Categories
#TURKEYNWRESTLING

#TurkeyNWrestling2020-21: 1A-District 5 & Indep.

A year ago, Atlantic had its break-out year as a program after the Sharks were, figuratively and sometimes literally, swimming in the wake of one of the Southeast’s top high school teams.
The Port Orange-based team won both dual and traditional titles in 1A-District 5 last year, going on to reach the Sweet 16 in 1A for duals and placing T-5th at Region 2 in late February.
The Sharks made that season possible behind seven individual district champions and a locked-in lineup.
That’s going to get a bit of a test this year, though I think Atlantic is still going to be the favorite for repeating. The Sharks did graduate four key starters, including 2020 state qualifier Azizbek Rustamiy, plus lost a fifth starter — and state qualifier — in junior Jamey Bruner, who moved over to geographic rival New Smyrna Beach, which is in 2A.
But Atlantic does return five district champs out of its group of up to seven post-season starters. Four of those seven fell in the blood round of the Region 2 tournament, and we would expect several Sharks wrestlers to not only qualify out for the 1A state tournament, but a few have the potential to podium in March of next year.
Where Palatka, our runnerup choice in the district, has kids, it’s going to be good in 2020-21. The question for the Panthers is going to be, will they fill a lineup?
Palatka lost three graduates from last year’s team, including a pair of fixtures over the past 4 years in 2019 state qualifier Ontarriyus Reid and March state qualifier Drevon Wallace, who’s now at Allen.
The Panthers have as many as seven wrestlers with starting experience back this season, six of them with Region 2 experience. Of those six, two got to Saturday’s second day. But this year, of the possibly-returning seven, just one will graduate in June, so the chance for a very solid nucleus is good not only for this year, but next. Now Palatka just has to fill the other weights in.
Pedro Menendez should be the choice for third in the district after reaching the Region 2 duals level for the first team in the school’s history last year. The Falcons lost just two seniors to graduation, but took a hit when their top competitor over the last three seasons, senior and 2020 placer Connor Spossey (5th at 170 in March), transferred to crosstown rival St Augustine.
But Menendez will have experience back in the middle of its lineup, with as many as nine key returners, six of them with Region 2 experience last season, and a sizable number of kids — at least in that middle — in the Falcons’ room. Should they fill a couple more of the bookend spots, they will be a threat to Palatka.
Keystone Heights projects to fourth in this district, with its top assistant taking over the program this year, in its third year as an FHSAA team. The Indians lost two wrestlers off last year’s team, including their top competitor from a year ago.
But KHHS has the potential for good numbers once again this year, with possibly as many as nine wrestlers that have starting experience, including five with Region 2 experience last year.
While the top half of the district appears to be locked in, the bottom half of the district took a significant hit in the offseason. Interlachen didn’t finish the 2019-20 season and FSDB’s head coach announced early in the fall that the school was not planning to field a team in 2020-21.
That leaves Lake Weir as the default choice for fifth. The Hurricanes had a first-year coach a year ago and struggled to keep numbers, with just two wrestlers that finished the year. But, both have eligibility to return, with a new coach once again this year.
This preview also is covering two independent team this seasons. First Baptist Christian Academy, out of Bunnell, is in (at least) its fourth season, and second full season with us. The Crusaders have one of the more ambitious small-school schedules in the coverage area, if the past couple of seasons have been any indication.
FBCA has as many as 10 starters back that saw regular time last year; while the Crusaders still won’t test their mettle in post-season competition, last year was perhaps the first year that they showed they could compete as a team and not as individuals.
The second independent team is first-year program Ribault, located in the heart of Jacksonville. The Trojans have not had a team at least during the lifetime of the website, and it’s the first new team in the Gateway Conference in three seasons.
Projected 1A-District 5 finish: 1. Atlantic. 2. Palatka. 3. Pedro Menendez. 4. Keystone Heights. 5. Lake Weir.
ATLANTIC (Port Orange)
Coach: Kris Blasko.
2019-20: 10-2 in duals reported to Matmen. 5th at Barbara Pill Memorial, 4th at Vipers Invitational, 2nd at DeLand Bulldogs IBT, 5th at Wolfpack Invitational, 2nd at 5 Star Conference.
Post-season stats (last 3 years): 2020 — Duals: District champ, region semifinalist; Traditional: District champ, region T-5th, T-48th at states. 2019 — Duals: Did not qualify for regions; Traditional: 4th at 1A-District 7, 5th at region, T-30th at states. 2018 — Duals: Did not qualify for regions; Traditional: 4th at 1A-District 7, 12th at region, T-64th at states.
