#NextLevel Update — Through 11/29

Not much happened on the #NextLevel front over the weekend. The only local in action was former Bolles prep Chris Bono, coaching South Dakota State against #4 Oklahoma State in a Big XII Conference dual last Friday. The Cowboys won the dual, 20-15, but all three of Bono’s nationally-ranked wrestlers won matches. I have seen two of his Jackrabbits (nationally-ranked Brance Simms at 133 and heavyweight Alex Macki) on the mat when they were in high school; both were Iowans.

We’re getting to the part of the season where it starts getting interesting – because there’s only so much me and so many hours to go around. #NextLevel posts will probably start moving to Mondays going forward.

Upcoming schedule:

  • South Dakota State — at Iowa, Friday (SOMEBODY GET ME A MEDIA PASS); at South Dakota Showcase, Sunday.
  • Coker (coached by Clay alum Cy Wainwright) — host Belmont Abbey, December 2, 7 p.m.
  • Ohio State (Josh Fox — University Christian ‘12) — at Cleveland State, Tuesday, 7 p.m..
  • Edinboro (Josh Calhoun — Bolles ‘15) — host Bloomsburg University, December 3, 7 p.m..
  • Campbell (Kaleb Warner — Columbia ’15) — at Cleveland State Open, December 12, 9 a.m.; vs. UT-Chattanooga, December 12, 2 p.m.
  • Nebraska-Kearney (Corey Van Dorn — Orange Park ’14) — at Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational, December 4-5.
  • Shorter University (Alfred Shavers — Flagler Palm Coast ’15) — at Penn State Open, December 6, 9 a.m.
  • Southeastern University (Zack Branning — Flagler Palm Coast ‘15/Myckel Hutchinson — Buchholz ’15/Nathan Cleland — Bishop Snyder ’15) — hosts South Florida, December 4, 8 p.m.
  • Concordia NE (Tristain Sichmeller — Clay ’15) — at University of Great Falls tournament, December 5.
  • Lindenwood IL (Jon Whiting — Clay ’15) — at Central Arkansas with Lyon College, December 1, 6 p.m.
  • Neosho CC (Josh Walker — Columbia ‘15) — at Colby CC, December 5, TBD.
  • Liberty University (David Trigg — University Christian ’15) — at Citrus Classic, Fort Lauderdale, December 29.

Fernandina Beach Makes It 45!

All of the Nassau County schools are in the fold! Fernandina Beach’s schedule was waiting in my inbox when I got home from a long night of “work” and a successful half-hour of “groceries.”

The Pirates will open their season on Saturday at the North Florida Duals, a traditional season-opener for Fernandina, but then will go to Fletcher a Saturday later to compete in the Neptune Beach Duals. FBHS will then travel to Raines on December 16th for the Vikings’ home quad, at which Nease and FSDB will also be present.

Fernandina kicks off January with the Nassau County championships, which it has Yulee as hosting (I believe the earlier schedules had said FBHS would host). The Pirates then host Raines on January 14th, then travel to Episcopal for the two-day Rob Bierbaum Invitational on January 15-16.

From there, Fernandina will participate in Yulee’s “Battle on the Border,” Raines’ 5 Star Invitational IBT and the Clay Rotary in Green Cove Springs on February 5-6, and that will close out the regular season.

So that just leaves Paxon out of the coverage-area teams that will be competing in the post-season. That one we should have in hand tomorrow night.


Times-Union Preview

Will be in Monday’s paper. Teams that were with us in 2013-14 may be highlighted. Unfortunately, I was limited by the FTU’s requirements that it sets in other sports — top 5 teams, “top 5” individuals not on a top-five team. I could have gone about six or seven different directions for 3 of the 5 individuals listed. We have the talent there.

Look for more results in the Times-Union’s “agate” page this year. I am working with them directly on this.


