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: Terry Parker HS
When: Saturday, February 22 (8 a.m. weighin start, 10 a.m. wrestle start).
Projected team finish: 1. Fletcher. 2. Ponte Vedra. 3. Robert E. Lee. 4. Englewood. 5. First Coast. 6. Westside. 7. Stanton. 8. Terry Parker.
The skinny: I think Fletcher’s going to have the wherewithal to complete the double and win both the dual and traditional titles. The Senators are the kind of team that can succeed in both environments in this district, not that it’s going to be easy. Ponte Vedra appears to have all of its pieces in place for Saturday, getting kids that had been hurt midseason back into the lineup, and if the Sharks can find some points at the bookends of their lineup, they will be a threat to Fletcher. Robert E. Lee brought together a formidable set of uppers that nearly had enough to push past Fletcher in the duals, but a couple of those upper-weight kids have been hurt, themselves, for a little while, and it’s unclear at this writing whether the whole set can be brought to bear. Englewood is the kind of fourth-place team that could be dangerous on Saturday, because the Rams have only needed a bit of belief to go along with the numbers they’ve been able to turn out, and they’ve found that belief in their head coach, and now the Rams can compete with a lot more teams. First Coast has some talented kids, particularly from the middle up, but their lowers haven’t yet matched the pace of their upperweight kids, and that could keep them out of the top half. Stanton has some holes in its lineup, but should get several of their stronger kids moved forward, and Terry Parker, despite few of the lower weights being repped, should have some middleweight kids that get out after Saturday.
Matmen’s projected region qualifiers (along with dark horses if applicable and a BRIEF note):
106: 1. Ana Bradshaw (Fletcher). 2. Ricky Hicks (Robert E Lee). 3. Kenneth Caldeo (Stanton). 4. Deshawn Reaves (Westside). Dark horse: Aiden Taylor (Ponte Vedra). Note: Bradshaw got a leg up on the rest of the field, for the most part, with her performance at Gateway. There might be a couple of open spots in the 3-4 area.
113: 1. Raequan Staples (Englewood). 2. Ryden Ashmore (Fletcher). 3. Julian Villegas (Ponte Vedra). 4. Ian Leschinskey (First Coast). Dark horse: Olleon Hickman (Westside). Note: There could be only four in the bracket. Bottom-half semi could be a good match, but Staples does appear to be ahead of the rest of the group.
120: 1. Jamal Burkes (Robert E Lee). 2. Jacare Johnson (Westside). 3. Michael Stephens (Ponte Vedra). 4. Trevor Studstill (First Coast). Dark horse: Josh Daltro/Hayden North (Fletcher). Note: We’ve seen Burkes even up at 132, but his best chance to win a district title would be here. Johnson has an experience advantage over the remainder of the group. A few different possibilities could be in play here.
126: 1. Gabe Daltro (Fletcher). 2. Stephen Kowitski (Ponte Vedra). 3. Nathan Williams (Westside). 4. Hunter Padgett/Ricardo Rivera-Resto (Englewood). Dark horse: Artin Rezaei (Stanton). Note: The Gateway didn’t sort out the consi bracket as it could have, as kids that lost on the front side faced the kid that beat them in the consis in many instances, so sorting out 3-5 here is tricky.
132: 1. Lynden North (Englewood; 14th statewide). 2. Jackson Shewey (Ponte Vedra). 3. Donovan White (Westside). 4. Kaden Solomon (Fletcher). Dark horse: Jace Austin (First Coast). Note: North and Shewey appear to have distanced themselves from the rest of the group, and White and Solomon might have fairly good chances to get out, too.
138: 1. Alex De Almeida (Ponte Vedra). 2. Ty’Juan Jones (Robert E Lee). 3. Tyriek Caldwell (Fletcher). 4. Gabriel Navarro (Stanton). Dark horse: Payton London (First Coast). Note: De Almeida should be the clear choice for top spot and Jones has the advantage over the rest of the Gateway kids at this weight. Gateway head-to-head is the reason for the 3-4 choices.
145: 1. Josiah Mossor (First Coast). 2. Tyson Petrie (Fletcher). 3. Jeramiah Stevens (Robert E Lee). 4. Grant Kelsey (Stanton). Dark horse: Steven Millikin (Westside). Note: Not 100% on where Kelsey’s going to end up — he would have been at 145 at the start of the year — but he could be at 152 or theoretically even 160. I’d expect another good finals matchup if the top two picks make the final.
152: 1. Joel Rodriguez (Fletcher, 5th statewide). 2. Savion Johnson (Robert E Lee). 3. Austin Schottel (Ponte Vedra). 4. Tijuan Boyance (Terry Parker). Dark horse: Tyler Heflin (First Coast). Note: Rodriguez is far ahead of the rest of the weight class, but the 2-4 could go a couple of different ways with Schottel’s projected return. If Kelsey were here, he could figure into the top-4 mix as well.
160: 1. Ahmahd Denmark (Robert E Lee, 8th statewide). 2. Ethan Baur (Ponte Vedra). 3. Ashley Saddler (Terry Parker, 10th statewide). 4. Tyler Dalldorf (Fletcher). Dark horse: Sam Howard (Englewood). Note: Wrestlers in this weight class need to be on their Ps and Qs, because a mis-step could send one out early, and this is a pretty solid field all the way around.
170: 1. Angelo Philpot (Westside, 3rd statewide). 2. DeVante Wyatt (First Coast, 6th statewide). 3. Rett Maritato (Ponte Vedra, 18th statewide). 4. Vincente Waugh (Robert E Lee). Dark horse: Jordan Mitchell (Englewood). Note: 160’s solid? 170 says, hold my headgear. This weight class alone is worth the price of admission Saturday, no matter who makes the final, which ought to be a barnburner.
182: 1. Stone Rockhill (Fletcher, 17th statewide). 2. Darryl Sam (Englewood). 3. John Merritt (Westside). 4. Keshawn Waters/Zachary Morton (Robert E Lee). Dark horse: Cleon Johnson (First Coast). Note: There’s a pretty good amount of talent in this group, too. I was somewhat surprised to see how Gateway had played out here; I won’t be surprised if that changes on Saturday.
195: 1. Michael Strong (Fletcher, 19th statewide). 2. Hakeem Culberson (First Coast). 3. Justin Mendez (Englewood). 4. Jeremy Porter (Robert E Lee). Dark horse: Charles Woo (Stanton). Note: This order is predicated on Porter being in the lineup; he was hurt at Gateway, and if not, then move Woo up and (if he’s here at 195) Ponte Vedra’s Harlan Nikolov into the dark horse spot.
220: 1. Ethan Hollenbach (Fletcher, 6th statewide). 2. Craig Harper (Robert E Lee). 3. Grayson Peterson (First Coast). 4. Nikolov/Agatep (Ponte Vedra). Dark horse: Melvin Wiggins (Englewood). Note: Again, this is if Nikolov is at 220, where I think he has a safer space to move on (but that’s just me). Hollenbach is ahead of the rest of the group, but Harper and Peterson have made nice gains this year.
285: 1. Ray Bolden (Westside, 5th statewide). 2. Dylan Lampkin (First Coast). 3. Toby Matson (Fletcher). 4. Edward Peterson (Robert E Lee). Dark horse: Isiah Musca (Englewood). Note: Bolden is the favorite here, but Lampkin has emerged as the clear choice for the runnerup spot. Matson and Peterson both have pins against each other, with Matson’s at Gateway and the more recent.
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