 0-8); Jacob Loveland (Paxon, 3-10); Jeremiah Prince (Raines, 17-13); Michael Dudzinski (West Nassau, 18-2); Christian Wilkerson (Westside, 11-7); Steven Magalski (Yulee, 3-7). No expected wrestlers from Andrew Jackson.
Projected finish: 1. Dudzinski. 2. Cleland. 3. Prince. 4. Wilkerson.
The skinny: I don’t know how much time it’s taken to prepare for a potential next step in playing college football for Dudzinski (#2 locally, 6th statewide), but all the goals are still there for at minimum a state podium finish. Having a truly tough customer like Cleland (T-5th locally, 9th statewide), himself a Kissimmee podium threat, is a great way to get things started. Prince and Wilkerson are ahead of the rest of the group and should be able to move on.

Projected competitors by school: Anthony Johnson (Baker County, 11-8); Justin Arnold (Fernandina Beach, 7-12); Damontric Green/Jeremy Sinclair (Paxon, 4-4/7-6); Daiquan Buford (Raines, 6-8); Daniel Boylan (West Nassau, 5-11); Malik Brown (Westside, 12-6); RJ Adams (Yulee, 15-3). No expected wrestlers from Andrew Jackson or Bishop Snyder.
Projected finish: 1. Adams. 2. Brown. 3. Buford. 4. Johnson.
The skinny: This looks like it will be another Yulee bracket that the Hornets can dominate, and, indeed, with the possible exception of Brown, Adams is far ahead of the rest of the district at this weight. He’ll have some chances for revenge next week, but this week is all about adding another bracket to the Hornets’ hoard. Brown dropped to 182 after wrestling last year and most of this year at 195, and he should be the other finalist. After that, Buford has seen the most different kinds of situations, with all the traveling the Vikings have done this season.

Projected competitors by school: Sean Mulkey (Baker County, 21-3); Nick Cleland (Bishop Snyder, 32-9); Brad Lucas (Fernandina Beach, 17-6); Tyrann Baxter (Raines, 22-10); JohnOwen Evans (West Nassau, 5-11); Richard Murray (Westside, 3-15); Trevor Ford (Yulee, 10-6). No expected wrestlers from Andrew Jackson or Paxon.
Projected finish: 1. Cleland. 2. Lucas. 3. Mulkey. 4. Baxter.
The skinny: Top-to-bottom, this might be one of the best groups of qualifiers coming out of District 3, led by Cleland (7th locally, 12th statewide). Cleland has a win in hand over Lucas (10th locally), 9-3. Mulkey has been area-ranked during the course of this season and Baxter has been close. Yulee’s Ford might be a solid fourth, maybe a third, in some weight classes, but here he could possibly be the odd wrestler out.

Projected competitors by school: Corey Paine (Baker County, 12-11); Christian Tam (Paxon, 1-2); Jermaine Oliver (Raines, 18-4); Jackson Moyle (West Nassau, 20-6); Tyler Gathright (Westside, 13-6); Zach Walker (Yulee, 6-6). No expected wrestlers from Andrew Jackson, Bishop Snyder or Fernandina Beach.
Projected finish: 1. Oliver. 2. Moyle. 3. Gathright. 4. Walker.
The skinny: I’m not sure how long Oliver (9th statewide) will be in competition in the post-season (I’ve heard things about a senior cruise at some point in March), but if he’s here and weighs in, pencil him in as the favorite. In my mind, there’s no doubting that Moyle (9th locally) will be no lower than second, possibly a champion. Moyle almost beat Gathright’s teammate, 285-pound Tariq Hookfin, while giving up a lot of weight, so I think he’ll be ahead of Gathright. It wouldn’t necessarily surprise me, either, if Paine wound up fourth. But here’s the biggest question: what happens if Jackson’s Rashad McClain shows up and weighs in? He’s certainly capable of qualifying out. Even with a long layover, he would give Moyle problems, even if he couldn’t hang with Oliver. Very interesting to see if McClain and 285-pound Travaris Shanks show up.

Projected competitors by school: Jestin Canterbury (Baker County, 2-2); Tariq Hookfin (Westside, 11-11); McKenzie Lewis (Yulee, 4-5). No expected wrestlers from Andrew Jackson, Bishop Snyder, Fernandina Beach, Paxon, Raines or West Nassau.
Projected finish: 1. Hookfin. 2. Lewis. 3. Canterbury.
The skinny: With just three wrestlers, I’m almost left wondering if someone will move up, like Moyle, most particularly. Yes, he’d have to then go through regions at 285, but being a district champion might be worth that. Or might Shanks show up for Andrew Jackson? He would be good enough to win this weight class. Based on who is expected to show, Hookfin is the class of the bracket.


3A-District 1 preview

3A-District 1 preview

When & where: Saturday at Flagler Palm Coast High School. Wrestling starts at 10 a.m., per the FHSAA website finals are scheduled for 6 p.m.

Directions: From Jacksonville, take I-95 southbound to exit 284 for Florida 100(Bunnell/Flagler Beach/Old 91). Turn right on to Florida 100 westbound, which is East Moody Boulevard. Proceed 1.4 miles, the school is on the right-hand side of the road off Highway 100.

Team preview: Everyone in north and central Florida spent the entire season trying to run down the #1 Bulldogs, without success, and I think Saturday is going to be more of the same. The question is not if Palm Coast will win the district title, the question is how many brackets will the Bulldogs walk away with (I set the over/under at seven, and I took the over) and how large will the margin of victory be? Find out with the individual summaries at each weight. I’d look at #1 Palm Coast as the overwhelming favorite for first, #3 Fleming Island as the solid choice for second, but certainly #9 Sandalwood and #10 Buchholz have made up a sizable amount of ground against the Golden Eagles. Fletcher, Mandarin and First Coast should be contending for team spaces 5-7, and I thought Atlantic Coast had the possibility of being in that mix, too, but it seems like the season kind of wore on the Stingrays. Note that my unofficial records are just that, unofficial, and not all of them are 100% complete. I am missing one dual for Mandarin.

Projected competitors in school order (with unoffficial Matmen records) — Marco Hunter (Atlantic Coast, 11-21), Leon Cruz (First Coast, 20-20), Albie Snedaker (Fleming Island, 12-8), Trent Dallldorf (Fletcher, 26-12), James Knox (Mandarin, 17-8), Zac Branning (Palm Coast, 38-3), Alex Barie (Sandalwood, 26-10). No 106 for Buchholz.
Projected finish: 1. Branning. 2. Barie. 3. Dalldorf. 4. Snedaker.
The skinny: With 30 match wins in a row, Branning (3rd locally, 10th statewide) has been on fire after, by comparison, a slow start to the season. Since losing to Riverdale’s James Monos at Lyman back in late December, not only has Branning not lost, he hasn’t even been pushed all that hard. He’s got pins in hand against Cruz, Hunter, Snedaker and Dalldorf. He hasn’t seen Barie (6th locally) yet, only because Palm Coast and Sandalwood just haven’t crossed paths all that often this season. Among the rest of the group, Barie holds the upper hand, with a major decision in hand against Dalldorf, who’s been area-ranked during the course of the season, and quick falls over Knox and Hunter. Dalldorf did lose to Snedaker during the regular season, 8-6, but I feel his tournament experience will become useful this weekend. I would have liked to see where Snedaker would be if he’d had a full season this year, as he didn’t appear in the Golden Eagles’ varsity lineup until Uncivil Part I. I would give him the nod over Knox, at this point, but Knox has proven himself capable and would certainly be a quality dark horse candidate for a top-four slot.

