2A-District 4 meet preview
When & where: Today starting at 3 p.m. at Matanzas High School. Finals are scheduled, per the FHSAA website, “immediately after the semis.”
Directions: (Per Google Maps) Take I-95 south to exit 298 for US-1. Take a right toward Bunnell. Follow US-1 southbound for approximately 1.5 miles to Old Kings Road. Turn left and follow for 4.5 miles to the high school, located at 3535 Old Kings Road in Palm Coast.
Team outlook: Unlike the previous two years, 2A-4 should be Matanzas’ to lose, as the Pirates have achieved some separation. Key will be to see how close Bartram Trail comes to Creekside in the race for 2nd. The Bears took a hit at Clay Rotary after a sparkling January. I’m looking at Nease and St. Augustine battling for fourth, with Ponte Vedra taking a clear experience advantage over Paxon, which is in 2A-4 for the first time at least since we started this up.
Individual projections (unofficial Matmen records added)
Prediction: 1. Kristopher Smith, St. Augustine (39-6). 2. Sean Arnold, Nease (27-8). 3. Nicholas Vugman, Bartram Trail (27-11), 4, Colin Brown (16-22)/Jake Summers (19-11), Creekside.
Snapshot: Smith has a chance to podium at states…Arnold & Vugman have been nice freshmen for their teams…Summers started year at 6, Brown finished it…don’t sleep on Matanzas’ Josh Bower (14-21), who placed at JV state last weekend…Ponte Vedra will have either Gavin Riccobono (4-8) or Preston Turner (4-12)…Paxon has no 106.
Prediction: 1. Rocky Samples, Matanzas (37-6). 2. Branden Teaman, Nease (18-15). 3. Blake Swor, Bartram Trail (19-16). 4. CJ Sexton, Creekside (3-6) (or Summers/Brown).
Snapshot: Samples will be fired up after not wrestling the post-season in 2014-15…another tossup between Nease/Bartram for runnerup spot…Sexton will have to face off against Ponte Vedra’s Bryan Reed (2-11) in a prelim…St. Augustine and Paxon have no 113s.
Prediction: 1. Dylan Martinson, Nease (30-11). 2. Tony Giordano, Ponte Vedra (19-7). 3. Ralph Hicks, St. Augustine (11-13). 4. Stone White, Matanzas (13-16).
Snapshot: If Carter Goodman (23-6) is here for Pirates, I would slot him at 1 and move the other placers accordingly…Martinson/Giordano went the other way last year, so there’s a good chance for me to be proven wrong here…Martinson/Giordano are well ahead of Hicks/White, who could have a good matchup for third/fourth…I think they’re ahead of Bartram’s Sean McDonald (15-23), Paxon’s Jack Donghit (5-10) and Creekside’s Michael Eckman (0-5).
Prediction: 1. Tristen Lucessi, Nease (29-3). 2. Carter Goodman, Matanzas (23-6). 3. James Mueller, Bartram Trail (18-18). 4. Jack Fox, Ponte Vedra (9-9).
Snapshot: If Goodman’s at 20, and he could be, White or Laurence Russo (20-15) will figure into the placers, but I wouldn’t necessarily expect a finals run…Lucessi is strongest in the class, however…Third place betweeen Mueller/Fox could be interesting…do not count out Creekside’s Max Patterson (8-11) from figuring into the mix if he’s here…St. Augustine hasn’t had a 126 in a while, it was Julian Maldonado (7-16) earlier in year. No Paxon 126.
Prediction: 1. Matthew Pickett, Bartram Trail (22-13). 2. James Stanton, Ponte Vedra (16-11). 3. Jacob Sorgen, Nease (11-6). 4. Russo (if here and not at 126) or Jacob Cooney, Creekside (7-14).
Snapshot: This one could be up for some grabs, but Pickett has slowly carved out a resume, particularly late…Stanton has been consistent for the Sharks, but Sorgen could push if that’s a semi…Matanzas might also have Ian Eckert (3-5) here, he’s also a possible for top-four…St. Augustine could use Malik Hicks (12-7) here, but more recently Marcus Petersen (4-11) has been at this weight. No Paxon 132.
Prediction: 1. Tristan Kraus, Matanzas (41-7). 2. David Tyer, Creekside (26-9). 3. Charlie Miller, Bartram Trail (26-8). 4. Nick Thomson, St. Augustine (24-14).
Snapshot: One of the deeper classes in the district, which makes things an uphill battle for rest of the group. Kraus is ahead of the rest of the placers…Tyer has wins in hand over Miller, whom we haven’t seen lots of in February, Bears could theoretically have Tristan McElhinney (3-3) here…Thomson should have the leg up for no worse than fourth against Harrison Crowley of Ponte Vedra (8-11) and either Michael Alexander (1-4) or Paxton Threatt (2-11) of Nease. No Paxon 138.
Prediction: 1. Dalton Koike, Nease (32-6). 2. Steven Stanton, Creekside (25-11). 3. Kevin Williams, Bartram Trail (27-13). 4. Marshall Frye, Ponte Vedra (1-4).
Snapshot: Koike has quietly together a very solid season and should be the top choice here…not entirely certain about the 2-3, Stanton came down from 152 and might have enough in the tank to win it, but then again, so could Williams…if Frye is at this weight and not 152 (I think this weight might be better), he should get out, but if he’s up look at Jacob Linden, St. Augustine (12-10) as a possibility…Demetrus Miller of Matanzas (12-15) is also here. No Paxon 145.
