#TheCalendar2022-23: Crestview

We have our 98th schedule for 2022-23!

Crestview is 98th in for the upcoming year. We are fast on the downward slope toward 100%. Below are their dates as sent over. We have 9 left (10, including Lake Mary’s girls). The full list of dates we have can be found HERE. 

Head coaches that have not yet emailed me a schedule can send it to my work email. (I would prefer it there, as I have my work email up 7 days a week, at least 10 hours a day).


Duals & dual tournaments:

  • At Beast of the Beach, Ft Walton Beach, 12/22-23
  • At Pace Duals, 12/29
  • At Panhandle Championships, Mosley, 1/6-7
  • At Trojan Invitational, Lincoln, 1/13-14

IBTs & roundrobins:

  • At Border Wars X, South Walton, 12/2-3
  • At Lady Gator Brawl, Wewahitchka, 12/30
  • At 4th Annual George Mulligan Memorial, Bay, 1/20-21
  • At Inaugural Lady Trojan Invitational, Lincoln, 1/28

FHSAA events:

  • 2A-District 1 Duals, Pace hosts, 1/4
  • (if qualifying) 2A-Region 1 duals, District 4 champ to host, 1/12
  • (if qualifying) 2A state duals, Osceola hosts, 1/20-21
  • Girls’ District 1 IBT, Wewahitchka hosts, 2/10
  • 2A-District 1 IBT, Niceville hosts, 2/15
  • Girls’ Region 1 IBT, Matanzas hosts, 2/18
  • 2A-Region 1 IBT, Chiles hosts, 2/24-25
  • States at Silver Spurs, Kissimmee, 3/2-4
JOIN us on Facebook at North Florida Matmen (you can also friend me on my personal page) or on Twitter at @NorthFLAMatmen, or on Instagram at nflamatmen.
Please support our independent journalism!
We’re on Venmo now: Shannon-Heaton-6
Or if you prefer PayPal, search me at Shannon Heaton (use the site email account to find the correct me).

#Punchout: Viers, McCormack Take 6ths

November 26, 7:50 p.m.
WESLEY CHAPEL — Before most teams got their first event of the season in next week, Windermere’s girls team had its second trip over to the greater Tampa area on Saturday afternoon.

Competing in Wiregrass Ranch’s Princess Punchout, the Lady Wolverines finished 12th in the 13-team event, scoring 12 points.

Two Windermere wrestlers competed on Saturday, with freshman Emily McCormack (140) placing sixth at 140. McCormack’s two losses were to ranked competitors — Bell Creek’s Fikayo Aroyewun (135-5th, in the second match between the pair) and to Immokalee’s Genesis Turrubiartez (130-11th), but a pin over another Immokalee wrestler assured another placing finish.

At 170, Lady Wolverine sophomore Sarah Viers picked up her first win of the season, a pin over Admiral Farragut, and that got her advanced enough to place sixth. Viers also had a loss to a ranked wrestler, Admiral Farragut’s Alyssa Dunn (155-18th), in the consi semis.

The top ranked team in the field, Boca Ciega (13th), had no individual champions, but topped the team standings with a 39.5-point win over Bell Creek and Immokalee, 177.5-138.

Windermere will have a home event for its next competition — and the area’s next event as well — on Tuesday night, as Ocoee, Wekiva & West Orange will all participate in the Lady Wolverines’ roundrobin.

Results from Saturday’s event can be found HERE.

Rankings courtesy of Kabra Wrestling,

JOIN us on Facebook at North Florida Matmen (you can also friend me on my personal page) or on Twitter at @NorthFLAMatmen, or on Instagram at nflamatmen.
Please support our independent journalism!
We’re on Venmo now: Shannon-Heaton-6
Or if you prefer PayPal, search me at Shannon Heaton (use the site email account to find the correct me).

Seahorse Open Local Placers

At Cypress Bay
48th Annual Seahorse Open

State varsity
120: 5. Kaden Golder (Legend Athletics).

Girls HS
120: 2. Christina Borgmann (Legend Athletics).
125: 1. Tiana Fries (Legend Athletics).
130: 1. Brielle Bibla (Matanzas).
140: 1. Kendall Bibla (Matanzas).
145: 2. Gabrielle Proctor (Legend Athletics).
155: 2. Kendall Bibla (Matanzas).

Varsity division (no SQ or placers)
120: 4. Kaden Golder (Legend Athletics).


JOIN us on Facebook at North Florida Matmen (you can also friend me on my personal page) or on Twitter at @NorthFLAMatmen, or on Instagram at nflamatmen.
Please support our independent journalism!
We’re on Venmo now: Shannon-Heaton-6
Or if you prefer PayPal, search me at Shannon Heaton (use the site email account to find the correct me).