Projected competitors in school order — Andrique Broughton (Buchholz, 24-17), Chase Robison (Fleming Island, 18-3), Brandon Cuevas (Fletcher, 19-11), probably Chase Mattox (Mandarin, 19-5), Avery Holder (Palm Coast, 36-7), Jacques Hale (Sandalwood, 22-10).
Projected finish: 1. Robison. 2. Holder. 3. Hale. 4. Mattox.
The skinny: The big question will be how the long layoff of six weeks has affected Robison (1st locally, 4th statewide), who returns to the Fleming lineup for the first time since Uncivil Part I. Robison’s only losses to this year are to wrestlers directly ahead of him in the rankings — South Dade’s Olson Delisca (and Robison has, in turn, a win over him) and Southridge’s Christian Delgado. I’m thinking that knowing it’s his last shot at the top of the podium ought to be all the incentive he’ll need to go out and take care of business over the next couple of weeks or so. In a way, the matchup he’ll have with Palm Coast’s Holder in the final — and I am not sure anyone else can get to that final — is going to be a passing of the torch of sorts, in that Holder (T-4th locally) is close enough to him to make things interesting. It won’t be a walkover to the district title for Robison, as his earlier district wins were as a freshman and sophomore. I think Holder has the upper hand over Sandalwood’s Hale, who has also gone six minutes with Robison and held him to a straight decision, although Robison controlled the pace throughout the match. Hale’s a two-time Gateway Conference champion, though, and is just as capable of competing in big matches. I’m really not sure what weight Mattox is going to go at, as he’s shown some effectiveness and gotten some quality wins when he’s bumped up in weight. Plus there’s the possibility of Broughton being a dark horse for the top four.

Projected competitors in school order: possibly Aubrey Wilson (Atlantic Coast, 7-4); Gant Moore (Buchholz, 31-14); Erik Sirmans (First Coast, 44-3); Xaiver Sampsel (Fleming Island, 34-8); Lucas Lusk (Fletcher, 5-9); Luis Colbert-Santana (Mandarin, 12-11); Alfred Shavers (Palm Coast, 38-1); Cameron Vogel (Sandalwood, 4-15).
Projected finish: 1. Shavers. 2. Sampsel. 3. Moore. 4. Sirmans.
The skinny: Shavers (#1 locally and statewide) showed he had the chops to win a state championship when he knocked off 3A defending champion Brandon Staley of Winter Springs earlier in the season, avenging an earlier loss, and the path to that state championship starts this weekend at home. To boot, the 120 bracket should offer Shavers some real tests right from the beginning of the venture, and that should only prove helpful. With a podium threat right in the backyard in Fleming’s Sampsel (#2 locally, 5th statewide), there’s no time to go slack. Shavers beat Sampsel 3-1 in their earlier matchup, and I wouldn’t expect anything but a similar type of matchup when they meet in the finals here. meanwhile, Sampsel takes another step forward in his development. He’s proven he can hang with the state’s best, and nobody ought to scare him now. In Moore (4th locally) and Sirmans (6th locally), there’s quality depth in the bracket. It’s not often that you’ll see a wrestler with 45+ wins projected to finish fourth in a bracket outside of state, but that’s how good this weight class in this district is. Despite the disparities in records, I think Moore would have the upper hand in the third-place match. With all of the firepower in the top four, I don’t think there’s much of a chance for a darkhorse in this bracket.

Projected competitors in school order: Nacierre Williams (Atlantic Coast, 21-8); Tommy Howell (Buchholz, 28-8); Joshua Davis (First Coast, 33-8); Tracy Davis (Fleming Island, 34-12); Oren Punnett (Fletcher, 9-11); Tanner Brown (Mandarin, 23-10); Michael DeAugustino (Palm Coast, 37-7); Hayden Raulerson/Olugbek Delawar (Sandalwood, 20-13/15-9).
Projected finish: 1. DeAugustino. 2. T. Davis. 3. Howell. 4. Sandalwood.
The skinny: On the other hand, this bracket might have some chances for dark horses to emerge, particularly outside of the final anyway, where I would project a rematch between DeAugustino (currently 5th locally, 7th statewide) and Tracy Davis (4th locally, 12th statewide). Davis got the first win between the pair, but DeAugustino found a way to avenge that earlier loss. Against solid, experienced wrestlers, it’s been DeAugustino who shows a patience beyond his years as a freshman wrestler, and that patience should pay off for him on Saturday. He has wins in hand over Joshua Davis and Williams, and I think he’s going to be able to make his way to the top of the podium here. Tracy Davis has the edge over Howell (7th locally), with a 12-7 decision in hand over the Buchholz wrestler, and Davis also should have the upper hand over the rest of the field as well. Of the non-state ranked wrestlers, Howell should be the best of the rest of the competing group, although there are a lot of possibilities out there, as the Sandalwood representative will have seen bigger competition, and Williams, Joshua Davis and Brown also have put together good resumes. With potentially seven wrestlers having 20+ wins coming into the day, there will be several kids leaving the Palm Coast area disappointed Saturday night.

Projected competitors in school order: possibly Julian Rowe (Atlantic Coast, 2-19); Daniel McNeil (Buchholz, 29-5); Shannon Taylor (First Coast, 23-9); Brysen Allen (Fleming Island, 28-8); Jake Loizos (Fletcher, 9-2); Jacob Cunningham (Mandarin, 9-11); Evyn Insalaco (Palm Coast, 39-4); Cameron Bell (Sandalwood, 15-7).
Projected finish: 1. Insalaco. 2. McNeil. 3. Allen. 4. Loizos.
The skinny: While there is definitely some very solid talent in this weight class (four of the area’s top-five kids in this weight should move on), the solidest in the bracket is definitely Insalaco (#1 locally, #4 statewide), who’s got a major in hand over McNeil (3rd locally, 15th statewide) and a fall over Allen (4th locally). Insalaco has won 18 straight matches since losing by major to 3A #2 Grant Aronoff of St. Thomas Aquinas, and has been impressive throughout the year. I look for McNeil to make the final, though there could be the potential for some really solid semifinals, since McNeil and Allen had a 4-2 match at Lyman, with McNeil coming out on top, and Loizos — assuming most likely that he’ll be the Senators’ rep at this weight — is a four-time Gateway Conference champion. That will make it very difficult for otherwise-potential dark horses like Taylor and Bell, who’ll have a couple more shots at this, to advance out. Because he’s had so few matches this season, Loizos is the wildcard of the group. It wouldn’t surprise if he was anywhere from second to fourth, but given that he had only one contested match at Flagler Duals, as well as a pair of forfeits, and nothing else since Gateway, it might not surprise if he didn’t wrestle.

Projected competitors in school order: Alex Insixiengmay (Atlantic Coast, 8-16); Rhett Rutledge (Buchholz, 25-16); Leonard Bingham (First Coast, 38-5); David Detwiler (Fleming Island, 30-4); Nick Hobday (Fletcher, 26-8); Derek Elian/Nathan Tomfohrde (Mandarin, 12-6/18-10); Tariq Johnson (Palm Coast, 28-11); Blake Delapaz (Sandalwood, 20-15).
Projected finish: 1. Detwiler. 2. Johnson. 3. Hobday. 4. Bingham.
The skinny: Have to go with Detwiler (2nd locally, 4th statewide) as the favorite. Since entering the lineup in mid-December, Detwiler has not lost since falling by decision to 2A’s top-ranked Julian Ramirez of Belen Jesuit at Flagler Duals last month. Included in that run of 15 straight decfsions was a 16-6 major over Johnson (4th locally and 13th statewide), as well as a host of other strong wins at the St Johns River Conference tournament. Detwiler has convincing victories over Hobday and Bingham as well, with both of those being falls, and a tech over Delapaz. Right now, I would go with Johnson as the favorite for the runnerup spot, though Hobday did push Johnson to the brink at Flagler Duals before falling 11-9. Hobday should have some daylight between himself and Bingham for third, and Bingham has an equal amount of daylight over Rutledge, Delapaz and Marin’s 138 representative for fourth place and the move into the region tournament. It’s a very solid group of 138s that go out of this district, and lots of quality up and down the bracket.

