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TurkeyNWrestling2019-20: 2A-District 2

Not many districts in Florida will begin the 2019-20 season with three district champions won in the previous year.

Sure, there’s Lincoln, gunning for its 10th consecutive traditional tournament title (and third straight duals title) in 2020. But coming into the district this year is 2019 2A-District 3 champion Orange Park and last year’s 1A-District 1 champ, Mosley.

But all teams in the district are going to be chasing the Trojans, who are the favorites to win in 2A-District 2 once again. Other teams in the district have more wrestlers back than Lincoln’s 11 projected key returners, more than its eight returning region qualifiers and three state qualifiers.

If there’s anything for the opponents to hang their hat on, it’s that Lincoln graduated six key competitors in May/June — twice as many as any other team in the district. But if last year taught us anything, that knowing how to win, that having been there before, continues to be a strength in the Trojan room. And that very well could be the key difference that tips the scales in Lincoln’s favor.

At least from an IBT standpoint, we’re looking at Orange Park as best equipped for the runnerup spot. The Raiders have 12 wrestlers back from last year’s team and lost just one graduate in May/June.

Of those returning 12 for Orange Park, nine were region qualifiers and four went on to Kissimmee. The Raiders also have the most individual state hardware returning — in fact the only such — in seniors Jacob Campbell and Jacob Moore, both of whom took sixths at Silver Spur Arena in March.

It’s not often that a dual tournament region semifinalist is projected for third, but that’s the strength in this district. Columbia has the most returners back from last year — 17 that had either 15 matches or post-season experience — and the Tigers are better built for duals than Orange Park, at least at this point, so still stand a solid chance of reaching the Region 1 duals tournament for the third straight year.

Columbia returns two state qualifiers from last year’s team, but lost three wrestlers to graduation, all of whom either qualified for states in 2019 or earlier in their careers. Seven of last year’s 17 projected returners did not compete in the traditional tournament series, and several of them showed real quality a year ago, so their ability to step into starting roles could be a blessing fro the Tigers.

Chiles is a group that took a couple of years’ worth of hits, but the Timberwolves are climbing and have a solid chance for a top-half finish, which means more in an eight-team district than in a five.

Chiles has more returning region qualifiers than any other team in the district (11 in all) among their 12 projected returners, including one state qualifier, and their graduation losses were not massive. Nine of those 12 returners have two more years of HS eligibility.

Of the teams projecting for the bottom half of the district, I look for Mosley — the lone team moving into the district from 1A in the previous year — to come out as the most-likely challenger for a top-half position. The Dolphins have 11 wrestlers back and know how to win, having won a District 1 title in 1A last year. Middleburg lost a trio of state-qualifying seniors from last year’s team, and of the nine projected returners back for the Broncos this year, five did not compete in last year’s post-season. Leon started having numbers issues before this season, but the Lions need an infusion of bodies, with just seven returners, but one was a state qualifier last year. Under a new head coach but an experienced support crew, Gainesville could bring up to 11 wrestlers back from last year’s team, including six region qualifiers, but none of those six got past the first day. We could see some change on that front very soon, but this year might be too soon to project that.

Projected finish: 1. Lincoln. 2. Orange Park. 3. Columbia. 4. Chiles. 5. Mosley. 6. Middleburg. 7. Leon. 8. Gainesville.

