By MATMEN, Thursday, 5 p.m.
1A-District 4 IBT
When & where: Friday at Palatka (at the C.L. Overturf Center), 10:30 a.m. (weighin), noon (wrestle).
Teams in the field: In addition to the host Panthers, Baker County, Baldwin, Beachside, Bishop Snyder, Florida Deaf & Blind, Interlachen, Keystone Heights, St Johns Country Day, Tocoi Creek and Union County are in the district field.
At stake: Top four wrestlers in each of 14 weight classes will automatically advance to the 1A-Region 1 tournament at Wewahitchka on February 24-25. Additional fifth- and sixth-place wrestlers at each weight may be selected to advance as additional region qualifiers to fill out the region bracket. Those wrestlers are selected via an FHSAA schematic.
Defending team champion: None; last year’s district champion, Clay, was reclassified to 2A.
Returning individual champions: Mikade Harvey (Palatka, won in 2020 & 2021 also); Ishmael Foster (Palatka, won in 2021); Steven Raab (Keystone Heights, won in 2021).
Synopsis: In this year’s District 4, it’s a lot of newness in the world, with Union County winning its first district duals title, and just one wrestler on any of the 11 teams in Friday’s field winning an individual title last year (although two others have been district champs in their past). I feel as though Baker County might be the better team in an IBT format, although it won’t surprise me if Union County pulls off the double. Palatka, Tocoi Creek and Beachside should all be in the mix for top-3 positions for differing reasons (the hosts behind their star firepower, plus a couple late adds to their lineup; Tocoi with its consistency and Beachside with its first-year energy and ability to surprise folks because of that first-year status).
State-ranked wrestlers (listed by weight class in ranked order) —
106: Matthew Braddock (St Johns CD, 9th).
113: Jareb Lauramore (Baker County, 14th).
126: Jonathon Walker (Baker County, 19th).
132: Ian Halfacre (Union County, 18th); Willie Sims (Tocoi Creek, 20th).
138: Mikade Harvey (Palatka, 2nd).
145: Grady Smith (Beachside, 19th).
160: Rasean Rayam (Baker County, 17th).
182: Eddie Craig (Beachside, 11th); Alexander Cortese (Union County, 16th).
Rankings from https://www.kabrawrestling.com/rankings/class-1a