Projected competitors in school order: Ectrus Barber (Atlantic Coast, 20-10); Anthony Moore (Buchholz, 35-14); Joshua Rivers (First Coast, 30-10); Anthony Petrelli (Fleming Island, 34-7); Mickey Coxon (Fletcher, 21-12); Camilo Calderon (Mandarin, 11-9); Kaz Maia (Palm Coast, 39-2); Joshua Bove (Sandalwood, 18-11).
Projected finish: 1. Maia. 2. Petrelli. 3. Moore. 4. Bove.
The skinny: Maia (1st locally, fifth statewide) has just two losses on the season. One was by one point at the Cypress Bay Duals, and the other was by fall at home against Petrelli, who’s got a way of putting together quick pin combinations to open the second or third periods. It will be interesting to see how the rematch goes. I would guess it would not end in a quick fall, but if anybody can take down Maia in this bracket, it would be Petrelli (3rd locally, 8th statewide). After understudying behind 2014 graduates Evan McCall and Charles Cuthbert for three years, Petrelli stepped into the spotlight, showing himself as one of the Golden Eagles’ best at any weight. Too, Petrelli is on a roll after two losses by fall at Palm Coast Rotary. Petrelli has won 17 straight since that tournament in early January, with all but two of those wins of a bonus-point nature. Next in the group after Maia and Petrelli should be Moore, who went 3-0 with Petrelli. In a solid group of Gateway kids, I would lean toward the Gateway champion, Bove, for the fourth spot, but it wouldn’t surprise me if Barber, Coxon or Rivers wound up getting out. All are certainly capable of stringing together enough day to make it happen.

Projected competitors in school order: Tywaine Rocheburn (Atlantic Coast, 7-13); Myckel Hutchinson (Buchholz, 35-6); Jason Rogers (First Coast, 19-14); Gabe Lear (Fleming Island, 17-11); Dominick Belew (Fletcher, 21-12); Adam Spikes (Mandarin, 12-5); Eric Rosso (Palm Coast, 32-13); Mitchell Pendleton (Sandalwood, 15-8).
Projected finish: 1. Hutchinson. 2. Rosso. 3. Pendleton. 4. Lear.
The skinny: I would have pegged Hutchinson (2nd locally, 5th statewide) as the favorite to win the bracket even before he put together some of the wins he’s had this year, but beating a defending state champion gave Hutchinson not only area, but also state, cred. Wins over Folkner, Winter Springs’ Max Wohlabaugh (two of those) and Lyman’s Jaryd Semrad have propelled Hutchinson into the state’s elite group in the weight class. However, he hasn’t seen the other stronger 152s, and Rosso (6th locally), in particular, will be gunning for him. Rosso has a lot of losses on his record, but most of them came in the first half of the year, and more recently he’s won 19 of his last 21. That should be a good final, if it comes off, because both are pretty solid attackers, but it also might not, if Pendleton (7th locally) puts together a strong run and catapults himself into the final. I think it would be difficult for Pendleton to overcome Hutchinson, but a Pendleton-Rosso semi would be a very good match to watch. I think Lear has the edge over Belew and Rogers for the fourth spot. Lear beat Belew, 10-4, during the course of the season, and he also has a first-period fall in hand over Rogers.

Projected competitors in school order: Clay Jones (Atlantic Coast, 17-9); Erik Kverneland (Buchholz, 22-16); Isaiah Smith (First Coast, 11-9); John Martorano (Fleming Island, 35-5); Owen Beining (Fletcher, 17-10); Mark Barreca/Josh Shiver (Mandarin, 9-6/2-0); Jake Trivett (Palm Coast, 38-0); Daniel Folkner (Sandalwood, 24-6).
Projected finish: 1. Trivett. 2. Martorano. 3. Folkner. 4. Mandarin
The skinny: We start with this: whatever bracket Trivett (1st locally, a surprising 6th statewide) goes — be it 160 or 170 — it’s his district to lose. We’ve been hoping to see the Trivett vs. Martorano (2nd locally, 8th statewide) match all season and it can finally happen with them both in the same bracket. For lack of a better term, Trivett appears to be on a mission for the top of the state podium and domination everywhere else along the way. Which, quite honestly, not enough kids are adopting as a mindset. He’s not had many matches go six minutes without at least one bonus point, and while Martorano has the skills to score himself, it will be an interesting sight to see how Martorano can try to slow down Trivett’s motor. It will not be an easy task. Should Folkner (3rd locally, 8th statewide at 170) also be here at this weight, and maybe he won’t be if Scout is right, somebody — probably Martorano — would have to overcome him in the semis. I don’t know if it would be as easy as it was in December. Folkner’s confidence appears to be all the way back after making the transition from 1A to 3A. If you like dark horses, this bracket’s full of them. Mandarin’s 160 — whoever it will be — is certainly one. Jones is another, Kverneland another and Beining another. I could say, and be perfectly content with the statement, that any one of the wrestlers not listed here in the top three could grab that fourth spot and make it their own. Third, too, if Folkner or Trivett aren’t here.

Projected competitors in school order: Chris Hoyt (Atlantic Coast, 20-13); Gerald Rushing (Buchholz, 14-18); Darien Holder (First Coast, 22-13); Ryan Smenda (Fleming Island, 30-16); William Kohlhaas (Fletcher, 28-8); John Perrone (Mandarin, 28-6); Steve Canidate (Palm Coast, 17-10); Dillon Morency (Sandalwood, 11-17).
Projected finish: 1. Kohlhaas. 2. Smenda. 3. Perrone. 4. Canidate.
The skinny: As I think Trivett will wind up at 160, that will open some doors up in this bracket, and I think Kohlhaas (T-5th locally, 10th statewide) is best-poised to go through them as the top choice and finally adding a district title to go along with his three Gateway titles. However, it won’t be won in quite so dominant a fashion as the Gateway has, because Smenda (7th locally) gave Kohlhaas quite a test before falling, 5-4, at the Flagler Duals. Along with Creekside’s Brandon Dickman, Smenda has served notice that he’s one of the area’s best middle-to-upperweight freshmen going out there, and the rematch in the finals — should it come off — would be a very competitive rematch indeed. There’s a gap between Kohlhaas/Smenda and Perrone, but there should be, also, enough of a gap between Perrone and the rest of the field that third is a solid possibility. Don’t be surprised by Canidate (9th locally at 182), though, as he’s beaten some region-level wrestlers throughout the year. Holder and Hoyt are darkhorse candidates to move on. The last thought on 170 would be this: Should Trivett choose to go 170, it will be hard for anyone to stop him from dominating this bracket. If Folkner is here, it will be a fun match to watch between Folkner and Kohlhaas.

Projected competitors in school order: Kurk Jackson (Atlantic Coast, 15-20); Dylan Lewis (Buchholz, 12-19); Glaston McKenzie (First Coast, 30-3); Jalyn Robinson (Fleming Island, 12-12); Mason McKenzie (Fletcher, 12-14); Samuel Hernandez (Mandarin, 35-3); Jonathan Muniz (Palm Coast, 37-8); Dominick Maldonado (Sandalwood, 10-14).
Projected finish: 1. Muniz. 2. Hernandez. 3. McKenzie. 4. Robinson.
The skinny: If Muniz (5th locally at 195, 11th statewide at this weight) holds his drop and doesn’t go back up to 195, he’ll be the favorite on the premise that he’s brought much more offense, which will be tough for the tacticians, Hernandez (#1 locally) and McKenzie (#2 locally), to counter. Muniz has more losses, but six of his eight were at 195, and the two at 182 were against the likely 3A favorite statewide at this weight (Manatee’s Jesse Fulk), as well as the region’s best (Parks Moore of University ORange City). Hernandez and McKenzie are always fun to watch, but they’ll need to open up in order to have the best chance of getting to Kissimmee in two weeks. It would look like, potentially, that Hernandez and McKenzie could meet in the semis for their fourth matchup of the season, with Hernandez holding a 2-1 advantage with wins in the first and third meetings (the third being the Gateway final at this weight). Robinson stands out above the rest of the group, having seen the strongest competition, and should be able to qualify out as the fourth.