CHILES (Tallahassee)
Coach: James Marschka, 15th year.
2018-19: 8-5 in duals. 3rd at Arlington Optimist, 16th at Capital City, 4th at St John, 7th at Trojan, 5th at Wakulla.
Post-season stats (last 3 years): 2019 — Duals: 3rd at district; Traditional: 3rd at district, 12th at region, T-50th at states. 2018 — Duals: 4th at district; Traditional: 4th at district, 25th at region. 2017 — Traditional: District runnerup, 10th at region, T-52nd at states
Projected key returners (15+ matches or post-season experience this past season, with 2018-19 weights): Hunter Brown (sophomore, 23-16 at 106, district runnerup, 1 match from states); Brady Dawkins (sophomore, 2-9 at 113, district 3rd, 0-2 at regions); Olufemi Egberongbe (junior, 24-12 at 120, district runnerup, 1 match from states); Alex Adkins (junior, 16-18 at 126, district 3rd, 1-2 at regions); Mitchell Monk (sophomore, 8-8 at 132, district 3rd, 1-2 at regions); Preston Scoggins (sophomore, 13-16 at 132/138, did not compete in post-season traditionals); Andrew Mullins (sophomore, 11-13 at 138, district 3rd, 0-2 at regions); Will Wiggins (junior, 18-17 at 145, district 4th, 0-2 at regions); Kevonte Times (senior, 22-11 at 160, district runnerup, 1 match from states); Kyle McGill (junior, 34-9 at 170, district champ, region runnerup, 1-2 at states); Austin Wheeler (senior, 18-16 at 182, district runnerup, 2-2 at regions); Elijah Borden (senior, 7-19 at 195, district 3rd, 0-2 at regions).
Key losses (graduation): Gage Bunton (4-13 at 152, district 4th, 0-2 at regions); Sam Neely (3-4 at 285, district 3rd, did not compete at regions).
Matmen’s take: Timberwolves have weathered the worst and are now back on the way up. With three wrestlers right on the doorstep of Kissimmee a year ago, watch for Chiles to get multiple kids out to states in March.

COLUMBIA (Lake City)
Coach: Peter Whittington, 4th year.
2018-19: 21-2 in duals. 6th at Capital City, 6th at Allstate Wildcat, 2nd at Keystone, 3rd at Gator Brawl, 11th at Green Cove Springs Rotary.
Post-season stats (last 3 years): 2019 — Duals: District runnerup, region semifinalist; Traditional: District runnerup, 8th at region, T-42nd at states. 2018 — Duals: District runnerup, region quarterfinalist; Traditional: District runnerup, 5th at region, T-18th at states. 2017 — Traditional: 3rd at district, 12th at region, T-75th at states.
Projected key returners (15+ matches or post-season experience this past season, with 2018-19 weights): Brett Millard (junior, 31-28 at 106, district 3rd, 2-2 at regions); Braxton Abbott (sophomore, 14-8 at 106/113, did not participate in post-season traditionals); Thomas Greene (sophomore, 36-20 at 120, district 3rd, 0-2 at regions); Ian McGuigan (senior, 56-11 at 126, district champ, region 3rd, 1 match from state medal); Alex McGuigan (senior, 51-13 at 132, district champ, region 3rd, 0-2 at states); Daveyon Brown (senior, 28-8 at 138, did not participate in post-season traditionals); Kaleb Davis (junior, 12-13 at 145, did not particpate in post-season traditionals); Trevon Patterson (junior, 14-7 at 145/152, did not participate in post-season traditionals); Obie Smith (junior, 28-19 at 152, district runnerup, 2-2 at regions); Preston O’Quinn (senior, 33-19 at 160, district 4th, 0-2 at regions); Joseph Rice (sophomore, 20-15 at 170, 1 match from regions); David Thompson (senior, 17-9 at 170, did not participate in post-season traditionals); Shawn Raggins (sophomore, 15-16 at 182, district 3rd, 1-2 at regions); Noah Stubblefield (senior, 7-12 at 182, did not participate in post-season traditionals); Julius Moreland (sophomore, 23-23 at 195, district runnerup, 1-2 at regions); Zhaquez Griffin (senior, 9-6 at 220, district 3rd, 2-2 at regions); Jaycob Jones (sophomore, 16-13 at 285, did not participate in post-season traditionals).
Key losses (graduation): Matthew Arango (36-19 at 138, district champ, region 4th, 0-2 at states); Matt Ross (41-14 at 145, district champ, region 3rd, 1-2 at states); Chad Sapp (21-5 at 195/220, did not participate in post-season traditionals).
Matmen’s take: Tigers have deepest room of returners and should extend string of top-10 region finishes. A couple of injuries down the stretch kept Columbia from a second-straight top-5; those kids should be back and healthy.

