Orlando Sentinel wrestling preview

Orlando Sentinel wrestling preview

The print edition might have more, but online there’s a story. We’ll surf around for other such stories today and this week. I’m told that the Sentinel does a pretty good job of coverage. Of course, the story does NOT mention that Brandon Staley won a Fargo title. You’d think that would be a pretty big deal. It was enough of a big deal here that I mentioned it AS IT HAPPENED on my Twitter feed.

I think it’s long past time for everyone to have their thinking adjusted, in a very good way. This week alone we will have: Preview capsules. Top 10 team rankings. A feature story. A game story on Bishop Kenny-Episcopal that will appear Wednesday night on the site (later, but still Wednesday night). A game story from the Fletcher quad. A roundup story from Saturday’s wrestling action around the state. And that’s just this week.


Edge of the Mat #1

Edge of the Mat #1

In which our little website gets connected to a wider, mainstream audience. Because the goal of this website, ultimately, is coverage domination and nothing less.


Next Level Note 11/11

Happy Armistice Day — Veterans’ Day, to the kids out there. If you can read this, thank a veteran. And a teacher.

Not a lot of Next Level activity, as I surfed around the college Intranet last night — only two local wrestlers saw action at six different events, though the possibility of a third is out there.

Leading the charge on Saturday was Hannibal-LaGrange (Mo.) freshman Kyle McClinton (Middleburg ’13), who was 2-2 for the Trojans — his first wins as a college wrestler — at Saturday’s Knox College Invitational in Galesburg, Illinois, located just 45 minutes south from my old stomping grounds.

McClinton won his first two matches of the day by pin and technical fall while competing in the 141-pound weight class. However, he lost by fall in the quarterfinals to the eventual weight-class runnerup, and then lost by decision to fall short of a medal. Both of McClinton’s losses were to Division III wrestlers.

McClinton (2-3 for the season) and the Trojans will swing back into action on Thursday night with a road dual at Truman State University.

The only other @NEFloridaMatmen wrestler to see action on Saturday — that I have been able to find — was Coker College freshman Robert Parland (University Christian ’13), who was 0-2 for the Cobras in Saturday’s UNC-Pembroke Classic. Parland was paired with the top seed in the 197-pound weight class and went the full seven minutes, falling 8-2, and then lost a second time in the wrestlebacks, this time by a 3-2 decision. For the season, Parland is 2-4.

There were no local appearances from Josh Fox (University Christian ’12/Ohio State), Ben Galloway (Fleming Island ’13/Indiana Tech) or Victor Espana (Fleming Island ’13/Edinboro) at Saturday’s Michigan State Open that I was able to see in reviewing the results. Additionally, I was not able to find an appearance at UNC-Pembroke for Shane Carpenter (Creekside ’13/Coker), or at Washington & Jefferson for Daniel Igel (Bolles ’10/Washington & Lee), or at Loras for Jamarius Jackson (Ridgeview ’13/Iowa Western CC).

Perhaps it’s a time zone-difference thing, but Bacone College — where, hopefully, Frank Giordano (Ponte Vedra ’13) is wrestling — is a little slow with their website updating. Bacone competed at the Mustang Duals against three different opponents on Saturday, but no results are as yet available. We’ll update this when that changes.

It’s a busy week ahead, though, for #NextLevel wrestlers. We may see a season-opening appearance for Igel on Wednesday night, as Washington & Lee travels to Ferrum for an away dual. On Friday, Ohio State hosts NAIA’s top-ranked team, Notre Dame (OH). Saturday marks the season-opening competition for Coll Robertson (Ridgeview ’13/North Central IL) at the Trine University Open, while Edinboro travels to Virginia Tech, Washington & Lee hosts Manchester, Indiana Tech competes at the Eastern Michigan Duals, and Iowa Western will be at the Iowa State Open. Finally, on Sunday, Coker will be at the North Carolina State Open and Bacone travels to the Southwest Open.

If you know of a wrestler competing at the club or university level that isn’t mentioned here, let us know!


2013-14 District Assignments

3A District 1 (at Palm Coast) — Atlantic Coast, Buchholz, First Coast, Fleming Island, Fletcher, Mandarin, Palm Coast, Sandalwood.