Projected competitors in school order: Norek Stepanyan (Atlantic Coast, 20-13); Aaron Menden (Buchholz, 1-10); Jahlan Walker (First Coast, 36-1); Austin Smenda (Fleming Island, 14-5); Bryce Bednarski (Fletcher, 9-16); Mateo Drury (Mandarin, 18-12); Robert St. Pierre (Palm Coast, 6-7); Matthew Morency (Sandalwood, 9-14).
Projected finish: 1. Walker. 2. Smenda. 3. St. Pierre. 4. Drury.
The skinny: If Muniz wrestles here instead of 182, this is a different picture altogether, but as presently constituted, it’s Walker (#1 locally) and Smenda (#4 locally, 9th statewide), all the way. Walker’s only loss this year has been to 2A 182 state champion Sawyer Root of Harmony, and it was a first-period loss by fall. Walker has pins in hand against Drury and Stepanyan, and he’s also got a perhaps-closer-than-expected 5-1 win over St. Pierre, taken at the Flagler Duals last month. When Smenda has been in the lineup, he’s been very good, but his busy schedule with an eye toward college has kept him out of the Golden Eagle lineup on several occasions this year, and he hasn’t faced Palm Coast yet this season. St. Pierre has a sub-.500 record, but he’s got a great room in which to work, and getting him through has certainly been a focus this week, as the Bulldogs will be wanting to qualify their entire team to next week’s regions in Orange City. I could be sold on Stepanyan as well as Drury for the fourth spot. Stepanyan was controlling the match with Drury when the two of them met late in the season at Mandarin, but Stepanyan put himself in a compromising position and wound up losing by fall. Morency, too, could surprise.

Projected competitors in school order: Michael Welch (Atlantic Coast, 12-8); Jose Romero (Buchholz, 11-17); Scott Dollison (First Coast, 31-1); Jose Concepcion (Fleming Island, 33-11); possibly Josh Kelly (Fletcher, 6-10); Mark Sweat (Mandarin, 18-12); Vincent Ebanks (Palm Coast, 22-20). No 220 for Sandalwood.
Projected finish: 1. Dollison. 2 Concepcion. 3. Ebanks. 4. Sweat.
The skinny: I was a little surprised to see Dollison (1st locally) fall out of the statewide rankings, and even given some solid 220s in the region I am not at all certain that he isn’t one of the four best ones. Certainly here on Saturday, he is going to be considered the solid favorite to win the title, even with a very good Concepcion dropping down here from 285. In the one occasion that Dollison wrestled a heavyweight, he won by fall in 20 seconds in that match. Still, though, Concepcion (9th locally at 285) is strong enough to give him the kind of quality competition he’s going to need to start getting ready for next week. I am thinking there’s a pretty substantial gap between Dollison/Concepcion and the rest of the group, although I’d look first at Ebanks as the strongest challenger to that final. Ebanks (10th locally) has taken a lot of losses, but one of those was a full six-minute simple decision to Dollison (12-5) and there aren’t many locals who can say they’ve done that. Ebanks and Sweat haven’t met this year, so it’s mostly a guess on how they’d come out, but I think those are the top four at this weight. A few too many of Welch’s wins are by forfeit and I’m not sure that Romero or Kelly can hang with Sweat in a match; Sweat already has a win by fall in hand over Kelly.

Projected competitors in school order: Richard Johnson (Atlantic Coast, 16-9); Jacob Covington (Buchholz, 17-2); Joshua Story (First Coast, 12-8); Zach Schwenke (Mandarin, 3-4); Jake Dempsey (Palm Coast, 30-4); Miguel Velasquez (Sandalwood, 2-6). No 285 for Fletcher or Fleming Island.
Projected finish: 1. Dempsey. 2. Covington. 3. Story. 4. Schwenke.
The skinny: With the Saints’ Kahlil Welsh apparently focusing on football — and why not, with a Division I scholarship at Wake Forest tucked away — and Concepcion dropping down from this weight to 220, Dempsey (3rd locally, 11th statewide) goes from “in the mix of co-favorites” to “the one to beat” in this bracket. Although he hasn’t seen many of the current 285s in this bracket, Dempsey has a fall over AC’s Johnson — who could still very much be a dark horse in this group, maybe even a finalist — in hand and has also won 23 of his last 25 matches. Covington didn’t enter the Bobcats’ lineup until midway through the season, and has looked very, very solid since doing so. His losses are only to highly-regarded Colton Rausch of Auburndale and a quick loss by fall at Clay Rotary against Winter Springs’ TJ Boyd. He’ll be very much in the mix of the final regular-season rankings, as well, when they come out. I don’t think Story got off to the strongest start, but as the season has worn on, it seems that the time he’s had practicing with Walker and Dollison has helped him significantly, and on points he seems to be a little bit ahead of Schwenke and Johnson, but either one of those two could have a solid day and push their way all the way up to third at least.


I Don’t Know…But It Doesn’t Matter

I was up until 3 a.m. last night working on the 3A-1 preview. I went to bed, got up 3 hours later, and my work was vanished because my crap computer decided to lock up while I made the foolish decision to sleep for 3 hours. So I still have four previews to write today.

EDIT: The hell with that other stuff. We GET to write four previews. There’s a plan in place. I don’t know how or when or why (well, I do know why; as Billy Pankey more or less put it, I’m in beast mode right now). Just be patient. I’m staying off social media and whatnot, not really answering emails unless they’re about rosters for tomorrow.


2A-District 3 Preview

2A-District 3 preview

When & where: Friday starting at noon at Englewood High School. Finals are scheduled, per the FHSAA website, to begin after the first round is complete.

Team outlook: Orange Park, Oakleaf and Middleburg have all been ranked in the area’s top 10 this season (the Raiders and Broncos all season, and Knights after a torrid January) and the duals between these teams have been as competitive as they can get this year. Who will win between the three Clay County teams in an IBT format? At this point, I’m going to lean toward the Raiders defending, but it should be much more competitive than a year ago. I could see the final margin of victory being less than 20 points this year, maybe even less than 10. With strong days and a few mis-steps, both Middleburg and Oakleaf are more than poised to step into the breach. I would put Ed White in for fourth as a team. Where the Commanders have wrestlers, they’ll be particularly strong, but they have too many holes in the lineup to challenge for the team title. Lee, Ridgeview and Englewood make up the rest of the middle of the pack, with Stanton and Terry Parker toward the back.

Projected competitors in alpha order (with unofficial Matmen records): Storm Cowart (Ridgeview, 9-22); Leo Galeas (Englewood, 6-13); Jaren Jefferson (Lee, 25-8); Ryan Rosano (Oakleaf, 25-6); Dylan Rossetti (Middleburg, 31-5); Frank Sawyer (Orange Park, 21-6). No expected wrestlers for Ed White, Stanton and Terry Parker.
Projected finish: 1. Rossetti. 2. Rosano. 3. Jefferson. 4. Sawyer.
The skinny: Just six wrestlers in the bracket, but this is a very solid and battle-tested, potentially, group of qualifiers that would come out of this weight class. On the one head-to-head, Rosano (10th locally, 14th statewide) comes into the tournament with the edge, having knocked off Rossetti (1st locally) and ending his unbeaten run with a 4-2 decision. Since then, both Rosano and Rossetti have had some setbacks, but they appear to be the class of a solid four semifinalists. For my mind, having gone through the postseason once before will matter. I think Jefferson has the edge on Sawyer, but not by much. In fact, given that Sawyer also has a win over Rossetti — which Rossetti got back — this should be a fun bracket to kick things off here.

Projected competitors in alpha order: Ivory Durham (Lee, 15-9); Roderick Evans (Ed White, 16-4); Vince Karl (Oakleaf, 19-8); Marcus Reid (Orange Park, 29-2); Robert Sheridan (Middleburg, 8-6); Alex Toney (Stanton, 11-14); Chris Walker (Terry Parker, 7-0). No expected wrestlers for Englewood or Ridgeview.
Projected finish: 1. Reid. 2. Evans. 3. Karl. 4. Durham.
The skinny: I don’t expect that Reid (2nd locally, 7th statewide) will be challenged…this week. Reid hasn’t seen the Duval challengers, but I think he should probably be able to take their measure, and he has a fall over Karl in the one meeting they’ve had. Evans (8th locally) is the best from Duval in the 2As, but I could see several different combinations for third and fourth, as Sheridan has been in some big tournaments duing the course of the year. I would definitely have liked to see how a full season would have gone for Walker, but since he’s been in the lineup he’s, obviously done well enough.

