2A-District 3 meet preview
When & where: Saturday starting at 10 a.m. at Englewood High School, located due northeast of University Avenue and & I-95. Finals are to be determined per the FHSAA website.
Teams in the field: Headlining the field is co-#3 Orange Park, which took its lumps in early-season competitions in order to prepare for the post-season. The Raiders’ strongest challenge is likely to come from fellow Clay County opponents Middleburg and Oakleaf, but honorable mention Ed White should perform well. Terry Parker finished the regular season with its strongest effort of the year, taking fourth in its own 14-team dual tournament. Englewood, Lee and Stanton may struggle for team points, but will have a chance to qualify a few individuals out for region next week in Tallahassee.
We’ll do this like we did last night, starting with what we know and what we think and then make projections from there.
106 — I do not see a 106 for Oakleaf or Stanton. I expect the following wrestlers to compete: Roderick Evans for Ed White, either Toni McDonald or Archie Brown for Englewood, Dylan Rossetti for Middleburg, Brandon Rice for Orange Park, possibly Aaron Craun for Ridgeview, Ivory Durham for Lee and Chris Walker for Terry Parker. Based on what I’ve seen, I would project Rossetti to be the district champion. Rossetti would certainly have been ranked during the regular season if we had received all results for the Broncos, and he’s right there in the mix for a top-3 spot, maybe even the #1. I don’t think the field will be too much for him this weekend. I would expect to see Evans in the final along with Rossetti. Evans was the runnerup at Gateway, and has had several positive tournament experiences, but he did struggle at Clay Rotary. If Brown is at 106, I would probably go with him and Durham 3-4; if not, then I would go with Durham and Walker moving on to next week.
113 — I do not see a 113 for Lee, Stanton or Terry Parker. I expect the following wrestlers to compete: Kevin Johns for Ed White, either McDonald or Brown for Englewood, Robert Hammock for Middleburg, Chris Griffin for Oakleaf, Marcus Reid for Orange Park (10th statewide) and either Harmen Scareman-Stoops (more likely) or Jeremiah Watson for Ridgeview (15th statewide at 120). Based on what I’ve seen, I would project…a conditional pick. If Watson is here, I think I would go with Watson in a tight match over Reid to be the district champion. If Watson is at 120, as appears to be more likely, then I would take Reid decisively to be the district champion. Ridgeview’s lineup worked best for duals with Watson down at this weight, but with his frame, it had to be a tough slog to make 13. What that means is that it’s likely that Justin Trinh won’t wrestle 20 as he has for the Panthers in dual meets this year. Watson-Reid would be a great final. Not as sure about Reid-Griffin, as I only have five of Griffin’s matches, but he did beat Tristen Lucessi of Nease at Orange Park, so he can compete. I would see Brown battling for third and fourth, possibly Johns in the mix too if Watson is at 120.
120 — I do not see a 120 for Lee and possibly not for Middleburg. I expect the following wrestlers to compete: Chase Callaway for Ed White, either Jonathan Galeas or Tanner Kern for Englewood, (if anyone) Michael Pratt for Middleburg, either Luke Simons or Marc Ataiza for Oakleaf, Tyrese Germain for Orange Park, Watson or Trinh for Ridgeview, Justin Cowell for Stanton and Dalton Deckerhoff for Terry Parker. Based on what I’ve seen, I would pick Watson decisively to be the district champion if he’s at this weight and either Callaway or Germain if Watson is not here. Watson is a fun wrestler to watch with his length and leverage advantages. I would see him being in substantial control of this weight class on Saturday. I have not seen much of Germain this year, but Callaway surprised and impressed me at Gateway. He had eventual champion Brandon Bemister mostly beaten until he had no answer for Bemister’s jiujitsu-influenced style late in the title match. The Oakleaf entry will contend, either way, for 3-4, as would Trinh if he’s here.
126 — I do not see a 126 for Lee or Terry Parker. I expect the following wrestlers to compete: Armond Holmes of Ed White (if healthy, he’s been out for quite a while), either Galeas or Kern for Englewood, Tristan Tollison for Middleburg, either Ataiza or Riggs Wolf for Oakleaf, Fuhteh Tsai for Orange Park, either Trevor Belden (most likely) or Nick Robinson for Ridgeview and Stephen Hlawnchhing for Stanton. Based on what I’ve seen this season, if all are healthy, I would project Holmes (15th statewide) as the district champion, but only after a hard-fought match with Belden in the finals. Holmes and Belden went 10-6 during the season, in the finals at Optimist two months ago, and it had its back-and-forth moments before Holmes seized control down the stretch. I just hope he’s healthy enough to go. Oakleaf’s entry and Tsai should battle for third. Tsai has spent quite a bit of time at 132 to help the team this year, which has been a stretch for him. Tollison is a bit of a wild card possibility to advance, but he could be in the mix.
