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#RoadToTheShow: 3A-Region 1 Preview

3A-Region 1 preview

When & where: Flagler Palm Coast HS in Palm Coast. First session is set for noon Friday (as all are in all classes statewide). Saturday’s first session is set for 10 a.m., the second session typically is at the discretion of the tournament director for a mid- to late-afternoon start.
Team favorite: Fleming Island, with 13 District 1 champions and 14 finalists, will be exceptionally difficult to overcome this year. This was supposed to be a year where the Golden Eagles were building toward a 2019-20 season where they might win everything. They’re pretty close to doing that. Right now.
Can anybody challenge the Golden Eagles?: Team-wise, Fleming will enter as the favorite and should emerge with the region title, but they’ll get tests from 11-time District 3 champ Winter Springs, along with Hagerty and Freedom, in competition for the team title race.
Local outlook in a nutshell: Buchholz is still a candidate for a top-five team position, despite finishing as far back of the Golden Eagles as they did at districts. Look for Fletcher and Flagler Palm Coast to contend for top-10 positions. The remainder of the outlook will be published weight class by weight class. First thing to be said is — for most of the kids in this tournament — that this is the toughest tournament they will have been in all season. A lot of decent kids go home early. Region 1 is the deepest of the four 3A tournaments.
Print this region’s brackets here: REGION 1 BRACKETS

The key thing to remember: Prove me wrong. Or prove me right. I like either one. I’m not telling which one is better. You’ll have to figure that one out for yourself. Remember also that I want to see as many local kids get to state as possible. Keep that in mind too as you read these.

Matmen’s state qualifier predictions, sure to be wrong —

106: 1. Ryan Rowland (1st in 3A, Hagerty). 2. Hunter Herrington (11th, Fleming Island). 3. Zion Gonzalez (6th, University-Orange City). 4. Victor Altamirano (15th, Wekiva).
Dark horse (top half of bracket): Joseph Lyttle (16th, Boone).
Dark horse (bottom half of bracket): Aiden Moore (14th, Buchholz) & Lens Mathurin (13th, Freedom).
First-round match worth price of admission: Lyttle vs. Cade Eisenhut (18th, Lake Howell). Winner should make Saturday, loser projects not to.
My too-short take: Rowland is the solid choice in a bottom half that is lighter than the top half. Top quarter of the bracket should produce his finals opponent, one way or the other.
Local outlook: Key to Herrington’s tournament is getting past Gonzalez in the quarters. Do that (I don’t see that they’ve met this season), and he should make finals, as he’s wrestling very well down the homestretch. Mandarin’s Nathan Bremer is in a quarter with three ranked wrestlers and would probably face a third one even if he does win one of those two matches within the quarter. Buchholz’s Aiden Moore I have reaching the blood round and Altamirano, but that could be an under-ranking. With a solid push Saturday, he could get out. Oakleaf’s Marcus McGee has a quarter that can be worked with, but Mathurin would be too strong in the quarter and either Gonzalez or Herrington looms on Friday night on the other side. McGee needs to win that first-rounder to have a best chance for Saturday, because the top quarter of the consi bracket is not insurmountable.

113: 1. Angel Giraldo (6th, Lake Howell). 2. Riley Holton (4th, Fleming Island). 3. Gabe Rendon (10th, Oviedo). 4. Erick Rocher (13th, Freedom).
Dark horse (top half of bracket): Tyler Esposito (West Port) & Ethan Garcia (Lake Mary).
Dark horse (bottom half of bracket): Tyrese Hicks (Dr Phillips) & Jacob McCrimmon (17th, Timber Creek).
First-round match worth price of admission: Rendon v. Esposito. They could meet twice in this tournament.
My too-short take: Holton has been in big environments and stepped up big-time in most of them in his first year of starting, but I’m going to tab the region-tournament experience factor that Giraldo has. Certainly the schedules the two have wrestled does favor Holton.
Local outlook: Holton has a pretty light quarter and should get to Saturday without too much trouble; Rendon will be a tougher out in the semis. Atlantic Coast’s Eric Harper has 90 wins facing him in his quarter, so a third match Friday night would be an accomplishment. Flagler’s Joseph Rizzo has a winnable first-rounder but likely has Hicks in the quarter and (as I have it) Esposito in WB round 2. Buchholz’s Venumadhava Mirel has McCrimmon in round 1 and should get a third match in the consis, but probably is at least a year away from being a Saturday qualifier.