Projected competitors in alpha order: Justin Cowell (Stanton, 6-12); Bailey Custer (Middleburg, 17-18); Johnathan Galeas (Englewood, 12-15); Jessica Gardepe (Terry Parker, 6-28); Chris Griffin (Oakleaf, 28-4); Victor Perez (Orange Park, 11-6); Justin Trinh (Ridgeview, 19-9); Darius Wells (Lee, 10-24). No expected wrestler for Ed White.
Projected finish: 1. Griffin. 2. Trinh. 3. Perez. 4. Custer.
The skinny: On the records alone, one might expect Griffin (5th locally, 12th statewide) to be the head-and-shoulders favorite, and with respect to most of the field, he is. But the head-to-head matchup he has had with Trinh was a close one (5-3 in Griffin’s favor) and that might make for a great final. Griffin has been seeking out other teams’ best lights during the course of the season, though, bumping up even to face ranked competitors, and he has won 19 of his last 20 matches, with the only loss coming against 1A state finalist William Pickren, who spoke well of Griffin to me at Clay Rotary. After Griffin and Trinh, I think there’s some room for an enterprising wrestler to jump into the mix, or for the mix to shuffle up a bit. Although Custer, for example, is sub-.500, he’s seen some strong competition this year.

Projected competitors in alpha order: Trevor Belden (Ridgeview, 20-5); Tyrese Germain (Orange Park, 36-6); Tanner Kern (Englewood, 13-16); Zachary Locke (Stanton, 6-21); Tristan Tollison (Middleburg, 19-19); Austin Witt (Lee, 8-24); Riggs Wolf (Oakleaf, 11-9). No expected wrestlers for Ed White or Terry Parker.
Projected finish: 1. Germain. 2. Belden. 3. Tollison. 4. Wolf.
The skinny: This bracket could potentially match up two District 3 champions from last year in Germain (6th locally, 10th statewide) and Belden (10th locally, 15th statewide). Between the two, Germain has seen stronger competition this year, although the two haven’t faced each other yet. Germain has faced Tollison already, with a pair of pins to his credit, and bumped up when Orange Park took on Oakleaf. Tollison has a pin over Wolf, and the pair of them are probably ahead of the rest of the field.

Projected competitors in alpha order: Codie Benton (Middleburg, 10-6); Christopher Champine (Lee, 11-20); Kirtis Davis (Orange Park, 12-5); Zakery Dick (Terry Parker, 3-8); Stephen Hlawnchhing (Stanton, 15-12); Juwan Lee (Ed White, 16-2); Tristen Roderick (Oakleaf, 18-5); McKenzie Williams (Ridgeview, 20-9). No expected wrestler for Englewood.
Projected finish: 1. Lee. 2. Roderick. 3. Davis. 4. Williams.
The skinny: I didn’t get to stay as long as I wanted to at the Orange Park 10-Way Duals last month, but while I was there I saw what in a lot of ways might have been the best match I ran across in 2014-15, when Lee (6th locally, 15th statewide) and Roderick (9th locally) wrestled, both a weight up, in one of the duals contested that day. Lee won that match, 5-4, and it wouldn’t surprise me a bit if they stage another one just like it in the finals Friday night. Watch for it. It should be a treat. Davis has the experience advantage, but Williams has won 13 of his last 16 matches, so is coming in on a bit of a roll. I would think Davis and Williams would be the strongest competitors out of the non-finalists.

Projected competitors in alpha order: Aaron Base (Lee, 11-10); Jonathan Johnson (Terry Parker, 6-14); Detrall Lanier (Oakleaf, 17-9); Zach McClinton (Middleburg, 36-5); Mitchell Mika (Stanton, 18-13); Nick Robinson (Ridgeview, 13-20); Dashner St. Vilus (Orange Park, 15-9); Darien Tucker (Ed White, 18-4); Dustin Williams (Englewood, 22-7).
Projected finish: 1. McClinton. 2. Tucker. 3. Lanier. 4. Williams.
The skinny: While this might not necessarily be the deepest bracket 1-9 in the district, it might be the deepest set of semifinalists in the group, with two state-ranked wrestlers in the group in McClinton (3rd locally, 7th statewide), Tucker (7th locally, 16th statewide) and one former state-ranked wrestler in Lanier in this group. Williams is probably Englewood’s best wrestler at any weight, and St. Vilus and Mika are lurking out there, ready for an upset. But McClinton stands alone at the top, and I would guess he won’t be pushed very hard en route to this title. Tucker vs. Lanier could be a very nice semifinal to watch indeed.

Projected competitors in alpha order: Judah Brown (Lee, 14-13); Dalton Deckerhoff (Terry Parker, 9-14); Isaiah Graham (Oakleaf, 6-13); Jordan Harbin (Orange Park, 26-10); Tyeas James (Ridgeview, 10-13); Keath Sawdo (Middleburg, 25-8); Justin Stoddard (Ed White, 5-12); Matthew Tran (Stanton, 7-11); Tavian Whitehead (Englewood, 23-8).
Projected finish: 1. Sawdo. 2. Harbin. 3. Whitehead. 4. James.
The skinny: Where there are multiple head-to-head matchups in District 3, they’ve usually gone all one wrestler’s way. Not this one. Sawdo (6th locally, 14th statewide) defeated Harbin first, 6-2, only to have Harbin (8th locally) return the favor at the St Johns River Conference meet with a 12-8 win. This will be, along with 132, probably one of the most tightly-contested final-round matches of the day. While I don’t think Whitehead is at their level, I think he’s ahead of everyone else. Fourth place, however, is certainly up in the air. Ridgeview could nab it, but so could Lee, so could Oakleaf and perhaps Terry Parker as well. This is the last bracket that will have wrestlers from all nine teams in it.

Projected competitors in alpha order: Tony Belle (Lee, 29-3); Lucas Karl (Oakleaf, 14-7); Devonta Malcolm (Ed White, 12-10); Travis Neubeck (Middleburg, 29-9); Dillon Richardson (Ridgeview, 9-9); Ricky Torres (Orange Park, 21-9). No expected wrestlers for Englewood, Stanton or Terry Parker.
Projected finish: 1. Neubeck. 2. Belle. 3. Karl. 4. Torres.
The skinny: I think it comes down to a battle of competition. Neubeck (5th locally, 7th statewide) has just seen more of what the state has to offer than has Belle (9th locally). Still, though, Belle hasn’t lost since falling in the finals of the Gateway Conference meet six weeks ago. Neubeck has three wins over Torres this year (tech, pin and decision, in that order), and has a fall over Karl as well. He should be the favorite. For third, I would take Karl over Torres, as Karl has a decision in hand. I would guess there would be a gap between Torres and Malcolm. But of the six in this field, there aren’t any walkovers in the group.

Projected competitors in alpha order: Daryn Brown (Ridgeview, 18-12); Andre Carter (Oakleaf, 17-7); Justin Griffis (Englewood, 14-13); Sergio Jordan (Ed White, 15-3); Tyler Langford (Middleburg, 19-6); Ryan Tarver (Terry Parker, 4-16); Skyler Taylor (Orange Park, 27-3); Myles Thompkins (Lee, 6-12). No expected wrestler for Stanton.
Projected finish: 1. Taylor. 2. Langford. 3. Carter. 4. Jordan.
The skinny: With pins over Langford, and Carter, and Griffis, it’s hard to look anywhere else but Taylor (4th locally, 12th statewide) as the favorite to win the weight class. All of his losses are outside of 2A. But that all being said, this is a pretty solid group of qualifiers. I would take Langford, but perhaps only as a slight favorite, over Carter and Jordan (8th locally), but it would not surprise me to see this order of finish shuffle up a bit before it’s all over. Brown and Griffis, too, could make some surprises in this weight class. The advantages that anyone might enjoy, after the gap between Taylor and the rest of the group, are razor-thin.