Projected key returners (15+ matches or post-season experience last year, with 2019-20 weights): Bernaldo Alvarez (sophomore, 22-13 at 113, district champ, 2-2 at regions); Avante Chamble (senior, 31-11 at 145, district champ, 1 match from states); David Arcieri (senior, 38-12 at 160, district champ, 1 match from states); Noah Anderson (junior, 29-14 at 170, district runnerup, 1-2 at regions); John Wyman (junior, 7-19 at 195, district 4th, 0-2 at regions); Michael Sklare (senior, 13-9 at 220, district champ, 1 match from states); Jared Jackson (senior, 34-3 at 285, district champ, 1 match from states).
Key losses (graduation except as noted): Jamey Bruner (20-9 at 120, district champ, region runnerup, 1-2 at states; transferred to New Smyrna Beach); Tyler Livingstone (12-23 at 126, district 3rd, 1-2 at regions); Azizbek Rustamiy (14-7 at 132, district runnerup, region 4th, 0-2 at states); Jeremiah Epps (31-12 at 138, district champ, 1 match from states); Christian Henry (35-11 at 182, district 3rd, 1-2 at regions).
Matmen’s take: Defending the duals and traditional title the Sharks won last year might be a little bit harder, but Atlantic still has a lot of weapons at its disposal. If it can patch the middle of its lineup, it should once again enter the season as odds-on favorite.
KEYSTONE HEIGHTS
Coach: Steven Knott, 1st year.
2019-20: 6-21 in duals.
Post-season stats (last 3 years): 2020 — Duals: District 4th; Traditional: District 4th, T-23rd at region. 2019 — Duals: Did not compete; Traditional: District 3rd, 22nd at region. 2018 — Independent team in 2018-19.
Projected key returners (15+ matches or post-season experience last year, with 2019-20 weights): Samuel Ulsch (sophomore, 8-13 at 120, district 4th, 0-2 at regions); Lorelei Tarvit (senior, 1-3 at 126, 1 match from regions); Canyon Hayes (sophomore, 13-12 at 132, 1 match from regions); Jonas Cole (sophomore, 14-10 at 138, 1 match from regions); Sheppard Wingate (junior, 12-13 at 160, district runnerup, 2-2 at regions); Steven Raab (sophomore, 10-14 at 195, district 3rd, 0-2 at regions); Brandon Rodriquez (8th, 9-12 at 195/220, did not compete in post-season traditionals); Gabe Adams (senior, 10-10 at 220, district runnerup, 0-2 at regions); Cody Saley (junior, 3-10 at 285, district 3rd, 0-2 at regions).
Key losses (graduation except as noted): Kayla Elliott (10-7* at 106, did not compete in post-season traditionals); Eliyah Cole (senior, 21-3 at 182, district champ, 2-2 at regions; transferred to Middleburg).
Matmen’s take: With just two seniors in this year’s group of returners, the Indians’ path of evolution is still very much one of growth. Losing Cole is going to be a difficult loss to replace, but he showed returners that success is within reach.
LAKE WEIR
Coach: Eoghan Cullen, 1st year.
2018-19: 0-3 in duals reported to Matmen. T-15th at Clash of the Titans, 19th at Ed Kilpatrick IBT, 17th at DeLand Bulldogs IBT.
Post-season stats (last 3 years): 2020 — Duals: Did not compete; Traditional: District 6th, T-28th at region. 2019 — Duals: Did not qualify for regions; Traditional: 7th at 2A-District 5, T-14th at 2A-Region 2, T-25th at 2A states. 2018 — Duals: Did not qualify for regions; Traditional: 7th at 2A-District 5, 23rd at 2A-Region 2, T-47th at 2A states.
Projected key returners (15+ matches or post-season experience last year, with 2019-20 weights): Grant Kincannon (sophomore, 4-11 at 145, district 4th, 0-2 at regions); Dean Marquis (junior, 4-11 at 152, district champ, 2-2 at regions).
Key losses (graduation): None.
Matmen’s take: Keeping kids in the lineup proved to be difficult for the Hurricanes in 2019-20. Hopefully, despite another first-year coach manning the program, the team will be able to build some consistency in its lineup this year.
PALATKA
Coach: Josh White, 10th year.
2019-20: 10-18 in duals. 2nd at Arlington Optimist, T-7th at Keystone Memorial, 4th at Wakulla IBT, T-19th at Clay Rotary.
Post-season stats (last 3 years): 2020 — Duals: District 3rd; Traditional: District runnerup, T-12th at region, T-56th at states. 2019 — Duals: District 3rd; Traditional: District runnerup, T-9th at region, T-40th at states. 2018 — Duals: District champ, region quarterfinalist; Traditional: District runnerup, 11th at region, T-56th at states.
