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#TurkeyNWrestling2020-21: 1A-District 2

Most teams don’t absorb a graduation loss of nearly half its starting lineup and look forward to what’s to come.
On the Forgotten Coast, where Wakulla has reigned northern 1A teams for the past two years, graduation means opportunity for new blood to seize their chance and returners to become stars. And, while Clay promises to make the battle for the region’s top spot even hotter this year, the War Eagles have a lot of weapons back.
Although perhaps the two-time defending state runnerups are happier than anyone that former 1A juggernaut Lake Highland Prep has gone independent this year, opting to contend for the national prep school title instead of an FHSAA state one, whichever team makes it out of Region 1 will still have to battle through Palm Bay/Merritt Island (likeliest) in Region 2, plus the south Florida 1-2 combo of Somerset, which Wakulla took down in last year’s 1A state dual semi, and American Heritage-Delray Beach.
The War Eagles did graduate seven key seniors, including 2020 or former placers in Matthew Owen (126 last year), Noah Wilson (4th at 145 in March), Chase Roberts (6th at 152) and John Trevor Hinsey (5th at 195), plus 2019 state qualifier Slade Watkins, and that leadership may be difficult to fully replace.
But Wakulla has as many as 17 returners that saw key mat time as starters or in starting roles last year, and the depth of that room is difficult to over-estimate. Senior Raymond Hatchman (4th at 120 last year) is the War Eagles’ lone returning 12th-grader who placed a year ago, and will be joined by returning state qualifiers and fellow seniors George Hernandez (113 last year), Cole Baggett (160), Jackson Osteen (182) and Jayven Hearns (285). Junior Jayvon Brown also placed for Wakulla, taking sixth as a sophomore at 170.
After finishing third in the district for several, and to it too many, seasons in a row, Suwannee finally broke through to the Region 1 dual team tournament with a district runnerup finish, which it duplicated in the traditional post-season series, adding a fourth at Region 1.
The Bulldogs did lose two seniors to graduation, including March state qualifier Jaxon Sansouci (132 a year ago), but its depth was significantly better than in prior seasons.
Suwannee could have back as many as 15 kids that saw  significant time as starters. That number includes five returning state qualifiers in seniors Xander Kirkland (2018 state placer, qualified at 120 last year), Timothy Jolicoeur (126 in March) and Blaine Howard (182 in March), plus junior Tyson Musgrove (138 last year) and sophomore Brody Boehm (106 in March).
Could be a solid three-way battle for third place, with positives favoring Florida High, Marianna, and Baker Cty in third position.
From a tradition standpoint, the Seminoles are the right choice. Florida High was sixth at regions after taking third at districts last year, and can return up to eight wrestlers with key experience rom a year ago. Headlining that group are seniors Tyler Reeve (6th at state 126 last year) and 2019 state placer Emil Ganim (138 last year), plus two additional region qualifiers.
Key for Florida High will be overcoming the loss of three 2020 state qualifiers, including 2020 or earlier placers Marcus Haigler (4th at 195 in March) and 2019 placer Brooks Dyer (132 last year), as well as qualifier Dennis Ganim (145 last year).
Marianna has a new head coach for the second consecutive season, and lost two of its top five wrestlers to graduation, with 2020 state qualifier John Maddox tops among a group of four 2020 graduates that made up a solid part of the Bulldogs’ upper weights.
But Marianna has as many as 10 kids back that saw regular lineup time, with senior Chase Maddox (2x state qualifier, last year at 160) and junior Ethan Heinemann (145 last year) both reaching Kissimmee in March and both back this year.
Baker Cty did lose four post-season starters to graduation as well, but the Wildcats significantly retooled their lineup last year, even taking a regular-season tournament title along the way.
This year, Baker has up to possibly 10 key kids back that could form the nucleus of a group that is poised to jump into the top half of the District 2 field, should either Florida High or Marianna falter.
Godby’s probably the one team that would struggle the most to get out of the bottom third, just from a numbers standpoint (particularly in the lowers), compared to the rest of the district. The Cougars graduated two seniors from last year’s team, including 2020 state qualifier Joshua Yarbrough, but can bring back as many as seven key contributors, two with region experience.
Projected finish: 1. Wakulla. 2. Suwannee. 3. Florida High. 4. Marianna. 5. Baker Cty. 6. Godby.
BAKER CTY (Glen St Mary)
Coach: Tucker McCullough, 3rd year.
