The End Goal of March `Matness’

Above is the commemorative state-championship ring for 2016 Leon graduate Gabe Beyer, who was the Class 2A titlist at 285 pounds for the Lions this past season. Beyer is prepping for a one-year mission trip for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints that will begin this winter. Beyer has signed to wrestle for Arizona State upon the conclusion of his mission trip and will join the Sun Devil roster in the 2018-19 season. (Photo submitted by Charles Ringel).

Clubs Back On Main Page

And have undergone substantial edits. If your club was there, and isn’t there now, that is only because I do not have updated information on it — when (both days of the week and what time) and where it meets, costs for the club, and contact information for the club director. I do not publish cell phones in the text of posts or pages, but if they are included with flyers, those numbers will not be removed.

Right now, I only have seen updated information for the kids clubs at Clay and Baker County, and therefore at the moment those are the only clubs posted. There were probably close to a dozen clubs on this page before. Club directors should get updated information to me when they have opportunity, so that our page can include you. We were missing a few clubs out there a year ago.


Saints March In With 26th Schedule

The Duval County two-time defending Gateway Conference champions have weighed in with their schedule, leaving just 20 to go for a complete set. We’ll be emailing for those next week (coaches have been getting bi-weekly emails in August and September).

By my reckoning, the Saints don’t have any new events compared to last year’s schedule, but that hasn’t stopped Sandalwood from once again putting together some travel into their plans. They’ll open with the Optimist Invitational at Terry Parker and will go to Bishop Snyder’s Kiwanis event for the first two weekends of December. Sandalwood will go to Lyman once again for the third weekend of that month and will compete in Buchholz’s one-day duals event on December 22.

In January, the Saints will make a return to Lake Mary for its Tournament of Champions on the first weekend and will be at Palm Coast for Flagler Palm Coast’s duals event on the second weekend and at the Rotary IBT on the final weekend of that month. In between is the Gateway Conference meet, which will lock down a host at the conference’s meeting a week from today. Sandalwood will close out its season with an appearance at Clay’s Rotary IBT on the first weekend of February.

That’s 26, and the next one will move us into the teens in terms of numbers of schedules still needed. Which one will it be…YOURS?



What None Can Take Away

Only 42 wrestlers each year, in Florida, get the opportunity to earn this.

Columbia junior Chace Curtis received a commemorative ring, celebrating his 2016 Class 2A state championship won in March, in a ceremony held at Columbia HS this afternoon. Curtis won the 120-pound state title at Silver Spur Arena in Kissimmee (Photo courtesy of Kevin Warner Facebook page).

What are you doing to make one of these yours RIGHT NOW?


Wolfson Pushes List to 25

We’re on the downward slide toward 100% schedule return. In eight weeks or so, the competitive season will begin, so two or three schedules per week and we’ll be good to go. Whatever speed I get them at, whenever I get them…so long as they come in. And Wolfson has come in with our 25th schedule this year.

Wolfson’s schedule will center mostly around a dual-heavy 2016-17 schedule, with two new events for the Wolfpack. They’ll be at the Matanzas Duals on the Saturday of Week 1 in December, and plan to be — assuming it continues to move forward, and seeing it on another team’s schedule suggests it would — at Englewood’s planned outdoor “Super 8” event on the Friday of Week 3. It’s not entirely a new event for the host Rams, but moving it outside and having it on a Friday is definitely new.

As for returning events, the Wolfpack will be part of the Gateway Conference tournament — their only regular-season IBT — and will be at Terry Parker’s Army Duals on the second full weekend of January.

Wolfson has five midweek dual events on the docket, traveling to Ponte Vedra on December 7 and Raines on December 14. In January, the Wolfpack travel to Neptune Beach for Fletcher’s quad of Gateway rivals on January 11, and to Ed White for a dual on January 25. Their regular-season finale sees a trip to St. Augustine and a matchup with FSDB on February 8, an event that in the past has seen up to four teams in it.

So there’s 25. Who’s NEXT?


The True 4th Concept: 2016 Districts

So like I promised on the Northeast site earlier this week, I thought I’d take some time to look at some possible “true 4th” matchups that could have gone down in the 2016 district tournament.

Recall the earlier opinion post, in which I argued for a true 4th place for the region tournaments. This would occur when the region’s “bracketed 4th” would face off in a battle for a place at states against the wrestler that the bracketed 3rd defeated in the blood round. This would only happen if those wrestlers did NOT wrestle earlier in the tournament, which is, I think, impossible to achieve in the region bracket.

At the district level, however, if the wrestlers did compete earlier in the tournament, the wrestler that won earlier would walk over the wrestler he or she had beaten, and there would not be a contested wrestleback for that weight class. Obviously, the fuller the bracket (or more teams in the district), the more likely a true 4th wrestleback would be to occur.

Here’s a rundown of “true 4th” matches for the five local districts in 1A:

District 1:
132: Ethan Ellis (Marianna) v. Aidan Campbell (North Bay Haven).
145: Hunter Kruger (Bozeman) v. Dagon Womack (North Bay Haven).
152: Davis Whitfield (Bay) v. Jaden Page (South Walton).

