Who’s the best?
We can know who the best is in wrestling. But what parts of the country, or state, are better than another, that’s a little harder to pin down.
Sure, it’s possible to have a gut reaction to the question.
I like the data myself.
So, while we’re in summer mode and posting camp flyers on Facebook pages and (hopefully) getting schedules for the coming year, and all of our records updates are done for 2020-21, and we’re in between big events like Disney and Fargo, we’ve got the time to crunch the numbers to answer the big questions.
We’ve looked at the state tournaments; now, the focus switches to the region events, to ask which district won each region. The order’s going to be pretty random.
One unique wrinkle to these posts. I’ve covered high school wrestling in (cranks up the Wayback machine in the head)… SIX states now. I’ve seen a lot. I have to say, I like Iowa’s version of the region round the best, where that state wrestles a true second-place match in determining who goes on to state.
I’m kind of a tinkerer at heart — one of the ideas I’ve championed was adopted by FHSAA this past year, with districts going out to six places and using those from time to time to help fill region brackets.
So in addition to the three measuring sticks of data, I’m offering a What If section of these posts. What if there was a true second? What if there was a true fourth? We’re going to show you who’d be involved, and then you in the various local areas can speculate how those matches would go (when we do my coverage-area regions, I’ll add some regular-season color on how they might have gone).
We said we’d be pretty random, and the next region up (we’ll do all 12) is our first northern region, Region 1 in 2A. Like 2A-R4 two days ago, one district ruled them all. As we would have expected based on performances over time and throughout the regular season, it was District 2 that took top honors in all three measuring sticks to determine the overall strength of each district in comparison with one another in 2A-R1.
We’ll start with a count of the most points scored by district.
While individual team champ New Smyrna Beach wasn’t in District 2, the 2s had three of the region’s top six teams, and that helped build a substantial lead that was made overwhelming by depth by three more teams. As we’ll see in the other two measurements, there were substantial gaps between 2nd and 3rd and 3rd and 4th among the districts, as well.
- District 2: 539 points
- District 4: 428
- District 1: 343.5
- District 3: 256.5
How about state qualifiers?
Here, too, District 2 jumped out fast, with all six of the first three weight classes’ finalists (the district would roll up 13 finalists and the lion’s share of individual region titles, with seven, plus more 3rds (five) than any other district.
- District 2: 21 state qualifiers (7 1st, 6 2nd, 5 3rd, 3 4th).
- District 4: 15 state qualifiers (2 1st, 7 2nd, 3 3rd, 3 4th).
- District 1: 13 state qualifiers (2 1st, 0 2nd, 4 3rd, 7 4th).
- District 3: 7 state qualifiers (3 1st, 1 2nd, 2 3rd, 1 4th).
I also like to look at the depth each region has. One measuring indicator I use is to calculate the depth of each district by compiling the win-loss records of each district’s competitors. District 4 was, through 160, just one additional loss behind the 2s, but the 2s put it away behind weight-class wins at 170 and 195, plus a 13-win effort from the four-man group at 285.
- District 2: 122-97
- District 4: 104-96
- District 1: 95-100
- District 3: 67-99
So there you have it. Some interesting conclusions to draw. Pretty clear gaps between the four districts in 2A-R1.
Now, for the What Ifs. In MOST cases, there will be a true 4th; there would not be a true 2nd if the runnerup and 3rd-place wrestler met in the semis or quarters, that match would be determinative.
106: True 4th — Matches Chiles’ Sam Tolomeo (qualified 4th after being added as an additional region qualifier following a 5th at districts) against Middleburg’s Shane Jourdan. Although the Timberwolves and Broncos were in the same district in 2020-21, the two — both freshmen last season — never met, not even at districts.
113: True 2nd — Runnerup Garrett Marschka (Chiles) and 3rd-place Grady Woodard (Middleburg) would meet. Marschka turned back Woodard, 6-4, in the district semis. True 4th — Matches Belleview’s Zackery Young (qualified 4th) against Ft Walton Beach’s Zak Vosburgh. Young and Vosburgh did not wrestle each other in the run up to regions.