#Preview: Princess Punchout

Princess Punchout

When & where: Saturday at Wiregrass Ranch.
Local teams: Windermere.
State-ranked teams: Boca Ciega (#13), Wiregrass Ranch (#T-16).
Area state-ranked wrestlers: None.
Brief analysis: Windermere hits the Tampa suburbs for its second tournament of the season at a time when most teams haven’t competed in their first. The Lady Wolverines got a initial taste of the state scene in Wednesday’s Lady Braves Invitational at Lake Gibson, finishing 18th out of 19 teams. Saturday’s event is a bit smaller, just eight squads in play.
All rankings from:

JOIN us on Facebook at North Florida Matmen (you can also friend me on my personal page) or on Twitter at @NorthFLAMatmen, or on Instagram at nflamatmen.
Please support our independent journalism!
We’re on Venmo now: Shannon-Heaton-6
Or if you prefer PayPal, search me at Shannon Heaton (use the site email account to find the correct me).

#TurkeyNWrestling2022-23: Hey, Guys, My Bad

November 24, 2022 — 10 a.m.

Sometimes I get it right. Sometimes I get it really right. Sometimes I get it wrong. Sometimes I get it really wrong. If you were ready to toss your phone or laptop through a window because I either A) ranked you too low or B) ranked you too high in your district, maybe this will set your mind at ease.

Or not. Perhaps only a healthy dose of tryptophan, football and pre-Black Friday shopping will do that (actually, if you can avoid the pre-Black Friday shopping, do; I plan to avoid it by writing a couple of previews of the Saturday tournaments, plus I plan to watch the worst offense in college football attempt to play its way into the Big Ten Conference title game).

Anyway, let’s set the Wayback machine to a year ago today — give or take a day or two — and see how I did with last year’s predictions. Let the laughter ensue! (or not). But first, a little data…gotta have a little stuffing to go with that turkey…

We were 10-for-12 on picking champions. After a bad year with this in 2021, we rallied, for the most part, with respect to this stat. We only missed a little bit in 2A-4, where our champ was second. But we had a big clunker in 2A-1; to be fair, the team we picked was expected to have more transfers in its lineup than it actually had, and it wound up with a pretty solid close.

We were 7-for-12 on picking last-place teams last year. This was a bit like our championship-picking form of the previous year. We didn’t have any super-bad misses, in that every team that we picked last finished no higher than sixth in their district. This is a good thing, in that the less-experienced and less-full lineups are catching up to the middle of the pack.

A quick note on the Orlando districts, which we added for the first time last year. We got both district champions right and we had one last-place team right. We had a bit more trouble with the middle half of those two districts, and some of that we’ll get into in a bit.

The point is this.

If I picked your team to win, you should be pleased and maybe feel kinda good about your chances. If I picked your team last, it’s maybe time to go get to work, kids.

In the middle, it’s often quite a muddle when it comes to picks. I’m a mixed bag here. Three years ago, I got the top 3 teams right in three districts. Two years ago, that number was two. None last year.

Four this year (3A-2, 1A-2, 1A-3 and 1A-4). Is it evidence I 100% know what I’m doing? Perhaps not.

Still, if you don’t like where you are projected today, take heart. Here are some examples of those who beat the Matmen odds:

Three straight years, I have under-performed with Rocky Bayou Christian. Last year, I had them fourth and they were second in 1A-District 1. But that wasn’t the biggest miss in 1A. That title belongs to Bishop Snyder. I had the Cardinals ninth last year and they finished fifth in the district, and, quite honestly, did a nice job of cobbling together a lineup through the season.

In 2A, Ridgeview was slotted for seventh place after losing their HC and 2021 state champion. The Panthers did a nice job of rallying from some big losses, and finished fourth as a group in 2A-District 2. We also under-estimated Ft Walton Beach as a team in IBTs; I thought they would be stronger in duals, but last year they walked away with the District 1 title.

As for 3A, the biggest misses for me were Seminole in District 2 and Olympia in District 4. The Noles were tabbed for seventh and finished fourth, while the Titans were slotted sixth and picked third.

So what’s the point of walking through those examples?

Where you’re projected today is just that: a projection. And not always a very good one at that. Ol’ Matmen really don’t know everything. Some days, he don’t know anything.

So. Dig in, not too much, to your dinners today. While you boys don’t have competition until next week (some girls teams have already begun competition), I’m sure you’ll have practice at some point soon, and you don’t want a full belly. Leave that to us old folks. I’ll see you on the mats soon enough.

1A-District 1
Predicted: 1. South Walton. 2. Rutherford. 3. North Bay Haven. 4. Rocky Bayou Christian. 5. Bozeman. 6. Bay. 7. Wewahitchka.
Actual: 1. South Walton. 2. Rocky Bayou Christian. 3. Rutherford. 4. North Bay Haven. 5. Bay. 6. Wewahitchka. 7. Bozeman.
Analysis: As we noted earlier, we for sure under-rated Rocky Bayou — AGAIN — and the Knights leap-frogged two teams into second. For their trouble, they’ve been projected into sixth for the third time in four years this season. So, I’m certain they’re quite thrilled about that! The bottom three teams we had right, just in an incorrect order

1A-District 2
Predicted: 1. Wakulla. 2. Suwannee. 3. Florida High. 4. Marianna. 5. Liberty County. 6. Godby.
Actual: 1. Wakulla. 2. Suwannee. 3. Florida High. 4. Marianna. 5. Liberty County. 6. Godby.
Analysis: 100% dead on with this one. (Pats self on back). Actually, there was one thing I didn’t really expect out of this district, and that was how well Florida High would perform in the region tournament (7th); while the Seminoles have been a fixture for top-five performances, I thought somewhere around 10-12 was a safer bet at regions. Instead, FSUS was just 4.5 points out another top-five.