132 — I do not see a 132 for Englewood or Lee. I expect the following wrestlers to compete: Juwan Lee of Ed White, Tyler Langford of Middleburg, Anthony Hauser of Oakleaf (8th statewide), Joey Epstein of Ridgeview (11th statewide), Jacob Cowell of Stanton and Jessica Gardepe of Terry Parker. Based on what I’ve seen, I project Hauser as the district champion. Hauser might sometimes get overlooked in this crazy-deep weight class, but he’s the fourth-highest ranked wrestler among all 2A local competitors at all weights. It’s going to be a rematch among friends in the final, as Hauser should face Epstein. But Lee is a very solid third; hopefully he’ll be able to get through without jeopardizing his hurt ankle, sustained at Gateway two weeks ago. I think Langford might be the best of the rest to take fourth and move on to region next week.
138 — I do not see a 138 for Lee or Terry Parker. I would expect the following wrestlers to compete: Darien Tucker for Ed White, Kevin Herrera for Englewood, Travis Neubeck for Middleburg (12th statewide), Tristen Roderick for Oakleaf, Jordan Harbin for Orange Park, Mark Coaxum for Ridgeview and Josh Briones for Stanton. Based on what I’ve seen, I would project Neubeck as the district champion. He can get over-aggressive at times, but when he’s on he’s incredibly difficult to defeat. I like guys who wrestle with a high motor, and Neubeck’s is always cranked over. He’s got a ptetty solid field, actually, to contend with, what with Tucker, Herrera, Roderick and Coaxum all here. Somebody’s not going to get to compete next week. I don’t think it will be Herrera, who also has something to prove after not taking home a Gateway title. Tucker has been consistent all year, Roderick seems very comfortable at 138 after starting the year at 126, and Coaxum has had some good matches. This will be a solid foursome going to Tallahassee, whoever winds up going.
145 — I do not see a 145 for possibly Ridgeview. I would expect the following wrestlers to compete: Devonta Malcolm for Ed White, Tavian Whitehead for Englewood, Keath Sawdo for Middleburg, Rachael Kreier or (possibly) Cole Benson for Oakleaf, Demetruis Phillips for Orange Park, Nicholas Stiles for Stanton (16th statewide) and Shaqur Lampkins for Terry Parker. It’s possible that Chase Gold may appear here for Ridgeview. Based on what I’ve seen, I would project Stiles as the district champion. I was surprised, to be sure, when Stiles was pinned in the finals of the Gateway, and the first thing I thought was, “Competition.” His opponent had seen more of it. I suspect Stiles, who is by far Stanton’s best wrestler, will be ready for the varying looks he’ll see Saturday. I think it is most likely to see either Sawdo or Phillips in the final. Both are solid wrestlers and have had good seasons. Sawdo would have been in the rankings mix at 145, or right near it, and Phillips is talented. I think Malcolm and Lampkins, or Benson if he’s here, will battle it out for the final qualifying spot.
152 — I would expect the following wrestlers to compete: Darius Martin for Ed White, Justin Griffis for Englewood, JT Davie for Middleburg, Andre Carter for Oakleaf, Mitchell Harris of Orange Park (11th statewide), John Blizzard for Stanton and Samary Duncombe for Terry Parker. Pretty deep field, but based on what I’ve seen, I would project Harris as the solid to heavy favorite to win the district. Harris is crazy quick and strong, and can string together moves really quickly for an upper-middleweight. I think he will have a reasonably easy go of it, even in this deep field. I have to think he will be facing Carter in the final, but it could also be Davie, as those two went 5-4 with Carter winning earlier in the season. Davie benefited so much from dropping down from 160, where he had a bit of a strength disadvantage. Carter and Davie and Blizzard are the choices for 2-4, and it’s going to be another very solid field going on to Tallahassee. Davie and Carter could be a great semifinal to watch.
160 — I expect a full nine-man bracket with the following wrestlers competing: Sergio Jordan of Ed White, Hosea Jones of Englewood, John Rance or Cody Eastwood of Middleburg, Lucas Karl of Oakleaf, Skyler Taylor of Orange Park (14th statewide), Marcus Gomez of Ridgeview, David Worrell-Johnson of Lee, Sothea Nou of Stanton and Keaun Watts of Terry Parker. Based on what I’ve seen, I project Taylor as the solid favorite to become the district champion. Taylor’s drop to 160 has only helped the Raiders, and it’s helped him. He didn’t start the year expected to be a star for Orange Park, but he has been one this year. It should be an interesting three-way battle for second through fourth beetween Jordan, Nou and Karl. I would give tne nod at this point to Jordan. Gomez hasn’t had a lot of matches for the Panthers, but he could be in the mix for the top four.
