Editor’s Note: Coming out weight-by-weight, bouncing between three different districts.
1A-District 5 preview
When & where: Saturday at Villages High School, The Villages, located nearer the Florida Gulf. I’d use the directions Coach Reape gave out last year…I could post them, but I was told mine were not terribly helpful. I’ll wave my hand toward the southwest and go, “Thataway…forever.”
Team preview: Forthcoming after the individual weight classes are all posted.
Projected competitors by school (with Matmen unofficial records for locals): Dylan Fabiani (Clay, 36-9); Marcellus Metson (Palatka, 12-6); Dalton David (Crystal River); Collin Smith (Trinity Catholic); Kevin Rochon (Villages). No expected wrestlers for Eastside, Interlachen, Dunnellon or North Marion.
Projected finish: 1. Fabiani. 2. David. 3. Metson. 4. Rochon.
The skinny: I don’t expect that Fabiani will face a tough challenge from this group this week. David was third at districts a year ago, and while I think that Metson is good enough to take second, I don’t just want to go all locals at the top. Rochon could be interesting, too, as a possible dark horse for second, since Villages and Crystal River are going to battle for second and third.
Projected competitors by school: Chris Merring (Clay, 26-16); Christian Hamilton (Interlachen, 4-22); Dale Green (Palatka, 4-11); Nicholas Bunts (Crystal River); Austin Bonasota (Villages). No expected wrestlers for Eastside, Dunnellon, North Marion, Trinity Catholic.
Projected finish: 1. Bonasota. 2. Merring. 3. Bunts. 4. Green.
The skinny: Merring (9th locally, 11th statewide) has closed out the regular season really nicely, and it truly would not surprise me if he won this bracket, with a very solid third-place finish at Clay Rotary two weeks ago. Bonasota was a district runnerup at 106 last year, however, going 5-2 against now two-time district champion Andrew Klopman, who is now at Matanzas after winning at 106 for the Blue Devils in 2014.
Projected competitors by school: Cody Taylor (Clay, 23-12); Dean Lowe (Palatka, 20-15); Jesse Stills (Crystal River); Bryce Follett (Dunnellon); Graylen Wilson (Villages). No expected wrestlers for Eastside, Interlachen, North Marion, Trinity Catholic.
Projected finish: 1. Taylor. 2. Follett. 3. Lowe. 4. Stills.
The skinny: Taylor (3rd locally, 10th statewide) has some solid finishes this season in some very difficult competition, not the least of which was a finalist berth at Clay Rotary two weeks ago. The reward for all of that hard work and effort is a day where he can go out and dominate, and I expect that will occur Saturday in this bracket. It would not surprise me if Lowe knocked off Follett and reached the final. Lowe was third a year ago and Follett 2nd, but they didn’t wrestle.
Projected competitors by school: Dale Browning (Clay, 29-7); Cade Mason (Interlachen, 13-19); Shade Ward (Palatka, 20-13); Chance Luckey (Crystal River). No expected wrestlers from Eastside, Dunnellon, North Marion, Trinity Catholic or Villages.
Projected finish: 1. Browning. 2. Ward. 3. Luckey. 4. Mason.
The skinny: Browning (#1 locally, 4th statewide) should polish off the bracket with a pair of falls. That doesn’t take anything away from Ward, who should be far ahead of the rest of the group. I don’t have a lot to go off of with Luckey, who may have to call upon the power of his name to avoid finishing fourth when he meets Mason in the third-place match.
Projected competitors by school: Roy Runnels (Clay, 25-18); Jacquez White (Eastside, 16-6); Logan Diana (Palatka, 5-13); Michael Ciccone (Crystal River), Joshua Stopyra (Villages). No expected wrestlers from Interlachen, Dunnellon, North Marion or Trinity Catholic.
Projected finish: 1. Ciccone. 2. Runnels. 3. White. 4. Diana.
The skinny: Ciccone was a district runnerup last year, and while I’m not convinced that he would necessarily beat Runnels — in fact I would think Runnels’ competitive level that he’s seen this year would help him get to that district title — experience in the post-season does count. White is far ahead of Diana and Stopyra, I would think.
Projected competitors by school: Julian Summa (Clay, 26-13); Travis Webb (Eastside, 18-2); Robert Castaneda (Trinity Catholic). No expected wrestlers from Interlachen, Palatka, Crystal River, Dunnellon, North Marion or Villages.
Projected finish: 1. Summa. 2. Webb. 3. Castaneda.
The skinny: Summa (5th locally, 10th statewide) will have hopefully recovered from the injury sustained at Clay Rotary two weeks ago; if not, the Blue Devils will have a backup plan in place. Webb is perhaps Eastside’s best lighter wrestler and has been in the area’s top 10 during the course of the season.
Projected competitors by school: Connor Green (Clay, 24-19); Robert Taylor (Eastside, 8-10); Joel Pelton (Crystal River), Jacob Mentzer (Trinity Catholic), Ryan Hatcher (Villages). No expected wrestlers from Interlachen, Palatka, Dunnellon, North Marion.
Projected finish: 1. Pelton. 2. Green. 3. Taylor. 4. Mentzer.
The skinny: Pelton went six minutes with 2014 Clay graduate Austin Luke last year, and I should think he’d be favored to win the district this go-round. Green is off to a nice start in the Clay program, and he’s got a shot at 30 wins before the seaon’s out. This will be a good learning experience weekend for him, and he’ll have a shot at a decent region draw at home with a runnerup showing here.
