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’re at the halfway point through the regions. Next up is Region 1 in 3A. We might guess that this would be a battle between Districts 1 and 4, under common wisdom, and the common wisdom would be right. Some measurements were closer than others, but those two districts were 1-2 each time, and each time it was District 1 on top.
We’ll start with a count of the most points scored by district.
District 4 had the 2-3-6 teams at Region 1, but the gap between individual champ Fleming Island and the rest of the group, plus five more teams between 7th and 14th, allowed District 1 to eventually grind down the 4s’ early lead and take the points measurement, though the gap was just 3 points per weight class and less than 1 per individual wrestler.
- District 1: 553 points.
- District 4: 509
- District 2: 325
- District 3: 208.5
How about state qualifiers?
District 1 established itself as the overall leader pretty early on, with power up top and in depth as well. That’s where it was able to separate itself from District 4, was in the difference in depth. However, the 4s dominated when it came to finalists, with 13 in all, eight of them champions.
- District 1: 21 qualifiers (6 1st, 3 2nd, 8 3rd, 4 4th).
- District 4: 16 qualifiers (8 1st, 5 2nd, 3 3rd, 0 4th).
- District 2: 13 qualifiers (0 1st, 3 2nd, 3 3rd, 7 4th).
- District 3: 6 qualifiers (0 1st, 3 2nd, 0 3rd, 3 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. I think this was District 1’s most solid “win” of the three measurements, as it held a double-digit lead in wins, with one exception, from 126 on up.
- District 1: 134-93
- District 4: 112-93
- District 2: 87-103
- District 3: 55-101
For 2020-21, Region 1 in 3A was a region where District 1 led the way.
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 2nd — Runnerup Trenton Dominguez (Timber Creek) would face 3rd-place Cavarius Liddie (Buchholz). The pair met on Day 2 at Danny Byron, where Dominguez won that match by fall. True 4th — Matches Fleming’s Island Joseph Forte (qualified 4th) against Creekside’s Andrew Feeks. The two met in pool play duals at Flagler Rotary and again in the District 1 semis, with Forte winning both times by fall.
113: True 2nd — Runnerup Tamarion Kendrick (Apopka) would face 3rd-place Fernando Dominguez (Timber Creek). The two did not face each other in high school competition. No true 4th.
120: True 2nd — Runnerup Diego Solorzano (Lake Mary) would face 3rd-place Kevin Gilley (Oakleaf). The two 2021 graduates did not wrestle in high school. True 4th — Matches Flagler Palm Coast’s John Hald (qualified 4th) against University (Orange City)’s Malique Hargett. They wrestled twice last season, with Hald turning back Hargett, 8-4, at Bi-County, but Hargett won by first-period fall in the District 2 semifinals. Hald had won twice (pin & major decision) in 2019-20.
126: True 4th — Matches Oakleaf’s Marcus McGee (qualified 4th) against Colonial’s Brandon Vargas. The pair did not meet this past season, but did meet in the consi bracket of Region 1 in 2019-20, where McGee took a 10-0 major.
132: True 2nd — Runnerup Jameel Smith (Mandarin) would face 3rd-place Xavier Logan (Fleming Island). The pair were 1-1 against each other last year, with Logan winning by 4-2 decision in the Keystone Memorial final; Smith won, 6-4, in the District 1 final. True 4th — Matches Apopka’s Bonosky Fidel (qualified 4th) against Lake Mary’s Dominic Rubino. In results I have, which are not comprehensive for these two teams, I do not show that these rising seniors have met in high school competition.
138: True 4th — Matches Buchholz’s Timothy Bowen (qualified 4th) against Fleming Island’s Garrett Cole. The pair did meet this past season, in the Region 1 duals semifinal, where Bowen posted a 4-2 win.
145: True 2nd — Runnerup Carl Patrick (Oviedo) would face 3rd-place Aiden Moore (Buchholz). They met in the finals at Tournament of Champions, where Patrick won by major decision. True 4th — Matches Apopka’s Ransom Randolph (qualified 4th) against Evans’ Tyran Schanck. While I have less-than-comprehensive results on these two teams, the pair did meet in the District 3 final, where Randolph won by fall.
152: True 2nd — Runnerup Blake Watts (Hagerty) would face 3rd-place Timothy King (Flagler Palm Coast). The pair of rising seniors met during the regular season, with King decisioning Watts by an 8-3 count at Flagler Rotary. Watts won by fall over King in December 2019, during Johnny Rouse competition. True 4th — Matches Creekside’s Diego Rivera (qualified 4th) against Oakleaf’s Roman Polinsky. The District 1 rivals met twice during the season, with Polinsky taking a 6-4 win in the district final; at district duals, Rivera won by fall.
160: True 2nd — Runnerup Blane DeFord (Flagler Palm Coast) would face 3rd-place David Parkes (Fleming Island). While the pair did not meet last season, they did face off twice in 2019-20, where DeFord won twice by decision (8-3 at Region 1 duals, 7-3 at Flagler Rotary). No true 4th.
170: True 4th — Matches Flagler Palm Coast’s Bryce Dodge (qualified 4th) against Timber Creek’s Zach Hanks. The pair did not meet in high school competition.
182: True 2nd — Runnerup Bryan Fortay (Creekside) would face 3rd-place Tony Carter (Mandarin). The pair wrestled in the District 1 final, where Carter took a 6-4 win. No true 4th.
195: True 4th — Matches Colonial’s Seth Suvak (qualified 4th) against Mandarin’s Jaelen Simmons. The pair did not meet in high school.
220: True 4th — Matches University (Orange City)’s Christian Kennick (qualified 4th) against Buchholz’s Drew Lewis. The duo met in the District 2 final, where Kennick scored a takedown in overtime for a 2-0 win.
285: True 2nd — Runnerup Jordan Phillips (Ocoee) would face 3rd-place Hayden Clem (Winter Park). Based upon results I have (which again are not complete), they did not wrestle in high school. True 4th — Matches Mandarin’s Andres Rodriguez (qualified 4th) against Oakleaf’s Jordan Mitchell. The pair met in the District 1 3rd-place match, where Mitchell won by first-period fall.
Tomorrow, time permitting (our Saturdays are very full, particularly when wrestling in mid-July is part of them), we will take a look at 1A-Region 2.