GAINESVILLE
Coach: Simon Jee, 1st year.
2018-19: 8-31 in duals. 14th at Johnny Rouse, 11th at Corey Hill, 16th at Ed Kilpatrick.
Post-season stats (last 3 years): 2019 — Duals: 4th at district; Traditional: 5th at district, T-21st at region. 2018 — Duals: 3rd at district; Traditional: 3rd at district, 18th at region, T-69th at states. 2017 — Traditional: 4th at district, 22nd at region.
Projected key returners (15+ matches or post-season experience this past season, with 2018-19 weights): Alexis Felix (sophomore, 5-10 at 106, did not compete in post-season traditionals); Lewis Williams (sophomore, 10-17 at 113, did not compete in post-season traditionals); Brennan Kade (sophomore, 21-21 at 120, district 4th, 1-2 at regions); Shamar Lewis (sophomore, 4-10 at 126, district 4th, did not compete at regions); Nicholas Hanson (senior, 14-20 at 138, 1 match from regions); Ja’ron Roberson (senior, 3-13 at 145, 1 match from regions); Logan Fernandez-Smith (senior, 12-15 at 152, district 3rd, 0-2 at regions); Joshua Cohn (senior, 12-15 at 182, district 4th, 1-2 at regions); Luis Bonilla (senior, 6-9 at 195, district 4th, 0-1 at regions); Joseph Martino (junior, 9-10 at 195/220, did not compete in post-season traditionals); Dallas Figueroa (junior, 4-16 at 220, district 4th, 0-2 at regions).
Key losses (graduation): Jonte’ Criswell (16-19 at 160, 1 match from regions); Bronson Carter (25-9 at 170, district runnerup, 1 match from states); Gregory Milinkovic (20-14 at 285, district runnerup, 1-2 at regions).
Matmen’s take: Jee wrestled at Cypress Bay HS before coming to UF for school; he’s young, but he was coached by one of the state’s best (Allen Held) and has a support structure behind him (Ryland Wagner, among others). Getting Hurricanes to believe is the first task.

LEON (Tallahassee)
Coach: Charles Ringel, 17th year.
2018-19: 3-4 in duals. 8th at Cam Brown, T-23rd at Capital City, 13th at Trojan, 17th at Wakulla.
Post-season stats (last 3 years): 2019 — Duals: Did not compete; Traditional: 4th at district, 17th at region, T-65th at states. 2018 — Duals: Did not compete; Traditional: 5th at district, 22nd at region. 2017 — Traditional: 5th at district, 15th at region, T-13th at states.
Projected key returners (15+ matches or post-season experience this past season, with 2018-19 weights): Lukas McKinney (junior, 12-11 at 113, district runnerup, 1-2 at regions); Alex Crago (junior, 6-12 at 120, 1 match from regions); Derek Holloman (senior, 4-7 at 132, district 4th, 1-2 at regions); Cole Dalton (senior, 6-10 at 138, district 4th, 0-2 at regions); Ethan Eudy (senior, 24-12 at 145, district 3rd, 1-2 at regions); Tramia Dillard (junior, 3-5 at 152, 1 match from regions); Josh Seabrooks (junior, 220, district champ, region 3rd, 0-2 at states).
Key losses (graduation): Jaquenez Madison (24-8 at 160, district runnerup, did not compete at regions); Jalani Stockton (20-13 at 170, district 4th, 1-2 at regions).
Matmen’s take: Lions lost two of their top four kids, with the most experience on last year’s team, to graduation. Leon will have decent experience in the middles but could use a little more at both bookends.