1A-District 3
Predicted: 1. Yulee. 2. Bishop Kenny. 3. Fernandina Beach. 4. Episcopal. 5. Raines. 6. West Nassau. 7. Paxon. 8. University Christian.
Actual: 1. Yulee. 2. Bishop Kenny. 3. Fernandina Beach. 4. Episcopal. 5. West Nassau. 6. Paxon. 7. Raines. 8. University Christian.
Analysis: We got the top four teams correct, which is good; only in 1A-2 did we do this elsewhere. West Nassau had things going in a pretty good direction by this point in the season; things had been rough at the start of the season. Some of the trouble we had in this one was due in part to still not really being 100% familiar with tournament scoring.

1A-District 4

Predicted: 1. Clay. 2. Palatka. 3. Baker County. 4. Bolles. 5. Union County. 6. Keystone Heights. 7. Wolfson. 8. Tocoi Creek. 9. Bishop Snyder. 10. Florida Deaf & Blind.
Actual: 1. Clay. 2. Palatka. 3. Baker County. 4. Union County. 5. Bishop Snyder. 6. (tie) Keystone Heights & Tocoi Creek. 8. Bolles. 9. Wolfson. 10. Florida Deaf & Blind.
Analysis: I got the top three teams correct in this one. Biggest miss, positively for the team involved, was Bishop Snyder, which did some decent lineup-building in preparing for the district tournament. The biggest miss the other way was Bolles, and I attribute that to the Bulldogs’ history of having their fullest team for the post-season, with part-time starters brought in. That didn’t happen last season.

2A-District 1
Predicted: 1. Mosley. 2. Gulf Breeze. 3. Ft Walton Beach. 4. Pace. 5. Niceville. 6. Choctaw. 7. Crestview. 8. Milton. 9. Tate. 10. Arnold.
Actual: 1. Ft Walton Beach. 2. Gulf Breeze. 3. Pace. 4. Niceville. 5. Mosley. 6. Crestview. 7. Choctaw. 8. Tate. 9. Arnold. 10. Milton.
Analysis: Once again, the 2A Panhandle continues to elude me. Aside from Gulf Breeze being correctly picked, and the Pace/Niceville and Tate/Arnold orders being roughly accurate, this district has been — over the past several years — the hardest one to line up. Mosley was supposed to have at least two more kids that either didn’t transfer (or didn’t wrestle). Having them would have made some difference up, but all of it? Not sure.

2A-District 2
Predicted: 1. Fleming Island. 2. Lincoln. 3. Columbia. 4. Chiles. 5. Middleburg. 6. Orange Park. 7. Ridgeview. 8. Leon.
Actual: 1. Fleming Island. 2. Lincoln. 3. Chiles. 4. Ridgeview. 5. Middleburg. 6. Columbia. 7. Orange Park. 8. Leon.
Analysis: I had the top two teams right (although LOTS of people would have gotten them right). Columbia had a very good wrestler not return for what would have been a senior season, and had a second very good wrestler get a season-ending injury early in January. Ridgeview, as I noted earlier, I thought would struggle for leadership and numbers, and as it turned out, cured its numbers problems with new blood in the lower bookend and some kids returning that hadn’t been out for a year or more.

2A-District 3
Predicted: 1. Fletcher. 2. Ponte Vedra. 3. Westside. 4. Terry Parker. 5. Englewood. 6. Riverside. 7. Stanton. 8. Ed White.
Actual: 1. Fletcher. 2. Westside. 3. (tie) Englewood & Terry Parker. 5. Ponte Vedra. 6. Ed White. 7. Stanton. 8. Riverside.
Analysis: What we struggled with here has traditionally been a couple of teams’ strengths prior to last year, that being getting kids out and filling a lineup. We feel like those will return at least for one of the teams; the other is in the midst of a deep football run, and that has typically made for a tough start to wrestling for that program. It was good to see Westside get that double second-place finish (which meant a trip to region duals). Ed White also over-performed expectations, which is always good to see.

2A-District 4
Predicted: 1. Matanzas. 2. New Smyrna Beach. 3. Belleview. 4. Mainland. 5. St Augustine. 6. Pedro Menendez. 7. Gainesville.
Actual: 1. New Smyrna Beach. 2. Matanzas. 3. St Augustine. 4. Belleview. 5. Mainland. 6. Pedro Menendez. 7. Gainesville.
Analysis: We were definitely surprised by New Smyrna Beach winning the title, but the biggest positive surprise was the move St Augustine made, because they had a ton of graduation loss to overcome — and a new head coach as well, always a situation where it’s impossible to determine what may happen. Aside from those two teams, things largely held to form in this district. Will have to see how the new 2A-District 4 will look next HGMB.

