Welcome to another edition of The Scouting Reports. Here, we take a spin through what the entire state of Florida has coming back. More information for you, the readers, is what we’re all about at Matmen.
I’ve heard about a few transfers locally (on the Northeast side) that supposedly have already taken place (two are noted here and one bigger shift, that will affect the next preview, just heard about it very recently), and a couple others that I’ve heard about that may be in process. What I hear about, and what I can report, are two very different things, however. And there are probably others that I haven’t even heard about yet. So if the information here is not 100% correct because of a transfer, it’s because it hasn’t been confirmed to me. Upon confirmation from a coach or from the kid transferring, I would be happy to correct the record — one of the pleasant upsides of doing these over the Internet as opposed to a newspaper-based format.
Pro Tip: This would be a good time to tell me you’re officially transferring. You’ve got some time — either a few hours or a few days, as these will all be done before the end of the month — to let me know via DM in Twitter or Facebook instant message or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
2015-16 team finish: 1. Clay. 2. Yulee. 3. West Nassau. 4. Baker County. 5. Raines. 6. Westside. 7. Bishop Snyder. 8. Fernandina Beach.
2014-15 team finish: 1. Yulee. 2. Westside. 3. Baker County. 4. West Nassau. 5. Fernandina Beach. 6. Bishop Snyder. 7. Raines. 8. Jackson. 9. Paxon.
2013-14 team finish: 1. Bishop Snyder. 2. Yulee. 3. Fernandina Beach. 4. West Nassau. 5. Forrest (now Westside). 6. Baker County. 7. Raines. 8. Jackson. 9. Paxon.
(All individual records are Matmen-generated except for Yulee)
Baker County (Glen St. Mary)
Other post-season stats: 2016 — T-17th at region. 2015 — 16th at region. 2014 — 16th at region, T-69th at states.
Individual returners: Cole Cushman (junior, 23-7 at 113, district 4th); Jordan Johnson (junior, 15-18 at 126, district 3rd); Devon Cole (junior, 16-14 at 132, 1 match from regions); Earl Starling (junior, 6-8 at 145, district 3rd); James Burnett (junior, 12-16 at 160, 1 match from regions); Blake Dicks (junior, 20-15 at 170, district 3rd); Jestin Canterbury (senior, 12-19 at 285, 1 match from regions).
Key losses: Sydney Williams (14-13 at 106, district 3rd); Shelbie Martin (13-15 at 120, 1 match from regions); Robbie Martin (17-12 at 138, district 4th); Caleb Griffin (13-11 at 152, district 4th); Corey Paine (28-8 at 220, district runnerup, 1 match from states).
Program strengths: Numbers. Baker has just about as many kids that saw lots of time during the regular season as those who suited up for the Wildcats for the districts. Six juniors return, and they could form a solid nucleus for the next two seasons.
Program needs: Off-season wrestling was a critical need. That’s started to be addressed with the Baker County Youth Wrestling program. Wildcats could use at least one highly competitive IBT event that will help prep them for the challenges of the post-season.
Why Florida should know about the Wildcats: Baker County had its second year without a state qualifier, advancing three wrestlers to Day 2 at Florida High, as Cushman and 2016 graduate Griffin both reached the consi quarters along with Paine, who made it to the consi semis. All three Wildcats were 2-2 at Region 1, and all of them had losses to eventual state qualifiers.
Bishop Snyder (Jacksonville)
Other post-season stats: 2016 — 25th at region. 2015 — T-12th at region, T-59th at states. 2014 — 7th at region, T-16th at states.
Individual returners: JP Vilonueva (sophomore, 7-28 at 113, 1 match from regions); Brenden Bizier (senior, 27-17 at 132, district 3rd); Johnathan Bokros (sophomore, 5-30 at 138, 1 match from regions); Thomas Graden (sophomore, 6-29 at 145, 1 match from regions); Azim Hameed (senior, 26-9 at 160, district champ, 1 match from states); Mark Morante (sophomore, 4-28 at 220, 1 match from regions).
Key losses: None.
Program strengths: Rebuilding effort after schedule change forced several Cardinals out of wrestling has been slow going, but progress is happening. Having everyone return next year, and return to the sport next year, will be a big boost for all of the Cardinals.
