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: Westside HS, Jacksonville.
When: Thursday, February 18 (noon weighin start, 1 p.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. Fletcher. 2. First Coast. 3. Robert E Lee. 4. Ponte Vedra. 5. Englewood. 6. Westside. 7. Terry Parker. 8. Stanton.
The skinny: Fletcher’s got a real chance to move everyone through to the region round, something I’m not sure any other team can say right now. First Coast does have a few holes at the bookends, but the weights they do fill have come along rather nicely, and they’ve pushed past both Lee and Ponte Vedra, even under a first-year head coach. I think the Generals are the top team in the 3-6 group, but as a team they have to perform to hold that third. Terry Parker has had some bounce-back this year, but they’re still a couple of years away yet.
Weight class to watch: 182. On the whole, there are more stars at other weights, but there’s some folks who have freedom of movement up or down out of that class; for some, moving up might be the better play, and some might want to stay where they are.
Matmen’s first-impression region qualifiers:
106: 1. Ana Bradshaw (Fletcher). 2. Elias Spurlin (Stanton). 3. Lucas Kirkman (Ponte Vedra). 4. Omajai Hickmon (Westside).
113: 1. Ricky Hicks (Robert E Lee). 2. Jimi Baur (Fletcher). 3. Royce Reeves (Englewood). 4. James Matthews (Westside).
120: 1. Cole O’Brien (Fletcher). 2. Jamal Burkes (Robert E Lee). 3. Raequan Staples (Englewood). 4. Julian Villegas (Ponte Vedra).
126: 1. Ryden Ashmore (Fletcher). 2. Jacare Johnson (Westside). 3. Aiden Taylor (Ponte Vedra). 4. Chris Wright (Terry Parker).
132: 1. Josh Daltro (Fletcher). 2. Domorrien Wright (First Coast). 3. Grady Dolan (Ponte Vedra). 4. Matthew Mock (Stanton).
138: 1. Lynden North (Englewood). 2. Payton London (First Coast). 3. Ty’Juan Jones (Robert E Lee). 4. Kaden Solomon (Fletcher).
145: 1. Gabe Daltro (Fletcher). 2. Myles Nicco (First Coast). 3. Jeff Brown (Terry Parker). 4. Cyrus Ferraro (Ponte Vedra).
152: 1. Joel Rodriguez (Fletcher). 2. Josiah Mossor (First Coast). 3. Grant Kelsey (Stanton). 4. Ke’Eric Merrell (Englewood).
160: 1. Ahmahd Denmark (Robert E Lee). 2. Joel Skinner (Ponte Vedra). 3. Christopher Strong (Fletcher). 4. Isaiah Tucker (First Coast).
170: 1. Rett Maritato (Ponte Vedra). 2. Benny Lewis (Terry Parker). 3. Joseph Kohlhaas (Fletcher). 4. Alphonso Parsons (First Coast).
182: 1. Ryan Klein (Fletcher). 2. Zachary Underwood (Ponte Vedra). 3. Darryl Sam (Englewood). 4. Caleb Baltazar (Westside).
195: 1. Jeremy Porter (Robert E Lee). 2. Cleon Johnson (First Coast). 3. Sam Howard (Englewood). 4. Luke Calamari (Ponte Vedra).
220: 1. Ethan Hollenbach (Fletcher). 2. Craig Harper (Robert E Lee). 3. Elijah Williams (Westside). 4. Melvin Wiggins (Englewood).
285: 1. Ray Bolden (Westside). 2. Toby Matson (Fletcher). 3. Jesus Ramirez (Terry Parker). 4. Thomas Jones (Robert E Lee).
Decisions, decisions: A few situations I can think of where kids might make moves (Klein at 182/195, the Ponte Vedras at 120/126, same with First Coast at 120 or 126, same with Englewood at 6/13/20). Could see a bit of shuffle tomorrow.
Full set of 56: Pretty sure there will be a full complement of wrestlers going to Mosley out of this district, but there’s a couple of weights where we’ll be crossing fingers: (106, we see you), 113 and 152, it could be barely just that way.
Race to chase: Wanting to see how the race for second shakes out? Check out any early round match involving a head-to-head with anyone from Lee, Englewood, First Coast and Ponte Vedra. Those matches will be critical early in the afternoon tomorrow.