LINCOLN (Tallahassee)
Coach: Mike Crowder, 25th year.
2018-19: 21-3 in duals. 1st at Cam Brown, 3rd at Capital City, 1st at Trojan, 6th at Braves.
Post-season stats (last 3 years): 2019 — Duals: District champ, region champ, state semifinalist; Traditional: District champ, region champ, T-33rd at states. 2019 — Duals: District champ, region finalist; Traditional: District champ, region runnerup, 26th at states. 2017 — Traditional: District champ, region champ, 11th at states.
Projected key returners (15+ matches or post-season experience this past season, with 2018-19 weights): Elijah Hendley (junior, 31-16 at 106, district champ, region runnerup, 1-2 at states); Steven Leger (senior, 3-13 at 126, did not compete in post-season traditionals); Jimmy Martin (senior, 17-19 at 132, district runnerup, 0-2 at regions); Reed Watterson (senior, 23-8 at 138, district runnerup, 2-2 at regions); Nathan Draughon (senior, 10-19 at 138/145, did not compete in post-season traditionals); Jace White (senior, 18-14 at 145, district runnerup, 1-2 at regions); Andrew Collins (senior, 33-17 at 170, district 3rd, 1 match from states); Tanner Washburn (senior, 41-13 at 182, district champ, region runnerup, 1 match from state medal); Jeremiah Brown (junior, 28-20 at 195, district champ, region runnerup, 1-2 at states); Wyatt Yown (junior, 27-19 at 220, district runnerup, 1 match from states); Tyler Moss (senior, 19-7 at 285, did not compete in post-season traditionals).
Key losses (graduation): Mark Munroe (37-11 at 113, district champ, region runnerup, 0-2 at states); Ikeon Myles (32-12 at 120, district champ, region champ, 0-2 at states); Caleb Bushong (9-12 at 126, district runnerup, 2-2 at regions); Elliott Crum (42-6 at 152, district champ, region runnerup, did not compete at states due to injury); Tony Davis (36-6 at 160, district champ, region runnerup, 1 match from state medal); Jonquille Rivers (33-9 at 285, district champ; region runnerup, 0-2 at states).
Matmen’s take: Trojans should have at least one state medalist if not a couple more once March rolls around. Some of their returners, that didn’t compete in last year’s post-season, are going to surprise folks with their ability to hammer.

MIDDLEBURG
Coach: Richie Dusinberre, 4th year.
2018-19: 10-7 in duals. 6th at Westside Kiwanis, 10th at Keystone, 8th at Battle of the Border, 12th at Trojan, 21st at Flagler Rotary, 29th at Green Cove Springs Rotary.
Post-season stats (last 3 years): 2019 — Duals: 2A-District 3 runnerup, region quarterfinalist; Traditional: 5th at 2A-District 3, 11th at region, T-48th at states. 2018 — Duals: 3rd at 2A-District 3; Traditional: 3rd at 2A-District 3, 11th at region, T-50th at states. 2017 — Traditional: 2A-District 3 runnerup, 7th at region, 26th at states.
Projected key returners (15+ matches or post-season experience this past season, with 2018-19 weights): Riley Girgis (sophomore, 34-16 at 106, district 3rd, 2-2 at regions); Devon Gill (senior, 14-7 at 106/113, did not compete at post-season traditionals); Casey Crafton (sophomore, 13-18 at 113/120, did not compete at post-season traditionals); Enoch Long (sophomore, 13-4 at 126, did not compete at post-season traditionals); Ephraim Long (sophomore, 13-5 at 132, did not compete at post-season traditionals); Michael Higginbotham (junior, 15-13 at 152/160, did not compete at post-season traditionals); Alex Nayfack (junior, 21-24 at 160, district 4th, 0-2 at regions); Ethan Larsen (sophomore, 9-9 at 170, district 3rd, 1-2 at regions); Chris Conaway (junior, 10-19 at 182, district 4th, 0-2 at regions).
Key losses (graduation): Storm Mercado (37-5 at 138, 2A-District 3 champ, region champ, 1 match from state medal); Chris Burch (30-16 at 145, 2A-District 3 champ, region 4th, 0-2 at states); Bryce Williams (27-11 at 152, 2A-District 3 champ, region 3rd, 1-2 at states).
Matmen’s take: Biggest loss from the seniors that moved on in May/June isn’t just the wins (which were considerable enough), but the trio was the link to Middleburg’s last district title. Some rebuilding and numbers are needed.

