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: Wewahitchka HS
When: Thursday, February 18 (9 a.m. weighin start, 11 a.m. 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. South Walton. 2. Rutherford. 3. North Bay Haven. 4. Rocky Bayou Christian. 5. Arnold. 6. Bay. 7. Bozeman. 8. Wewahitchka.
The skinny: I still think South Walton’s the favorite, particularly with a couple of its later add-ons to the lineup, but Rutherford and North Bay Haven are programs that are on the move. Rocky Bayou’s still very much in the mix, but teams like Arnold and Bay, while they’re going to get most of their kids, just have too many holes in the lineup to contend for a top-3 position, and that’s also the case, if a bit more expected, for Bozeman and Wewahitchka.
Weight class to watch: 138. Most balanced and one of the most complete weights of the district. This is another one where there’s a chance for almost any of the eight kids in the group to get out with momentum behind them.
Matmen’s first-impression region qualifiers:
106: 1. Valorie Soloria (Arnold). 2. Jay Brown (Wewahitchka). 3. Brett Canut (South Walton). 4. Zander Stillgess (Rutherford).
113: 1. Max Brewster (South Walton). 2. Hunter Brown (Wewahitchka). 3. Elijah Stillgess (Rutherford). 4. Daniel Pierce (Bozeman).
120: 1. Lucas Biddle (Arnold). 2. Justin Johnson (Wewahitchka). 3. Tristen Le (North Bay Haven). 4. Morgan Duvall (Bozeman).
126: 1. Colin Dutton (Rutherford). 2. Nicholas Simental (Bozeman). 3. Owen Parry (Rocky Bayou). 4. Randall Yates (South Walton).
132: 1. Luke Latham (Rocky Bayou). 2. Canyon Dart (South Walton). 3. Porter Beach (Arnold). 4. Jaime Balmaceda (Bay).
138: 1. Trenton Wood (Bay). 2. Conner Roberts (Wewahitchka). 3. Ethan Heathershaw (Rocky Bayou). 4. Bryant Siegal (North Bay Haven).
145: 1. Corban Cherry (Bay). 2. Chase Maas (South Walton). 3. Helmut vonKnoblauch (North Bay Haven). 4. Bailey Cox (Wewahitchka).
152: 1. Calvin Wells (Rocky Bayou). 2. Keaton Schirmer (Rutherford). 3. Seth Marshall (South Walton). 4. Anthony Serbest/Jack Hauck (North Bay Haven).
160: 1. Caleb Pippin (Bay). 2. Zach Duncan (Rutherford). 3. Bradley Garner (Bozeman). 4. John King/Jacob McAlister (North Bay Haven).
170: 1. Chase Maddox (South Walton). 2. Jaden Scruggs (Rocky Bayou). 3. Jonathan Yates (North Bay Haven). 4. Jacob Peace (Rutherford).
182: 1. Chad Allgood (Rutherford). 2. Peyton Andersen (Rocky Bayou). 3. Henlee Haynes (Arnold). 4. Shane Lane (South Walton).
195: 1. David Mercado (North Bay Haven). 2. Tyler Lewis (Arnold). 3. Noah Gabbard (South Walton). 4. Chance Locklear (Rutherford).
220: 1. Xavier Stillgess (Rutherford). 2. Tanner Lewis (Arnold). 3. Nick Lee (South Walton). 4. Logan McAlister (North Bay Haven).
285: 1. Aireous Rocha (Bozeman). 2. Kyle Burden (Rocky Bayou). 3. Levi Portz (South Walton). 4. Lonnie Andrews (Rutherford).
Whither South Walton?: If the Seahawks start everyone that was in the lineup at district duals, with Maddox now added, pencil ’em in. But we haven’t seen everybody that was in that lineup for some while now. We’ll find out tomorrow.
Who starts for NBH?: For years, the Buccaneers have struggled to fill even double-digit weight classes, let alone have multiple options at any weight. This year, there’s several where NBHCS has choices, and that makes picks tricky.
Will there be 14 sets of 4 going to Bolles?: You know what? Maybe. Should be. But there’s a couple of weights where it’s gonna be close. 152…170…even 113 there’s not a 100% guarantee. It is more filled than prior years.