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: Yulee HS
When: Saturday, February 20 (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. Yulee. 2. Episcopal. 3. Fernandina Beach. 4. Bishop Kenny. 5. Raines. 6. West Nassau. 7. Paxon. 8. Ed White.
The skinny: Yulee reasserted itself in January after a December in which Episcopal controlled things. The Hornets should advance quite a number of qualifiers out to regions; if Yulee plays its cards right, it could move the whole team on. Episcopal might not have the individual stars that Fernandina Beach has, but they’ve got a touch more consistency across the lineup. Bishop Kenny looks to be fourth, but if they can spread out a clogged middle some, that could help. Raines’ star power could challenge the Crusaders some, but the Vikings should be fifth, ahd of the rest of the group.
Weight class to watch: 145. Who stays down away from the pair of giants at 152? Who bumps all the way up to 160? That’s going to be key, as the ripple effect of trying to stay away from two key kids that are going to make big impacts, not just on Saturday but also next week and maybe the week following as well. The other stronger kids, I think, will drop if they can.
Matmen’s first-impression region qualifiers:
106: 1. Jackson Holcomb (West Nassau). 2. Cohen Chesser (Episcopal). 3. Logan Pugh (Yulee). 4. Jacob Harless (Bishop Kenny).
113: 1. De’Quon King (Raines). 2. Ryan Mayer (Bishop Kenny). 3. Blayden Tharpe (West Nassau). 4. Jacob Proffit (Yulee).
120: 1. Caden Kubatzke (Fernandina Beach). 2. Nicholas Pressley (Episcopal). 3. Lewis Duhan (Yulee). 4. Allan Bustos (Bishop Kenny).
126: 1. Jeremy Mahoney (Fernandina Beach). 2. Tristan Martinez (Yulee). 3. Dietrich Woods (Fernandina Beach). 4. Jack Raynor (Bishop Kenny).
132: 1. Joe Jackson (Episcopal). 2. Austin Adamson/Dylan Johns (Yulee). 3. Dietrich Woods (Fernandina Beach). 4. Liam Underhill (Bishop Kenny).
138: 1. Adamson/Johns (Yulee). 2. Noah Meyer (Episcopal). 3. Sebastian Gonzalez (Ed White). 4. Aden Seepersad (Bishop Kenny).
145: 1. Isaiah Shook (Yulee). 2. Roberto Cuartero (Bishop Kenny). 3. Ben Helton (Episcopal). 4. Nolan McKelvy (West Nassau).
152: 1. Aston Ricks (Yulee). 2. Enzo Gamba (Fernandina Beach). 3. John Fernandez (Episcopal). 4. Colin Hearn (Bishop Kenny).
160: 1. Collin Sewell (Yulee). 2. Lucas Crawford (Fernandina Beach). 3. Paul Barakat (Bishop Kenny). 4. Jakob Turnage (West Nassau).
170: 1. Raynarde Thomas (Raines). 2. Brennan Doherty (Episcopal). 3. Michael Bagan/Barrie Snyder (Bishop Kenny). 4. Michael Dramis (Paxon).
182: 1. Tyler Harris (Fernandina Beach). 2. Braylen Ricks (Yulee). 3. Christian McGarity (Episcopal). 4. Davaughn Patterson (Ed White).
195: 1. Lawson Perry (Episcopal). 2. Kyle Hutchinson (Fernandina Beach). 3. Tim King (Yulee). 4. Matthew Brunelli (Paxon).
220: 1. Jamari Watson (Raines). 2. Jackson Rowell (West Nassau). 3. Kolby Kidd (Fernandina Beach). 4. Joseph Michel (Yulee).
285: 1. Kevin Thallemer (Bishop Kenny). 2. Jared Hutchinson (Fernandina Beach). 3. Will Harvey (Yulee). 4. Gregory Townsend (Raines).
Hornets with choices: Four state-level wrestlers at three weights (they’ve all been to state before). Will three go up a weight? Also, could see some flip-flopping at 132 and 138 — both candidates I had there have spent time at both weights, so it’s going to be interesting to see the choices Yulee will make tomorrow.
Crusaders also jammed up: Bishop Kenny, too, has had a mix-and-match policy, particularly around the 145-182 weights, sometimes due to injury, sometimes due to availability of a number of clustered kids, so how the Crusaders line up tomorrow at those weights could defy some expectations.
Full set of 56?: With four teams significantly short of a full lineup tomorrow, it’s possible that there COULD be a weight or two that doesn’t have four kids in it. The likeliest might be 120, 152 (if Ricks and Gamba are both there, particularly) and 182. Bishop Kenny might be able to fix the last one, though.