November 17, 2022 — 6 a.m.
In the inaugural District 2 IBT, it took four girls to win a district title. A group of three was second; two teams with two were two points apart in third and fourth place.
What that means is that the team that most aggressively recruits and most aggressively gets new faces in the lineup to buy into what is being taught is probably the team most likely to come out on top in this district in February.
Several teams have small nuclei of talent off of which to build this year. Just one, Middleburg, boasts a pair of returning state medalists.
The Lady Broncos, who’ve aggressively engaged in off-season work, bring back sophomore Cheyenne Cruce (4th at 190 in March) and senior Gracie Bradshaw (8th at 110) as building blocks for the coming year, and have a group of several girls out.
Another team that has a chance to make a big impact this year is Oakleaf, with a pair of state qualifiers returning as well.
The Lady Clay Knights bring back junior Jazzmine Moore (5th at 170 in 2022) and junior Adrianna Barrientos (105) as returning Silver Spurs qualifiers, and look to have one of the most potential-filled incoming wrestlers in some time.
Don’t count out defending champion Westside just yet. The Lady Wolverines are one of two teams that have three projected key returners back from last year, although they do have to replace 2022 state medalist Emma Smith (6th at 120, and the program’s first female wrestler).
Leading this year’s defense of the district title are sophomore Karla Ortiz (5th at 155 last year) and fellow Silver Spurs qualifier in senior Degriece Coleman (145).
A number of teams are in the mix this year, that, with some additional lineup fills, could become much more prominent this year.
Columbia — the only other team besides Westside in the district to bring back more than two projected key returners — has three girls back; hopefully with the off-season work they’ve done, they should see more success than just one win at regions.
Jacksonville metro teams Bishop Kenny and Ed White both bring back two projected key returners from last year’s team. Both Lady Crusaders saw extensive time against boys during their HS careers, while the Lady Commanders have to replace a state qualifier.
Four teams have one key projected returner. Orange Park has to replace graduated state champion Andrea Smith, now wrestling at University of Mount Olive, but will bring back 2022 FHSAA state qualifier Jasmine Hecht (155 in March).
At First Coast, that returner was a regular starter in the boys lineup, but didn’t appear in the girls’ postseason series, while Stanton has a returning district champ and Baker County’s returner got to the Region 1 blood round.
Of the teams that have no projected returners back, most did not have girls wrestling on the roster last year, although Fletcher and Sandalwood have, in the past, with some success. Raines had the only active presence a year ago, and will have to replace two graduates, including 2022 state medalist Jada Arnold (5th at 235).
We aren’t projecting picks for the girls’ side yet, as very few programs have full teams. But, you can guess that the fuller teams are being seen as favorites in each district.
Capsules for all teams in District 2, where there are returning or graduated wrestlers that competed in the post-season, can be found HERE: GIRLS DISTRICT 2 CAPSULES