3A-District 1
Predicted: 1. Oakleaf. 2. Creekside. 3. Mandarin. 4. Bartram Trail. 5. Nease. 6. First Coast. 7. Sandalwood. 8. Atlantic Coast.
Actual: 1. Oakleaf. 2. Creekside. 3. Nease. 4. Bartram Trail. 5. Mandarin. 6. Sandalwood. 7. First Coast. 8. Atlantic Coast.
Analysis: We really only bunged up where Mandarin and Nease would be. Mandarin had several regular-season starters that did not compete in the district tournament, and that would certainly have helped the Mustangs. Nease had a really nice regular season, but I thought the St Johns Panthers would have trouble in the post-season; that turned out not exactly to be true at districts, but the trouble did arrive the following week.

3A-District 2
Predicted: 1. Flagler Palm Coast. 2. Buchholz. 3. DeLand. 4. Lake Mary. 5. Forest. 6. University (Orange City). 7. Seminole. 8. West Port.
Actual: 1. Flagler Palm Coast. 2. Buchholz. 3. DeLand. 4. Seminole. 5. Forest. 6. West Port. 7. University (Orange City). 8. Lake Mary.
Analysis: We had the top three teams, and we had Forest correctly slotted, but two teams we did not have a very good handle on, for different reasons. We under-estimated Seminole, which had some kids return to the lineup and perform quite well, and overcame some lineup losses. We had better hopes for Lake Mary, but things were a struggle from jump for the Rams last year, with a new coach and a lot of loss to overcome, both graduation and transfer.

3A-District 3
Predicted: 1. Hagerty. 2. Timber Creek. 3. Winter Park. 4. Oviedo. 5. Lyman. 6. Lake Howell. 7. Lake Brantley. 8. University (Orlando).
Actual: 1. Hagerty. 2. Timber Creek. 3. Oviedo. 4 Winter Park. 5. Lake Brantley. 6. Lyman. 7. Lake Howell. 8. University (Orlando).
Analysis: In our first go-round with this district, we had a pretty good handle on things, generally. We thought Winter Park would be a little better — and maybe the Wildcats will show a bit more of that this year. And we thought Lake Brantley would struggle a bit more, and the Patriots had a nice season, and will probably build on that this year. Otherwise, we were pretty much on it.

3A-District 4
Predicted: 1. Apopka. 2. Windermere. 3. West Orange. 4. Dr Phillips. 5. Ocoee. 6. Olympia. 7. Evans. 8. Wekiva.
Actual: 1. Apopka. 2. Windermere. 3. Olympia. 4. Ocoee. 5. Dr Phillips. 6. Wekiva. 7. Evans. 8. West Orange.
Analysis: We had the top two teams correct, and that wasn’t bad, although the choices were fairly straightforward. Olympia had a much better run than we thought, as the Titans were able to put together a lineup that was more solid than expected. Wekiva had some individual powerhouses we weren’t suspecting, and the biggest miss we had in the district was due largely to West Orange’s lineup slowly getting smaller and smaller as the season wore on. That will happen sometimes, and it’s impossible to predict.

JOIN us on Facebook at North Florida Matmen (you can also friend me on my personal page) or on Twitter at @NorthFLAMatmen, or on Instagram at nflamatmen.
Please support our independent journalism!
We’re on Venmo now: Shannon-Heaton-6
Or if you prefer PayPal, search me at Shannon Heaton (use the site email account to find the correct me).

#TurkeyNWrestling2022-23: 1A-District 1

November 24, 2022 — 6 a.m.

There are a few teams that you learn to trust in the north, even after sustaining some heavy losses to graduation.

South Walton, in 1A-District 1, has become one of those teams to trust, season in and season out. The Seahawks have emerged as the Panhandle small schools’ top performer, and with good reason, having won two straight district duals titles and a pair of IBTs as well.

And it’s that recent run of success that’s the reason to trust the Seahawks to make a return to the top of the district standings, although for several reasons it might be tough to expect this group to duplicate its 5th-place region and 15th-place state efforts.

The biggest reason is a large group of seniors, seven in all, that moved on in May, led by 2022 1A state champion Max Brewster (120). All seven of those Class of 2022 Seahawks reached the region tournament.

While South Walton has just six projected key returners back, the Seahawks are the only team in the district with more than one returning state qualifier, as senior Nick Lee (8th at 285) and sophomore Isaac Brinson (126) both have Silver Spurs Arena experience from March. One thing the group has shown is an ability to develop new young talent, as the development of Brinson and other younger Seahawks has shown.

If you’re a believer in larger numbers having the key in supplanting a district favorite, look no further than North Bay Haven.

The Buccaneers were very young last year, and had a lot of returners coming back, but last year’s still group still saw a few new faces make the lineup. The result is a room with potentially up to 14 key returners back from last year’s fourth-place (IBT) group, with only two key seniors lost to graduation, including one post-season starter.