Projected competitors in alpha order: Austin Clarkson (Englewood, 16-8); Josh Detrick (Oakleaf, 15-11); Devon Farrar (Ridgeview, 31-7); Andrew Holdman (Ed White, 8-4); David Johnson (Lee, 14-8); Nartorian Lee (Orange Park, 16-15); Jonathan Shoen (Middleburg, 28-7); Aniah Williams (Terry Parker, 6-4). No expected wrestler for Stanton.
Projected finish: 1. Farrar. 2. Shoen. 3. Detrick. 4. Holdman.
The skinny: This should be one of the more interesting, and highly competitive, brackets, for even though Farrar (8th locally, 7th statewide) would appear to be an overwhelming favorite based upon the resume he’s built this season (with wins over three different District 4 champions alone, among many others), he had to overcome a tough challenge in his one meeting with local 10th-ranked Detrick (an 8-6 win) and he’ll have to contend with a very athletic Shoen (9th locally) as well. The Duval contingent is solid, with Holdman built like a tank and capable of wrestling as well (reaching the 5 Star finals), both Clarkson and Johnson fully capable of making a run for a fourth-place spot, and Williams is fresh off a girls’ state title. And then there’s Lee, who seems to have found a home at this higher weight after spending a good chunk of the year at 152. There really isn’t a very easy out in this weight class.

Projected competitors in alpha order: (possibly) Michel Augustine (Englewood, 6-2); Thomas Baker (Lee, 7-13); (possibly) Robert Carley (Ed White, 3-12); Jason Davis (Oakleaf, 26-1); Noah Hearn (Ridgeview, 8-12); Kurt Jackson (Middleburg, 23-13) Aquana McCalop (Terry Parker, 24-7). No expected wrestlers for Orange Park or Stanton.
Projected finish: 1. Davis. 2. Jackson. 3. McCalop. 4. Hearn.
The skinny: When Davis (2nd locally at 195, 7th statewide at this weight) made the drop from 195 to 182, he lost no strength and seemed to get even faster on the mat, which is not good news for those in his path. He already was the class of 2A wrestlers locally at 195 (at a minimum), with his one loss a 6-3 decision against 3A #2 (at 195) Chei Hill. Davis controlled the pace against Lincoln’s Jerrin Gilmore (the clear favorite to win the 2A-2 bracket at 182), and already has a pin in hand against Jackson, who should be his strongest competition in this bracket. Jackson’s combinations should carry him past McCalop, who in turn has a significant edge against the rest of the group. McCalop’s one of the area’s most improved this season. Augustine and Baker are possible wildcards for the fourth spot.

Projected competitors in alpha order: Chasen Irvine (Orange Park, 28-11); Atyrus McDonald (Ed White, 9-6); Ammon Meeks (Middleburg, 28-14); Xavier Nieves (Englewood, 15-6); Kaleb Seymore (Terry Parker, 7-4); David Thompson (Oakleaf, 15-9); Jaron Weatherspoon (Lee, 17-11). No expected wrestlers for Ridgeview or Stanton.
Projected finish: 1. Irvine. 2. Meeks. 3. Thompson. 4. Nieves.
The skinny: This weight class should be a Clay County party also, with Irvine (ranked 8th locally) at the head of it. Irvine had a pair of pins over Meeks at the St Johns River Conference meet three weeks ago and pinned Nieves at Super 6 in December at Englewood. He hasn’t faced Thompson yet this season, but Meeks has, twice, and won both times. Sometimes the transitive property works that way. Thompson recently dropped down from 220 to 195 at Clay Rotary, and the move seemed to do some good. Both Meeks and Thompson have improved significantly over last season, when the pair were teammates for the Broncos. If you’re looking for a dark horse, I would look at Weatherspoon as a upset possibility.

Projected competitors in alpha order: Edward Colon (Lee, 13-13); Vernon Jackson (Ed White, 11-7); Andy Meda (Terry Parker, 8-6); Sean Tairovski-Romeu (Oakleaf, 10-8); Eric Tejada (Orange Park, 29-6); (possibly) Nicholas Wiggins, Englewood (8-9); Brandon Wilkerson (Ridgeview, 7-22). No expected wrestlers for Middleburg or Stanton.
Projected finish: 1. Tejada. 2. Tairovski-Romeu. 3. Jackson. 4. Colon.
The skinny: After Tejada (6th locally), I am not sure about this one. Several of the region-capable wrestlers in the mix have either spent only half a season on the mat (Wiggins and Meda come to mind here), or have spent time at 195 (Jackson) or even 182 (Tairovski-Romeu). As a result, with so much movement and wrestlers coming in and leaving, there’s not a lot of opportunities for this group to have met up. Moving up to this higher weight can sometimes be challenging, which is why it might not surpise me if Colon shuffled up a spot or two on the podium, or if Meda wound up advancing. One thing’s for sure: Tejada is far and away the strongest wrestler in this weight class.

Projected competitors in alpha order: Demetris Harris (Lee, 27-6); Kelton Johnson (Ed White, 21-1); Derrick Mason (Englewood, 23-7); Ronald Milner (Ridgeview, 9-10); Jessie Williams (Orange Park, 24-13). No expected wrestlers from Middleburg, Oakleaf, Stanton Terry Parker.
Projected finish: 1. Johnson. 2. Harris. 3. Mason. 4. Williams.
The skinny: With two area top-five wrestlers in this field (Johnson is 1st locally, 7th statewide; Harris is fifth locally) and another that’s flirted with the top 10 in Mason, it’s a pretty strong field, and I project a Duval 1-2-3 finish. Johnson has three wins in hand over Harris, with two pins and a Gateway Conference semifinal OT win in the past. Harris, in turn, has a win by decision over Mason that he secured at Gateway, as well as a pin over Milner and some other solid wins to his credit outside of 2A-3. Williams is the one outsider in the group, and hasn’t seen either of the finalist picks, but did lose to Mason by fall at the Englewood. Williams has started to put things together, however, and I’d expect things to be a bit closer if/should they happen to meet in a third-place match.


2A-District 2 preview

2A-2 meet preview

When & where: Chiles High School in Tallahassee, with a start time of 3 p.m. Friday. Finals, per the FHSAA website, are “TBD,” I would guess with a five-team bracket they should start around 6 p.m.

Directions: From the Lake City area, continue on I-10 west to Tallahassee. Take exit 203, for US 319/Florida 61/Capital Circle NE toward Thomasville Road. Stay left and follow the signs for approximately a quarter-mile. At the fork, keep right and follow Florida 61 North for 5.2 miles. Turn left at Timberwolf Crossing and then right on Lawton Chiles Road. The school will be on the left.

Team preview: The Columbia group that finished the 2013-14 season and could return, that group might well have challenged Tallahassee Lincoln for the team title. But that’s not who came out and that’s not who stayed. The Tigers that remain are capable of getting most of their group through, but they’ll be battling with Gainesville and Chiles for second place.

Individual preview: With a maximum of five teams in the field, there won’t be many weights where somebody will be left out. For each weight class, we’ll note the local participants (with unofficial Matmen records and local rankings for Columbia kids, as noted, and any statewide rankings for all wrestlers in each weight class.

106 — The biggest question is this one: Will Chace Curtis be here? We haven’t seen Curtis (2nd locally in the last local rankings, 4th statewide, Matmen record of 24-2) since the Billy Saylor Invitational in the second week of January. Which he won. His only losses were at Border Wars, to 1A’s top-ranked Mason Wohltman of Lake Highland Prep and to a Louisiana 106. After that, he’s dominated. When he’s been in the lineup. I just want to see him be in the post-season, even if it’s not at 106, but if he does make the weight this is your district champion. If Curtis isn’t here, then the 106 district champion, by default, might be Lincoln’s Michael Crowder, as Chiles, Leon and Gainesville all did not have 106s (I looked at recent results for the Tally schools, last week’s Tri-County Classic, and Gainesville I’ve tried to follow all season).

113 — Matmen locals Traevon O’Neal of Gainesville (ranked 9th statewide) and Robert Lynch of Columbia (Matmen record 29-20) should both be appearing at this weight, along with — I would guess — Lincoln’s Jacob Geiger (5th statewide) and Nathan Kilgore of Leon. I didn’t see a 113 for Chiles at Tri-County. Based on that, I would project a finals matchup between Geiger and O’Neal, with Lynch and Melton battling for third place. Geiger and O’Neal have met during the regular season, with Geiger winning by a 4-0 decision, and both Geiger and O’Neal have pins in hand against Lynch (O’Neal, also, with a major). With full records in hand, O’Neal would certainly have merited a top-10 ranking in my poll. Lynch should hold the upper hand over Kilgore for third place.