Return of the Live Tweet

Matmen will be on site and live-tweeting from the following events this week:

  • Tuesday night — Stanton at Paxon
  • Wednesday night — Episcopal at Bishop Kenny
  • Thursday night — Robert E. Lee at Westside

On-site Friday night, no live tweets, at Fleming Island. Saturday, appearances to be put in at Terry Parker and Bishop Snyder before final stop of day at Ed White and King of the Hill. New events make Matmen a little more desirous to be on-site for the full day.

There will be same-day tweets of final scores from ALL dual meets in 2015-16. Eventually, but same-day.


#44 is in: University Christian

We’ve got our 44th schedule, which means all that we’re missing is Paxon (which I will get on Tuesday night) and Fernandina Beach (which I hope to get…soon).

University Christian will open its season in Georgia, competing at the King of the Mountains event at Towns County HS on the first weekend of the season (I guess I should say next weekend now). The Christians’ first Florida appearance will be at Capital City Classic on December 11 and 12, and UC will close out December at Lyman just before Christmas.

The Christians do need some January dates. All that they have as of right now is the Flagler Rotary event at the end of the month, and their regular-season will close out with Clay’s Rotary in early February.

Hopefully I will get Fernandina Beach’s schedule before next week. I want to make sure I’m not missing anything on their schedule. But we have all but two on the list!


Monday Night Wrestling’s Back!

Clay High School will be the venue, starting this Monday night (November 30), with weigh-ins beginning at 5 p.m. and wrestling beginning at 6 p.m. Wrestling to be wrapped up by 8:30 p.m. according to Coach Reape. For JV and less-experienced high school-aged wrestlers only (NO VARSITY). Cost is $15 per wrestler or $175 per team. Contact Clay coaches Jim Reape at or Hunter Hill at for more information. More dates to be announced as they get closer.


Record Keeping Managed

2014-15 season records, everything I have, all on one page. Look in the history page, 2014-15, and they’re all there. On Saturday I will be rearranging the menus to get us ready for the coming season. It all starts Tuesday…


Preseason Results at FPC

Here’s some preseason results from Flagler Palm Coast held Wednesday night, as reported by Coach Bartolotta. I made style changes only, and fixed one spelling that seemed to make sense to me, and others that I knew needed fixing. If I don’t know the name, however, I have left the spelling as originally reported.

Some pretty interesting stuff out there. Sandalwood and Middleburg were there, as was Atlantic, located in Port Orange.

Still efforting trying to get results from the preseason event Tuesday night at Buchholz. I believe there is or may be one more preseason event on Saturday at Yulee; at least at one point it was on their schedule that way.

Flagler Palm Coast 59, Sandalwood 16
106: Barie (S) p. Johnson, :59; 113: Hale (S) md. A. Jones, 16-3; 120: Holder (FPC) p. Arroyo, 3:30; 126: DeAugustino (FPC) p. Cruz, 1:24. 132: T.Insalaco (FPC) p. Nixon, 0:59. 138: Martins (FPC) d. Cam. Bell, 4-1. 145. Delapaz (S) ID over Johnson, 2:52. 152: E.Insalaco (FPC) p. Aquilar, 3:52. 160: Maia (FPC) md. Cha. Bell, 14-4. 170: Rosso (FPC) p. Morency, 5:02. 182: Canidate (FPC) p. Friend, 3:14. 195: Bryant (FPC) p. Parcella, 1:38. 220: Haaf (FPC) md. Alonzo, 12-3. 285: Ebanks (FPC) p. Velasquez, 2:22.

Flagler Palm Coast 69, Middleburg 12
106: Sheridan (M) p. Johnson, 3:53. 113: A. Jones (FPC) p. Mercado, 5:04. 120: Holder (FPC) tf. Jackson, 18-3. 126: DeAugustino (FPC) md. Rossetti, 15-4. 132: T. Insalaco (FPC) p. J.King, 0:37. 138: Martins (FPC) p. C.King, 1:18. 145: Jones (FPC) fft. 152: Johnson (FPC) p. S. Heflin, 0:22. 160: E. Insalaco (FPC) p. Riesenbeck, 1:05. 170: Rosso (FPC) p. Eastwood, 0:38. 182: Canidate (FPC) p. Shoen, 0:12. 195: B. Heflin (M) p. Bryant, 0:22. 220: Haaf (FPC) fft. 285: Ebanks (FPC) fft.