Projected competitors by school: Adam Breindel (Clay, 36-3); Harold Woods (Eastside, 17-12); Brennan Wykoff (Interlachen, 20-11); Lutrell Smith (Palatka, 12-13); Anthony Riggins (Trinity Catholic). No expected wrestlers from Crystal River, Dunnellon, North Marion, Villages.
Projected finish: 1. Breindel. 2. Woods. 3. Wykoff. 4. Smith.
The skinny: I think this will be an all-Matmen contingent making it to Clay, although I could certainly guess that there could be some to a lot of shuffling in play. At least, there could be shuffling between the 2 and the 4 spots, as I don’t think anybody is going to get between Breindel and another district title.
Projected competitors by school: Trevor Larson (Clay, 31-13); Tequavius Smith (Eastside, 17-9); Tristan Cannon (Interlachen, 19-6); Evan Gastelum (Palatka, 11-16); Chance Holland (Crystal River); Tyler Clagett (North Marion); Ronnie Fernandez (Trinity Catholic). No expected wrestlers from Dunnellon, Villages.
Projected finish: 1. Larson. 2. Fernandez. 3. Cannon. 4. Smith.
The skinny: We finally see North Marion enter the district picture, and they have some solid uppers, but the most solid wrestler in this bracket is going to be Larson (7th locally, 5th statewide). I don’t expect him to have a huge challenge on Saturday. Am kind of thinking that Fernandez, Cannon and Smith are all on a similar level, and that probably means the best day is going to win, which in this case means reach the final.
Projected competitors by school: Tristain Sichmeller (Clay, 35-7); Camilo Moraga-Lewy (Eastside, 9-8); Logan Hasting (Interlachen, 18-14); Kedrick Davis (Palatka, 11-9); Jaret Flynn (Crystal River); Willie James (North Marion); Isaiah Stafford (Trinity Catholic). No expected wrestlers from Dunnellon or Villages.
Projected finish: 1. Sichmeller. 2. James. 3. Hasting. 4. Flynn.
The skinny: Last year, Sichmeller (3rd locally, 5th statewide) was a weight class up from this one at 182, and James was at 160, where he finished fourth after losing by fall to Caleb Loyd. I think Sichmeller should be able to control his own destiny fairly well. Hasting is slightly ahead of Flynn and Davis, but I could see Davis in the fourth spot as well.
Projected competitors by school: Jon Whiting (Clay, 38-9); Alandre Abrams (Eastside, 8-18); Lance Hasting (Interlachen, 25-4); Bryan Smith (Palatka, 10-16); Eddie Bennis (Crystal River). No expected wrestlers from Dunnellon, North Marion, Trinity Catholic or Villages.
Projected finish: 1. Whiting. 2. Bennis. 3. Hasting. 4. Smith.
The skinny: It’s the first weight class in the district where someone other than a Clay wrestler has a state ranking. In this case, it’s Bennis (6th statewide) who should be going up against Whiting (3rd locally, 5th statewide). Last year, it was Sichmeller who defeated Bennis in the district final here, and this time Whiting will take his shot at it. Hasting will be far ahead of Smith and Abrams for third, and Smith has a second-period fall in hand against Abrams.
Projected competitors by school: Kaleb Collins (Clay, 29-9); Kenneth Vance (Eastside, 23-7); Jesse Brown (Interlachen, 8-15); Ira Dixon (Palatka, 8-11); Dante Ayala (Crystal River); Josh Packard (Dunnellon). No expected wrestlers from North Marion, Trinity Catholic or Villages.
Projected finish: 1. Collins. 2. Vance. 3. Ayala. 4. Dixon.
The skinny: About all I’m sure of here is that Collins (3rd locally, 6th statewide) and Vance — who dropped down from 220 late in the season for Westside Duals two weeks ago — are the class of the field. It wouldn’t surprise me to see a number of different combinations after that. Vance has been very close to an area top-10 ranking both times this season.
Projected competitors by school: Jeremy Beaulieu (Clay, 26-8); Harrison Meyer (Interlachen, 8-5); Eron Carter (Palatka, 29-7); Thomas Najdek (Crystal River); Andrew Benitez (Dunnellon); Alex Williams (North Marion). No expected wrestlers from Eastside, Trinity Catholic or Villages.
Projected finish: 1. Carter. 2. Beaulieu. 3. Williams. 4. Najdek.
The skinny: Beaulieu (3rd locally, 7th statewide) has been out for some time, while Carter (4th locally, 6th statewide) has been building himself into a statewide podium threat to match Beaulieu. They haven’t met yet this season, they’ll travel a combined total of around 600 miles to do so. Should be a great final. I could see Meyer in the mix to make it out.
Projected competitors by school: Roland Samec (Clay, 30-11); Bernard Vance (Eastside, 5-12); possibly Dallas Vaughn (Interlachen, 19-3); Jared Hendrix (Palatka, 8-9); Phillip Baer (North Marion); John Glenn (Trinity Catholic). No expected wrestlers from Crystal River, Dunnellon or Villages.
Projected finish: 1. Samec. 2. Vaughn. 3. Baer. 4. Glenn.
The skinny: Samec beat Vaughn in the finals of last year’s district tournament, but the interesting development this year is that Vaughn hasn’t been in the lineup after a disqualification against Lee’s Demetris Harris. Perhaps Saturday will be his first day back. Hendrix has an outside shot of making it into the field, but this bracket should be Samec’s, who seems to be getting noticeably better every week.