Junior David Mercado (4th at 1A-195, returning region champ) headlines the returning group, which has eight wrestlers that reached the region level last year. Experienced returners man each weight class as well, so the only thing that might hold NBH back might be its relative youth at a couple of those weights.

Bay improved a lot over the previous two seasons in 2021-22, reaching the individual state tournament for the first time since 2018-19. And with just two graduation losses to overcome — albeit including the Tornadoes’ lone state qualifier — the future does appear to be be bright.

Bay can call upon as many as 11 projected key returners this coming year, six of them with region experience. Three of those six — all in the lower weights — got to Saturday’s second day at regions, and lowers will again be a strength for the Tornadoes. That strength was augmented with the transfer of junior — and 2A state medalist in March — Derrick Williams from Mosley (5th at 106). If the Tornadoes can add a couple more upper weights, they will challenge the leaders.

Don’t be surprised in the slightest to see Rutherford in the mix for even top-of-the-table position in the district when the season ends, although I think duals, which might be the Rams’ better strength, might be a bit too soon in the schedule for them to push through. Rutherford lost just one May graduate from last year’s group, so that’s a positive step.

This year, the Rams have as many as 14 potential key returners, led by senior state qualifier Romero Black (138 last year). Rutherford has six returners with Region 1 experience, so the Rams will need some of their depth in last year’s room to step forward and take another step in order to become a bit more competitive.

If any teams falter that are projected for the top half of the district, I would maybe look to Bozeman to become the wild card of the district. The Bucks began the school with a max of seven projected key returners due to come back, just one of those seven with victories at the region level. But Bozeman picked up a pair of transfers that will help the numbers situation somewhat and the Bucks’ leadership position quite a bit; if they can add some more numbers after losing just one starter to graduation, they could move up.

After losing five region qualifiers from last year’s region-qualifying (duals) team to graduation, the ride could be bumpy for Rocky Bayou Christian this year, as the Knights have no established wrestlers that wrestled above 152 a year ago. But, the lower half of the lineup is experienced, with four region qualifiers in all (team has five coming back). None of the eight projected key returners are seniors, which is a plus.

Wewahitchka lost four starters from last year’s team, between graduation and transfer, and while the Gators do have eight returners (four with region experience, two of those four with second-day experience), they’ll need to once again prove themselves capable of recruiting after adding several very young first-year starters in 2021-22. Freeport is a new Walton County program, headed up by former Seahawks coach Carey Nick, and having that kind of experience is going to be invaluable as the fledgling Bulldogs get off the ground in 2022-23. We’ll have to see how things develop, as they’ll have a dual right away next week.

Projected finish: 1. South Walton. 2. North Bay Haven. 3. Bay. 4. Rutherford. 5. Bozeman. 6. Rocky Bayou Christian. 7. Wewahitchka. 8. Freeport.


JOIN us on Facebook at North Florida Matmen (you can also friend me on my personal page) or on Twitter at @NorthFLAMatmen, or on Instagram at nflamatmen.
Please support our independent journalism!
We’re on Venmo now: Shannon-Heaton-6
Or if you prefer PayPal, search me at Shannon Heaton (use the site email account to find the correct me).

#TurkeyNWrestling2022-23: 3A-District 3

November 24, 2022 — 6 a.m.

Hagerty has recently seemed to be that team that comes oh-so-close, but just short, in 3A-Region 1.

Three-time district duals champs, three-time region runners-up. Defending district IBT champ (after 3x runnerup finishes), with three 2nds and one 3rd at Region 1.

Last year, after losing a pair of state runners-up, the Huskies still finished among the state’s top 10. This year, after losing five seniors, including three who qualified for states and two that medaled there), we’re looking at Hagerty as the preseason favorite in the region.

The Huskies do lose 2022 state medalists Ethan Gomez (5th at 170) and Blake Watts (8th at 152), plus an additional state qualifier and two additional region qualifiers, and that leadership will need replacing.

But Hagerty has as many as 10 projected key returners (all but one were post-season starters) from a year ago, and most of them are well battle-tested. Senior 2022 3A runnerup Kamdon Harrison (160) leads the returning mix of kids, which includes returning state qualifiers in junior Hunter Tate (195 last year) and sophomore Aiden Vick (106).

We’re projecting Timber Creek, with the room that it has consistently had and level of competition it has engaged year-in and year-out, as the runnerup, but the gap has probably closed some between the Wolfpack and their challengers.

What worries us is the graduation loss that the Wolfpack sustained, as they lost seven Class of 2022 wrestlers in May, led by state medalist Trenton Dominguez (3rd at 113) and an additional state qualifier. That will be a difficult loss to overcome.

But Timber Creek will have eight projected key returners back, including a pair of 2022 state qualifiers in senior Peter Nesheiwat (285) and sophomore Josue Batista (138). Six of those eight returners were post-season starters for the Wolfpack, so there is a nucleus to build around, and the depth in the room should cover most of the rest.

If the Wolfpack falters at all, Winter Park will be there to pick up the slack. The Wildcats lost four seniors to graduation, but just two of those wrestlers had region experience a year ago.