2019-20: 9-15 in duals. 8th at Joe Bees Memorial, 1st at Westside Roundrobin, 26th at Clay Rotary.
Post-season stats (last 3 years): 2020 — Duals: Did not compete; Traditional: District 5th, 17th at region. 2019 — Duals: District 4th; Traditional: District 8th, 25th at region. 2018 — Duals: District 4th; Traditional: District 4th, 16th at region, T-56th at states. 2017 — Traditional: District 5th, 22nd at region, T-72nd at states.
Projected key returners (15+ matches or post-season experience last year, with 2019-20 weights): Thomas Torres (sophomore, 3-23 at 113, district 4th, 0-2 at regions); Shane Bullard (junior, 18-14 at 120, district 3rd, 1-2 at regions); Dylen Goldsmith (sophomore, 15-23 at 138, district 4th, 0-2 at regions); Ethan Collins (senior, 7-12 at 152, did not compete in post-season traditionals); Clayton Dennison (junior, 18-13 at 160, district 4th, 2-2 at regions); Caleb Smith (sophomore, 2-8 at 170, 1 match from regions); Toby Kinghorn (junior, 25-10 at 182, district 4th, 2-2 at regions); Conner South (senior, 19-13 at 195, district 4th, 1-2 at regions); Garrett Cain (senior, 15-11 at 220, district 4th, 0-2 at regions). Potentially returning (year in school not noted on Trackwrestling): Pierce Kirkland (22-9 at 195/220, did not compete in post-season traditionals).
Key losses (graduation): David Jackson (19-11 at 126, district 4th, 2-2 at regions); Juan Torres (9-15 at 132, 1 match from regions); Branden Bradley (7-8 at 152, district 4th, 0-2 at regions); Jaqrez Elliott (25-8 at 285, district runnerup, 1-2 at regions).
Matmen’s take: Wildcats lost four seniors from last year’s group, but they have nine (possibly 10) key returners back, including eight post-season returners. And there’s only two seniors within that group, so they’ll be ready for bigger game soon.
FLORIDA HIGH (Tallahassee)
Coach: Clay Allen, 11th year.
2019-20: 1-2 in duals. 8th at Cam Brown Seminole Classic, 11th at Capital City, 19th at Allstate Wildcat, T-29th at Knockout Christmas Classic, 4th at Joe Bees Memorial, 6th at George Mulligan Memorial, 5th at Wakulla IBT.
Post-season stats (last 3 years): 2020 — Duals: District semifinalist; Traditional: District 3rd, region 6th, T-18th at states. 2019 — Duals: District runnerup, region quarterfinalist; Traditional: District runnerup, region runnerup, 8th at states. 2018 — Duals: District runnerup, region semifinalist; Traditional: district runnerup, 5th at region, T-30th at states.
Projected key returners (15+ matches or post-season experience last year, with 2019-20 weights): Tyler Reeve (senior, 35-8 at 126, district runnerup, region runnerup, state 6th); Emil Ganim (senior, 14-10 at 138, district 3rd, 2-2 at regions); Wright Dean (sophomore, 14-10 at 132/138, did not compete in post-season traditionals); Liam Hawkes (junior, 12-17 at 152, district 3rd, 2-2 at regions); Micah Perdue (senior, 27-13 at 160, district 3rd, 1 match from states); Diego Duprey (junior, 6-12 at 170, 1 match from regions); Collin Bishop (freshman, 4-5 at 182, 1 match from regions).
Key losses (graduation): Brooks Dyer (17-8 at 132, district runnerup, region runnerup, 1-2 at states); Dennis Ganim (21-12 at 145, district 3rd, region runnerup, 1-2 at states); Marcus Haigler (20-10 at 195, district runnerup, region runnerup, state 4th).
Matmen’s take: Seminoles took some hits last season, compared to the past, but came out with a top-six region finish and top-20 state finish. To return to where they were in the area, they’ll need some bigs, but rest of lineup is solid.
GODBY (Tallahassee)
Coach: MaShawn Knight, 2nd year.
2019-20: 3-12 in duals. 9th at Cam Brown Seminole Classic, 26th at Capital City Classic, 18th at Wakulla IBT, 7th at Viper Roundrobin.
Post-season stats (last 3 years): 2020 — Duals: District semifinalist; Traditional: District 6th, 15th at region, T-40th at states. 2019 — Duals: T-3rd at district; Traditional: 4th at district, 16th at region, T-65th at states. 2018 — Duals: Did not compete; Traditional: 4th at district, 18th at region, T-64th at states.