District 2:
160: Drew Hostetter (Florida High) v. Tyler Cordle (Wakulla).

District 3:
126: Zach Watson (Yulee) v. Malik Hardison (Westside).
152: Matthew Gathright (Westside) v. Caleb Griffin (Baker County).

District 4:
182: Carter Payne (Menendez) v. Keethan Seay (Wolfson).

District 5: None. With half of the teams in the district having just a handful of wrestlers, this is not surprising.

And 2A:

District 1:
106: Colwyn Mason (Ft Walton Beach) v. Austin O’Gara (Pace).
120: Jackson Moore (Crestview) v. Kevin Green (Pace).
145: Cody Brooks (Crestview) v. Alex Jacobs (Gulf Breeze).
152: Xavier Morgan (Milton) v. Cannon Crum (Niceville).
160: Devon Moseley (Niceville) v. Joey Royce (Ft Walton Beach).
182: Nick Woodward (Ft Walton Beach) v. Brian Miller (Pace).
195: Brandon Ortiz (Milton) v. Darrius Pena (Niceville).

District 2:
None. With five teams in the district, this is not surprising.

District 3:
170: Manuel Rodrigues (Terry Parker) v. Reed Danielson (Orange Park).
285: Jonathan McDow (Ridgeview) v. Deon Williams (Orange Park).

District 4:
106: Colin Brown (Creekside) v. Josh Bower (Matanzas).
113: Bryan Reed (Ponte Vedra) v. Blake Swor (Bartram Trail).
145: Marcus Petersen (St. Augustine) v. Marshall Frye (Ponte Vedra).
170: Gabe Wentworth (St. Augustine) v. Pavan Guduri (Paxon).
220: Michael Bragalone (St. Augustine) v. Cole Scott (Ponte Vedra).
285: Zachary Owens (Paxon) v. Jonathan Walter (Nease).

And here is 3A:

District 1:
106: Brandon Cuevas (Fletcher) v. John Johnson (Flagler Palm Coast).
120: Rayquan Piper (Fletcher) v. Vince Karl (Oakleaf).
126: Ivante White (Fletcher) v. Trace Insalaco (Flagler Palm Coast).
138: Conner Smith (Fletcher) v. Ben Hogan (Buchholz).
145: Dominick Belew (Fletcher) v. Dorian Bowden (Robert E. Lee).
182: Cole Friend (Sandalwood) v. David Thompson (Oakleaf).
195: Matthew Strong (Fletcher) v. Christopher Telusma (Robert E. Lee).
285: Jordan Belle (Robert E. Lee) v. Chris Shauman (Sandalwood).



#NextLevel Class of 2017 Begins To Form

From the Twitter account of Fleming Island senior Jason Davis:

“Super excited for what’s about to come! Verbally committed to wrestle at Southeastern University. A big step to a new beginning! #brickbybrick”

Davis is a two-time state placewinner in his HS career, first in 2A for Oakleaf in 2014-15 and in 3A for the Golden Eagles last year. He has two district titles and one region title under his belt.

I’m not sure if Davis is SEU’s first verbal commit of 2016-17, but he’s the first I’ve seen on the Fire’s Twitter feed going back into the summer. The pipeline from Northeast Florida to Lakeland continues to grow stronger…


Some Random Updates

We have a last-minute addition to the Fundraising page for Saturday that St Johns County fans, and Nease ones in particular, will want to look at. Who wants to wash their own car this weekend, anyway? It’s going to be perfectly gorgeous out and there are quite possibly a million football games to watch. I’ll be doing so on the beach, myself.

I hope to see many of you on Sunday at Dee’s in Orange Park, where I will be having brunch as part of the OPHS fundraiser (I normally just announce these, but am taking part in this one because it involves food and I typically get hungry after church). I’ll be out there, Son of Matman will be out (you can again attempt to persuade him to go out for wrestling). And hopefully you’ll be out there, too.

The opinion piece about a true 4th sparked some decent commentary on Twitter, so I may work through scenarios, on Sunday afternoon, on how a true 4th would have played out in the 2016 district tournaments. One thing to keep in mind, as there was some confusion — the true 4th wrestleback would only be granted to the wrestler who got to the blood round and then lost to the eventual third-place finisher, and only if he or she didn’t meet up with the fourth-placer earlier in the tournament. There would be no change under that scenario for the wrestlers falling in the blood round to the eventual 4ths.

It was even suggested that a “true” 2nd could be added. That would at least solve the issue of region brackets where the two best wrestlers in the bracket are paired up in the semis, but on the other hand the runnerup usually has to win three matches to get to the final, and there’s something to be said for that, too.


Matmen Opinion Piece — A “True” 4th?

Quick question: What do Robert Sheridan, Justin Trinh, Daniel Pigg, Steven Stanton, Logan Womack, Jason Griffis, Gray Creed, Caleb Steinmetz, Corey Paine, Blake Delapaz and Chris Shauman have in common?

