Girls’ Region 1
When & where: North Bay Haven Charter School, Panama City. All I know for certain is that weigh-ins are 9 a.m. on Saturday, and that’s from a participant’s mother.
Team favorite: Tough to determine at this point. I think Matanzas’ depth (Pirates currently ranked 13th) is going to allow it to score points in a lot of weights, where other teams might load up in a couple of weights here and there. I expect Mainland (19th), Clay (highest-ranked Region 1 team in 6th), Ponte Vedra (9th) and University (Orange City) to be well in the mix. Should one of those teams falter, Mosley (ranked 8th) & Westside are teams I’ll be looking at to carve their way into a top-five spot, as might Wewahitchka with a break or two.
Rankings are per Matmen-endorsed statewide rankings source Brant Parsons of Kabrawrestling.com.
Brackets can be reviewed HERE: REGION 1
Matmen’s state picks, sure to be wrong
The picks: 1. Valarie Solorio (Mosley, 1st). 2. Abby Couillard (Mainland, 7th). 3. Kyla Crooks (Bartram Trail). 4. Alexis Brown (Crestview).
The skinny: I would be shocked if this final doesn’t happen. I would be even more shocked if Solorio doesn’t pin her way through.
Early-round match I’m most intrigued by: Brown v Ryann Parkinson (Matanzas). I don’t know as much about where the Panhandle-area girls go for competition (other than Wewahitchka, which usually comes over this way), but I know Brown isn’t far away from some quality competition, wherever in Floribama.
Dark horse choices: Parkinson; Kameron Easter (Wewahitchka, 18th); Emma Brackett (Pedro Menendez, 17th).
The picks: 1. Dianna Pineda (Deltona, 2nd). 2. Mariah Mills (Matanzas, 4th). 3. Adrianna Barrientos (Oakleaf, 3rd). 4. Vanessa Martin-Soto (Lake Brantley, 20th).
The skinny: I could be leaning out over my skis a bit on this one, as I’m fuzzy on whether Pineda and Mills met this year. I usually go with the experience over youth if it’s looking like a 50-50, though.
Early-round match I’m most intrigued by: Mills v Shanise West (Raines). Winner, I think, makes the final, and while I’m projecting Mills, West has been around a good while, though. They did not meet at Clay’s girls tournament.
Dark horse choices: Sigrun Metzger (Crestview, 18th); Natalie Lugo (Pace).
The picks: 1. Tiana Fries (Matanzas, 3rd). 2. Cynthia Kowitski (Ponte Vedra, 4th). 3. Gracie Bradshaw (Middleburg, 11th). 4. Makayla Johnson (Baker County, 14th).
The skinny: The projected semi I have of Fries/Bradshaw does, I think, determine who the champion will be. But all four of these picks have beaten boys from time to time, so they’re all more than capable of making a run through the bracket.
Early-round match I’m most intrigued by: Amy Trevino (Oviedo) v Mia Wise (Choctaw). Both of these wrestlers could have chances to wrestle for their state fate deep in the bracket.
Dark horse choices: Frehdis Metzger (Crestview, 19th); Lily Powell (Gulf Breeze) Trevino/Wise winner.
The picks: 1. Erin Rizzuto (Ponte Vedra, 5th). 2. Tesla Kirkland (Matanzas, 11th). 3. Katy Roche (University-Orange City, 7th). 4. Jocelyn Higgins (Lake Mary, 9th).
The skinny: This might be a weight where there’s six or seven kids that could get out and it would not surprise me.
Early-round match I’m most intrigued by: Lahela Grady (Tate) v Vanessa Stobe (Bartram Trail). This of course presumes the quarterfinal holds up, which of course it might not.
Dark horse choices: Grady; Rachel Howard (Bishop Kenny, 18th).
The picks: 1. Brielle Bibla (Tocoi Creek, 2nd). 2. Emma Smith (Westside, 5th). 3. Brianna Pena (Seminole, 11th). 4. Kyndall James (University-Orange City).
The skinny: Best match might be the Bibla-Pena semi, both have been placers before. That top half is looking full of possibilities for upset runs.
Early-round match I’m most intrigued by: James v Sophia Mallon (Ponte Vedra). The winner will not be an easy opponent for Smith in the quarters; the loser might well make the blood round.
Dark horse choices: Ashley Shaw (Chiles); Christina Borgmann (Matanzas, 9th); Mallon.
The picks: 1. Aubrianna Apple (Clay, 2nd). 2. Megan Kaplan (Hagerty, 4th). 3. Alex Roche (University-Orange City, 16th). 4. Natalia Choquegonza (Ponte Vedra, 15th).
The skinny: I’m very intrigued by this final; interestingly, I’m less convinced in my certainty that Apple gets out than I am Kaplan, who I think has a “safer” path.
Early-round match I’m most intrigued by: Michelle Lopez (Seminole) v Anjel Balkenbush (Creekside). This is another first-rounder where both might, MIGHT, end up in the blood round.
Dark horse choices: Lopez; Balkenbush; Ana Vilar (Flagler Palm Coast); Maddie Torres (Matanzas).
The picks: 1. Madisyn Blackburn (Clay, 1st). 2. Kaylee Easter (Wewahitchka, 5th). 3. Bryanne Kaminsky (University-Orange City. 6th). 4. Kendall Bibla (Tocoi Creek, 3rd).
The skinny: What’s most interesting about this weight class are the middle two quarters, and the fallout of the consi bracket once those quarters sort themselves out. It will of course be fun to look at the Blackburn-Easter final; they’ll be teammates at the #NextLevel.