Middleburg 48, Atlantic 31
106: Sheridan (M) p. Bruner, 0:50. 113: Jackson (M) p. Silvis, 0:40. 120: Machado () fft. 126: Rossetti (M) fft. 132: Williams (A) p. C. King, 1:32. 138: Rideout (A) md. J. King, 10-2. 145: Edmonds (A) fft. 152: S. Heflin (M) p. Tomlinson, 3:57. 160: Riesenbeck (M) p. Perez, 3:10. 170: Perkins (A) d. Eastwood, 9-4. 182: Shoen (M) p. Thomas, :50. 195: B. Heflin (M) p. Bartee, 1:14. 220: Whitehouse (A) fft. 285: Hamilton (A) fft.

Sandalwood 50, Atlantic 30
106: Barie (S) p. Bruner, 1:01 113: Hale (S) p. Silvis, 5:02. 120: Arroyo (S) fft. 126: Cruz (S) fft. 132: Williams (A) p. Nixon, 2:30. 138: Cam. Bell (S) p. Rideout, 2:23. 145: Delapaz (S) tf. Edmonds, 17-2. 152: Tomlinson (A) p. Aquilar, 1:23. 160: Cha. Bell (S) p. Perez, 1:21. 170: Perkins (A) over Morency, 3:06. 182: Thomas (A) p. Friend, 3:29. 195. Parcella (S) d. Herres, 6-2. 220: Whitehouse (A) p. Alonzo, 2:38 285: Velasquez (S) p. Hamilton, 3:21.


TurkeyNWrestling: My Bad, Guys

Wrestling and predictions are uneasy compatriots, mostly because — it’s been my experience over the years — a wrestler likes to defy expectations whenever possible or even whenever impossible. I think most people took my 2014-15 predictions in stride when they came out, but I am also sure that a couple of teams used them as motivation, particularly as the calendar ticked over toward February.

So I thought I’d take a look back at last year’s predictions and see how I actually did. I got five of the eight district champions correctly picked. Some of the districts (particularly in 2A), I did very well, and some of the others (also in 2A) I pretty much picked like I just moved to Florida yesterday.

Why look back? It puts this year’s picks — which I just posted around an hour or so ago — into some perspective. I’m going to get some right, I’m going to get some wrong and I’m going to get some REALLY wrong. It’s all good. It all gets settled on the mat in the third week of February, one way or the other.

Here’s the look back:

3A-District 1
Projected: 1. Flagler Palm Coast. 2. Fleming Island. 3. Sandalwood. 4. Buchholz. 5. Fletcher. 6. First Coast. 7. Atlantic Coast. 8. Mandarin.
Actual: 1. Flagler Palm Coast. 2. Fleming Island. 3. Buchholz. 4. Sandalwood. 5. First Coast. 6. Mandarin. 7. Fletcher. 8. Atlantic Coast.
Comments: I actually didn’t miss this by all that much. Buchholz did a solid job of pointing to the post-season, and the Bobcats were able to push past Sandalwood for the third spot. Fletcher had one of the weaker efforts it had had in a tournament all season, and Mandarin had a few late-season additions to the lineup sparkle, giving the Mustangs a little extra push.

2A-District 2
Projected: 1. Columbia. 2. Lincoln. 3. Gainesville. 4. Chiles. 5. Leon.
Actual: 1. Lincoln. 2. Leon. 3. Columbia. 4. Chiles. 5. Gainesville.
Comments: Pretty much made a hash of these picks. First, if all of Columbia’s 2014 returners had come back and wrestled a year ago, I think I would have been justified in putting the Tigers in the top spot here. I thought some of the Hurricane wrestlers that were less-experienced would take more of a step than they did, but there were some newcomers who were decent surprises. And Leon was significantly better than they’d been in the previous year, so props to them for that. At least I got Chiles picked in the correct spot.