Program needs: Youngsters do need more mat time, with a mixture of all levels of competition. Snyder schedule has evolved toward that
Why Florida should know about the Cardinals: Hameed came as close as a wrestler can get to states without qualifying, falling just a takedown short of the show in a 4-3 consi-semi loss to Godby’s Cornelius Brown. He spent a great deal of time working this off-season to prepare to get to states this coming March.
Clay (Green Cove Springs)
Other post-season stats: 2016 — 1st at region, state runnerup (Lake Highland Prep). 2015 — 1st at 1A-District 5, 3rd at 1A-Region 2, 9th at states. 2014 — 1st at 1A-District 5, 2nd at 1A-Region 2, 4th at states.
Individual returners: Louie Gagliardo (sophomore, 45-8 at 106, district champ, region runnerup, state 5th); Chris Merring (senior, 35-8 at 113, district champ, region champ, state runnerup); Dylan Taylor (sophomore, 40-15 at 120, district champ, region runnerup, state 6th); Keath Sawdo (senior, 36-14 at 145, district champ, region champ, state 5th); Connor Green (junior, 35-17 at 152, district champ, region 3rd, state 6th); Garrett Weseman (junior, 15-22 at 160, district 4th); Abbott Taylor (sophomore, 19-12 at 182, district champ, region runnerup); Kaleb Collins (senior, 39-7 at 195, district champ, region champ, state 3rd).
Key additions: Max Beavor (junior, 170, 3A-District 1 3rd place); Kurt Jackson (junior, 195, 2A-District 3 runnerup, 2A-Region 1 4th place).
Key losses: Dale Browning (49-6 at 126, district champ, region champ, state 3rd); Derek Miller (42-6 at 132, district champ, region champ, state CHAMPION); Julian Summa (41-8 at 138, district champ, region champ, state 4th); Caleb Steinmetz (38-14 at 170, district champ, 1 match from states); Jeremy Beaulieu (16-4 at 220, district champ, region 3rd, 1 match from state podium); Roland Samec (30-7 at 285, district champ, region 3rd).
Program strengths: Holds one of the, and arguably the, premier traditions of any wrestling team in the coverage area, with one of, if not the, most vocal and supportive fan bases in Florida. Has one of the deepest benches in the coverage area and certainly deepest in the district, and the kids who’ve transferred make the overall group just that much stronger.
Program needs: Injured wrestlers need to be fully healed up and most are on the way to that, with some already drilling after in-between-season surgeries.
Why Florida should know about the Blue Devils: Florida already knows about the Blue Devils. It’s probably still too much to expect this group to compete with Lake Highland Prep, but Clay should close the gap a little bit more in March, even with six district champs (including four state placers, one a champion) graduated.
Here’s a breakdown of each Clay state qualifier (including the newest Blue Devil who also was there):
Gagliardo — Went 3-2 in taking fifth at states, reaching the semis behind a first-round 8-4 decision over Tampa Prep’s Ben Buhler, and quarterfinal fall over Astronaut’s Carson Kirk, and then fell in the semis to eventual state champ Ryan Chauvin of Lake Highland, 11-2. Buhler got back the first-round loss in the consi semis, downing Gagliardo 8-6, but he rallied to defeat Suwannnee’s Brandon Trask, 8-2, in the fifth-place match.
Merring — Pinned his way through to the finals, with falls over Chaminade-Madonna’s Joseph Scirghio (first round), Astronaut’s Louis Cortez (quarters) and Lemon Bay’s Albert Werden (semis) before taking a loss via major decision on Saturday night to Lake Highland’s Noah Castillo, 15-7.
Dylan Taylor — Was 3-3 (all losses to placers) in taking sixth, with a first-round forfeit over Rockledge’s Austin Lashure, then fell 7-3 in the quarters to eventual finalist Dre Neely of Avon Park. He then decisioned Evangelical Christian’s Jason Meyer (8-6) in consi round 2 and Lely’s Eric Garcia (4-3) in the consi quarters, the state meets’ “blood round,” to earn his podium spot. He then fell 9-0 in the consi semis to Region 1 rival William Pickren of Arnold (more on him a little later) and then to Somerset’s Colby Singletary, 11-3, in the fifth-place match.
