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.
We don’t get brackets in advance (unless we tell you otherwise that we did), so while there’s a reasonable confidence that these are the weights where these kids picked to move on, we issue the disclaimer that we’re not 100% in knowledge of that.
We’re going to give you our first impression of each weight class, and, in each district, we’ll provide one weight class where we expect the unexpected to happen and three dark horses that particularly intrigue us as things stood when we wrote these.
Where: Gulf Breeze HS
When: Monday, February 15 (8 a.m. weighin start, 10 a.m. wrestle start, times as local).
At stake: Top 4 in each weight class automatically advance to the 2A-Region 1 tournament February 26-27 at Mosley HS in Lynn Haven. Districts this year are to wrestle out to fifth and sixth place where possible.
Projected team finish: 1. Pace. 2. Gulf Breeze. 3. Ft Walton Beach. 4. Niceville. 5. Crestview. 6. Tate. 7. Choctaw. 8. Milton.
The skinny: Usually a hard district to project, but it’s tough to go against a state duals region finalist in Pace. Should be quite a good scrap between the Dolphins and Vikings for second, and I think Niceville stands clear for fourth, but Crestview’s a team that could surprise in this format. Choctaw had a nice finish at Arnold and it could be a battle for 5-7. I haven’t seen a Milton result since district duals on January 2.
Weight class to watch: 285. I think there’s a solid chance — if the weight class is full like I think it will be — that any of the eight kids could qualify out for Region 1.
Matmen’s first-impression region qualifiers:
106: 1. Santiago Mayic (Ft Walton Beach). 2. Aiden Golden (Crestview). 3. Alec Poole (Gulf Breeze). 4. Natalie Lugo (Pace).
113: 1. Nate Weber (Gulf Breeze). 2. William Mitchell (Pace). 3. Zak Vosburgh (Ft Walton Beach). 4. Titus Thornell (Choctaw).
120: 1. Brandon Mallin (Ft Walton Beach). 2. Ethan Pinto (Niceville). 3. Jacob Hobbs (Pace). 4. Coby Shields (Gulf Breeze).
126: 1. Logan Merritt (Gulf Breeze). 2. Noah Tritz (Niceville). 3. Haze Esary (Pace). 4. Reid Gannon (Ft Walton Beach).
132: 1. Colson Elliott (Gulf Breeze). 2. Weston Burbidge (Ft Walton Beach). 3. Chris DeGrella (Niceville). 4. Jonah Fierro (Pace).
138: 1. Camden Friend (Pace). 2. Alexander Davidson (Ft Walton Beach). 3. Brennden Nita (Gulf Breeze). 4. Caiden Stone (Tate).
145: 1. Malachi Santiago (Ft Walton Beach). 2. Atticus Waters (Pace). 3. Garret Rudick (Gulf Breeze). 4. Devonte Knox (Choctaw).
152: 1. Ian Daily (Gulf Breeze). 2. Seth O’Gara (Pace). 3. Benjamin Gross (Crestview). 4. Ft Walton Beach 152 (either Marquis Muniz or Darius Brundidge).
160: 1. Joseph Cortez (Pace). 2. Caleb Tourgee (Ft Walton Beach). 3. Sean Jones (Gulf Breeze). 4. Layne Franks (Crestview).
170: 1. Brody Andrews (Pace). 2. Martin Black (Niceville). 3. Carter Tobik (Ft Walton Beach). 4. Trevor Dupont (Gulf Breeze).
182: 1. Hunter Dupont (Gulf Breeze). 2. Aiden Bryan (Pace). 3. Bryce Travis (Niceville). 4. Salvador Gallegos (Crestview).
195: 1. Wyatt Dillon (Pace). 2. Julian McCulley (Gulf Breeze). 3. Desi McGueen (Crestview). 4. Izzy Case (Niceville).
220: 1. Cedric Fairrow (Ft Walton Beach). 2. David Polaski (Niceville). 3. Micah Barker (Gulf Breeze). 4. Ashtyn Allen (Tate).
285: 1. Spencer Mackenzie (Ft Walton Beach). 2. Bryson Wick (Gulf Breeze). 3. Josh Green (Crestview). 4. Gabriel McKinley (Tate).
Tate at 170 through 195: Jacob Turner’s got a real shot to move on at 195, and I’ll be curious to see what the Aggies do with Kaden McDonald. 182 might be a possibility there.
Brock Wells, Milton: 120? 126? If he can go 120, he has a fair shot to qualify out, but it’s just so hard to tell with no results in two months. Wells had a really good start, though.
Niceville at 138 & 145: I’m not 100% certain on who the Eagles are going to send out at those two weights, but the kids they have there could wreck my predictions for 3rd/4th a bit.