120: 1. Briar Jackson (2nd, Fleming Island). 2. Christian Fields (6th, Freedom). 3. Bryan Perkins (11th, Buchholz). 4. Victor Perez (Lake Howell).
Dark horse (top half of bracket): Allen Maxwell (10th, Winter Springs).
Dark horse (bottom half of bracket): Jaeden Trost (17th, West Orange), Nathan Stewart (Hagerty) and Abdiert Escobar (Oakleaf). Deep bottom half.
First-round match worth price of admission: Perkins v. Perez. Winner probably gets out, loser has solid chance to claw back into having a chance of getting out.
My too-short take: Jackson should be pretty confident with his chances throughout the weekend; there’s a bit of air in both sides of the bracket, but the bottom-quarter winner should get out to the final to join Jackson.
Local outlook: Jackson could face ranked wrestlers in the quarters and semis prior to the final. There’s room for Flagler’s Evan St Pierre to find a win, but probably on the consi half of the bracket. Perkins I have reaching the quarters, and then the locals knock each other out in the top half of the consi bracket, as I project Oakleaf’s Abdiert Escobar vs. St Pierre in WB round 2 and the winner of that getting Perkins on Saturday morning in the quarter. Escobar does have a winnable first-rounder and an outside chance at a semi.

126: 1. Dylan Kohn (3rd, Hagerty). 2. Ryan Hobson (15th, Fleming Island). 3. Alex Vazquez (20th, Lake Mary). 4. Jayden Tapia (18th, Timber Creek).
Dark horse (top half of bracket): Raphael Seabra (Olympia).
Dark horse (bottom half of bracket): Jonathan Justice (University-Orange City), Jason Schwartz (17th, First Coast) & Julian Rocher (Freedom).
First-round match worth price of admission: Vazquez v. Camron Ward (Evans).
My too-short take: Kohn is the class of the weight class, but Hobson has proven himself plenty capable during Fleming Island’s stretch run in his first year as a starter for the Golden Eagles. Pretty deep class, could see seven kids contest for third and fourth.
Local outlook: Hobson should be good at least to the semi round, where Tapia or Vazquez (or Ward) could loom there. Sandalwood’s Juvens Augustin has to contend with 105 win in his quarter; even getting a third match would be a good tournament. I have Schwartz reaching the semis and the blood round, but Timber Creek sees just a little-bit stronger schedule (though First Coast did improve theirs this year). Atlantic Coast’s Kevin Thompson has a winnable WB round 1 matchup, but Seabra or Lake Brantley’s Chris Labrecque might be too tough in WB round 2.

132: 1. Joseph Gonzalez (2nd, Hagerty). 2. Lucas Moncrief (11th, Boone). 3. Dalton Baysinger (Fleming Island). 4. Preston Barber (West Orange).
Dark horse (top half of bracket): Several, but most likely are Clayton Hurley (Apopka), Logan Custred (Timber Creek) and Fernando Rodriguez (Freedom).
Dark horse (bottom half of bracket): Jamison Harris (Mandarin).
First-round match worth the price of admission: Custred v. Hurley.
My too-short take: From a state perspective, one of the lighter brackets of the group (only two state-ranked), but there could be as many as 10 kids contesting for third and fourth. Experience and grit? Those things are going to be massive difference-makers in this bracket this weekend.
Local outlook: Baysinger proved me wrong last week, so I have him reaching the semis, where he would meet Gonzalez, Hagerty’s talented freshman, with a winnable set of matches on the back. Oakleaf’s Logan Gilbert gets Gonzalez right off the bat and then faces one of two tough customers, both of whom should be Saturday qualifiers, in WB round 1. Flagler’s Drew Dance simply must get past the first round to have a best chance for Saturday, but either way he’s probably facing either Hurley and Custred in WB round 2. Mandarin’s Jamison Harris I have winning the opener on the front and taking two wins on the back, with a potential rematch with his offseason NFWA teammate, Baysinger, in the blood round.