Projected key returners (15+ matches or post-season experience last year, with 2019-20 weights): John Breaux (junior, 8-21 at 120, district 4th, 1-2 at regions); Tony Howie (sophomore, 2-13 at 126, 1 match from regions); Kimmareus McCoy (sophomore, 3-13 at 145, 1 match from regions); Seth Williamson (junior, 10-16 at 182, 1 match from regions); Keith Clark (sophomore, 6-18 at 182, did not compete in post-season traditionals); Julian Green (senior, 10-7 at 195, district 3rd, 1-1 at regions, did not compete on Saturday); Robert Harrell (senior, 19-10 at 220, district runnerup, 1-2 at regions).
Key losses (graduation): Thomas Branson (16-17 at 170, district 4th, 2-1 at regions, did not compete on Saturday); Joshua Yarbrough (21-5 at 285, district champ, region runnerup, 1 match from state medal).
Matmen’s take: Cougars have been to states each of the prior three years; whether they make it four will likely, as in past years, depend on their returning bigs. Lowers need to step up to match their bigger teammates for Godby to improve.
MARIANNA
Coach: Tom Burnette, 1st year.
2019-20: 7-7 in duals. 4th at Cam Brown Seminole Classic, 10th at Capital City Classic, 24th at Scott Rohrer Hoover, 12th at Gator Brawl, 7th at George Mulligan Memorial, 8th at Wakulla IBT.
Post-season stats (last 3 years): 2020 — Duals: Did not compete; Traditional: District 4th, region 8th, T-34th at states. 2019 — Duals: District T-3rd; Traditional: District 3rd, region T-7th, T-30th at states. 2018 — Duals: District champ, region quarterfinalist; Traditional: District 3rd, region 8th, T-17th at states.
Projected key returners (15+ matches or post-season experience last year, with 2019-20 weights): Audra Phillips (junior, 4-17 at 106/113, did not compete in post-season traditionals); William Carrel (junior, 26-25 at 113, district 3rd, 1-2 at regions); Hunter Cornelius (sophomore, 2-17 at 120, did not compete in post-season traditionals); Trett Phillips (junior, 20-25 at 138, 1 match from regions); Ethan Heinemann (junior, 21-14 at 145, district 4th, region 4th, 0-2 at states); Cody Lewis (junior, 10-25 at 152, 1 match from regions); Chase Maddox (senior, 44-12 at 160, district champ, region champ, 1-2 at states); Christian Cosson (senior, 40-17 at 182, district 3rd, 1 match from states); Lawson Jackson (junior, 7-21 at 195, 1 match from regions); Zeth Harris (sophomore, 7-11 at 285, did not compete in post-season traditionals).
Key losses (graduation): Dustin Arnold (20-18 at 132, district 4th, did not compete at regions); John Maddox (51-9 at 170, district runnerup, region runnerup, 1-2 at states); Corey Davis (18-3 at 195, did not compete in post-season traditionals); Roosevelt Williams (27-27 at 220, district 3rd, 1-2 at regions).
Matmen’s take: Bulldogs return sizable group from last year, leadership will pass to experienced hands. Younger kids aren’t so young anymore. Key for new coaches will be to fill a full lineup against powerhouse teams within the district.
SUWANNEE (Live Oak)
Coach: John Wainwright, 2nd year atr school.
2019-20: 29-14 in duals. 13th at Border Wars VII, 9th at Keystone Memorial, 8th at Clay Rotary, 1st at Vipers Roundrobin.
Post-season stats (last 3 years): 2020 — Duals: District runnerup, region semifinalist; Traditional: District runnerup, region 4th, T-48th at states. 2019 — Duals: District T-3rd; Traditional: District 3rd, region 3rd, 17th at states. 2018 — Duals: District 3rd; Traditional: District 3rd, region 4th, T-25th at states.
