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TurkeyNWrestling2019-20: 3A-District 2

In a perfect world from Buchholz’s point of view, the reclassification would have begun last year and not this year.

But, even as things stand in the real world, the Bobcats stand out — probably — as the favorite in the newly-reconstituted 3A-District 2 group, which Matmen is adding to its coverage area for at least the duration of this classification.

The Bobcats return 12 starters or key returners from last year’s District 1 runnerup and fourth-place Region 1 side that reached the dual team Region 1 semifinals. That group includes a pair of state qualifiers from last year’s team, and it’s a group that was tested at the highest levels of 3A competition on a weekly basis a year ago. As well, even as well as Buchholz finished at regions, it left some points on the table, and those that did are not likely to do so again.

But, while the Bobcats are solid enough to overwhelmingly win Cities once again this year and to contend in the district and for a high spot in the region, they’re not at the reload stage just yet. Seven seniors, including three state qualifiers and one a medalist, moved on last year and half of this year’s 12 will move on in May.

And there will be some solid competition within the district to challenge the Bobcats. As of right now, I’m looking at University (Orange City) as the top challenger. The Titans have nine boys starters/key returners back from last year’s team, and they’re battle-tested. They go to Knockout, they picked off a top-5 at Flagler Rotary last year. As well, the Lady Titans girls team is among the strongest in the state, with seven returning from last year’s state meet, including senior medalists Jasmyn Ashbaugh (runnerup) and Kaylee Hollifield (5th).

But UOC do have four May/June graduates to replace, including both of last year’s two state qualifiers that the Titans pushed through to Kissimmee, along with a girls’ state medalist. Just one of this year’s returners got to Saturday at regions, so the Titans have ground to cover.

Flagler Palm Coast was super-young and green at the start of the 2018 season, but the ground made back up by the Bulldogs was considerable. This season, FPC has the deepest room of returners, with 17 starters or key returners back, and it could be that depth — and the chemistry of having walked the “it’s simple, just hard” road together — that could upset the applecart of these projections.

The Bulldogs graduated no one from last year’s team, and had two wrestlers on the doorstep of the state tournament. Expect that door to be kicked in this year.

The rest of the district are all new teams, and while classifying new groups are tricky, Seminole stands out to me as the team most likely to have an outsized presence in the state.

The biggest reasons for that will be the Noles’ bigs, led by returning 3A state champion and senior Curtis Ruff, who ran the table in the 3A post-season after losing just once in the regular campaign. With a returning region champ at 220 as well, they’ll assure that the Noles will score highly in IBTs.

West Port has the most consistent talent returning in the bottom half, even with the loss of 140 wins and their only boys’ state qualifier from a year ago. The Wolfpack also have a returning girls’ state medalist in senior Aspen Dodge (4th last year), who will see regular time with the boys’ lineup as well. Forest has a sizable group back, with 10 starters from last year’s team, but none of last year’s Wildcats — returning or no — got to the second day of the meat-grinder that is 2A-Region 2, and 3A-Region 1 won’t be very much easier. DeLand had several kids at the 5 Star Tournament that didn’t wrestle the post-season, and the Bulldogs have only three returners from the 2019 post-season back. But given the numbers it had during the regular season, DeLand could be much better than this projection, and the Bulldogs also return a girls’ state medalist in senior Makenzy Garcia (4th in 2019).

Projected finish: 1. Buchholz. 2. University-Orange City. 3. Flagler Palm Coast. 4. Seminole. 5. West Port. 6. Forest. 7. DeLand.