Prediction: 1. Brandon Dickman, Creekside (37-7). 2. Eddy Leon de la Cruz, Matanzas (32-8). 3. Tracey Beshara, St. Augustine (25-15). 4. Garen Mauney, Paxon (21-2).
Snapshot: This could be a solid final-round match, but I’ll take the wrestler with the state-tournament experience here…Leon de la Cruz has a sizable gap on the rest of the group…if Beshara stays down here, he should be third, but he could go up…Mauney against this group will be interesting, he had a solid Gateway Conference meet, but there will be a competition gap…don’t count William King of Bartram Trail (16-11) if he’s here, but he hasn’t been in the lineup late in the year…should be a full weight class with King, Jeffrey Mantz of Nease (9-14) and Troy Maritato of Ponte Vedra (4-17).
Prediction: 1. Christopher Mixan, Matanzas (15-8). 2. Jacob Bennett, Bartram Trail (16-18). 3. Trey Chesser, Creekside (11-12). 4. Christian Rios-Candelaria (8-13)/Gabe Wentworth (11-27), St. Augustine.
Snapshot: Like 132, this is another weight class that appears to look wide open at this point, partially because two teams here could put any one of three wrestlers here…Mixan has probably had the most success this year…it wouldn’t surprise me if Chesser finds a way to the final, but Bennett has seen nearly a dozen more matches and that can matter…though I picked St. Augustine’s 160 to make it out (if Beshara’s at this weight, I’d move him to finals and maybe win it), Nease’s representative — be it Bailey Deitch (6-13), Derek Alexander (9-11) or Jarrod Case (10-11) will make that prelim a challenge…Paxon’s Alonzo Davis (3-7) is also here. No Ponte Vedra 160.
Prediction: 1. Brooks Harp, Bartram Trail (22-13). 2. Jake Lockwood, Creekside (13-14). 3. Ricky Davis (12-10)/Zach Gregory (13-10), Ponte Vedra. 4. Case/Alexander/Deitch, Nease.
Snapshot: Another weight class that’s open for the taking…I’ll take Harp for the win, with more victories in hand against a solid schedule…don’t think that the Davis/Gregory choice can’t make the final, it can…Lockwood could be the choice, though…I’ll take Nease’s candidate to make it out for fourth over Wentworth of St. Augustine and Paxon’s Pavan Guduri (3-5), who hasn’t been in the lineup in a while. No Matanzas 170.
Prediction: 1. Maverick Dennis, Matanzas (38-6). 2. Willy Lulias, Creekside (26-10). 3. John Wilson (34-12)/Anthony Stith (20-6), Bartram Trail. 4. Davis/Gregory, Ponte Vedra.
Snapshot: All three of the top three guys have a solid chance to make it out of regions next week, making this weight class one of the strongest in the district…there’ve been good matches between the trio all season, although I’m not sure what the Bears will do with their two guys, same with Ponte Vedra, but the Sharks’ choice should be ahead of Nease’s Grayson Suggs (12-23), St. Augustine’s Bryce Bannister (9-15) and Paxon’s Jamaari Mitchell (7-9).
Prediction: 1. Gus Fischer, Creekside (38-4). 2. Jordin Castanheira, Matanzas (35-9). 3. Stith/Wilson, Bartram Trail. 4. Michael Steinhour, Nease (15-6).
Snapshot: Is right there along with 182 and 138 as one of the three spotlight weights in this tournament. Fischer’s drop hasn’t seemed to hurt him and seemed to open up some aggressiveness there… Castanheira will have a battle in the semi with Bartram, whoever is the pick at 195 (Wilson’s the naturally bigger athlete)…I’m not 100% convinced Steinhour wouldn’t be better at 220, where he could finish higher…if he does stay up, look at Robert Zuzu of St. Augustine (16-23) as the fourth over Ponte Vedra’s Cole Scott (3-10, if he’s here) or Paxon’s Pete Russell (6-12). Zuzu has closed well.
Prediction: 1. Kolton McDaniel, Bartram Trail (28-11). 2. Cory Grower, Creekside (22-11). 3. Ra’mel Adams, Matanzas (2-4). 4. Might be none.
Snapshot: If Adams isn’t here, the weight class could be as small as two wrestlers…of those McDaniel should be the guy, he’s made great strides from last year to this one and could be the district’s most improved…Grower I think might have shown more when he was at 195, but he should be a finalist…unless Steinhour comes up here, in which case that becomes a much more open question…I would pencil Steinhour in for at least third here. St. Augustine hasn’t had a 220 since early in the year, and (unless Scott moves up) neither has Ponte Vedra nor Paxon.
Prediction: 1. Daniel Leonard, Matanzas (28-9). 2. Taylor Montroy, Ponte Vedra (17-9). 3. Christopher Anderson, Bartram Trail (10-16). 4. Saul Storey, Creekside (2-4).
Snapshot: In his first year (that I know of) in the sport in high school, Leonard’s built a solid season and should be the odds-on favorite to win here…Montroy should make the final, but don’t be surprised to see Anderson push for it, as he has good technique but is hampered by stature against taller wrestlers…I am taking Storey on his performance I saw at home against Orange Park as the fourth over Nease’s Jonathan Walter (10-22), Paxon’s choice at heavyweight (likely to be 2-6 Christian Tam) or St. Augustine, which hasn’t had a 285 in a while, but when it did, it was Robert Spencer (4-11).