2A-District 3
Projected: 1. Orange Park. 2. Middleburg. 3. Oakleaf. 4. Ed White. 5. Ridgeview. 6. Terry Parker. 7. Englewood. 8. Stanton. 9. Robert E. Lee.
Actual: 1. Orange Park. 2. Middleburg. 3. Oakleaf. 4. Ed White. 5. Ridgeview. 6. Robert E. Lee. 7. Englewood. 8. Terry Parker. 9. Stanton.
Comments: Not bad if I do say so myself, but I certainly underestimated what Lee had coming back, and overestimated what Terry Parker had coming back; I thought the Braves would even give Ridgeview a bit of a run for that fifth spot. But I picked the top five, in order, correctly. In November. Sometimes, a blind squirrel finds the acorn. Catfish Hunter was right.

2A-District 4
Projected: 1. Matanzas. 2. Creekside. 3. St. Augustine. 4. Nease. 5. Bartram Trail. 6. Ponte Vedra.
Actual: 1. Matanzas. 2. Creekside. 3. Bartram Trail. 4. St. Augustine. 5. Nease. 6. Ponte Vedra.
Comments: This one I lay entirely at the feet of Chad Parker. I thought it would be THIS year before we would start to see the Bears making significant strides toward the direction that Parker wanted Bartram to go. However, he made his team believe a whole lot faster than I thought he would. Don’t be surprised if that gap between the Bears and the top two closes some, or even a lot, this year. Otherwise, for the most part I had this district down as well.

1A-District 2
Projected: 1. Suwannee. 2. Wakulla. 3. Florida High. 4. Godby. 5. Rickards.
Actual: 1. Wakulla. 2. Florida High. 3. Suwannee. 4. Godby. 5. Rickards. 6. North Florida Christian.
Comments: I still think if everybody that could have wrestled for the Bulldogs last year actually had wrestled, that team would have challenged Wakulla for the title, and certainly that team would have been a real threat to win regions, since a much-younger and much less-experienced group still took third.

1A-District 3
Projected: 1. Yulee. 2. West Nassau. 3. Westside. 4. Raines. 5. Baker County. 6. Bishop Snyder. 7. Fernandina Beach. 8. Paxon. 9. Andrew Jackson.
Actual: 1. Yulee. 2. Westside. 3. Baker County. 4. West Nassau. 5. Fernandina Beach. 6. Bishop Snyder. 7. Raines. 8. Andrew Jackson. 9. Paxon.
Comments: Several kids for Raines that should, I thought, have been in the lineup, were not, and I would hold that the Vikings would have done better than 7th with everybody in the lineup. I also overestimated the numbers that would come back for West Nassau; very few returning kids actually did come back, but the Warriors found some new ones that I didn’t know about. Got Yulee right, but I really thought that the Hornets would run away and hide, and give Westside credit — the Wolverines made it difficult.

1A-District 4
Projected: 1. Bolles. 2. Bishop Kenny. 3. FSDB. 4. University Christian. 5. Bradford. 6. Duval Charter. 7. Providence. 8. Episcopal. 9. Pedro Menendez. 10. Wolfson.
Actual: 1. Bishop Kenny. 2. Bolles. 3. Pedro Menendez. 4. FSDB. 5. Wolfson. 6. Episcopal. 7. Duval Charter. 8. University Christian. 9. Providence. 10. Bradford.
Comments: It was made clear that picking the Bulldogs to win districts was something that rankled at Bishop Kenny all season (and yet, I have stepped into that breach once again). The far-bigger miss was on Pedro Menendez; I’d really thought that losing three state qualifiers was going to be a real problem. The Falcons did a solid job of making that prediction a bunch of hooey, and even in doing so probably left some points out there. I thought UC and Bradford would have a lot more back than they did, and it showed. Episcopal showed signs of being on the move as well.