2A District 3 (at Englewood) — Ed White, Englewood, Lee, Middleburg, Oakleaf, Orange Park, Ridgeview, Stanton, Terry Parker.

2A District 4 (at Creekside) — Bartram Trail, Creekside, Matanzas, Nease, Ponte Vedra, St. Augustine.

1A District 3 (at Yulee) — Andrew Jackson, Baker County, Bishop Snyder, Fernandina Beach, Forrest, Paxon, Raines, West Nassau, Yulee. (Wow — big district).

1A District 4 (at Bradford) — Bishop Kenny, Bolles, Bradford, Duval Charter, Episcopal, FSDB, Menendez, Providence, University Christian, Wolfson.

1A District 5 (at Villages) — Clay, Crystal River, Dunnellon, Eastside, Interlachen, North Marion, Palatka, Trinity Catholic, Villages.

Sorry, but this is dumb. For District 2 to have five schools, while District 3 has nine and District 4 has 10 is dumb. Plus completely unfair from a competitive standpoint at regionals, since the 5 schools in District 2 have a distinct chance of sending more kids to regionals, and therefore score more points.

Send Baker County and either the Nassau schools or a couple of the western Duval County schools to District 2, re-sprinkle some of District 4 to go into District 3 so that instead of the patently-ridiculous-but-for-geography 5/9/10 cockamamie stuff going on now, you have something crazy like, I don’t know… 8/8/8?

I know. I should never expect a state association to do anything logical. You’d think I’d learn.

Next Level

Next Level Note 11/4

FRIDAY MORNING UPDATE: Hannibal-LaGrange freshman Kyle McClinton (Middleburg ’13) did not start in Thursday night’s HLG dual victory over Benedictine. McClinton said on Twitter that his previous competition last weekend at 149 pounds left him weighing too much for the dual, but he would be at 141 pounds for the Trojans when they travel to Galesburg, Illinois, for the Knox College Invitational on Saturday.

I have not yet been able to determine if Frank Giordano (Ponte Vedra ’13) is on the wrestling roster still for Bacone College. Giordano did not start for Bacone in its 31-6 loss to Baker on Wednesday night.

As for the rest of the wrestlers in the @NEFloridaMatmen coverage area, the 2013-14 college wrestling season kicked off last weekend, with four wrestlers seeing action right away. Two others went through wrestle-offs prior to their seasons beginning later this week and weekend.

In Charleston, SC, Coker College freshmen Shane Carpenter (Creekside ’13) and Robert Parland (University Christian ’13) were part of the Cobras’ inaugural squad competing at The Citadel Open on Saturday.

Carpenter went 4-2 on the day at 184 pounds, with a quarterfinal loss to the eventual bracket champion Jared Holiday of Newberry, 5-1. Carpenter had one pin and three decisions, including a wrestleback quarterfinal 4-1 win over Division I opponent Alex Kruklinski of Appalachian State. Carpenter’s bid for a place-finish fell just short, with an 8-5 loss to Jesse Masters of King in the wrestleback semis.

Parland was 2-2 at 197, losing by fall in the first round to eventual bracket champion Jacob Dempsey of Life University. Parland then had one pin and one decision in the wrestlebacks before Division I wrestler Kacee Hutchinson, also of Appalachian State, eliminated him with a 4-1 decision.

Coker’s next wrestling will be next Saturday at the UNC-Pembroke Open.

Also competing at The Citadel on Saturday for Central Florida’s club team was Chris Fox, a senior (Fleming Island ’10), who was 1-2 at 125 pounds. UCF is an NCWA-sanctioned club team.

Indiana Tech freshman Ben Galloway (Fleming Island ’13) saw his first action of 2013-14 at the Baldwin-Wallace Open in Berea, Ohio, on Saturday. Galloway, competing at 174 pounds, lost by major decision to the eventual bracket champion and went 0-2 on the day.

Galloway might get a chance to catch up with fellow freshman and FI Class of 13 grad Victor Espana, now at Edinboro University, as Edinboro and Indiana Tech will be at the Michigan State Open next Saturday. It’ll be the Fighting Scots’ season-opener.