Projected key returners (15+ matches or post-season experience last year, with 2019-20 weights): Brody Boehm (sophomore, 41-28 at 106, district runnerup, region 4th, 0-2 at states); Foster Swain (junior, 36-27 at 113, district runnerup, 2-2 at regions); Xander Kirkland (senior, 52-13 at 120, district runnerup, region 4th, 1-2 at states); Waylon Poole (sophomore, 4-11 at 120/126, did not compete in post-season traditionals); Timothy Jolicoeur (senior, 66-11 at 126, district champ, region 3rd, 1-2 at states); Ayden Kirby (sophomore, 9-19 at 132, did not compete in post-season traditionals); Tyson Musgrove (junior, 48-21 at 138, district champ, region champ, 0-2 at states); Caleb Parsons (senior, 49-22 at 145, district runnerup, 2-2 at regions); Austin Howard (sophomore, 34-31 at 152, district runnerup, 1-2 at regions); Jim King (senior, 21-31 at 160, 1 match from regions); Austin Baxter (sophomore, 6-18 at 160, did not compete in post-season traditionals); Dustin Wood (sophomore, 24-30 at 170, district 3rd, 2-2 at regions); Blaine Howard (senior, 27-8 at 182, district champ, region 3rd, 0-2 at states); Mahri Roberts (junior, 1-9 at 195, 1 match from regions); Cayden Williams (junior, 6-14 at 285, district 4th, 0-2 at regions).
Key losses (graduation): Jaxon Sansouci (46-17 at 132, district 3rd, region 3rd, 1-2 at states); Robert Robinson (6-13 at 220, 1 match from regions).
Matmen’s take: Bulldogs pushed through to the region round and took runnerup honors at traditional districts. They should return to those places once again, behind a deep room and the Suwannee commitment to excellence.
WAKULLA (Crawfordville)
Coach: William Pafford, 10th year.
2019-20: 24-1 in duals. 2nd at Border Wars VII, 2nd at Capital City Classic, 1st at Gator Brawl, 1st at Wakulla IBT, 4th at Clay Rotary, T-84th at Girls’ State.
Post-season stats (last 3 years): 2020 — Duals: District champ, region champ, state runnerup; Traditional: District champ, region champ, state 5th. 2019 — Duals: District champ, region champ, state runnerup; Traditional: District champ, region champ, 6th at states. 2018 — Duals: District champ, region runnerup; Traditional: District champ, region runnerup, 16th at states.
Projected key returners (15+ matches or post-season experience last year, with 2019-20 weights): Julian Harvey (junior, 36-11 at 106, district champ, 1 match from states); Conner Brown (sophomore, 12-7 at 106, did not compete in post-season traditionals); Wyatt Welch (sophomore, 10-18 at 106/113, did not compete in post-season traditionals); George Hernandez (senior, 53-12 at 113, district champ, region 3rd, 0-2 at states); Juan Jimenez (junior, 12-17 at 113/120, did not compete in post-season traditionals); Raymond Hatchman (senior, 51-17 at 120, district champ, region runnerup, state 4th); Jae T Thaxton (sophomore, 23-22 at 126, district 3rd, 1 match from states); Bradley Martin (sophomore, 8-8 at 126, did not compete in post-season traditionals); Jackson Merrick (senior, 34-22 at 138, district runnerup, 1-2 at regions); Cole Baggett (senior, 57-12 at 160, district runnerup, region runnerup, 1 match from state medal); Jayvon Brown (junior, 43-13 at 170, district champ, region 3rd, state 6th); Aiden Fetterhoff (junior, 4-13 at 170, did not compete in post-season traditionals); Jackson Osteen (senior, 42-11 at 182, district runnerup, region champ, 0-2 at states); Daniel Brattain (junior, 6-9 at 182, did not compete in post-season traditionals); Hayden Reeves (junior, 29-14 at 182/195, did not compete in post-season traditionals); Tyler Edenfield (junior, 25-16 at 182/195, did not compete in post-season traditionals); Jayven Hearns (senior, 43-16 at 285, district 3rd, region 4th, 1-2 at states).
Key losses (graduation): Matthew Owen (54-7 at 132, district champ, region champ, 1 match from state medal); Noah Wilson (55-6 at 145, district champ, region champ, state 4th); Jaden Arrizola (5-11 at 145, 2-2 at girls’ state); Chase Roberts (46-9 at 152, district champ, region runnerup, state 6th); Dylan Harvey (16-11 at 160, did not compete in post-season traditionals); John Trevor Hinsey (54-6 at 195, district champ, region champ, state 5th); Slade Watkins (49-7 at 220, district champ, 1-2 at regions).
Matmen’s take: Graduation losses are heavy for the War Eagles, but arguably the deepest room in north Florida will find the next in line to step forward. After two years of dual state runnerup finishes, is this the year? Don’t count out the Forgotten Coast.

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