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: Lincoln HS
When: Saturday, February 22 (11 a.m. weighin start, 1 p.m. wrestle start).
Projected team finish: 1. Lincoln. 2. Chiles. 3. Columbia. 4. Orange Park. 5. Mosley. 6. Middleburg. 7. Leon. 8. Gainesville.
The skinny: The host Trojans should be the solid favorite to win their 11th straight traditional district title Saturday afternoon, hosting the last district event to kick off in the coverage area. Even in this very solid tournament field — there are three 2019 district champions here — the Trojans could take as many as seven titles tomorrow. Chiles, I’m projecting, should hold off Columbia and Orange Park for the team runnerup position, but it will be a battle. The Raiders had trouble contending down the stretch in duals, but their individual strengths will shine out more in IBTs like these. Don’t think Mosley can’t crack the top half of the bracket; the Dolphins beat 1A-District 1 favorite Arnold in a dual last week. I would look for Middleburg to finish ahead of Leon and Gainesville, but all three teams have enough lineup holes that a top-half finish would be very difficult to attain.
Matmen’s projected region qualifiers (along with dark horses if applicable and a BRIEF note):
106: 1. Elijah Hendley (Lincoln, 5th statewide). 2. Garrett Marschka (Chiles, 16th statewide). 3. Brett Millard (Columbia, 19th statewide). 4. Cole Bell (Mosley). Dark horse: Yamilie Lopez (Orange Park). Note: Good group moving on here. Should be two very good semifinals and two very good medal-round matches, if these all hold up.
113: 1. Jimmy Martin (Lincoln, 14th statewide). 2. Hunter Brown (Chiles, 15th statewide). 3. Wesley Carlisle (Orange Park). 4. Jeffrey Parker (Middleburg). Dark horse: Bradley Pennington (Mosley). Note: As constituted, this should be the final, but the rest of the bracket has a bit of wide-open feeling to it, as there’s a couple of dark-horse chances out there that could make it to Chiles next week.
120: 1. Davon Bailey (Orange Park). 2. Adam Barnes (Lincoln). 3. Jayden Thomas (Columbia). 4. Chance Newhouse (Chiles). Note: Neither medal-round winner should feel safe with this pick; I could see both of them go the other way, but as between the 1-2 and the 3-4, I think those are right. Not sure if these will be the only four in the weight class, but my projection says they are.
126: 1. Nolan Zirgibel (Leon). 2. Durrionte Myrick (Orange Park). 3. Cooper Mote (Columbia). 4. Steven Leger/Wesley Suta (Lincoln). Dark horse: Brennan Kade (Gainesville). Note: About the only certainty I had, as I started plugging names in here, was that Zirgibel, who’d been ranked statewide for most of the year, should be the favorite in the group. After that…I can literally expect anything and everything out of the group here.
132: 1. Ian McGuigan (Columbia, 6th statewide). 2. Nick Hejke (Mosley, 10th statewide). 3. Alex Adkins (Chiles). 4. Arlo Wilson (Orange Park). Dark horse: Mekhi Williams (Lincoln). Note: If Wilson and Williams are in a pigtail together, this will be a very good match. One of the better finals matches of the day; Hejke has been on state podium before, while McGuigan is hoping to close out his career with a podium finish.
138: 1. Alex McGuigan (Columbia, 10th statewide). 2. Olufemi Egberongbe (Chiles). 3. Jaylan Griffin (Mosley). 4. Vincent Walker (Orange Park). Dark horse: Ephraim Long (Middleburg). Note: I can think of about three candidates for the 4th spot, so none of them should feel comfortable. Walker seems to wrestle better the higher in the lineup he is. I expect a great bottom-half semi, as presently constituted.
145: 1. Cameron Broughton (Orange Park, 4th statewide). 2. Thomas Greene (Columbia). 3. Logan Gall/Carter Wascom (Mosley; Gall 12th statewide). 4. Ethan Eudy (Leon). Dark horse: Preston Scoggins (Chiles). Note: Could be a couple of good kids left home after this weekend. Gall, if I knew with certainty he’d be in the lineup, would be my choice for 2nd, but he didn’t wrestle last week. Broughton the clear favorite in the weight, though.
152: 1. Obie Smith (Columbia, 6th statewide). 2. Patrick Blanca (Lincoln). 3. Andrew Mullins (Chiles). 4. Jonathan Griffin (Mosley). Dark horse: Trevion Sermons (Orange Park). Note: Good group moving on; as constituted, we’ve got tournament winners that won’t get to Chiles next week. I could see Blanca taking the title, and I could see the 3-4 changing hands.
160: 1. Cayden Bevis/Evan Taylor (Lincoln). 2. Will Wiggins (Chiles). 3. Preston O’Quinn (Columbia). 4. Kaydon Lester (Mosley). Dark horse: Alex Nayfack (Middleburg). Note: This weight class is completely unpredictable. I could see any of the projected qualifiers, or Nayfack, winning it. I can think of a kid or two that I don’t list here getting out. The hard charger with motivation to run the table just might do it here.
170: 1. Andrew Collins (Lincoln, 19th statewide). 2. Kevonte Times (Chiles, 15th statewide). 3. Joseph Rice (Columbia, 12th statewide). 4. Brayden Weaver (Middleburg). Dark horse: Logan Fernandez-Smith (Gainesville). Note: Rice is an intriguing wrestler who seems to have willed himself into state-qualifier status, and yes, I do think there are three kids in this district that could get there. Weaver is a good young wrestler and will shine brighter in the future.
182: 1. Kyle McGill (Chiles, 7th statewide). 2. Jacob Moore (Orange Park, 8th statewide). 3. Wyatt Yown (Lincoln). 4. Noe Pena (Mosley). Dark horse: William Marshall (Gainesville). Note: Another solid group moving forward. I could definitely see Moore, who’s placed already at states, winning the group, but McGill’s has had plenty of consistent challenges and made significant progress.
195: 1. Tanner Washburn (Lincoln, 9th statewide). 2. Austin Wheeler (Chiles, 17th statewide). 3. Josh Seabrooks (Leon, 16th statewide). 4. Shawn Raggins (Columbia). Dark horse: 5. James Hall (Mosley). Note: Raggins could go at 182 as well and qualify out. As constituted here, this is a very solid group moving to Chiles. Washburn should certainly be favored, however.
220: 1. Jeremiah Brown (Lincoln, 3rd statewide). 2. James McArthur (Orange Park, 11th statewide). 3. Hezekiah Moore (Chiles, 10th statewide). 4. Logan Strickland (Mosley). Dark horse: Jesse Braden (Columbia). Note: Not 100% certain how Chiles plays this, but Moore should be the guy here. I can be convinced of a number of scenarios from 2-5, but Brown stands out as the favorite.
285: 1. Tyler Moss (Lincoln, 11th statewide). 2. Jaycob Jones (Columbia, 14th statewide). 3. Jonothan Garcia/Reese Sheehan (Orange Park). 4. Sterling Moon (Chiles). Note: I think the 285 class is only going to be four deep based upon my review. Moss is ahead of the rest of the group, with Jones the likeliest candidate for the final.
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