Sawdo — Like Gagliardo, Sawdo was 3-2 (both losses to placers) and reached the semis in taking fifth. He opened the tournament with a first-round fall over Lemon Bay’s Zack Dagg, and followed that up with a 9-1 major over Bishop Moore’s Bradley Kata in the quarters. Sawdo then lost by tech fall in the semis to Tampa Prep’s Anthony Artalona and again in the consi semis in sudden victory to Cardinal Gibbons’ Osani Ley, 3-1. Sawdo rallied with a sudden-victory win of his own for fifth, edging American Heritage-Plantation’s Dominick Venturi 10-8.
Green — Was 3-3, with all losses to placers, including a first-round major at the hands of Bishop Moore’s Ryan Violette. Green then rattled off three wins on the back to secure a podium effort, pinning Lemon Bay’s Josh Washington (consi rd 1), 7-6 decision over Trayvon Taylor of Admiral Farragut (consi rd 2) and a fall over Southeast’s Jonathan Locke (blood round). Green then sustained losses to Indian Rocks’ Michael Gingras (12-3 in consi semis) and to Somerset’s Juan Vernaza (9-8 in the fifth-place match).
Abbott Taylor — Went 1-2 at states (both losses against placers), with a first-round decision, 6-0, over McKeel Academy’s Luke Schwartz. Taylor then dropped a narrow 8-7 quarterfinal loss to Coral Springs Charter’s Kevin Soltis, and then lost by fall in consi round 2 to Coconut Creek’s Benson Dorvil.
Collins — Was 4-1 in taking third, reaching the semis along the way. On the front side of the bracket, Collins pinned Coral Springs Charter’s Jon Moltimer in the opening round and Hernando’s Abel Terkovich in the quarters, falling in the semi to multiple-time state champion Ryan Thomas of American Heritage-Delray Beach, 12-7. Collins then pinned Moltimer a second time in the consi semis, and decisioned Florida High’s Cam Brown (more on him in a few days), 7-3, for third place.
Jackson — Competing for Middleburg in 2A, Jackson was 0-2 at states, both losses by fall, against Goleman’s Ivan Martinez in the first round and Sunlake’s Ronnie Estep in consi round 1.
Browning — Closed his high school career with perhaps his best state tournament, losing only in the quarters to finalist Connor Kirk of Astronaut by fall. He had a forfeit win over Coconut Creek’s Tarique Dailey, and on the backside decisioned Admiral Farragut’s Noah Farrelly (8-7) in consi round 2, pinned Dunbar’s Trevor McDaniel in the consi quarters, Raines’ Jaquan English (see more below) in the consi semis and Avon Park’s Jose Pontinela for third.
Miller — Had bonus points in three of his four wins that secured the title, with a tech fall over Space Coast’s Jason Amato (round 1), falls over Somerset’s Daniel Valledor (quarters) and over Lake Highland’s Kai Bele (semis). In the final, he decisioned Tampa Prep’s Ashton Habeil, 11-4, to close out a spectacular tournament run that earned him the Florida Times-Union’s Wrestler of the Year honor.
Summa — Reached the semis in going 3-2 at the tournament, with a first-round fall over Dunbar’s Dayton Hutchins and then a 13-8 quarterfinal win over Somerset Canyon’s Alyis Mursuli. Summa then fell in the semis to Key West’s Caleb Ashe, 4-2, but rallied with a 2-0 win in the consi semis over Lake Highland’s Max Cosmides. Mursuli got some measure of revenge for the quarterfinal loss, however, winning 6-4 in the third-place match.
Beaulieu — Was 2-2 at states (both losses to placers), with one win on each side of the bracket. He pinned Mater Lakes’ Cole Schwartzberg in the first round, but then took an 11-9 quarterfinal loss against Dunbar’s Judas McKenzie. Beaulieu rallied with a consi round-2 fall over Berkeley Prep’s Sam Chadwick to get to Saturday, but then lost to Atlantic’s Matt Whitehouse, by an 8-3 count in the blood round.