120 — Matmen locals Tahj Brennen of Gainesville (15th statewide) and Columbia’s Samuel Aymond (Matmen record of 19-11) should both be appearing at this weight, along with Lincoln’s Sean Hendley, Chiles’ Logan Mellor and Leon’s Parker Feddersen. The state ranking suggests that Brennen should be the favorite, and I would agree with that assessment, as Brennen is another Hurricane who would have been ranked in my poll all season had I had full results. I’m kind of thinking that Brennen is probably going to see Aymond in the semis. Early in the season, Brennen took it to Aymond, winning 19-7, but Aymond’s developed nicely and seen a lot of competition all over the state since then. It would not surprise me if Aymond closed the gap and qualified out, even if he doesn’t win. Brennen would probably face Mellor or Hendley in the final; I lean toward Hendley, but Mellor had a nice Tri-County tournament.

126 — It doesn’t appear, on the face of it, that Gainesville would field a 26, as they’d only had a part-time starter there, and not since the Orange Park 10-Way (Brian Millican). I am expecting to see Zach Williams (Matmen record 6-18) in the field for Columbia, along with Zion Newton for Lincoln and Malik Holton for Chiles. I didn’t see anybody for Leon. This could be anybody’s bracket, with no ranked wrestlers in it. Williams has had two opportunities to wrestle against Lincoln, but both times he faced another wrestler and not Newton. It’s all out there for him, and the knowledge that, with just three and at most four (if Millican competes for the Hurricanes) in the bracket, he’ll go through no matter what happens just might inspire another level to reach. The fact that the field is open, however, just might inspire the Tigers to do some moving, because…

132 — The 132 bracket is going to be one of the stronger ones here. The Matmen area is well-represented, with Gainesville’s Conner Henry (12th statewide) and Columbia’s Josh Lynch (Matmen record 30-15) here, along with Chiles’ top wrestler, Winslow Robinson (8th statewide), Lincoln’s Scott Prine and Leon’s Dexter Melton all here in a full bracket. I would see the final being Robinson vs. Henry. I don’t have a previous matchup between Robinson and Henry this year, but Robinson does have home-mat advantage, and that can count for a lot. Henry would see Lynch here in the semis, and I would think Lynch would win easily over either Prine or Melton for third. Here’s the thing, though. Lynch did start the year at 126 and wrestled 11 matches — a quarter of his season — there, and he’s got an experience edge. It’s certainly something that the Columbia coaches might have to think about, because Lynch would dominate the 126 bracket, I should think, whereas at 132 he’s looking at third. Calculations like that get made all the time in the post-season.

138 — Both Columbia and Gainesville will be represented at this weight as well, The Tigers will undoubtedly have the upper hand in the bracket, with Division I signee Kaleb Warner (1st locally, 5th statewide, Matmen record 37-4) leading the charge for Columbia, and Elijah Keselowsky should be in the lineup for the Hurricanes. I’m expecting to see David Jackson for Lincoln and Miles Mercer for Chiles. If Leon doesn’t bring a wrestler, that will mean Keselowsky, also, will be going to regions, but I would be surprised to see him higher than fourth. Could be a good semi between Jackson and Mercer, I am thinking it’ll be Jackson to face Warner in the final.

145 — Both Columbia and Gainesville should be represented at this weight, with the Tigers probably sending out Brandon Wine (Matmen record 19-21) and Hurricanes sending out Aaron Bower. The favorite to win the bracket should be Lincoln’s Kel Davis (12th statewide), and it will be a battle between Chiles’ Austin Nolan and Wine to see who will face Davis in the title match. Don’t be surprised at the sub-.500 record that Wine brings; the resume he amassed this season could be enough to get him into the title match against Davis, but either way, Wine wouldn’t finish any lower than third. With no 145 for Leon, that should mean Bower should advance through with a fourth.

152 — I am guessing, based upon the recent results, that neither Columbia nor Gainesville will field a wrestler at this weight, and that will certainly make this an all-Tallahassee final. In fact, there is a good chance that the final might be a rematch between Leon’s Justin Grant and Lincoln’s Cornelius Brown, a match that Grant won at Tri-County last week by a 3-1 count. Chiles’ Riley McGill should be third, I would think.

160 — The Tigers and Hurricanes should both have wrestlers here, with Gainesville sending out Aaron Hake and Zion James (Matmen record 10-39) going out for the Tigers. I’m not sure that either of the locals can hang with Lincoln’s Jaycie Rudd (2nd statewide), who should be the overwhelming favorite to win the bracket, but they could make things interesting for the likely choice for the runnerup spot, Leon’s Dylan Hefner. I think Hake, James and Chiles’ Robert Williams will battle it out for third. Of the locals, Hake has the better chance, with a fall in hand over James.

170 — Both Columbia and Gainesville should be represented at this weight, as the Tigers will have Jordan Nash (Matmen record 17-27) and Hurricanes will send out Justin Harbilas. As at 160, I’m not sure the locals can hang with the bracket favorite, Chiles’ Gavin Hoard (9th statewide), but Hoard didn’t wrestle at Tri-County. If he doesn’t go, the next option is probably Lincoln’s Isaac Gutierrez-Tapia, who had a solid tournament at Clay Rotary two weeks ago and won 3 matches at Tri-County. Nash, Harbilas and Leon’s Judd Mason battle from there for second through fourth or third through fifth. Between the locals, I would project Nash with the upper hand here. Nash went 10-6 with Lincoln’s Brown when he was at 152, and has a win over Hake, while Harbilas was pinned by Nash’s teammate, James.

182 — I’m fairly sure we won’t see a 182 for Columbia and somewhat sure there may not be one for Gainesville, which has done a mix-and-match with three different kids at the weight, and none of them were at Clay Rotary. Lincoln’s Jerrin Gilmore (runnerup at Clay Rotary, 8th statewide) should be the prohibitive favorite. Not sure if Leon’s Joe Grant (14th statewide, but didn’t wrestle at Tri-County last week) will be here and competing, but if so he’s the other finalist pick over Chiles’ Casey Hall.

195 — I’m not expecting a 195 for either Columbia (who hasn’t had one since December) or Gainesville (who only had one for Cities last month). I’d go with Lincoln’s Jeffery Lawrence as the solid bracket favorite. With no one for Chiles or Leon wrestling at 195 at Tri-County, it’s possible that Lawrence may see what his larger teammate, Jason Osagie, did a year ago — no competition within the bracket.

220 — That shouldn’t be the case for Osagie (8th statewide) this year. First, the locals should be represented for both teams, as Columbia will send out Josh Walker (2nd locally, 7th statewide, Matmen record of 27-5) and Gainesville should have Jackson McLendon in the lineup. Additionally, Leon will bring Jonathan Grant, and that will mean a full set of qualifiers coming out of this weight, even though I don’t see a 220 for Chiles. I would project Walker and Osagie would meet in the final, and that would a fourth meeting between the two wrestlers. Osagie won the first one, but Walker took the next two. None were blowouts, and I would expect this battle to be just that one more time.

285 — Both local teams should be represented, with Columbia sending out Marcus Zeighler (7th locally, Matmen record 34-12) and Gainesville bringing Yessic Spencer to the bracket. There, they’ll be joined by Leon’s Gabe Beyer (5th statewide) and Lincoln’s Damian Loggins (14th statewide). It hasn’t been all that often that Zeighler, who’s been state-ranked during the course of the season, isn’t favored to be in the top half of any group of 285s he’s in, but this isn’t an ordinary four-person bracket. Beyer should be ahead of the rest of the group, which means that Zeighler and Loggins would — as Osagie and Walker likely will — get a fourth meeting this year. In this case, it’ll probably in the semi. Zeighler lost 2-1 the first time they met, then won in sudden victory, and then lost in the ultimate 3-overtime tiebreaker. So it, to, should be a great match. Spencer will find rough sledding in this bracket, but will advance out as no lower than fourth.


1A-District 2 Preview

1A-District 2 meet preview

When & where: Friday at 2 p.m. start time, finals listed on FHSAA website as TBD. I’ve been advised by Coach Laxton that finals will tentatively begin somewhere around 6 p.m.