BUCHHOLZ (Gainesville)
Coach: Billy Pankey, 14th year.
2018-19: 28-4 in duals. 1st at Westside Kiwanis, 2nd at Johnny Rouse, 5th at Ron Peters, 2nd at Wolfpack, 4th at Green Cove Springs Rotary.
Post-season stats (last 3 years): 2019 — Duals: 2nd at 3A-District 1, region semifinalist; Traditional: 2nd at 3A-District 1, 4th at region, 19th at states. 2018 — Duals: 3rd at 3A-District 1; Traditional: 3rd at 3A-District 1, 8th at region, T-48th at states. 2017 — Traditional: 5th at 3A-District 1, T-10th at region, T-21st at states.
Projected key returners (15+ matches or post-season experience this past season, with 2018-19 weights): Aiden Moore (sophomore, 52-14 at 106, district runnerup, region 4th, 1-2 at states); Siddharth Bianchi (sophomore, 7-9 at 106, did not compete in post-season); Venumadhava Mirel (sophomore, 29-18 at 113, district 3rd, 2-2 at regions); Xiya Zhou (sophomore, 6-12 at 126/132, did not compete in post-season); Brandon Thomas (senior, 15-11 at 132, did not compete in post-season); Timothy Bowen (junior, 13-12 at 145, did not compete in post-season); Immanuel Hernandez (senior, 9-12 at 160, did not compete in post-season); Matt Vann (senior, 32-7 at 170, district runnerup, 1-2 at regions); Jason Martin (junior, 14-13 at 170, did not compete in post-season); Armando Acosta (senior, 60-5 at 182, district runnerup, region 3rd, 1 match from state medal); Nevan Burney (senior, 41-14 at 220, district runnerup, 1-2 at regions); Jacob Robinson (senior, 17-16 at 285, did not compete in post-season).
Key losses (graduation): Bryan Perkins (49-9 at 120, district runnerup, region 3rd, 1 match from state medal); Devon Bell (17-13 at 126/132, did not compete in post-season); Hunter Griffin (40-16 at 138, district 3rd, 0-2 at regions); DeAngelo Fletcher (43-14 at 145, district 3rd, 1 match from states); Billy Green-Church (50-18 at 152, district runnerup, 1 match from states); Tracen Ransdell (32-14 at 160, district runnerup, region 4th, 1-2 at states); Lawrence Smith-Jackson (57-9 at 195, district runnerup, region runnerup, state 4th).
Matmen’s take: If the Bobcats can shore up their middles quickly, they should assert a favorite’s role going into the district duals. Bookends, though, are going to be a strength this season.

DELAND
Coach: Chris Folsom, 5th year.
2018-19: 4-3 in duals searchable on Track and/or reported to Matmen. 10th at Clash of Titans, 28th at Ron Peters, 11th at Wolfpack, 5th at 5 Star, 23rd at Girls’ State.
Post-season stats (last 3 years as available): 2019 — Duals: Did not qualify for region; Traditional: 4th at 3A-District 3, 28th at region. 2018 — Duals: Did not qualify for region; Traditional: 5th at 3A-District 3, T-14th at region, T-22nd at states. 2017 — Traditional: 3rd at 3A-District 3, T-14th at region, T-35th at states.
Projected key returners (15+ matches or post-season experience this past season, with 2018-19 weights): Fredricka Mack (sophomore, 2-2* at 100, 2-2 at girls’ state); Keara Akines (sophomore, 1-2* at 112, 1-2 at girls’ state); Makenzy Garcia (senior, 20-12 at 112/113, girls’ state 4th; 1 match from regions); Jacob Lashinsky (senior, 16-11 at 145, 3A-District 3 4th, 0-2 at regions); Aaron Morris (senior, 33-11 at 182, 3A-District 3 4th, 1-2 at regions).
Key losses (graduation): Jarred Hewson (16-12 at 106, 3A-District 3 4th, 0-2 at regions); Marcus Vega (32-13 at 152, 3A-District 3 3rd, 2-2 at regions); Jaymes Morris (24-11 at 170, 3A-District 3 4th, 0-2 at regions); Elijah Vega (26-8 at 195, 3A-District 3 runnerup, 2-2 at regions).
Matmen’s take: Last year was the first year in some while that Bulldogs didn’t have a boys’ state qualifier, and just two wrestlers — both graduated — got to Saturday. This year might be a rebuilding year, but also a year toward a better future.