Samec — Went 5-1 at states, with his loss coming in the quarterfinals via fall against multiple-time state champion Dante Jiovenetta of Coral Shores. Samec opened the tournament with a fall over Astronaut’s Javohn Maravolo in the first round, and on the back side of the bracket, made sure he got to the podium with a fall over Lemon Bay’s Mike Morales and 4-1 decision over Region 1 rival Jacob Marin of Wakulla (more on him in a few days). He then pinned Berkeley Prep’s Laurence Grundy in the semis and outlasted Tenoroc’s Kristopher Bozeman in sudden victory, 10-8.
Other post-season stats: 2016 — 28th at region. 2015 — 24th at region. 2014 — 6th at region, T-52nd at states.
Individual returners: Joseph Helm (senior, 25-5 at 152, district runnerup), Trevor Dubose (senior, 160, 0-2 at districts); David Sturgis (junior, 4-11 at 195, district 4th); potentially Robbie Elefterion (class unknown, 220, 0-2 at districts).
Key losses: Rafael Charriez (14-14 at 126, 1 match from regions).
Program strengths: Pirates still have talent in the lineup and are looking, most likely, at coaching cohesion into a third year.
Program needs: Numbers have dropped and team will need an influx of new blood to continue to try to compete in duals. Program also needs to reach out to the Jacksonville area and compete in a couple more events to get more mat time.
Why Florida should know about the Pirates: Fernandina Beach did not have presence at Florida High and Region 1 in the second day of the tournament, as Helm had its only victory with a first-round fall.
Other post-season stats: 2016 — 10th at region, T-34th at states. 2015 — 21st at region, T-70th at states. 2014 — 19th at region, T-59th at states.
Individual returners: Anthony Haynes (junior, 21-17 at 113, district 3rd); Joseph Haynes (senior, 32-12 at 120, district 3rd, region 3rd); Jaquan English (junior, 51-9 at 126, district runnerup, region 3rd, state 6th); Dondre Stephens (sophomore, 10-24 at 182, district 4th); Jahcoassy Leo (senior, 23-11 at 195, district runnerup).
Key losses: Travaris Shanks (18-17 at 285, district 3rd).
Program strengths: Coaching staff is a quiet strength for this program in the heart of the inner city. Athleticism across the board is top-notch. The schedule this school wrestles takes the Vikings all over Florida to seek out strong competition, and it showed up in Raines’ best showing at states in the past four years.
Program needs: Numbers continue to be an issue, as the program takes a back seat to strong football and track programs located on school grounds (could be augmented with Andrew Jackson kids coming over due to changes in Jacksonville magnet schools). There’s been some off-season work, but not as much across the board as the coaching staff would want to see.
Why Florida should know about the Vikings: Joseph Haynes was 1-2 at states, with both of his losses coming against state placers in the first round and consi round 2, but took an 8-5 win over Immokalee’s Gabriel Ramirez in consi round 1. English got on the podium at 126, reaching the semis with falls over Booker T Washington’s Kenny Lopez (first round) and Anclote’s Alex Roberds (quarters), but then lost in the semis to eventual champion Joe Silva of Lake Highland Prep, with subsequent losses to Clay’s Browning in the consi semis and to Florida High’s Bryan Metcalf (more on him a little later on) in the fifth-place match.
West Nassau (Callahan)
Other post-season stats: 2016 — 12th at region, T-47th at states. 2015 — 9th at region, 25th at states. 2014 — 18th at region, T-55th at states.
Individual returners: Jake Blount (junior, 33-10 at 113, district runnerup, region 4th); Jacob Hulbert (sophomore, 17-25 at 120, district 4th); William Tharpe (junior, 28-10 at 138, district runnerup, 1 match from states); Levi Mumford (junior, 20-15 at 152, 1 match from regions); Chance Terrell (junior, 13-8 at 160, district 3rd); Daniel Boylan (junior, 15-17 at 195, district 3rd); Blake Hodges (senior, 23-15 at 220, district 3rd).
Key losses: Daniel Hill (24-15 at 170, district runnerup); John/Owen Evans (14-17 at 182, district runnerup).
Program strengths: Program continues to make upticks over the past couple of seasons, with newcomers making it stronger each season, and that has shown in their improved district position. The Warriors have been to the state tournament each of the past three seasons and should have multiple kids there in 2017.