138: 1. Matthew Phillips (3rd, Winter Springs). 2. Dalton Williams (7th, Fleming Island). 3. Noel Soto (9th, Boone). 4. JeanVoltaire Faustin (12th, Oak Ridge).
Dark horse (top half of bracket): Chase McDonough (15th, University-Orange City) & Wilnes Accius (17th, Wekiva).
Dark horse (bottom half of bracket): Chris Cristancho (Olympia), Blane DeFord (18th, Flagler Palm Coast) & Hunter Griffin (Buchholz).
First-round match worth price of admission: DeFord v. Cristancho.
My too-short take: I suspect both Phillips and Williams will move reasonably comfortably through the draw and reach the final, although the District 4 top pair — Soto and Faustin — could provide good semifinal tests. Another bracket with seven kids that could contest for two spots.
Local outlook: McDonough in the quarters should be a good battle for Williams in the quarter, but he has the chops to reach the final and get out. Fletcher’s Tyler Dalldorf might get a third match even if he falls to Accius in round 1, but that third match might be DeFord, who should be a Saturday qualifier no matter how his match with Cristancho goes down. Griffin has a winnable first-rounder, but Soto would be next. He can make Saturday, and it might be him against DeFord for a shot at the blood round. Griffin and DeFord went 5-3 in the District 1 semi.

145: 1. Ethan Woods (2nd, Hagerty). 2. JJ Contreras (3rd, Winter Springs). 3. Gannon Janssen (4th, Fleming Island). 4. Jared Purcell (6th, Lake Mary).
Dark horse (top half of bracket): Sage Croft (12th, Windermere).
Dark horse (bottom half of bracket): David Parkes (17th, Oakleaf); Matthew Augustave (Oak Ridge).
First-round match worth price of admission: DeAngelo Fletcher (19th, Buchholz) v. Solomon Smith (15th, West Orange). Smith won, 4-3, at region dual semifinal.
My too-short take: As light as a couple of brackets are, this one is loaded. There is a ranked wrestler that won’t get past Friday, there’s a state placer (possibly two) that will have to get to states via the wrestlebacks, so everybody better be on state mode right from the jump.
Local outlook: Janssen will have been watching film on the Lyman match he lost to Contreras, 9-3, from back in December, but he’s in a much different place now, and should definitely get to states for the first time after seeing both of his first two attempts end in injury defaults. Sandalwood’s Lavaughn Brown should get a third match on Friday, but will have to face two ranked wrestlers in order to get to Saturday, and could get a look at Oakleaf’s David Parkes. Parkes has a winnable first-rounder, but might have to battle for states through the consis, as Woods projects to be a quarterfinal opponent. Whoever loses between Smith and Fletcher Friday night could be watching from the stands on Saturday, as Janssen or Contreras is their WB round 2 opponent.

152: 1. Luke Chop (4th, Fleming Island). 2. Jonathan Rodriguez (7th, West Port). 3. Hayden McCandless (3rd, Winter Springs). 4. David Pagan (5th, Freedom).
Dark horse (top half of bracket): Jordan Albrecht (Edgewater).
Dark horse (bottom half of bracket): Nick Esposito (18th, Hagerty), William Green-Church (20th, Buchholz) & Marcus Vega (19th, Deland).
First-round match worth price of admission: Green-Church v. Vega. Both wrestlers should get to Saturday, if not the blood round.
My too-short take: I haven’t found a Chop-McCandless match from this season or from the prior two, but one thing that’s stunned me most about this season from Chop is how much progress he’s made from year-to-year. Most recent example I can think of in the north is Chop’s former teammate Jason Davis, from the 2013-14 to the 2014-15 seasons.
Local outlook: Chop’s path to at least the semifinal is pretty clear, and even should he fall in the semi, he would be the favorite for third. Fletcher’s Tyson Petrie gets McCandless in the first round, and while there may be a winnable match in WB round 1, he will probably face a ranked wrestler Friday evening in round 2. The same might be said for Lee’s Ahmahd Denmark, although he wouldn’t face a ranked wrestler in round 2, but would be facing a tough customer with Saturday on the line. As we mentioned above, Green-Church’s Saturday chances are good, no matter what happens in the first round and he should be in the final eight, if not the final six, in the weight class.