120: No true 2nd or true 4th.
126: True 2nd — Runnerup Riley Girgis (Middleburg) and 3rd-place Logan Merritt (Gulf Breeze) would meet; they have not wrestled each other in high school. True 4th — Matches Niceville’s Noah Tritz (qualified 4th) against Seabreeze’s Joseph Kent. Likewise, the two never wrestled in HS competition.
132: True 4th — Matches St Augustine’s Brayden Lovingood (qualified 4th) against Choctaw’s Steven Banfield. The two have not met in HS competition.
138: True 4th — Matches Pace’s Cam Friend (qualified 4th) against St Augustine’s Carlos Quintanal. The two, both graduates in May, did not meet in high school.
145: True 2nd — Runnerup Nick Hejke (Mosley) would face 3rd-place Gabe Daltro (Fletcher). The pair of wrestlers faced off in the semis at Clay Rotary, where Hejke won by fall. True 4th — As at 138, Pace’s Atticus Waters (qualified 4th) would face St Augustine’s Gabe Galloza. The two did not wrestle while both were in high school.
152: True 2nd — Runnerup Tyson Mills (Matanzas) would face 3rd-place Thomas Greene (Columbia). The pair of wrestlers (both rising seniors in 2021-22) have not met in high school thus far. True 4th — Matches Mosley’s Nick Kendrick (qualified fourth) against First Coast’s Josiah Mossor. The wrestlers did meet in the quarters on Friday at regions, with Mossor taking a 7-1 decision, but fair play to Kendrick, who rallied from the quarterfinal loss by defeating two former state qualifiers en route to the blood round, where he secured his second state appearance.
160: True 2nd — Runnerup Jordan Mills (Matanzas) would face 3rd-place Clint Griffin (St Augustine). That would be a rematch of the District 4 final, where Mills took an 8-2 decision. True 4th — Matches Ft Walton Beach’s Caleb Tourgee (qualified 4th) against Pace’s Joseph Cortez. During the season, Tourgee and Cortez wrestled three times, with Tourgee winning at Border Wars (6-4, final) and Cortez winning twice (4-2 at district duals, 4-2 at district traditionals in the final). The pair of 2021 graduates had not met prior to their senior seasons.
170: True 4th — Matches Niceville’s Martin Black (qualified 4th) against Pace’s Brody Andrews. While Black majored Andrews (16-4) in the District 1 final, Andrews had a pin over Black at district duals. In 2020 (Andrews’ junior season, Black’s sophomore year) Andrews decisioned Black, 10-4, in the District 1 final.
182: True 2nd — Runnerup Ryan Murphy (St Augustine) would face 3rd-place Hunter Dupont (Gulf Breeze). The 2021 graduates, as it turned out, never faced each other in high school. No true 4th, as the two participants in this match already faced off in the quarters, with the state qualifier winning the match.
195: True 2nd — Runnerup Doug Dittmer (New Smyrna Beach) would face 3rd-place Wyatt Yown (Lincoln). Although the 2021 graduates had not met prior to regions this season, they actually did meet for fifth and sixth at states, with Dittmer taking a 7-1 win. True 4th — Matches Pace’s Wyatt Dillon (qualified 4th) against Seabreeze’s Caiden Patton. The 2021 graduates never faced each other in HS.
220: No true 2nd or true 4th.
285: True 2nd — Runnerup Jaycob Jones (Columbia) would face 3rd-place Gabriel Hecht (Orange Park). They met in the District 2 semis, where Jones took a 7-2 decision. True 4th — Matches Mosley’s Robert Wills (qulified 4th) against Mainland’s Jordan Colubiale. The two did not meet in high school.
Tomorrow, we’ll pick up our first 3A region, heading south to the Treasure Coast and Palm Beach areas to run through 3A-Region 3.