Directions: From the Jacksonville area, take I-10 west to exit 283, which is US-129, Live Oak/Jasper. Turn left and head south on US-129 (Florida Route 51) for around 3.6 miles. At Marymac Street SW in Live Oak, turn right. GO about a tenth of a mile to Pine Avenue SW and turn left. The school will be on the right-hand side.

Teams in the field: Wakulla, Suwannee, Godby, Florida High, Rickards, North Florida Christian.

Team preview: This preview will have a different look than did the 2A-4, what with the fact that only Suwannee is an area team as of this year, anyway. Had the Bulldogs kept everyone I thought they might have throughout the course of the year, I would have put them right there with Wakulla battling not only for this title, but for the Region 1 title as well. As things stand, it looks like Wakulla is going to be the clear team favorite, with Suwannee battling with Florida High for second.

Individual preview: With Rickards and North Florida Christian having an almost-but-not-quite-nonexistent presence in this field, I’m guessing that each Suwannee wrestler that competes Friday night will, in fact, qualify for regions this weekend.

106 — I’m thinking that the Bulldogs’ Brandon Trask (8th locally, 14th statewide, Matmen season record of 31-14) should be considered the solid, if not outright overwhelming favorite, to win the district. Trask’s toughest challenge will probably be Florida High’s Matt Turk (16th statewide), and Trask already has a pin in hand (at Border Wars) and a 7-0 decision over Turk at Billy Saylor last month. Turk should be ahead of Wakulla’s Ashlee Dalton for the runnerup spot. Godby, Rickards and North Florida Christian do not have 106s that I’ve seen in recent results.

113 — With two state-ranked wrestlers in this bracket in Wakulla’s Larry Smith (8th) and Florida High’s Bryan Metcalf (12th), it might be an upset for Suwannee’s Michael Santangelo (Matmen record 12-6) to finish higher than third in this bracket. Although Santangelo’s had two chances against Florida High, he hasn’t had an opportunity to face Metcalf just yet. I would predict Smith to win the weight class. That I’m able to tell, Godby, Rickards and North Florida Christian do not have 113s in recent results.

120 — Like Santangelo, Suwannee 120 Kenneth Foster (Matmen record 14-24) is going to be doing well to finish higher than third in this weight class, due to two state-ranked wrestlers here. Those two, Wakulla’s Rolin Malik (14th) and Florida High’s Max Metcalf (16th) could have an epic battle along the lines that Malik had with Bryan Metcalf at the Tri-County Championships last week, a match that Bryan Metcalf won 10-9 after bumping up to 120. Godby, Rickards and North Florida Christian do not have 120s in recent results, at least that I’ve been able to tell.

126 — No Suwannee wrestlers in this bracket. I would look at Wakulla’s Dy’Juan Carney (5th statewide) as the favorite to win the bracket, with either Jemel Fanfan or Jake Richardson of Florida High as a likely finalist (either of those could be at 132 as well). Godby’s Marcus Lloyd and Rickards’ Nazim Winborne are much further back. Carney majored Richardson and pinned Fanfan at Tri-County.

132 — No Suwannee wrestlers in this bracket, and no state-ranked ones either. Could make things interesting, with another fight between Wakulla and Florida High for the top spots. Looking at Max Owen for Wakulla and either Fanfan, Richardson or Max Harris for Florida High. Owen pinned Harris at Tri-County, but either Fanfan or Richardson could make things more challenging.

138 — The Bulldogs’ Tanner Clark (Matmen record 10-17) just recently dropped to this weight at the Clay Rotary, and it was a timely drop with the re-addition of state-ranked teammate Joey Borrell at 145. Still, though, it might be tough for Clark to finish higher than third, with two state-ranked wrestlers here in Wakulla’s Hunter Royce (13th) and Florida High’s Matt Cook (16th). With a fall in hand at Tri-County, Royce has to be considered the favorite to win the bracket.

145 — Borrell hit the ground running with a bracket win at Raines 5-Star three weeks ago and had a nice win over 11th-ranked Landon Carter of Tampa Prep at Clay Rotary two weekends ago. However, Wakulla’s Cody Davis (9th statewide) is one of his team’s most capable wrestlers pound-for-pound, so I’m seeing a runnerup finish for Borrell. Rickards’ Donterius Spencer and Godby’s Zach Godwyn aren’t in Borrell’s class, but Florida High’s Duncan Weaver could be an interesting challenge, and so could Cook if the Tallahassee group decides to shuffle their logjam in the 126-132-138 group around and move him up.

152 — No Suwannee wrestlers in this bracket, which should pave the path to a district title nice and smooth for Florida High’s Drew Hostetter (15th statewide). Wakulla’s Jacob Austin and Godby’s Andrew Thaxton will be challenging for a spot in the finals. Austin and Thaxton had a pretty wild match at Tri-County last week, with Austin winning 17-10.

160 — No Suwannee wrestlers in this bracket, and two state-ranked wrestlers are here in Wakulla’s Chris Surace (11th) and Florida High’s Will Haigler (16th). Surace had a first-period fall over Haigler at Tri-County last week, I’d project him as the favorite.

170 — There could actually be some jockeying for positions in this bracket, but I’m expecting one certainty; Bulldog senior Sasha Key (#1 locally, 2nd statewide, Matmen record 34-3) should be the class of this field. Key hasn’t seen any of the rest of the wrestlers in this bracket (Wakulla’s Chayton Bussey, Rickards’ Joseph Street — the likeliest finals candidate — Florida High’s DeJay Robinson or Godby’s Shadi Elsamra, but I don’t see it mattering all that much. Street and Bussey had a good match at Tri-County, with Street winning 7-4.

182 — I admit I had my wonderings when I saw that Bulldog junior Tyler Foster jumped from 160 to 182, but he’s made it work. After a 5-3 start at 160, he’s won 26 of his 28 matches at 182, with only an injury-default loss to state top-ranked Raekwon Reggler and an out-of-state fall against a Tennessee wrestler. While Foster (4th locally, 3rd statewide, Matmen record 31-5) hasn’t seen what should be his toughest competition in state-ranked Josh Strickland of Wakulla (15th), Strickland wasn’t at Tri-County, so that’s…interesting. I don’t see Godby’s Joshua Holls being in the same class, so there’s the potential for one competitive match if Strickland’s there and less so if not.

195 — Suwannee’s Robert Rodriguez (9th locally, 13th statewide, Matmen record 26-8) should have a good chance to reach the final, with (in recent results from Tri-County) only North Florida Christian’s David Lunn really there to attempt to stop him from that. Winning the bracket is a much-taller order though, as Wakulla’s Cody Ochat (4th statewide) would loom in the final. Ochat has also been one of Wakulla’s best this year.I haven’t seen recent results from Godby, Rickards or Florida High at this weight, but if Cameron Brown returns to the lineup for FH, that could alter the equation.

220 — No Suwannee wrestlers in this bracket, and no state-ranked wrestlers either. I’d look at Wakulla’s Dillon Rathel as the favorite here, as Rathel won by fall last week over North Florida Christian’s Johnathan Wainwright.

285 — We wrap up with Suwannee heavy Rossie Williams (Matmen record 9-15), who shouldn’t finish any lower than fourth here. However, he will have to contend with one of two state-ranked wrestlers in a potential semifinal, either Wakulla’s Devin Griffin (9th statewide) or Godby’s James Livingston (11th), plus there is the possibility of a third meeting with Florida High’s Christian Patterson, who’s beaten Williams in very tight matches (3-3 UTB and 2-1). That could certainly be different on Friday night.


2A-4 Brackets

Are on the website. I’ve created a page for 2015 FHSAA results. When I get a chance I will be looking up out of area brackets and put them on as well, but that is deep on the priority list.

I did fully update all of the records last night, staying up until about 2-ish, except for some Mandarin and West Nassau. The rest of the schools on my late list, and the rest of y’all are officially on notice that end-of-season rankings can be published at any time…along with seven district previews, so you still might have a little time to get what’s missing in to me. I emphasize strongly, “might.”