160: 1. Wyatt Forsberg (4th, Winter Springs). 2. Tanner Hill (5th, Fleming Island). 3. Kale Moore (9th, University-Orange City). 4. Zabriel Allen (13th, Seminole).
Dark horse (top half of bracket): Marquis Kelly (19th, Edgewater) & Justin Ferreter (Freedom).
Dark horse (bottom half of bracket): Tracen Ransdell (14th, Buchholz) & Mathieu Byers (Hagerty).
First-round matches worth price of admission: Kelly v. Allen & Byers v. Trevor Beck (18th, Windermere). Kelly-Allen winner has a good chance to get out, while the Byers-Beck loser may have a hard time getting to Saturday.
My too-short take: Same as at 152, I don’t see a Hill-Forsberg match contested this year (they were in different weights at Lyman and lost in the same rounds of competition, in opposite halves of the brackets, at Knockout). It’s a real tossup, but should be fun to watch. If Hill wrestles as he did at state duals, he can win this bracket.
Local outlook: Hill should run through to the finals without too many concerns; Moore in the semi could be a solid test. Fletcher’s Stone Rockhill will have to stretch himself even to get a third match in this field. Ransdell I have reaching the semis and falling to Allen in the blood round, but he’s got a decent chance to get out; he sneaks under the radar with his more-acclaimed upper-weight teammates taking the spotlight. Sandalwood’s Leonardo Alonzo should definitely get three matches, no matter how his first-rounder goes, but he’ll also have to find another level in order to get to Saturday.

170: 1. Logan Perkins (7th, Hagerty). 2. Mike Esler (10th, Winter Springs). 3. Justin Foulk (Oviedo). 4. Gavin Smith (9th, Fleming Island).
Dark horse (top half of bracket): Elijah White (8th, Edgewater).
Dark horse (bottom half of bracket): Matt Vann (11th, Buchholz); Joey Kaminski (16th, Freedom).
First-round match worth the price of admission: Vann vs. Jason Rehberg (Windermere).
My too-short take: District 3 is really strong at this weight, and either Esler or Foulk (or Smith, to be sure) can get out to the final in the top half. But Perkins is far ahead of the group in this weight class.
Local outlook: If Smith can run the gauntlet — even his first-rounder is not a pushover — and hold his nerve, he can certainly reach the finals; experience in this tournament counts, though, and Esler and Foulk have it. Fletcher’s Joel Rodriguez we will see again over the next two years, and there’s a winnable match in his quarter of the bracket, but he has to face at least two ranked kids to get out to Saturday. Vann’s bid for a state berth starts right from the jump in the opening round, with Perkins awaiting in the quarters. He should go deep into Saturday, and could stand a chance to get out if he can solve the District 3 trio. First Coast’s Devante Wyatt (12th) is probably a year away from a state run, but can win his opening round match, with a possible semifinal appearance. He would either have to go through Smith or a very experienced District 3 kid in the blood round, though.

182: 1. Jessiah Contreras (1st, Winter Springs). 2. Ethan Lopez (16th, Hagerty). 3. Anthony Breeden (6th, Fleming Island). 4. Armando Acosta (7th, Buchholz).
Dark horse (top half of bracket): Zack Ross (Oviedo).
Dark horse (bottom half of bracket): Michael Strong (Fletcher) & Jordan Grant (18th, Freedom).
First-round match worth the price of admission: Grant v. Aaron Morris (Deland).
My too-short take: Whoever emerges out of the top quarter is going to face Contreras in the final. Going to be two monster quarters with Breeden v. Lopez (Lopez won 6-4 in overtime on the first day of state duals, hence we went chalk with the pick) and Contreras v. Acosta.
Local outlook: If Breeden can find a way with Lopez, who’s quite talented in his own right, he should have an easier path in the semi and get to the finals and a shot at Contreras. Sandalwood’s Joshua Newkirk has made tremendous progress this year, but at this level getting even a third match would be an accomplishment. Acosta drew the Contreras quarter, which is unfortunate, but should certainly get out this year (we did go chalk with the place-match pick, but that is certainly a 3rd-4th match to watch). Strong has a solid shot at Saturday, which is saying something for a sophomore, and we’ll see a lot more of him over the next two seasons.

