Christmas has nothing on this. THIS is the most wonderful time of the year.
Just remember before you read. It’s not personal, but you’re allowed to take it personally if you want. Prove me wrong. Or prove me right. I like both.
Where: Flagler Palm Coast HS
When: Friday, February 21 (10 a.m. weighin start, noon wrestle start).
Projected team finish: 1. Flagler Palm Coast. 2. Buchholz. 3. University (Orange City). 4. Forest. 5. Seminole. 6. DeLand. 7. West Port.
The skinny: I’m looking for the Bulldogs to complete the sweep of the district titles this year, particularly with FPC hosting. Flagler had a chance to rest some of its state-capable kids last weekend and still won going away at Ocoee last weekend. The field tomorrow will be stronger than Ocoee, but the Bulldogs will have all their hammers brought to bear. Buchholz’s individual stars should carry the Bobcats past University (Orange City)’s consistent depth, but it will be close, as Buchholz is trusting in a couple of young guys to make solid starts. The Titans should be in the hunt to move on at most of their weight classes, with a couple of title shots in play, but, at the same time, a couple of their hammers are falling into deep weight classes. I think Forest will come out slightly ahead of Seminole in the middle of the pack, but the Noles are going to shine brightly in two weeks, with the possibility of a pair of finalists. DeLand and West Port are going to get their stronger kids out and do have one or two that are solid state-qualifier, if not even placer, threats.
Matmen’s projected region qualifiers (along with dark horses if applicable and a BRIEF note):
106: 1. Jacob Zawosky (Forest). 2. Kole Hannant (Flagler Palm Coast). 3. Grady Bryant (University-OC). 4. Siddharth Bianchi (Buchholz). Dark horse: Kellen Chapman (DeLand). Note: Could be a good final, as FPC’s had competition that, in the main, Forest has not. Bryant an advantage for third over the rest of the group.
113: 1. Joseph Rizzo (Flagler Palm Coast). 2. Venumadhava Mirel (Buchholz; 20th statewide). 3. Corry Sanchez (Seminole). 4. Frangello Baltodano (West Port) Dark horse: Makenzy Garcia (DeLand). Note: Rizzo v Mirel should be a good final, but Sanchez — who placed at Milton-Winter in mid-January — is no slouch. With Baltodano here, this is a pretty good group moving on.
120: 1. Aiden Moore (Buchholz; 17th statewide). 2. John Hald (Flagler Palm Coast). 3. Malique Hargett (University-OC). 4. Nick Stua (Forest). Dark horse: Cesar Marquez (Seminole). Note: Moore is the clear choice for the title-winner here, but Hald — who just won at Ocoee last weekend — will have to be on top of things to hold off a group of guys gunning for him, with some depth there.
126: 1. Jonathan Justice (University-OC, 20th statewide). 2. Brendan Buckles (Flagler Palm Coast). 3. Ethan Gorospe (Seminole). 4. Chase Cook (Forest). Dark horse: Jeffrey Lynch (Buchholz). Note: Lynch was not the regular starter at 126 for the Bobcats, but he may have some room to get out and advance to region. Justice is the clear choice for the top spot.
132: 1. Drew Dance (Flagler Palm Coast). 2. Kason Nichols (Buchholz). 3. Colton McInturf (West Port). 4. Noah Falk (DeLand). Dark horse: Wesley Marren (Forest). Note: Clear choice in the finals, will be senior versus freshman there. McInturf has a win in hand by fall over Marren, though Marren should have a chance to get out.
138: 1. Kyle Peacock (Flagler Palm Coast; 10th statewide). 2. Steven Holmes (Forest). 3. Tyler Pinkowski (West Port). 4. Lane Wishart (DeLand). Dark horse: Cole Nixon (Buchholz). Note: Peacock should be the choice for the top spot and Holmes has a HTH win over Pinkowski. Nixon’s seen more competition than Wishart, on the whole, so this could go the other way.
145: 1. Blane DeFord (Flagler Palm Coast; 8th statewide at 152). 2. Bryce Dodge (West Port; 16th statewide). 3. Chase McDonough (University-OC; 11th statewide). 4. Timothy Bowen (Buchholz). Dark horse: Tyler Miller (Forest.). Note: Oh man, oh man. Top three have a combined record of 107-12. That’s a monster trip, and the the 4-4 isn’t going to be easy. The six in this weight class have a battle on their hands.
152: 1. Theo Massilon (West Port). 2. Timothy King (Flagler Palm Coast). 3. James Houck (University-OC). 4. Liam Buchanan (Buchholz). Dark horse: Michael Brown (DeLand). Note: It wouldn’t surprise me if one of those top three kids at 145 moved up here (the team would have to have flexibility to bounce around at these two weights). Maybe not as high level as 145, but solid contests to be had here.
160: 1. Kellan Flanary (University-OC). 2. Marcelo Gonzalez (Flagler Palm Coast). 3. Max Szabo (Buchholz). 4. Justin Shima (Seminole). Dark horse: Gavin Rodriguez-Cayro (DeLand). Note: While the final should be well-contested, there should be four challengers gunning for third, and any of them with the right frame of mind could be the one to push on through and take it.
170: 1. Matthew Vann (Buchholz; 18th statewide). 2. Garrick Schwartz (Flagler Palm Coast). 3. Bryce Minsky (DeLand). 4. Casey Carr (Forest). Dark horse: Aaron Liberti (University-OC). Note: I think we’ll see solid semifinals in both the bottom and top halves, but I think Vann’s a little bit ahead of everyone else.
182: 1. Armando Acosta (Buchholz; 5th statewide). 2. Alvont Graham (Forest); 3. Dalton Schell (Flagler Palm Coast); 4. William James (Seminole). Dark horse: Rowlin Richardson (West Port). Note: Clear choices for the final, with Acosta far and away the favorite. Could see some movement from 3-5, with two teams not fielding a 182.
195: 1. Ethan Lasher (University-OC; 4th statewide); 2. Aaron Morris (DeLand; 9th statewide). 3. Jason Martin (Buchholz; 11th statewide). 4. Jacob Pratt (Forest). Dark horse: Ethan Smith (West Port). Note: Pretty top-heavy bracket, and Pratt probably has enough to hold off the challengers for fourth. Lasher and Morris went 4-2 at 5 Star; I’d expect another closely-contested final.
220: 1. Jordan Smith (Seminole; 2nd statewide). 2. Christian Kennick (University-OC; 3rd statewide). 3. Nevan Burney (Buchholz, 11th statewide). 4. Gavin Hart (DeLand). Dark horse: Seth Davis (Flagler Palm Coast). Note: Another bracket that looks pretty top-heavy, going to be a 20-plus match-winner that stays home at regions next week. Could be a very very good final.
285: 1. Curtis Ruff (Seminole; 1st statewide). 2. Anthony Cinelli (Flagler Palm Coast, 4th statewide). 3. Larry Brooks (West Port). 4. Jacob Robinson (Buchholz; 14th statewide). Dark horse: Dalen Burns (DeLand). Note: Group goes at least five deep and the 6 and 7 in the weight class do have some wins to their credit as well. That all being said, nobody is going to touch Ruff, who’ll be going for a third state title. Bottom-half semi and third-place match should be really good.
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