FLAGLER PALM COAST (Palm Coast)
Coach: Zach Sanford, 2nd year.
2018-19: 8-13 in duals. 10th at Barbara Pill Memorial, T-5th at Johnny Rouse, 3rd at Keystone, 13th at Flagler Rotary, 3rd at 5 Star Conference, 10th at John Raich Memorial.
Post-season stats (last 3 years as available): 2019 — Duals: 4th at 3A-District 1; Traditional: 4th at 3A-District 1, 18th at region. 2018 — Duals: 2nd at 3A-District 1, region semifinalist; Traditional: 2nd at 3A-District 1, 3rd at region, 9th at states. 2017 — Traditional: 2nd at 3A District 1, 3rd at region, 10th at states.
Projected key returners (15+ matches or post-season experience this past season, with 2018-19 weights): Logan Johnson (sophomore, 24-22 at 106, 0-2 at 3A-District 1); Joseph Rizzo (senior, 30-20 at 113, 3A-District 1 runnerup, 1 match from states); Evan St Pierre (junior, 24-20 at 120, 3A-District 1 4th, 1-2 at regions); Brendan Buckles (sophomore, 11-27 at 126, 0-2 at 3A-District 1); Andrew Dance (senior, 34-10 at 132, 3A-District 1 3rd, did not compete at regions); Felipe Costa (sophomore, 1-15 at 132, did not compete in post-season traditionals); Isabel Petrin (senior, 0-2* at 134, 0-2 at girls’ state); Blane DeFord (sophomore, 31-19 at 138, 3A-District 1 runnerup, 1 match from states); Timothy King (sophomore, 21-22 at 145, 0-2 at 3A-District 1); Gerrick Schwartz (sophomore, 10-23 at 152, 1 match from regions); Marcelo Gonzalez (sophomore, 12-25 at 160, 0-2 at 3A-DIstrict 1); Preston Cremeans (senior, 11-8 at 160, did not compete in post-season traditionals); Nathaniel Gasparini (sophomore, 1-4 at 170, 0-2 at 3A-District 1); Jayden Austin (senior, 12-18 at 182, 1 match from regions); Cayden Keltner (sophomore, 5-14 at 195, 1 match from regions); Seth Davis (sophomore, 3-18 at 195/220, did not compete in post-season traditionals); AJ Cinelli (senior, 39-8 at 285, 1 match from regions).
Key addition: Kyle Peacock (sophomore, 36-5* at 120/132, did not compete in post-season traditionals; transferred from New Smyrna Beach).
Key losses (graduation): None.
Matmen’s take: Big group of returners took lumps and made steady improvement in 2018-19 in the face of all expectations. This year’s group will have to take big steps to get back to Kissimmee, but the pieces appear to be in place for that.

FOREST (Ocala)
Coach: Gabriel Zimmerly, 1st year.
2018-19: 1-6 in duals searchable on Track/reported to Matmen. 18th at Bill Scott Memorial.
Post-season stats (last 3 years as available): 2019 — Duals: Did not qualify for Region 2-2A; Traditional: 6th at 2A-District 5, T-26th at 2A-Region 2. 2018 — Duals: Did not qualify for Region 2-2A; Traditional: 5th at 2A-District 5, T-28th at 2A-Region 2. 2017 — Traditional: 6th at 2A-District 5, T-28th at 2A-Region 2.
Projected key returners (15+ matches or post-season experience this past season, with 2018-19 weights): Camden Ruef (junior, 0-15 at 106, 2A-District 5 4th, 0-2 at 2A-Region 2); Nick Stua (junior, 5-14 at 113, 1 match from regions); Preston Ballard (sophomore, 7-15 at 126, 2A-District 5 runnerup, 0-2 at 2A-Region 2); Steven Holmes (senior, 19-7 at 138, 2A-District 5 champ, 1-2 at 2A-Region 2); Ashley Allan (junior, 1-14 at 145, 1 match from regions); Tyler Miller (junior, 11-11 at 152, 1 match from regions); Ethan Camps (junior, 0-5 at 160, 1 match from regions); Alvont Graham (senior, 10-8 at 170, 2A-District 5 runnerup, 0-2 at 2A-Region 2); Elijah Williams (junior, 6-8 at 182, 2A-District 5 runnerup, 1-2 at 2A-Region 2); Devonte Walker (senior, 19-5 at 195, 2A-District 5 3rd, 1-2 at 2A-Region 2);
Key losses (graduation): Jacob Wilcox (9-8 at 132, 2A-District 5 4th, 0-2 at 2A-Region 2); Gabriel Labazzetta (4-11 at 220, 2A-District 5 4th, 0-2 at 2A-Region 2).
Matmen’s take: Challenge for new coach will be to get entire group of wrestlers more mat time, as kids with 20-25 matches will face off against opponents with 50+ in the post-season. Seven of this year’s group of 10 returners have at least two years of eligibility, always a plus.

