2A-District 3 preview capsule

2A-District 3
Team synopsis: A year, this district was the Orange Park show, as Raider after Raider, seemingly, racked up individual titles to push Orange Park to an astounding 100-point victory.

While I’m tipping the Raiders to repeat in 2015, I don’t expect it will be as easy even though Orange Park has a number of returners with a good amount of varsity experience. OP had a tremendous senior class leave last year, a senior class that had me thinking about ranking them #1 in the area overall before injuries and other factors got in the way of that senior class’s expectations.

Still, though, OP has four returning district champions, just one fewer than the rest of the district combined. But make no mistake. Expect Middleburg to be better, expect Oakleaf to be better (particularly once it starts wrestling) and expect Ed White to be better. If the Commanders remain injury-free, they could be a dark horse pick in the Gateway this year.

Projected finish: 1. Orange Park. 2. Middleburg. 3. Oakleaf. 4. Ed White. 5. Ridgeview. 6. Terry Parker. 7. Englewood. 8. Stanton. 9. Robert E. Lee.

Ed White Commanders
Coach: Jaylen Lee, 2nd year in position.
2013-14: 10-5 in duals. 1st at Optimist Invitational, 29th at GCS Rotary, 6th at Gateway, 5th at 2A-District 3 meet, 16th at 2A-Region 1 meet, T-62nd at 2A state meet.
Returning starters (15+ matches):
Seniors: Andrew Holdman (11-9 at 170 in 13-14), Devonta Malcolm (18-8 at 145 in 13-14)
Juniors: Roderick Evans (district runnerup, 25-6 at 106 in 13-14), Kevin Johns (8-8 at 113 in 13-14), Kelton Johnson (district 3rd, region runnerup, 24-6 at 285 in 13-14), Sergio Jordan (district runnerup, 23-11 at 160 in 13-14), Juwan Lee (district 4th, 21-9 at 132 in 13-14), Darien Tucker (district 4th, 25-8 at 138 in 13-14), Avery Wilds (district 3rd, 20-9 at 220 in 13-14).
Sophomores: Trevor Hasan (1-15 at 152 in 13-14), Juliette Medina (2-22 at 182 in 13-14).
NEFLM’s take: A year from now, this team could threaten to win the Gateway. They’re going to be tough enough there right now, if everyone stays healthy.

Englewood Rams
Coach: Jacob Scott.
2013-14: 11-10 in duals. 9th at Optimist Invitational, 10th at Gatgeway, 7th at 2A-District 3 meet, 22nd at 2A-Region 1 meet.
Returning starters (15+ matches):
Seniors: Kevin Herrera (district runnerup, 23-8 at 138 in 13-14), Xavier Nieves (district runnerup, 20-8 at 195 in 13-14).
Juniors: Johnathan Galeas (14-14 at 120 in 13-14), Joseph Garcia (district 4th, 11-9 at 170 in 13-14), Justin Griffis (district 4th, 12-14 at 160 in 13-14), Toni McDonald (8-12 at 106 in 13-14)
Sophomores: Archie Brown (district 4th, 19-12 at 113 in 13-14), Tanner Kern (11-11 at 126 in 13-14).
NEFLM’s take: I expect this program to take the same leaps its football counterpart did this year. Herrera and Brown are both fun to watch.

Middleburg Broncos
Coach: Rick Wetherill, 4th year in position.
2013-14: Duals record unknown. 4th at St Johns River Conference, 10th at Westside Kiwanis, T-25th at GCS Rotary, 2nd at 2A-District 3 meet, 14th at 2A-Region 1 meet, T-51st at 2A state meet.
Returning starters (15+ matches):
Seniors: Tyler Langford (8-15 at 132 in 13-14), Zach McClinton (2-year starter for Broncos from 2011-13), Travis Neubeck (district champ, region champ, 31-8 at 138 at 13-14), Tristan Tollison (district 4th, record unknown at 126 in 13-14).
Juniors: Ammon Meeks (13-22 at 220 in 13-14), Dylan Rossetti (district champ, 35-12 at 106 in 13-14), Jonathan Shoen (district champ, 23-5 at 182 in 13-14).
Sophomores: Cody Eastwood (9-26 at 160 in 13-14), Keath Sawdo (district 3rd, 30-12 at 145 in 13-14).
NEFLM’s take: Although not all of the expected returners came back, some of the stars that are back are solid enough for the Broncos to challenge hard for the district title. McClinton’s return after a year away is welcome.

Oakleaf Knights
Coach: Dana Arthur, 1st year in position.
2013-14: 9-16 in dual meets. 17th at Capital City Classic, 18th at GCS Rotary, unknown finish at Seabreeze Invite, 3rd at 2A-District 3 meet, 10th at 2A-Region 1 meet, T-34th at 2A state meet.
Returning starters (15+ matches):
Seniors: Andre Carter (district runnerup, 27-13 at 152 in 13-14), Chris Griffin (district runnerup, region 4th, 13-6 at 113 in 13-14), Tristen Roderick (district 3rd, region 4th, 27-16 at 138 in 13-14).
Juniors: Josh Detrick (district 3rd, 20-14 at 170 in 13-14), Sean Tairovski-Romeu (3-19 at 182 in 13-14), Riggs Wolf (7-9 at 126 in 13-14)
Sophomores: Cole Benson (9-8 at 145 in 13-14), Luke Karl (district 3rd, 25-14 at 160 in 13-14), Shawn Lanier (district 3rd, region 4th, 16-12 at 120 in 13-14), Luke Simons (12-7 at 113 in 13-14).
NEFLM’s take: Will get off to a late start, but Knights could sneak up on some people, as not a lot of teams return 3 state qualifiers and Oakleaf does. Transfers Jason Davis (Fleming) and Ashley Williams (Sandalwood) give the Knights some more oomph in the uppers, which they will welcome at season end.