170 — I do not see a 170 for Lee. I do expect the following wrestlers to compete: Andrew Holdman for Ed White, Joseph Garcia for Englewood, either David Ayres (more likely) or Eastwood for Middleburg, Josh Detrick for Oakleaf, Frank Waters for Orange Park (11th statewide), DJ Gibson for Ridgeview, Sean Mangum for Stanton and Jessie Pafford for Terry Parker. Based on what I’ve seen, I would project Waters as the solid favorite to become the district champion. I wish I could have seen a full season out of Waters; I’m sure he and the Raiders would concur with that. It’s a sneaky-deep field, this one. I think he’d be most likely to face Ayres, if he’s here. Ayres has been state-ranked himself during the course of the season. Detrick and Gibson have both had some good wins and solid seasons for their teams, and Pafford is the Braves’ team leader. I’d like to see him get out as well. It’s going to be a very competitive quartet that goes to Tallahassee next week.
182 — I do not see a 182 for Ridgeview or Stanton. I would expect the following wrestlers to compete:Bianca Lumsden or Juliet Medina for Ed White, Ashton Harris for Englewood, Jonathan Shoen for Middleburg (15th statewide), Sean Tairovski-Romeu for Oakleaf, Chase Lasater for Orange Park, possibly (it’s been a while) Tyrone Williams for Lee and Barry Pierre of Terry Parker. Based on what I’ve seen, I would project Shoen as the solid favorite to be the district champion. Shoen is another Middleburg who would have been ranked except for those dadgum results. He’s beaten some pretty solid wrestlers during the course of the year. Now’s his chance to shine on a brighter stage. I would expect an all-Clay final between Shoen and Lasater, who’s a big freshman with a nice frame. He will be a monster in a couple of years. I would take Harris over Pierre for third in this group. It’s a pretty well-defined foursome. Tairovski-Romeu would have to pull an upset to advance.
195 — I do not see a 195 for Oakleaf, Lee or Stanton, making this a six-person bracket. I would expect the following wrestlers to compete: Atyrus McDonald or Lumsden for Ed White, Xavier Nieves for Englewood, David Thompson for Middleburg, Chasen Irvine for Orange Park, Robert Smith for Ridgeview and Andy Meda of Terry Parker. Based on what I’ve seen, I would project Irvine as the heavy favorite to become the district champion. With the small bracket, tests by competition are going to be key, as only one or two matches will make a district titlist. Irvine has improved a great deal since the beginning of the season, and should show off that improvement Saturday. I would expect Nieves to make the final as well. Was hoping to see how he’d do at Gateway, but he didn’t wrestle on the second day. In a one-day tournament, he should do better. He’s got a good frame. Meda has a slight edge over Smith and Thompson for the third spot, but it could go for any of them. A healthy McDonald, if he’s here, could take third as well.
220 — I do not see a 220 for Oakleaf, possibly Middleburg or Lee as well. I would expect the following wrestlers to compete: Avery Wilds for Ed White, Nicholas Wiggins for Englewood, Devon Brooks for Orange Park (7th statewide), Jarek Horner for Ridgeview, Alex Richardson for Stanton and Kerry Hardine for Terry Parker (16th statewide). I’m not as sure about Middleburg or Lee. Ammon Meeks will be either at this weight or 285 for the Broncos, while Lee did have Nicholas Woodward for a few matches, and he was very good, but we haven’t seen him since December. Based on what I’ve seen, I would project Brooks as the overwhelming favorite to win the weight class. Brooks has been very good all season for the Raiders and should be a medalist threat once again even after dropping down from 285, where he was fifth at state. I don’t think he’ll face anybody besides Hardine in the title match. I would see Wilds as the choice for third, and a battle for fourth between an improving Richardson and Horner for the fourth spot.
285 — I do not see a 285 for Stanton, possibly Middleburg or Oakleaf as well. I would expect the following wrestlers to compete: Kelton Johnson for Ed White, Eric Hill for Englewood, Christian Tejada for Orange Park (11th statewide), Malcolm Kirce for Ridgeview (4th statewide), Demetris Harris for Lee and Demetris Hembert for Terry Parker. I’m not as sure about Middleburg, because Meeks — who would certainly have a good shot at moving on at 220 — might be there, and Oakleaf had a 285 in Joseph Prieto to start the year, but he hasn’t wrestled for several weeks. Based on what I’ve seen, I would project a helluva match between Kirce and Tejada in the final, with Kirce taking the district championship. That will be a great match for both of them, who have excellent shots to podium in two weeks. I would expect Johnson to be the solid choice for third in this field, learning a lot behind the two seniors. If Meeks is here, he would be looking at fourth, but it would probably be his to have; if he’s at 220, it will be interesting to see who makes it to the third-place match.