SEMINOLE (Sanford).
Coach: Tyler White, 1st year.
2018-19: 1-0 in duals searchable on Track/reported to Matmen. 1st at Battle for Blacktop, 7th at Johnny Rouse, 10th at Tournament of Champions, 10th at Lady Panther, 11th at Greyhound Open (girls), 6th at Wolfpack, 5th at Seminole Athletic Conference, T-28th at Girls’ State.
Post-season stats (last 3 years as available): 2019 — Duals: Did not qualify for region; Traditional: 5th at 3A-District 3, 7th at region, 17th at states. 2018 — Duals: Did not qualify for region; Traditional: 7th at 3A-District 3, 29th at region. 2017 — Traditional: 7th at 3A-District 3, 32nd at region.
Projected key returners (15+ matches or post-season experience this past season, with 2018-19 weights): Noah Barbour (sophomore, 5-22 at 106, 0-2 at districts); Ethan Gorospe (junior, 16-9 at 132, 3A-District 3 4th, 0-2 at regions); Benjamin Buhring (sophomore, 4-6 at 145, 1 match from regions); Tyler Hargis (junior, 13-9* at 170, did not compete in post-season traditionals); Jordan Smith (senior, 42-13 at 220, 3A-District 3 runnerup, region champ, 1 match from state medal); Curtis Ruff (senior, 44-1 at 285, 3A-District 3 champ, region champ, state CHAMPION).
Key losses (graduation): Rebecca Mathewson (18-8 at 113/122, girls’ state 3rd); Nicholas Gorospe (28-19 at 120, 3A-District 3 4th, 1-2 at region); Roberto Martinez (25-12 at 126, 0-2 at districts); Ezekiel McEntire (35-6* at 132, did not compete in post-season traditionals); Tyler Measures (25-22 at 152, 0-2 at districts); Zabriael Allen (39-11 at 160, 3A-District 3 3rd, 1 match from states); Brody Bledsoe (10-17 at 182, 0-2 at districts).
Matmen’s take: With Ruff and Smith, Noles will score big at states and regions, but a big group of starters moved on in May/June. Rest of group needs to take a big leap to come close to the level of their bigs, however.