195: 1. Bobby Williams (3rd, Winter Springs). 2. Chad Nix (4th, Fleming Island). 3. Matthew Simms (2nd, Apopka). 4. Lawrence Smith-Jackson (6th, Buchholz).
Dark horse (top half of bracket): Elijah Vega (16th, Deland); Colton Curtis (12th, Freedom).
Dark horse (bottom half of bracket): Christopher Telusma (Robert E. Lee, 9th).
First-round match worth the price of admission: Vega v. Shane O’Leary (Wekiva).
My too-short take: Going to be monster matchups on the bottom half of the draw in the quarters and semis. At least one placer-level wrestler will not get out. That’s the one thing that could favor Nix, who’s got a lighter half of the bracket to move through, which could help.
Local outlook: Nix won’t have any issues getting to the final, but may have to overcome some past history (loss by fall to Williams at Lyman, hence the chalk pick) to win the championship. Fletcher’s Mathew Strong might find a rough go in this quarter, but could maybe get three matches on Friday. Smith-Jackson would get Simms in the quarters and possibly again for third. He’s got a state podium-level game and just needs to remember that through the weekend. Telusma I have getting to Saturday, and if his schedule over the last few years had given him some opportunity to see the stars of the weight class a little more often, he could be more of a threat to get out.

220: 1. Jeffrey Lascano (4th, Fleming Island). 2. Will Holt (11th, Lake Mary). 3. Nevan Burney (15th, Buchholz). 4. Nick Rehberg (Winter Springs).
Dark horse (top half of bracket): Jordan Smith (13th, Seminole).
Dark horse (bottom half of bracket): Cyrus Yousofi (West Orange), Christopher Miceli (Oviedo) & Ethan Hollenbach (17th, Fletcher).
First-round match worth price of admission: Miceli v. Yousofi. Both should go deep into the tournament Saturday.
Local outlook: Lascano might get a solid challenge prior to the final, but I think it’s his bracket for the taking, in light of the progress he’s made; it takes a truly powerhouse 220 to overpower him. Atlantic Coast’s Seth Miller might have a shot at winning a match on Friday, but it’s more likely to come in the wrestlebacks. I have Burney getting out, but Miceli is no ordinary fourth-place competitor and Burney will have to stay focused on the big prize in order to reach Kissimmee next week. Hollenbach also has a chance to get out, certainly to reach Saturday, but he would also have to stretch in the deeper rounds to nab a top-four spot.

285: 1. Curtis Ruff (1st, Seminole). 2. Matt Saint John (5th, Winter Springs). 3. Stanley Hollenbach (2nd, Fletcher). 4. Ben Moxley (7th, Lake Mary).
Dark horse (top half of bracket): Nick Walker (14th, Hagerty).
Dark horse (bottom half of bracket): Raul Gonzalez (12th, Fleming Island) & Antonio Voravong (Colonial).
First-round matches worth price of admission: Hollenbach v. Walker; Moxley v. Gonzalez. Winners probably get out, losers probably go deep into Saturday, but much harder road. Could see these matches twice this weekend.
My too-short take: The championship match probably gets decided in the semis, where we’re likely to see a 1 v 2 setup between Ruff and Hollenbach; we say that because Ruff pinned his way through districts, and it’s most likely that a District 3 wrestlers gets out of the bottom half.
Local outlook: For Hollenbach, states starts a week early, as he’ll have state-level competition in every round of the tournament. We’ve picked against him before, only to be wrong. First Coast’s Gus Martinez gets Ruff in the first round and does have a winnable WB round 1 match, but a Saturday appearance would be a very solid tournament. Mandarin’s Nick Wilbur should only get better over the next two years, particularly with off-season work, but he has Saint John in round 1 and one of two very experienced kids in the wrestlebacks. Gonzalez, who is certainly an undersized heavy (he lost a wrestleoff to Lascano for the 220 spot last fall), has nevertheless proven his mettle all season, and should get to Saturday, if not the blood round, but Moxley is a solid medal threat next week.

Curious about what Brant thinks (after all, you might like his better)? Here’s links to his four 3A previews (they’re not all out yet, we’ll update our post to reflect):

All statewide rankings as created by Brant Parsons and as updated February 26.

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