Speaking of locals who could debut at Sparty, count Ohio State redshirt freshman Josh Fox (University Christian ’12) in that mix. Fox was held out of last Sunday’s competition at Clarion (Pa.) University’s open event after he sustained what brother Zach Fox termed either a broken rib or torn cartilage after Josh sparred with Buckeye alum and U.S. Olympic hopeful J.D. Bergman in practice last week.

McClinton did make his collegiate debut for Hannibal-LaGrange last Saturday as HLG defeated Illinois State University’s club team by a 33-18 count. McClinton came up short at 149 pounds against Redbird junior Kyle Carstens, falling by an 8-3 decision.

We’ll see two more locals make their season debuts this weekend. Washington & Lee co-captain Daniel Igel (Bolles ’10) will kick off his senior season along with the Generals at the Washington & Jefferson (PA) Invitational on Saturday. Additionally, Iowa Western freshman Jamarius Jackson (Ridgeview ’13) will open at the Loras Open on Saturday. Jackson is ranked 10th by InterMat at 133 pounds in the NJCAA preseason national rankings list.

North Central (IL) College freshman Coll Robertson (Ridgeview ’13) competed in the Cardinals’ wrestleoff event last weekend. North Central will not begin its season until November 16th at the Trine University Open.

Next Level

Next Level Note 10/29

The @NEFloridaMatmen area will have at least two wrestlers starting at the collegiate level later on this fall.

We learned a few days back about Washington & Lee senior Daniel Igel (Bolles ’10), who’ll be a co-captain for the Generals in his senior season at W&L. That was our first area college starter news.

However, on Monday, I received a message via Twitter that 2013 Creekside state champion Shane Carpenter will be Coker University’s starting 184-pounder when the Cobras travel to Charleston for The Citadel’s open tournament on Saturday. Carpenter defeated Joseph Holland, a freshman from South Carolina, for the spot.

A few other notes from around the area:

  • Robert Parland (University Christian ’13) is 1-1 in his wrestleoff at 197 pounds for Coker, going up against junior transfer Alex Green, who dropped down from 285 to contend for the spot at 197. I expect a tiebreaker match soon, given Coker’s first competition on Saturday. I have reached out to Coker’s SID (sports information director) for more information from last weekend’s Blue & Gold meet.
  • Kyle McClinton (Middleburg ’13) will be the backup at 141 pounds for Hannibal-LaGrange University, an NAIA program in Missouri. McClinton will be the #2 behind HLGU sophomore Caleb Shuck. The Trojans will face Illinois State University’s club program for their season opener on Saturday.
  • Freshmen Coll Robertson (Ridgeview ’13) and Frank Giordano (Ponte Vedra ’13) will go through wrestleoffs this week. Robertson let me know on Twitter that his wrestleoff at North Central College (IL), a Division III program, is scheduled for Saturday, while the website for Giordano’s school, Bacone (Okla.), also an NAIA program, indicated that intrasquad competition is set for Wednesday evening. Bacone’s competitive season begins on Sunday at the Baker/OCU Open.
  • Indiana Tech freshman Ben Galloway (Fleming Island ’13) went through an intrasquad meet Thursday night according to that wrestling team’s Twitter account; I do know that NAIA-level program will begin competition Saturday at the Baldwin-Wallace (Ohio) Open, so Galloway should see some mat time.
  • Also, no new word on either Edinboro freshman Victor Espana (Fleming Island ’13) or Ohio State sophomore Josh Fox (University Christian ’12) at the Division I level. I would expect Fox to get some mat time on Sunday at the Clarion (PA) Open.
  • Lastly, I have no updates on either Jamarius Jackson (Ridgeview ’13) or Cody Hankerson (University Christian ’13) competing in Iowa. Jackson is at Iowa Western, which opens competition on November 9, and Hankerson had signed with Morningside, which begins on November 15, but as of now does not appear on its roster.

Start the Journey

Practice starts today in Florida, including the 39 wrestling programs found in the Northeast Florida Matmen coverage area. I still am missing about half the schedules and most of the preview forms, though it is very early for those. November 13th (which is what right now I am showing as the area’s first dual) is barely three weeks out! Make a push. Check with your coaches to see if they’ve gotten the info and emails I’ve sent. I’m still needing contact information for three Duval County teams — Paxon, Stanton & Raines.

