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: Clay HS, Green Cove Springs
When: Wednesday, February 17 (10 a.m. weighin start, noon wrestle start, times as local).
At stake: Top 4 in each weight class automatically advance to the 1A-Region 1 tournament February 26-27 at Bolles School in Jacksonville. Districts this year are to wrestle out to fifth and sixth place where possible.
Projected team finish: 1. Clay. 2. Bolles. 3. Ridgeview. 4. Union Cty. 5. Wolfson. 6. University Christian. 7. Bishop Snyder. 8. Baldwin.
The skinny: Clay will repeat as a district champion and add a 22nd consecutive such title. I’ve got the Blue Devils winning nine district titles and none of the 14 starters — something I project no other team will have Wednesday — finishing lower than third. Should be a good scrap for spots 2-5, but Bolles seems to find a way at post-season time, plus they’re the 2021 district dual runnerup. Ridgeview and Union Cty will definitely be fighting hard for that, with the Panther star power going up against Union’s fuller lineup. The bottom three teams are at certain spaces critically short-staffed, but that does not mean they won’t represent and get out to do well at regions, if not the 1A state tournament itself.
Weight class to watch: 120. I think it’s one the more solid foursomes that will qualify out, and, depending on how the bracket’s shaped, could see any one of three kids take second. Even the kids I don’t have moving on could pose some contests for the qualifiers.
Matmen’s first-impression region qualifiers:
106: 1. Jayce Paridon (University Christian). 2. Christian Simmons (Union). 3. Caleb Thompson (Clay). 4. Cheyanne Morales (Ridgeview).
113: 1. Maverick Rainwater (Clay). 2. Jacob Witt (Bolles). 3. Kael Teevan (Ridgeview). 4. Samual Harris (Wolfson).
120: 1. Egan Gustilo (University Christian). 2. Dalton Huckelberry (Clay). 3. Christian Villanueva (Bishop Snyder). 4. Kaiden Tibbetts (Ridgeview).
126: 1. Gunner Ivey (Clay). 2. Robby Morris (Ridgeview). 3. Andrew Harbin (Wolfson). 4. Ian Halfacre (Union Cty).
132: 1. Matthew Rodriquez (Ridgeview). 2. Chandler Thomas/Thomas Viens (Clay). 3. Denny Vohs (Bolles). 4. Max Lewallen (Wolfson).
138: 1. Luke Boree (Clay). 2. Ian Finnorn (Ridgeview). 3. Cade Vaughn (Union Cty). 4. Liam Strange (Wolfson).
145: 1. Josh Kumpf (Clay). 2. Grant Barineau (Wolfson). 3. Ethan Shea (Union Cty). 4. Aodhan Brown (Ridgeview).
152: 1. Dominic Martin (Clay). 2. Mathew Flores (University Christian). 3. Skylar Malone (Bolles). 4. Aaron Villanueva (Bishop Snyder).
160: 1. Cale Hoskinson (Clay). 2. Caleb Crawford (Union Cty). 3. Logan Keester (Ridgeview). 4. Taylor Davenport (Baldwin).
170: 1. Luca Fiannaca (Clay). 2. Danny Thornton (Union Cty). 3. Jackson Brill (Bolles). 4. Ryan Murphy (Ridgeview).
182: 1. Ethan Larsen (Clay). 2. Ethan Asbury (Bolles). 3. Grant Authelet (Wolfson). 4. Carson Rogers (Union Cty).
195: 1. Kedtric Wilbon (Clay). 2. Haydon Long (Wolfson). 3. Matthew Carmona (Bishop Snyder). Not sure if there’ll be a fourth.
220: 1. Jack Pyburn (Bolles). 2. Garrett Tyre (Clay). 3. Kennan Wilder (Ridgeview). 4. Dayven Kelly (Union Cty).
285: 1. Derrick Mosley (Ridgeview). 2. Ethan Daniels (Clay). 3. Angel LeCointe (Bishop Snyder). 4. Cooper Fordham (Bolles).
Ridgeview lineup: Could see a lot of bounce here. Teevan and Morales could shift weights. We haven’t seen a lot of Morris or Brown down the stretch, but if they’re ready, they could qualify. Panthers also had a 195 early that we have not seen in some while as well.
Speaking of not seeing somebody: Bolles’ Tyson Riley had a solid performance at Panther Prowl in Week 1 and we haven’t seen him since. He would certainly be a factor in the 145/152 area if he returns.
6 or 13? 20 or 85?: Two of Union’s top kids this year — Christian Simmons and Dayven Kelly — should go through to regions no matter what, but I’ll be curious to see which weights at which they go. Union might also have mix-and-match possibles at 32 and 38 as well.