Winter Park matches Hagerty’s 10 in projected key returners, led by junior Jorge Gonzalez (6th at 132 in 2022), a returning district and region champ. Senior Joseph Parker (145 last year) and junior Liam Glassmeyer (220) join Gonzalez as returning state qualifiers, and if the Wildcats can fill out a little bit more of their lineup, they will be a tough opponent.

We’re looking at Oviedo to round out the top half of teams in the district. The Lions have the benefits of both a large returning — and still young — group, and, as well, a small graduation class in May, as just two seniors (both post-season starters, one who shared time in the regular season) moved on.

Oviedo has the biggest returning group in the district, with no fewer than 13 projected key wrestlers able to come back. What the Lions are going to have to do, though, is make the leap necessary for the team to graduate from also-ran to threat, and the proof that they’ll have made that leap will be found in their offseason and preseason work.

Watch out for Lake Brantley; the Patriots could be a team on the move this year, under first-year HC Jason Jessee. They’ve lost five seniors from last year’s group, four of which competed in the post-season, but they’ve got at least 12 projected key returners or transfers back from a year ago, with just one senior in the group, so the large majority of the group will have two years together.

Even though Wekiva lost just one graduated starter from last year’s team, the Mustangs are probably too short-handed to earn a lot of team success. Individually, though, they’ll have highlights, with seniors Seth Galvin (state qualifier at 145 last year) and Holley Saintmelus (region champ at 285) both returning to highlight a cadre of five projected key returners.

First-year coaches will be heading up the programs at Evans and Lake Howell, respectively. For the Trojans, under new HC Brent Bourgeois, they move over from District 4 and will have up to six projected key returners, but just one of those six had wins at regions last year; Evans will have to replace three key seniors from last year’s group. At Lake Howell, under new HC Kyle Harrison, the Silver Hawks lost just one from last year’s team, but it was probably the team’s top performer, and via transfer. Still, there’ll be as many as seven key returners back, but just one advanced to the region round.

Projected finish: 1. Hagerty. 2. Timber Creek. 3. Winter Park. 4. Oviedo. 5. Lake Brantley. 6. Wekiva. 7. Evans. 8. Lake Howell.


JOIN us on Facebook at North Florida Matmen (you can also friend me on my personal page) or on Twitter at @NorthFLAMatmen, or on Instagram at nflamatmen.
Please support our independent journalism!
We’re on Venmo now: Shannon-Heaton-6
Or if you prefer PayPal, search me at Shannon Heaton (use the site email account to find the correct me).

#TurkeyNWrestling2022-23: 2A-District 8

November 24, 2022 — 6 a.m.

Lyman and Deltona have habitually gotten plenty of looks at the teams with whom they share a new combined home, 2A-District 8.

Having the shared geographic area of eastern greater Orlando, and seeing their district neighbors at least once, if not multiple times, in various dual and IBT competitions, will certainly prepare the Matmen representatives in the district for what’s to come.

On balance, I think Deltona might have the edge in head-to-head with their Lyman compatriots, but I’m not sure if either one will reach the FHSAA region round.

The Wolves are coming off a year in which they were district duals champions, in 1A-District 6, but they do have to replace four Class of 2022 starters, including two region-level qualifiers.

Deltona has nine projected key returners back, led by seniors and state qualifiers Kevin Kerns (5th at 1A-132 last year) and Nathan Hatch (285). Of its nine potentially back, six competed at the region level.

Lyman lost just two seniors in May from last year’s lineup, but one of those two was the Greyhounds’ top performer last year and the other was a multiple-year starter.

The Greyhounds will have as many as eight projected key returners back for next year, but only six were starters in the post-season, four of those six reached the region round, and two got to the second day at regions.

Still, although there are a few concerns about the Wolves & Greyhounds, both teams should be in the mix of teams battling for third place in the district.

I’d expect Winter Springs to reload and retake the district title, though I predict that East River makes the gap a bit narrower between the leaders, who were 1-2 in the district last year.

Edgewater is the team most likely to join Lyman & Deltona in the mix for third, although it’s got a smaller group. Horizon, Jones and Lake Buena Vista have slightly larger groups back, but all of them will be somewhat inexperienced, an advantage that should play in the Greyhounds’ and Wolves’ favor.

Projected finish: 1. Winter Springs. 2. East River. 3. Deltona. 4. Lyman. 5. Edgewater. 6. Horizon. 7. Jones. 8. Lake Buena Vista.


JOIN us on Facebook at North Florida Matmen (you can also friend me on my personal page) or on Twitter at @NorthFLAMatmen, or on Instagram at nflamatmen.
Please support our independent journalism!
We’re on Venmo now: Shannon-Heaton-6
Or if you prefer PayPal, search me at Shannon Heaton (use the site email account to find the correct me).

#TurkeyNWrestling2022-23: 2A-District 4

November 24, 2022 — 6 a.m.

A year ago, District 2 in 2A was predicted to be the powerhouse district in north Florida when Fleming Island squared off against Lincoln, with an additional third team finishing in the top six at regions.

