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. NOTE: I was provided with Buchholz names in advance of tonight’s preview going live.
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: Flagler Palm Coast HS, Palm Coast
When: Friday, February 19 (11 a.m. weighin start, 1 p.m. wrestle start, times as local).
At stake: Top 4 in each weight class automatically advance to the 3A-Region 1 tournament February 26-27 back at Flagler Palm Coast. Districts this year are to wrestle out to fifth and sixth place where possible.
Projected team finish: 1. Buchholz. 2. Flagler Palm Coast. 3. DeLand. 4. University (Orange City). 5. Forest. 6. Seminole. 7. West Port.
The skinny: I expect this team race to go down to the wire. I have both the top two teams getting 12 kids out; if the one that should bring a full set of weights can find a 13th qualifier, or more, that could be dispositive in the team race. DeLand seems to be a solid third this year, which is a big step back to where the Bulldogs should be after last year. I think University has enough firepower to be able to hold down fourth at least, and the Titans could make the third-place race interesting.
Weight class to watch: 132. My champion pick hasn’t spent a lot of time in the lineup down the stretch and so it’s one where I’m going off of past experience more than, necessarily, recent body of work. There’s some opportunity here, and it’s also a weight where the team leaders don’t hae a looming presence. So there’s a chance for a hard-charger here.
Matmen’s first-impression region qualifiers:
106: 1. Grady Bryant (University-Orange City). 2. Cavarius Liddie (Buchholz). 3. Felix Rivera (DeLand). 4. Alex Castanheira (Flagler Palm Coast).
113: 1. Kole Hannant (Flagler Palm Coast). 2. Siddharth Bianchi (Buchholz). 3. Phoenix Krauth (DeLand). 4. Drake Alban (University-Orange City).
120: 1. Jakob Zawosky (Forest). 2. John Hald (Flagler Palm Coast). 3. Malique Hargett (University-Orange City). 4. Frangelo Baltodano (West Port).
126: 1. Venumadhava Mirel (Buchholz). 2. Kellen Chapman (DeLand). 3. Collin Maynard (Forest). 4. Carroline Reyes (Seminole).
132: 1. Devon Heil (DeLand). 2. Ryan Culbertson (Seminole). 3. Wesley Marren (Forest). 4. Daniel Lynch (Buchholz).
138: 1. Timothy Bowen (Buchholz). 2. Brendan Buckles (Flagler Palm Coast). 3. Zane Canada (DeLand). 4. Anshuman Singh (Seminole).
145: 1. Aiden Moore (Buchholz). 2. Timothy King (Flagler Palm Coast). 3. Lane Wishart (DeLand). 4. Tyler Pinkowski (West Port).
152: 1. Kyle Peacock (Flagler Palm Coast). 2. Liam Buchanan (Buchholz). 3. Michael Berrios (University-Orange City). 4. Paul Derosby (DeLand).
160: 1. Blane DeFord (Flagler Palm Coast). 2. Kason Nichols (Buchholz). 3. Bryce Minsky (DeLand). 4. Braden Cooper (University-Orange City).
170: 1. Bryce Dodge (Flagler Palm Coast). 2. Gavin Rodriguez-Cayro (DeLand). 3. Bryan Persinger (University-Orange City). 4. Casey Carr (Forest).
182: 1. James Houck (University-Orange City). 2. Grant Schwartz (Flagler Palm Coast). 3. Jamari Chisolm (Buchholz). 4. Isaiah Swint (DeLand).
195: 1. Brian Martin (Buchholz). 2. Marcelo Gonzalez (Flagler Palm Coast). 3. Mike Frederick (Seminole). 4. Andrew Knowles (DeLand).
220: 1. Christian Kennick (University-Orange City). 2. Garrick Schwartz (Flagler Palm Coast). 3. Drew Lewis (Buchholz). 4. Preston Long (DeLand).
285: 1. Dalen Burns (DeLand). 2. Seth Davis (Flagler Palm Coast). 3. Bryan Diehl (Buchholz). 4. Keenan Diaz (University-Orange City).
What’s FPC doing up top?: From 138 up to 220, the Bulldogs have options. My picks above are based on what I think they’ll do which by no means necessarily means they’re based in reality. We’ve seen long stretches with kids out of the lineup for them this year. That’s been the case at several of their weights.
Heil & Burns and 20/26: Could see our projections for the DeLand Bulldogs flip-flop at 120/26, and there’ve been long stretches where we’ve not seen our champions picks for them actually appear in the lineup. That could be a “this year” thing, hopefully not much else.
Ocala and Sanford wild-cards: We didn’t hear much from West Port and even less from Seminole and Forest this year, and they’ve got some lurkers who could certanly damage our picks (thinking 170 and 195, most certainly).