UNIVERSITY (Orange City)
Coach: Brian Kells.
2018-19: 5-2 in duals searchable on Track/reported to Matmen. 4th at Clash of the Titans, T-35th at Knockout Christmas Classic, 7th at Tournament of Champions, 9th at Lady Panther, 2nd at Ed Kilpatrick, 5th at Greyhound Open (girls), 5th at Flagler Rotary, 1st at 5 Star Conference, 5th at Girls’ State.
Post-season stats (last 3 years as available): 2019 — Duals: Did not qualify for region; Traditional: 6th at 3A-District 3, 10th at region, T-42nd at states. 2018 — Duals: Did not qualify for region; Traditional: 6th at 3A-District 3, T-14th at region, T-61st at states. 2017 — Traditional: 7th at 3A-District 3, 27th at region.
Projected key returners (15+ matches or post-season experience this past season, with 2018-19 weights): Ashley Corujo (senior, 8-8 at 106, 2-2 at girls’ state); Kyndall James (sophomore, 0-4 at 112, 0-2 at girls’ state); Alyssa Murzcki (senior, 10-9 at 120, 0-2 at girls’ state); Jonathan Justice (senior, 29-13 at 126, district 4th, 1-2 at regions); Jenna Ross (senior, 5-6 at 128, 0-2 at girls’ state); Kaylee Hollifield (senior, 11-4 at 128, girls’ state 5th); Chase McDonough (senior, 24-12 at 138, district runnerup, 2-2 at regions); Kellan Flanary (senior, 12-11* at 145, did not compete in post-season traditionals); David Leonard (junior, 13-10 at 152, 1 match from regions); Jasmyn Ashleigh (senior, 7-7 at 162, girls’ state runnerup); James Houck (junior, 16-13* at 170, 1 match from regions); Tatiana Laboy (sophomore, 1-8 at 172, 1-2 at girls’ state); Ethan Lasher (senior, 24-12 at 182, 0-2 at districts); Christian Kennick (junior, 24-14 at 220, 1 match from regions); Kenan Diaz (junior, 10-14 at 285, 1 match from regions); Shannon McRoy (senior, 11-11* at 285, did not compete in post-season traditionals).
Key losses (graduation): Eny Zuniga (10-3 at 97/106, girls’ state 3rd); Zion Gonzalez (35-12 at 106, District 3 runnerup, region runnerup, 1-2 at states); Craig Sava (13-22 at 132, 1 match from regions); Kelia Lopez (10-9 at 132, 2-2 at girls’ state); Kal Moore (37-10 at 160, district runnerup, region runnerup, 1 match from state medal); Alex Snedden (20-13* at 195, 1 match from regions).
Matmen’s take: Leadership gap will need to be filled with Gonzalez and Moore graduations, but group of seniors have been around for a while. Lady Titans were fifth at girls’ state as a team and will be looking to try to push upward a spot or two at season’s end in mid-February.

WEST PORT (Ocala)
Coach: James Brock, 1st year.
2018-19: 12-5 in duals searchable on Track/reported to Matmen. 11th at Hernando Kiwanis, 3rd at Corey Hill, 13th at Lady Panther, T-24th at Girls’ State.
Post-season stats (last 3 years as available): 2019 — Duals: Did not qualify for region; Traditional: 3rd at district, T-19th at region, T-49th at states. 2018 — Duals: Did not qualify for region; Traditional: 5th at district, T-20th at region, T-61st at states. 2017 — Traditional: 8th at district, 29th at region.
Projected key returners (15+ matches or post-season experience this past season, with 2018-19 weights): Morgan Webb (senior, 5-5 at 100/106, 0-2 at girls’ state); Tyler Young (junior, 18-22 at 120, district 4th, 0-2 at regions); Kieran Ball (sophomore, 6-9 at 126, 0-2 at districts); Bryce Dodge (sophomore, 26-5* at 126, did not compete in post-season traditionals); Brandon Salazar (senior, 11-14 at 132, 1 match from regions); Bridgett Pedalino (sophomore, 3-7 at 134/140, 1-2 at girls’ state); Tyler Pinkowski (sophomore, 17-19 at 138, district 4th, 0-2 at regions); Mikael Fierro (sophomore, 18-3* at 138, did not compete in post-season traditionals); Aspen Dodge (senior, 19-13 at 140/145, girls’ state 4th); Theo Massillon (senior, 15-12 at 145, 1 match from regions); Larry Brooks (junior, 11-13 at 285, district runnerup, 0-2 at regions).
Key losses (graduation): Savannah Perez (9-11 at 106/112, 1-2 at girls’ state, 0-2 at districts); Tyler Esposito (31-9 at 113, district 3rd, 0-2 at regions); Jonathan Rodriguez (45-7 at 152, district champ, region 4th, 1-2 at states); Devin Dietz (19-11 at 160, district 4th, 0-2 at regions); Ricky Hernandez (33-15 at 170, district 4th, 1-2 at regions); Emilio Herrera (12-12 at 182, 0-2 at districts).
Matmen’s take: Wolfpack need to shore up their bigs, or they would have been picked a bit higher in the district, but lowers and middles should continue to be solid. Midpack finish within the district is certainly possible, if leadership gap can be replaced.

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