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: Pedro Menendez HS, St Augustine
When: Wednesday, February 17 (3 p.m. weighin start, 4 p.m. wrestle start, times as local).
At stake: Top 4 in each weight class automatically advance to the 1A-Region 2 tournament February 26-27 at Palm Bay HS in Melbourne. Districts this year are to wrestle out to fifth and sixth place where possible.
Projected team finish: 1. Palatka. 2. Atlantic. 3. Pedro Menendez. 4. Keystone Heights. 5. Lake Weir.
The skinny: Just a five-team district in play this year. I think Palatka, particularly with a late add-on to its lineup, has enough individual juice to overcome Atlantic. The Sharks are something of an unknown of late, with no results coming to us for a few weeks now, but they’ve got a cadre of kids that can win tomorrow afternoon. Pedro Menendez has sorted out the upper half of the lineup, but are missing many lower weights. Keystone Heights should get its starters through, but are not filling enough weights to make a charge for the title. That’s also true for Lake Weir, but the Hurricanes have a lot of holes, too.
Weight class to watch: 145. Could be the most-loaded weight class Wednesday, even if Atlantic doesn’t put someone there that could wrestle there. I think there’s potential for the best group of matches.
Matmen’s first-impression region qualifiers:
106: 1. Mikade Harvey (Palatka). 2. Zakar Williams (Atlantic). No 3rd or 4th.
113: 1. Ishmael Foster (Palatka). 2. Ayden Hewington (Atlantic). 3. Colin Kelly (Pedro Menendez). No 4th.
120: 1. Dustin Puckett (Atlantic). Potentially no 2nd through 4th.
126: 1. Alexander McCrystal (Palatka). 2. Jamison Pinyan (Atlantic). 3. Ethan Cosby (Keystone Heights). No 4th.
132: 1. Brandon Lewis (Palatka). 2. Bernie Alvarez (Atlantic). 3. Joshua Smith (Pedro Menendez). No 4th.
138: 1. Logan Meehan (Pedro Menendez). 2. William Johnson (Atlantic). 3. Saige Dennis/Rozlynn Sames (Keystone Heights). No 4th.
145: 1. Delton Nealy (Palatka). 2. Jose Ruiz (Pedro Menendez). 3. Canyon Hayes (Keystone Heights). 4. Hunter Peake (Lake Weir).
152: 1. Dean Marquis (Lake Weir). 2. Adaris Medina (Palatka). 3. Alyx Nichols (Keystone Heights). 4. Luke Johnson (Pedro Menendez).
160: 1. Samuel Lafferty (Palatka). 2. Noah Anderson (Atlantic). 3. Sheppard Wingate (Keystone Heights). 4. Hunter Kraft/Lukas Allen (Pedro Menendez).
170: 1. David Arcieri (Atlantic). 2. Tye Canon/Jackie Terrell (Pedro Menendez). 3. Vincent Washington/Gaitlin Carreras (Palatka). 4. Lamar Williams (Lake Weir).
182: 1. Dane Litzinger (Pedro Menendez). 2. Washington/Carreras (Palatka). 3. Alexy Acevedo (Lake Weir). No 4th.
195: 1. Ryon Pickles (Pedro Menendez). 2. John Wyman (Atlantic). 3. Steven Raab (Keystone Heights). 4. Zackary Dickson (Lake Weir).
220: 1. Jack Tilton (Palatka). 2. Zander Martin (Pedro Menendez). 3. Gabe Adams (Keystone Heights). 4. Preston Guyton (Lake Weir).
285: 1. Jared Jackson (Atlantic). 2. Corion Williams (Lake Weir). 3. Carson Tibbs (Palatka). 4. Matthew Delano (Keystone Heights).
The big BOUNCE factor: There’s a logjam on a couple of teams here — most notably Palatka and Menendez — from 152 through 170 or even 182 — where there’s a big chance of mix-and-match of guys based upon final wrestleoffs.
The Shark lowers: If Atlantic’s group of young lowers fully returns to the lineup to join Alvarez, the Sharks may have enough firepower to defend their title from last year. Could also see Johnson at 45 and the Anderson/Arcieri combo a weight higher. No results recently, other than a dual here and there, so I just don’t know for sure.
Will there be 14 finals?: The chance of 120 just being a weigh-in is a real possibility, but two teams could bump their 13 up. 138 is another possibility, less so than 120 but possible, with just a successful weigh-in leading to a champion.