I’ll wait… (hums Jeopardy theme)

They’re all wrestlers? Check. That’s the easy part.

All 11 graduated from their respective schools this past May (or perhaps June depending on when the date actually was). All 11 were one match away from the state tournament in February.

And, if “The Matman” had unlimited power, all 11 — along with 24 other local wrestlers that have another shot in future seasons — would have had one more match to try to get to Kissimmee.

These wrestlers all lost in the consolation semis, or “blood round” if you will, to the eventual third-place finisher in their weight classes at their respective region tournaments.

I know I’m always on here talking about Iowa and how Iowa does things, but one thing that I truly do like is Iowa’s wrestleback concept. At both the district and region levels of individual state series competition in that state, where only two wrestlers advance onward, brackets do get wrestled out to third place. If the third-place competitor did not wrestle the runner-up at any time in the tournament, there is a wrestleback to determine a “true” second. It is a very competitive round and does count toward the team score, which is a big deal for team dual bracketing.

I’d like to see that concept applied at least at the region level (unless districts were calibrated in such a way that there was a more-or-less even number of teams in each district, I don’t think it could or even should be done at the district level) here in Florida. Instead of a true second as in Iowa, there would be the opportunity to wrestle back for a “true” fourth place. It would be contested after the finals and third-place matches were complete, with rest time allowed.

Here’s the only downside I can see. In Iowa, not every weight class sees a wrestleback. In other words, the runnerup and the third-place competitor — particularly at the district level — would have faced off during the tournament (usually the semis), and then the runnerup is walked over into true second. If the tournament is seeded perfectly, and wrestled according to seed (does that ever happen?), there would be no wrestlebacks. At the individual region level in Iowa, where there are only four competitors per class, wrestlebacks happen a lot more often.

In Florida’s region tournament, with up to 16 kids in a bracket, it’s going to be pretty rare (if not impossible) that the fourth-place finisher and the kid who lost in the blood round to the eventual third would have seen each other in the tournament, so there would be 14 wrestlebacks, which admittedly is time-consuming on what already is a long day. The schedule for regions on Saturday would need adjusting. I think there’s some room for that to happen, but it would be an adjustment for everyone.

But consider this. Look at our list at the top there. Of those 11 kids, only one — Griffis — ever got to Kissimmee, as competitors, in their careers.

These were the 35 wrestlers who were one match short of state after losing to the eventual third-place finisher at regions:

1A: Griffis, Creed, Steinmetz, Paine, Ikeon Myles, Chase Clark, Delton Griffin, KJ Fagan, Max Martinez, Joey Borrell, Jarkeis Bass, Caleb Calhoun, Andrew Annand, Josiah McCallum.

2A: Sheridan, Trinh, Pigg, Stanton, Womack (although he may have been hurt and couldn’t actually have wrestled back), Frank Sawyer, Nate Golmon, Logan Mellor, Landon Dains, Michel Augustin, Bryan Heflin, Henry Segura, Cory Grower, Hunter Hall.

3A (District 1 kids affected only): Delapaz, Shauman, Andrique Broughton, Trace Insalaco, Khauriee Sullivan, Owen Beining, Steve Canidate.

Every kid that finished fourth at regions deserved to go to state. That isn’t the argument being made here. Nor is the argument being made to send more kids from each region. Four’s a good number.

The argument is simply that, just maybe, some of these kids might have had region tournaments or a body of work that were just as deserving as those fourth-place finishers, but because of region bracketing (in a format where seeding isn’t taken into account and brackets are pre-determined by formula), they were watching states instead of competing in them.


Matanzas Pushes List To 24

Matanzas has sent in its schedule, our second of the day and 24th thus far as momentum continues to build toward the upcoming season.

Most of the Pirates’ events were on their calendar last year, but Matanzas will be going to two new larger tournaments in 2016-17, with an appearance at Seabreeze’s Hollingsworth Duals on the Saturday of Week 3 in December (the 17th), and the Pirates will also compete in the Flagler Duals, at crosstown rival Flagler Palm Coast, on January 13-14. Those should be new events, at least compared to last year’s schedule.

As for returning events, the Pirates will host their one-day duals event on the Saturday of Week 1 in December and will travel to Tallahassee’s Capital City Classic, hosted by Chiles, on the weekend of Week 2. In January, Matanzas will again host the St Johns River Conference tournament, with eight other league opponents in the fray in a dual round-robin format. The Pirates will also return to the Flagler Rotary on the final weekend of January and to the Clay Rotary on the first weekend of February. Female Pirate wrestlers will have opportunities for girls-only events at Osceola on December 3 and potentially Timber Creek on January 11.

Matanzas also has several midweek duals on the docket, starting on December 14th with an away dual at Atlantic, and hosting Deland on December 21st. The Pirates’ Senior Night is scheduled for January 18 against Pine Ridge, and they will travel to Deltona on January 25th. Finally, Matanzas will host the #BattleForFlagler on February 8 against Flagler Palm Coast, in what is at least the Pirates’ regular-season finale.

There’s the 24th team in hand. Who will be NEXT?