MOSLEY (Lynn Haven)
Coach: John Winkler, 4th year.
2018-19: 11-11 in duals. 19th at Border Wars VI, 20th at Capital City, 15th at Keystone, 5th at Panhandle, 13th at Gator Brawl.
Post-season stats (last 3 years): 2019 — Duals: 2-1 (T-3rd) at 1A-District 1; Traditional: 1A-District 1 champ, 9th at 1A-Region 1, T-45th at 1A states. 2018 — Duals: T-5th at 1A-District 1 (3rd in pool); Traditional: 7th at 1A-District 1, 13th at 1A-Region 1, 36th at 1A states. 2017 — Traditional: 8th at 1A-District 1, T-18th at 1A-Region 1.
Projected key returners (15+ matches or post-season experience this past season, with 2018-19 weights): Cole Bell (sophomore, 31-29 at 106, 1A-District 1 3rd, 1-2 at 1A-Region 1); Jaylan Griffin (senior, 21-18 at 132/138, did not compete in post-season traditionals); Jonathan Griffin (senior, 33-22 at 138, 1A-District 1 3rd, 1-2 at 1A-Region 1); Kaydon Lester (junior, 25-19 at 138/145, did not compete in post-season traditionals); Logan Gall (senior, 34-25 at 145, 1A-District 1 champ, 1 match from 1A states); William Carmichael (senior, 9-7 at 152, 1A-District 1 runnerup, 2-2 at 1A-Region 1); Ashton Freeman (sophomore, 4-11 at 152, did not compete in post-season traditionals); James Hall (junior, 4-11 at 182, 1A-District 1 4th, 0-2 at 1A-Region 1); Alexus Heintzelman (senior, 4-5 at 195, 1A-District 1 3rd, 0-2 at 1A-Region 1); Logan Strickland (senior, 5-9 at 220, 1A-District 1 3rd, 1-2 at 1A-Region 1); Daniel Bockstege (senior, 16-19 at 285, 1 match from 1A-Region 1).
Key losses (graduation): Lonnie Bell (36-24 at 132, 1A-District 1 3rd, 1 match from 1A states); Caleb Ward (31-15 at 160, 1A-District 1 runnerup, 1-2 at 1A-Region 1); Garrison Kovacs (45-12 at 170, 1A-District 1 champ, 1A-Region 1 champ, 1 match from 1A state medal).
Matmen’s take: Dolphins are going to give some good fight wherever they have matchups in the lineup, but they need more lowers in order to contend for third and fourth in this district. Full teams are a must. Middle of lineup will be a strength.

ORANGE PARK
Coach: Justin Daniels, 5th year.
2018-19: 18-9 in duals. 1st at Arlington Optimist, 1st at Rob Bierbaum, 3rd at Trojan, T-59th at Girls’ State.
Post-season stats (last 3 years): 2019 — Duals: 2A-District 3 champ, region quarterfinalist; Traditional: 2A-District 3 champ, 6th at region, 16th at states. 2018 — Duals: 2A-District 3 runnerup, region quarterfinalist; Traditional: 2A-District 3 runnerup, 14th at region, T-39th at states. 2017 — 2A-District 3 champ, 7th at region, T-28th at states.
Projected key returners (15+ matches or post-season experience this past season, with 2018-19 weights): Davon Bailey (junior, 33-7 at 113, 2A-District 3 runnerup, 1 match from states); Cameron Broughton (senior, 33-12 at 138, 2A-District 3 runnerup, region runnerup, 1-2 at states); Arlo Wilson (senior, 17-18 at 145, 2A-District 3 4th, 0-2 at regions); Vincent Walker (senior, 9-11 at 152, 2A-District 3 3rd, 1-2 at regions); William Evans (senior, 6-11 at 160, 1 match from regions); Jacob Campbell (senior, 43-6 at 170, 2A-District 3 champ, region 4th, state 6th); Jacob Moore (senior, 37-9 at 182, 2A-District 3 runnerup, region 3rd, state 6th); Julian Moore (sophomore, 32-10 at 195, 2A-District 3 champ, region 4th, 1-2 at states); Andrea Smith (sophomore, 6-9 at 195, 1 match from girls’ state medal); Jordan Cooper (senior, 12-9 at 220, did not compete in post-season traditionals); Jonothan Garcia (junior, 16-14 at 220, 2A-District 3 3rd, 1-2 at regions); Reese Sheehan (junior, 17-14 at 285, 2A-District 3 runnerup, 1-2 at regions).
Projected key addition: Gabe Hecht (junior, 20-15 at 220, did not compete in post-season traditionals, transferred from Oakleaf).
Key losses (graduation): Dean Ganci (35-7 at 132, 2A-District 3 champ, 1 match from states).
Matmen’s take: Raiders have the most individual talent coming in, but it took some difficult steps, at times last year, to compete at an elite level in duals. If Orange Park can fill all weights, things get more interesting.

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