We aren’t previewing 1A-District 6, as we are only covering a portion of the teams in it this year. We may add more of the district if coaches in that district see our coverage of Deltona & Pine Ridge and decide they want in.
Both the Wolves and Panthers are dropping down a classification, from 2A to 1A, as a result of the FHSAA’s reclassification effort in the spring. While the coaching staff has recollection of Deltona’s last appearance in 1A — the 2014-15 season — the current crop of Wolves does not.
The team lost just one May graduate earlier in the year, but it was one of the team’s top competitors over the last three years, so from a leadership standpoint, it’s a loss.
But the Wolves could bring back as many as 11 returning wrestlers from last year’s group, and that kind of experience could be useful in helping Deltona make a run toward a region dual series appearance. Nine of those 11 Wolves were post-season starters last year, with four reaching the region tournament. Junior Kevin Kerns (120 last year) will lead this year’s group on the mats as a two-time Kissimmee 2A state qualifier.
After a one-year hiatus due to Covid, Pine Ridge is returning to competitive wrestling for the 2021-22 season. The Panthers were 3-13 in duals two seasons ago and were at a point where numbers were looking to be few.
But, in a new classification with a new coach and, essentially, an entirely new team, while the outlook might be fairly rough at the start, Pine Ridge could start laying the groundwork for a place where it’s competitive with some of its in-county rival programs.
We as a coverage area lost two independent programs and gained one last year. The one that remained from last year to this is Ribault.
With a new coach this year, one steeped in the history of the Trojans’ decades-ago history, Ribault begins its second year once again as an independent, having lost none to graduation and returning as many as four key returners from last year’s restart. It’s a starting point, to be sure, but also a start.
That’s what Wakulla Christian is looking forward to in its first year of experience this coming season. Located in a county loaded with wrestling ability and one of the pillars of Florida small-school wrestling tradition mere miles away, the Saints take their first steps into a new world this season, under the direction of a former FHSAA 1A state champion.
CAPSULES HERE: 1A-DISTRICT 6 CAPSULES & INDEP CAPSULES