Early-round match I’m most intrigued by: Kaminsky v Bibla in the quarters. I could very easily see these two face each other twice, and I could see one winning on one side and the other on the other, and not be surprised by that at all.
Dark horse choices: Delaney Holcomb (Creekside); Marissa Roberts (Matanzas); Kaylyn Sons (Milton).
The picks: 1. Isabelle Martin (Seminole, 9th). 2. Jaidyn Vinson (Clay, 6th). 3. Isabella Tietje (Matanzas, 13th). 4. Jana El’harake (Oviedo, 10th).
The skinny: While 130 is very deep, even with a lockdown wrestler like Blackburn there, this weight class looks to be a bit open.
Early-round match I’m most intrigued by: Winner of the El’harake-Vinson quarterfinal (neither has a first-round opponent) has a very strong chance to make the final.
Dark horse choices: Alexea Lawson (Choctaw); Mathewa Casseus (Winter Springs, 18th); Holly Sanders (Lincoln, 15th).
The picks: 1. Jada Llamido (Hagerty, 1st). 2. Ava Barhorst (Lake Howell, 14th). 3. Olivia Richie (Ponte Vedra, 2nd). 4. Jaylyn Middleton (Florida High, 15th).
The skinny: There are times and we’ll see tons of them when the semifinal might be the better match than the final; the Llamido-Richie semi looks to be one of those semis. As a result, you don’t want to be in the bottom half of the consis in this weight.
Early-round match I’m most intrigued by: Barhorst v Mallory Frattle (Bishop Kenny, 18th). Frattle has impressed me in the couple of times I’ve seen her.
Dark horse choices: Am tempted to say the entire top half of the bracket, but will limit to Olivia Carr (Nease, 6th); Frattle; Delaney Graves (oviedo).
The picks: 1. Lanyla Hudspeth (Lake Brantley, 9th). 2. Katherine Stewart (Bartram Trail, 12th). 3. Degriece Coleman (Westside. 14th). 4. Mira Schmidt (Ponte Vedra, 16th).
The skinny: If Coleman runs the table and proves this prediction wrong, I’ll say it here that I won’t be surprised. I remember her surprising the heck out of me at Ponte Vedra, and that was two months ago.
Early-round match I’m most intrigued by: Coleman v Schmidt in the quarters. That could really be a good one.
Dark horse choices: Megan Dathe (Hagerty, 18th); Gracie Hollifield (University-Orange City); Jaysie Garcia (Clay).
The picks: 1. Karla Ortiz (Westside, 9th). 2. Jayden Dodge (West Port, 3rd). 3. Jasmine Hecht (Orange Park, 10th). 4. Jah’Mya Hill (Mainland, 12th).
The skinny: If you’d given me this group preseason, I would have said Hecht and Hill for sure, but the new folks have impressed me. Don’t be surprised by my old heads, though, on Saturday.
Early-round match I’m most intrigued by: Dodge v Ava Burre (Bartram Trail. 13th). While I could be wrong about the order of the top four, I don’t want to be going up against any of them in the consis.
Dark horse choices: Burre; Alicia Caton (Dunnellon, 19th); Emily Song (Lake Brantley).
The picks: 1. Henlee Haynes (Mosley, 1st). 2. Jazzmine Moore (Oakleaf, 5th). 3. Claire Holt (Tocoi Creek, 11th). 4. Ciera Stennett (Lincoln).
The skinny: I’m not sure, if I had to rank how certain I am of the top pick at each weight, where Haynes would rank, but “pretty dang certain” might be accurate. Haynes is a two-time finalist going into this first sanctioning year, so there’s that.
Early-round match I’m most intrigued by: Trinya Tillman (Mainland) v Hannah Matalobos (Bartram Trail). A first-rounder where both could be wrestling for their state fate in the blood round.
Dark horse choices: Gabrielle Proctor (Matanzas, 14th); Tayla Sutton (Lake Mary); Tillman/Matalobos, particularly the winner.
The picks: 1. Maggie Moss (Lincoln, 2nd). 2. Cadee Lyons (Chiles). 3. Cheyenne Cruce (Middleburg, 6th). 4. Eva Rojas (Mainland, 10th).
The skinny: Moss and Lyons have been there before; if Lyons gets through her quarter OK, I like the chances of an all-Tallahassee matchup; if you had to pin me down, I’d say Moss v Cruce is the best match of the bracket.
Early-round match I’m most intrigued by: Lyons v Kiona Upegui (Buchholz, 9th). When the Bobcats have had girls wrestlers, they’ve had a solid amount of success in developing them. So this will be a fun quarterfinal.
Dark horse choices: Upegui; Brooklyn Watt (Matanzas, 11th); Shyann Donaldson (Milton).
The picks: 1. Andrea Smith (Orange Park, 1st). 2. Cheyenne Wigley (Mainland, 4th). 3. 3. Jada Arnold (Raines, 3rd). 4. Nahilu Lubin (Matanzas).
The skinny: The key points of this bracket, in my mind, are the second quarterfinal and the bottom-half blood round. Smith, the defending state champ, is the leader in this group.
Early-round match I’m most intrigued by: Already gave it away, it’s the Wigley-Arnold quarterfinal. Both could get out and finish second or third.
Dark horse choices: Marcela Maya-Escalona (Lake Brantley, 11th); Alisa Miller (Rutherford, 18th).