Orange Park Raiders
Coach: Patrick Crawford, 1st year in position.
2013-14: 24-10 in duals. 2nd at St Johns River Conference, 18th at Palm Coast Rotary, 2A-District 1 champ, 2nd at 2A-Region 1 meet, 12th at 2A state meet.
Returning starters (15+ matches):
Seniors: Brandon Rice (district 3rd, 11-14 at 106 in 13-14), Kirtis Davis (district 3rd, 10-15 at 132 in 13-14), Tyrese Germain (district champ, region runnerup, 18-10 at 126 in 13-14), Chasen Irvine (district champ, region 4th, 29-18 at 195 in 13-14), Skyler Taylor (district champ, 35-13 at 160 in 13-14), Ricky Torres (8-17 at 152 in 13-14), Fuhteh Tsai (district runnerup, 14-27 at 126 in 13-14).
Juniors: Jordan Harbin (15-22 at 138 in 13-14).
Sophomores: Marcus Reid (district champ, region champ, 36-5 at 113 in 13-14).
NEFLM’s take: The graduation losses of the kind OP sustained after last season would crush a lot of teams. The Raiders are still very solid, though, as last year’s juniors learned a great deal that should help them as seniors this year.

Ridgeview Panthers
Coach: Zeth Nolda, 2nd year in position.
2013-14: 11-8 in duals. 2nd at Optimist Invitational, 9th at Westside Kiwanis, 17th at GCS Rotary, 7th at Billy Saylor Invitational, 4th at 2A-District 3 meet, 13th at 2A-Region 1 meet, T-26th at 2A state meet.
Returning starters (15+ matches):
Juniors: Trevor Belden (district champ, 26-9 at 126 in 13-14), Justin Trinh (14-9 at 120 in 13-14).
NEFLM’s take: This could be a rebuilding year for the Panthers, who were hit by both graduation and other losses at the start of this season. Ridgeview always found a way to compete last season.

Robert E. Lee Generals
Coach: Ricky Hicks, 1st year in position.
2013-14: 1-12 in duals. 36th at GCS Rotary, 14th at Gateway, 9th at 2A-District 3 meet, T-28th at 2A-Region 1 meet.
Returning starters (15+ matches):
Seniors: Ivory Durham (district 4th, 10-10 at 106 in 13-14).
Juniors: Thomas Baker (0-29 at 152 in 13-14), Tony Belle (district runnerup, 29-8 at 145 in 13-14).
Sophomores: Demetris Harris (district 4th, 11-21 at 285 in 13-14), David Worrell-Johnson (6-24 at 160 in 13-14).
NEFLM’s take: Numbers could continue to be a problem for the Generals. Belle is one of Duval’s best juniors, at any weight.

Stanton Blue Devils
Coach: Emarlos Leroy, 2nd year in position.
2013-14: 9-20 in duals. 8th at Rob Bierman Invite, 11th at Gateway, 8th at 2A-District 3 meet, T-23rd at 2A-Region 1 meet.
Returning starters (15+ matches):
Seniors: Jacob Cowell (12-23 at 132 in 13-14), Sothea Nou (19-9 at 160 in 13-14), Nicholas Stiles (district champ, 36-3 at 145 in 13-14).
Juniors: Justin Cowell (14-19 at 120 in 13-14)
Sophomores: Stephen Hlawnchhing (20-18 at 126 in 13-14).
NEFLM’s take: Hopefully Stiles will have recovered from injuries sustained at districts a year ago. Stanton, too, struggled with numbers issues all of last year.

Terry Parker Braves
Coach: John Dunn.
2013-14: Duals record unknown. 6th at Optimist Invitational, 8th at Gateway, 6th at 2A-District 3 meet, 21st at 2A-Region 1 meet.
Returning starters (15+ matches, records unknown):
Seniors: Jessica Gardepe (132), Casey Nydoske (160), Kerry Hardine (district runnerup at 220).
Juniors: Samary Duncombe (152), Chris Walker (106)
Sophomores: Dalton Deckerhoff (district 4th at 120), Matthew Walls (220).
NEFLM’s take: The Braves just battled in every environment; from a grit perspective, they’re second to none. Parker should field a full team with more experience under its belt this season.

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I covered wrestling for 15 years up north and "retired" in both 1992 and again in 2011. But I couldn't stay away. Started Northeast Florida Matmen in 2013, Northwest Florida Matmen in 2015. We combined those sites into North Florida Matmen in the summer of 2018. And, we've started South Georgia Matmen in November of 2018. Our work is never paywalled, our content is searchable for all time. We're here because the kids keep lacing 'em up, so we'll keep writing 'em up.

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