Program needs: Schedule is getting stronger, but could continue to get better. Off-season work was in some short supply, at least against in-state competition (given their location, they might be seeing south Georgia kids).
Why Florida should know about the Warriors: Blount was West Nassau’s lone representative at states, going 1-2 in the event with a second-period fall over Somerset Academy’s Christopher Riley. Blount lost by fall in the quarters and then injury-defaulted in consi round 2 to Jupiter Christian’s Eric Barnes.
Other post-season stats: 2016 — 16th at region, 72nd at states. 2015 — T-12th at region. 2014 — 23rd at region.
Individual returners: Isaac Parker (senior, 16-16 at 113, 1 match from regions); Malik Hardison (sophomore, 15-16 at 126, district 4th); Keyvonta Broadwater (senior, 16-21 at 132, district 4th); Delmontae Davis (senior, 29-11 at 145, district runnerup); Matthew Gathright (sophomore, 23-15 at 152, 1 match from regions); John Jones (junior, 15-19 at 170, 1 match from regions); Tariq Hookfin (senior, 30-10 at 285, district runnerup).
Key losses: Caleb Gibbs (38-10 at 160, district runnerup, region 3rd, 1 match from state podium).
Program strengths: Wolverines were in the hunt for area ranking early in the season, were ranked in Florida Times-Union poll in late December. Numbers have gone up consistently and new faces continue to enter the lineup and make impacts. Have done a decent amount of off-season work.
Program needs: Schedule needs to improve in order to push the better wrestlers to new heights (a Disney Duals appearance in off-season would as well). Wolverines will want to either sustain success they had in December, for the entire season, or build toward it.
Why Florida should know about the Wolverines: Of the returners, only Hookfin got to Day 2 at Florida High, but lost in the consi quarters there. Only 2016 graduate Gibbs got out to states, where he was 2-2, with both losses to eventual placers. Gibbs decisioned Coral Shores’ Lazaro Rodriguez, 8-5, in the first round and then fell in the quarters to Tampa Prep’s Leonardo Tarantino (3rd, finalist in 2015) by fall. He rallied on the back side for an 8-5 win over Key West’s Josh Hettel to get to Saturday, but then took a loss by DQ against Northside Christian (St. Petersburg)”s Kamen Wilmington in the “blood round.”
Other post-season stats: 2016 — T-14th at region, T-42nd at states. 2015 — 7th at region, T-59th at states. 2014 — 15th at region, T-69th at states.
Individual returners: Gavin Loring (sophomore, 106, district runnerup); Dylan Youmans (senior, 120, district runnerup); Zach Watson (senior, 126, 1 match from regions); John Parker (senior, 138, district 3rd); (possibly) David Dry (no school year noted on Track, 145, district 4th); Grant Stanish (sophomore, 152, district 3rd); Dylan Dial (senior, 160, 1 match from regions); Kris Maxie (junior, 170, district 4th); (possibly) Michael Crawford (no school year noted on Track, 195, 1 match from regions); TJ Holton (senior, 220, district 4th); McKenzie Lewis (junior, 285, district 4th).
Key losses: RJ Adams (182, district runnerup, region 3rd, 1 match from state podium).
Program strengths: Hornets have a ton of returners off a team that would win more than a few districts’ titles. Not many losses due to graduation, unusual for a deeper program. Coaching staff is consistently good and youth program is well-established.
Program needs: Schedule needs upgrading for a team with area top-10 capability. We saw a little more diversity in some of the dual event, but another strong IBT in the region would be particularly helpful.
Why Florida should know about the Hornets: None of the Yulee returners got past Day 1 at Florida High last year, with only the graduated Adams doing so (he actually lost in the first round and then didn’t lose again at regions in taking third). At states, that seemed to be the same path, as Adams lost 7-4 in the first round to Sarasota Military’s Dalton Burton, but then won twice on the back side to get to Saturday, with a fall over Miami Jackson’s Tarivis Williams in consi round 1 and over Satellite’s Christopher Ralston (#2 statewide at 195) in consi round 2. However, Crystal River’s Edward Bennis kept Adams off the podium, taking an 8-4 blood-round victory.