I got a tweet from a Gainesville-area fan looking to see if I’m going to cover them as well. Not this year. Although I may be spending one weekend a month in the very near future in Gainesville (MBA studies), I have no plans to do so in 2014-15 UNLESS this season exceeds all my expectations. So far, things have gone well enough, but I had hoped to have every schedule in hand by the first day of practice.

That being said, building credibility and a brand worth your time is a daily exercise. Wrestlers know that better than any other athlete, I think.


District sites

Updated Tuesday, October 29th, 2 p.m.

I have been advised by Bishop Snyder coach and dean Rusty Kellum that Yulee will host District 3 competition in Class 1A. Weigh-ins 8 a.m., seed meeting 8:45, wrestling starting at 9:45 a.m. on Saturday, February 1 — the day for 48 district competitions state wide.

I have been advised by Bishop Kenny assistant coach Zach Fox that Bradford will host District 4 competition in 1A. Weigh-ins 8 a.m., wrestling to start at 10, with seed meeting somewhere in between.

I’ve learned through Lee’s schedule that Englewood will host District 3 competition in Class 2A. (Note: This has also been published on the FHSAA website). Wrestling is scheduled to begin at 9 a.m.

I have been advised by Creekside coach Richard Marabell that the Knights will host District 4 competition in Class 2A. Weigh-ins at 9 a.m., seeding at 10, wrestling at 11.

I have been advised by Fleming Island coach Travis Cunningham that Palm Coast will host District 1 competition in Class 3A. Weigh-ins at 9 a.m., wrestling to start at 11, with seed meeting somewhere in between, I’d guess.

It’s a bit early in the game, but NEFLM will visit every local district site on District Day, no matter how much driving we have to do. NEFLM will have brackets from every local district event in all three classes and links to every other district result up on the site as they are posted by FHSAA. Same goes for regionals. As for state, well, we will BE ON HAND for live reporting on Twitter and tons of coverage otherwise.

Because February is…No…Sleep…Til…LAKELAND!

Next Level

Next Level note 10/14

Updated Friday, October 18, 9 a.m. —

For now, fomer University Christian standout and 2012 state champion Josh Fox will have to wait his turn at 184 pounds for Ohio State.

Fox lost by technical fall in the third period to 2012-13 Ohio State University starter Kenny Courts in Thursday night’s wrestleoffs at French Fieldhouse in Columbus, Ohio. Wrestleoffs have traditionally determined at least the initial starting lineup for a Division I wrestling team. As of now, by virtue of Fox’s Tuesday night preliminary victory, he is the No. 2 at the weight.

We’re continuing to monitor our other wrestlers who’ve gone on to compete at the collegiate level. Coker College is holding its intrasquad Blue & Gold competition on October 26, and Division III teams began practice this week.

Interesting note — in researching Iowa Western’s schedule to see when Ridgeview 2xer Jamarius Jackson’s season would begin — I saw a familiar name. Jackson’s head coach is Josh Watts, whom I covered back when he was in high school in Iowa. Interviewed him a couple of times, a long, long time ago.

Watch this space for more Next Level news and notes!


Cooking with gas

Thanks to my newest friend, Nassau Preps, I have successfully navigated the “create page” issue. I have several new updates to the site, with the composite 13-14 schedule getting its own page, plus all prior FHSAA district and regional tournament results from 2012 and 2013 attached, as well as state tournaments from those years and 2011 attached on another page.

Here’s the latest update of my plans: On Monday, emails will go out to all of the coaches with my preview form attached. Hopefully, I will get those back by the time the season begins and can add them to my comprehensive team-by-team preview. I also will continue the quest for more schedules. This past Monday was a good day, but I still have less than half. Here’s a list of what I still need:

  • Duval public schools — Mandarin, Sandalwood, Ed White, Fletcher, Atlantic Coast, Paxon, Englewood, Stanton, Lee, Wolfson, Jackson, Raines.
  • Duval private schools — University Christian, Providence, Episcopal.
  • Clay County — Oakleaf, Middleburg.
  • St. Johns County — St. Augustine, Bartram Trail, Menendez, FSDB. Plus Baker County.

It’s critical that I get these schedules back ASAP. We are just a month away from the season beginning!