Projected key returners (15+ matches or post-season experience last year, with 2019-20 weights): Mikade Harvey (sophomore, 28-15 at 106, district champion, 2-2 at regions); Brandon Lewis (junior, 37-17 at 132, district champ, 1 match from states); Delton (DJ) Nealy (senior, 21-13 at 138, district runnerup, 1-2 at regions); Adaris Medina (junior, 17-22 at 145, district 3rd, 0-2 at regions); Brady Weaver (sophomore, 6-25 at 152/160, did not compete in post-season traditionals); Samuel Lafferty (sophomore, 12-25 at 160, district 3rd, 1-2 at regions); Jack Tilton (junior, 22-13 at 195, district champ, 1-2 at regions).
Key losses (graduation): Ontarriyus Reid (37-14 at 120, district runnerup, 1 match from states); Drevon Wallace (39-16 at 126, district champ, region 4th, 0-2 at states); Marlon Williams (22-13 at 285, district runnerup, 1-2 at regions).
Matmen’s take: Panthers are going to be very solid where they have wrestlers, but they can’t easily compete for district titles with half a team. Recruiting is just as important for Palatka as finding competition for its experienced kids.
PEDRO MENENDEZ (St Augustine)
Coach: Kevin Leonard, 5th year.
2019-20: 12-17 in duals. 23rd at Flagler Rotary, T-27th at Clay Rotary.
Post-season stats (last 3 years): 2020 — Duals: District runnerup, region quarterfinalist; Traditional: District 3rd, 17th at region, 28th at states. 2019 — Duals: 1A-District 4 semifinalist; Traditional: 3rd at 1A-District 4, 18th at 1A-Region 1, T-59th at states. 2018 — Duals: Did not participate; Traditional: 1A-District 4 runnerup, 10th at 1A-Region 1, T-64th at states.
Projected key returners (15+ matches or post-season experience last year, with 2019-20 weights): Joseph Lepera (sophomore, 3-12 at 120, 1 match from regions); Gavin Rosario (junior, 12-15 at 126, district runnerup, 1-2 at regions); Logan Meehan (junior, 17-20 at 132, district 4th, 0-1 at regions-injured); Lukas Allen (sophomore, 7-8 at 138/145, did not compete in post-season traditionals); Jose Ruiz (senior, 12-17 at 145, district runnerup, 0-2 at regions); Nathan Luckadoo (senior, 16-12 at 152, district runnerup, 0-2 at regions); Jared Howard (sophomore, 9-24 at 160, district 4th, 0-2 at regions); Dane Litzinger (senior, 17-16 at 182, district runnerup, 0-2 at regions); Jon London (sophomore, 8-14 at 285, did not compete in post-season traditionals).
Key losses (graduation except as noted): Alex Binkiewicz (8-17 at 138, district 4th, 0-2 at regions); Connor Spossey (44-7 at 170, district champ, region runnerup, state 5th; transferred to St Augustine); Logan Parham (17-17 at 195, district runnerup, 0-2 at regions).
Matmen’s take: Falcons reached the regional dual round, a significant program milestone, and having solid numbers will help during the dual series, but it may be difficult to keep up their streak of state traditional appearances.
Independents
FIRST BAPTIST CHRISTIAN ACADEMY (Bunnell)
Coach: Unknown.
2019-20: 4-9 in duals. 14th at Battle for the Blacktop, 18th at Keystone Memorial, 15th at Gator Brawl, 27th at Flagler Rotary, 32nd at Clay Rotary.
Post-season stats (last 3 years): None. Independent team.
Projected key returners (15+ matches or post-season experience last year, with 2019-20 weights): Gabriel Haren (8th, 8-19 at 106); Chase Jones (freshman, 2-18 at 106); Jordan Mills (freshman, 23-13 at 138); Tyson Mills (junior, 27-11 at 145); Tyler Jimenez (senior, 8-16 at 145/152); Mason Harrison (8th, 6-14 at 160/170); Adyn Cox (sophomore, 1-15 at 195); Jacob Rodriguez (sophomore, 5-13 at 195); Ibon Urraburu (sophomore, 3-18 at 220/285); Trevor Banks (freshman, 7-12 at 220/285).
Key losses (graduation): Jackson Whitley (2-17 at 132); Jackson Mills (15-16 at 152/160); Nathaniel Varol (17-16 at 170/182).
Matmen’s take: Crusaders have a couple of wrestlers right on the cusp of area-wide ranking, and they’ve shown themselves capable of bringing in new blood. With the schedule they’ve set for themselves, next step might be to gain state sanction.
RIBAULT (Jacksonville)
Coach: Jason Clark.
2019-20: No statistics. First-year team.
Post-season stats (last 3 years): None. Independent team.
Projected key returners (15+ matches or post-season experience last year, with 2019-20 weights): None.
Key losses (graduation): None.
Matmen’s take: After losing Andrew Jackson to low numbers, and more than one or two programs in the city struggling to keep the numbers they have, it’s a good sign that a new program may be starting up in northwest Jacksonville.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s