1A-District 5
Projected: 1. Clay. 2. Crystal River. 3. Dunnellon. 4. Villages. 5. North Marion. 6. Palatka. 7. Trinity Catholic. 8. Interlachen. 9. Eastside.
Actual: 1. Clay. 2. Crystal River. 3. Palatka. 4. Eastside. 5. North Marion. 6. Villages. 7. Trinity Catholic. 8. Interlachen. 9. Dunnellon.
Comments: I whiffed on Dunnellon, mainly because a couple of its studs moved out — one going to Admiral Farragut. Eastside finished where I thought Dunnellon would, essentially, and Palatka and Villages essentially swapped spots. Palatka improved more over the year, and they may improve even more this year. Trinity Catholic is another team on the move, too.


TurkeyNWrestling: 1A-District 2

Team synopsis: Still comes down to a test of Wakulla’s star power vs. Florida High’s depth. The War Eagles have some superstars returning to the lineup, while Florida High maintains a consistency across the board. Will the War Eagles’ second group provide enough depth to carry it over the top? Will the Seminoles find a star or two that can be a state podium threat?

I don’t know that Wakulla will repeat as region champion — having Clay back in Region 1, plus Arnold — will make things difficult for the War Eagles — but I maintain, as Ric Flair might say, that to be the Man, you got to beat the Man. And Wakulla, in this district, still seems to be the Man.

Then there is Suwannee. A year ago, the Bulldogs — based solely on 2014 Expected key returners — had the lineup to challenge Wakulla. Then two Expected key returners (one a state qualifier, who left mid-season) didn’t come back out. Add back-to-back new coaches in the past two seasons, with Suwannee JHS coach Paul Horne taking over the reins this year, and the Bulldogs continue to be a team experiencing, and doing its level best to try to overcome, a state of flux.

That is the case again this year, with 2015 state placer Tyler Foster, a three-time district champion and Scout’s top-ranked 182-pounder in Class 1A, reportedly no longer in school. Even without Foster, Horne has kids long on potential; still, numbers issues, in terms of filling out a full lineup, will be challenging, and keeping everybody in singlets is already difficult enough as it is. That being said, unless there’s a major influx of move-ins, I wouldn’t project the Bulldogs falling below third in this district, and they certainly know when to peak at the right time, finishing a stunning 3rd at regions last year.

Projected finish: 1. Wakulla. 2. Florida High. 3. Suwannee. 4. Godby. 5. North Florida Christian. 6. Rickards.

Suwannee Bulldogs
Coach: Paul Horne, 1st year.
2014-15: 3-2 in duals. 14th at Border Wars, 10th at Capital City Classic, 13th at Soddy Daisy (TN) Showdown, 6th at Billy Saylor Invite, 7th at King of the Ring, 5th at Raines 5 Star, 16th at Clay Rotary. 3rd at district, 3rd at region, T-15th at states.
Expected key returners (post-season competitors and others with 15 matches):
Seniors: Michael Santangelo (16-11 in 2014-15, district runnerup, region 4th, 0-2 at states); Rossie Williams (10-26 in 2014-15, district 4th, 1 match from states).
Juniors: Joseph Borrell (9-7 in 2014-15, district runnerup, region 4th, 0-2 at states), Tanner Clark (16-28 in 2014-15, district 3rd, region 4th, 0-2 at states), Kenneth Foster (14-34 in 2014-15, district 3rd, region 4th, 0-2 at states), Brandon Trask (35-16 in 2014-15, district runnerup, region runnerup, 0-2 at states).
Sophomores: Robert Fletcher (10-18 in 2014-15, did not compete post-season).
Matmen’s take: Should Foster return to school and be able to compete, even on a half-season’s basis, he’s solid enough to get back to the state podium, although the time away would be a damper to a title run. If he doesn’t, don’t fret too much for the Bulldogs, as there’s five other returning qualifiers with states experience. Borrell and Trask, in particular, would have good chances to podium this year.