This year, it seemed that the center of power may very well move to 2A-District 4, where two of the state’s top 10 teams in 2A, joined by a perennial 1A powerhouse in Clay.

But if we learned anything last year, we learned that Fleming Island not only was fully back, the Golden Eagles weren’t going to be going anywhere for a long time, and thus they still have to be considered the heavy favorites to win district titles in January and February.

Losing just one senior off of last year’s 2A state duals semifinalist and 3rd-place IBT finisher, the Golden Eagles will bring back as many as 15 projected key returners this year.

Included in that group are 2022 state runnerups in senior Jhoel Robinson (182 last year) and sophomore Jayce Paridon (113 in 2022), along with 2A medalists Joshua Sandoval (senior, 4th at 170), Christopher Chop (junior, 5th at 152), Ronan Bozeman (senior, 6th at 160), Matthew Kotler (junior, 6th at 145), Laird Duhaylungsod (sophomore, 6th at 120), Ethan Hoffstetter (senior, 7th at 285), Kaden Schaefer (junior, 7th at 138) and Shane Duhaylungsod (sophomore, 8th at 106). Six of the state medalists also won region titles.

The one gap that only the most elite of teams could exploit a year ago against the Golden Eagles was that there were a couple of weights that still had potential to reach in their wrestling. If their younger and less-experienced starters took steps to fix that — and with the room Fleming works in year-round, it’s difficult to guess they didn’t — they will be even more formidable this year.

Prior to reclassification, Matanzas was looking very much to being kings in the southeast corner of the coverage area and a heavy, if not overwhelming favorite, to take the district.

And, although the Pirates will lose three May graduates from last year’s 9th-place (IBT) 2A team statewide, including state runnerup (at 152) Tyson Mills, who is now on mission in Fiji, Matanzas still has a lot on which to draw upon in furtherance of its goals this year.

The Pirates can match Fleming’s number of up to 15 projected key returners, and, while the list of state hardware isn’t quite so long, it does begin with the return of junior state runnerup (170 last year) Jordan Mills, and a returning state qualifier in senior Landon Wright (195 in 2022), plus a returning former (2021) state qualifier in senior Carter Wilder (113 last year).

Do not think that Clay will be outgunned simply by jumping up to 2A. The Blue Devils don’t have that in their vocabulary, but after losing seven state qualifiers to May graduation, including 2022 1A champion Garrett Tyre (220 last year) and medalists Maverick Rainwater (7th at 120), Luke Boree (7th at 138) and Ethan Larsen (7th at 170), they will be testing the theory that traditional reloads rather than rebuilds.

Clay does have a number of weapons back, led by a pair of state medalists in senior Dominic Martin (5th at 182 last year) and sophomore Braden Glavin (8th at 113), along with returning state qualifiers in senior Kedtric Wilbourn (195 last year) and sophomore Jacob Bucci (106). The Blue Devils do have one of the deepest rooms in north Florida, and this year, they’re going to need it.

Just two years ago, New Smyrna Beach had pushed its way through to dual district and region titles and was looking to establish itself as a solid power in the north among 2A teams. After sustaining the loss of nearly half its starting lineup to May graduation (including 126-6th place Jamey Bruner, and two additional state qualifiers), however, the Barracudas are also having to reload.

NSB does have seven projected key returners back under new head coach Isaac Bernard, and should be solid in the lowers, with five region qualifiers. Senior Dylon York is the Barracudas’ lone returning 2A medalist (6th at 195), with junior Sawyer VanRider (182) a fellow returning state qualifier, but the Barracudas will need fresh faces in the upper weights in order to hold fourth.

That’s because both Belleview and Mainland will take opportunities to push up the ladder. The Barracudas have a number of returning wrestlers, with just one senior, a state qualifier, lost to graduation in May. Belleview will have as many as 11 key returning qualifiers back, and also may be able to welcome back senior and former 2021 state qualifier Andrew Davis as well after his junior season was cut short.

Mainland did lose its top wrestler from last year via transfer, plus three additional region qualifiers via May graduations, but the Buccaneers do have a solid schedule in their favor — in just the program’s fifth year — and they do have seven projected key returners back, including five region qualifiers. That isn’t a huge group, but Mainland has proven itself capable of recruiting new blood into its lineup. It’ll need to do that again this winter.

Seabreeze reached the FHSAA region duals round, its first trip to that round since winning this district duals title in 2018, but the Sandcrabs won’t find the district in the same place as it was before the team’s sojourn into 1A last season. Seabreeze lost two seniors to graduation, and could have as many as nine key wrestlers returning, all nine with post-season experience.

I’m not 100% convinced that the St Augustine city teams are consigned to bring up the rear in the district, but numbers — either in a lack of mat time or wrestlers back — suggest it. Pedro Menendez lost just one senior to graduation in May, and has as many as nine projected key returners back this year, but none of those set to return were able to reach the second day. The Falcons’ crosstown rival, St Augustine, have talent returning that may be able to get to states — even out of this district, with four projected key returners. But the Yellow Jackets lost six seniors to graduation in May, including two state qualifiers, and they will be a difficult loss to replace.

Projected finish: 1. Fleming Island. 2. Matanzas. 3. Clay. 4. New Smyrna Beach. 5. Belleview. 6. Mainland. 7. Seabreeze. 8. Pedro Menendez. 9. St Augustine.


JOIN us on Facebook at North Florida Matmen (you can also friend me on my personal page) or on Twitter at @NorthFLAMatmen, or on Instagram at nflamatmen.
Please support our independent journalism!
We’re on Venmo now: Shannon-Heaton-6
Or if you prefer PayPal, search me at Shannon Heaton (use the site email account to find the correct me).

#TurkeyNWrestling2022-23: 2A-District 2

November 24, 2022 — 6 a.m.

After 2A-District 2 became one of the epicenters of statewide interest after last year’s reclassification, this year, things have largely returned to normalcy in the district.

Gone are the Clay County teams; back are Gainesville, Mosley and (for the first time) Arnold. What remains, and should reassert control, is Lincoln.

After falling out of the FHSAA dual series at the district round, and then finishing second at both districts and regions, the Trojans put together their best state performance in some while, with a 13th-place showing at Silver Spurs Arena in March.

Duplicating that showing this coming March won’t be easy. Although the Trojans lost just three seniors to graduation in May, two of them were state medalists (195 runnerup Cayden Bevis and 220 6th Omarion LaRoach) and the third also qualified out for states. As a result, Lincoln’s got three upper-weight classes up top to fill.

But the Trojans have solid depth returning that should build another double-title effort. Lincoln has as many as 13 projected key returners from a year ago, led by three returning state qualifiers in senior Connor Edwards (152 last year) and juniors Vaniel Caceres (113) and Jashawn Washington (120).

Chiles advanced to the region duals round last year and we’re going to project the Timberwolves to make it back there once again in January. And if Lincoln falters in any way, they could take a district title.

Chiles does have five multiple-year starters or wrestlers with key appearances in 2021-22, to replace, as they’ve graduated. That cadre includes 2022 state medalist Hunter Brown (8th at 132), along with four other Class of 2022 members that were starters last year or starters in prior seasons for the Timberwolves.

But coming back this year are as many as 13 projected key returners, many of whom have multiple years as starters themselves. Senior 2022 state qualifier Garrett Marschka (126 last year) leads that group; it does contain six kids who did not start in the post-season last year, so the ask for that group — which performed ably in complementary roles — will be to find new levels as the 2022-23 season unfolds.

A year ago, we hyped Mosley as a strong threat, and though the Dolphins had a very good closeout to the season, they had a quick exit in the FHSAA dual series, and had some up-and-down efforts in regular-season IBTs. Still though, Mosley finished in the top 20 among 2A teams and only Lincoln finished higher at states.

The Dolphins did lose four seniors to graduation in May, including multiple-time state medalist Nick Hejke (3rd at 152 and Bay County’s all-time wins leader), and lost their top performer from last year, junior state medalist Derrick Williams (5th at 2A-106), who’s transferred to Bay. However, Mosley will bring back as many as 14 projected key returners. Numbers are in the Dolphins’ favor, and that keeps them in the mix for third in the district, but new leadership will need to step forward.

Columbia took some hits to its chances both during the regular season, due to injury, and after, due to graduation, with the loss of state medalist Joseph Rice (7th at 170) and three additional Class of 2022 wrestlers that have made a significant impact upon the Tigers’ program.

As a result, Columbia will need a rebuiilding effort in 2022-23, as only two Tigers have multiple years of starting experience. There will be as many as five projected key returners in the room, and of those, only one had a victory in the 2021-22 region tournament. But, Columbia has had history of consistent success; though the 6th-place district and 16th-place region IBT finish was lower than recent history would have projected, the Tigers have been in the top 40 or so at states each of the last four years.

Arnold had to completely remake its lineup last year after transfer and graduation from May of 2021 had their impacts, and the Marlins were able to do so, with as many as eight possible key returners back for another year; with just one senior in that group, the Marlins — though they did lose their top competitor to graduation in May — survived last year well and could look for a midpack finish.

The bottom two teams in the district both face the same issue — both Leon and Gainesville each have one projected key returner, and in both cases, that returner is a senior. Both teams will need new wrestlers, urgently so, and schedules that cultivate the development of those wrestlers as they learn the sport. The difference, though, in the programs is that Leon has a settled coaching staff inside the building, while Gainesville will have a new staff after the college graduations of the previous administration. At least, it is hoped that there will be a new staff; as of this writing, a candidate has emerged, but background checks have not been completed by the school as of this writing.

Projected finish: 1. Lincoln. 2. Chiles. 3. Mosley. 4. Columbia. 5. Arnold. 6. Leon. 7. Gainesville.


JOIN us on Facebook at North Florida Matmen (you can also friend me on my personal page) or on Twitter at @NorthFLAMatmen, or on Instagram at nflamatmen.
Please support our independent journalism!
We’re on Venmo now: Shannon-Heaton-6
Or if you prefer PayPal, search me at Shannon Heaton (use the site email account to find the correct me).