2A-District 2 meet preview
When & where: Today starting at 3 p.m. at Chiles HS. Finals are scheduled, per the FHSAA website, “immediately after the semis.”
Team outlook: As it has been going back through my tenure, the district is both at times closer than it looks and more of a one-sided affair than it looks, with just five teams in the district (a topic of some controversy among a few circles out there). Lincoln should be the favorite once again, with the remaining four teams scrapping hard to fill in the spots. I’ve usually gotten this wrong, but I see it as Columbia’s fuller team vs. Leon’s star power for second, with Chiles and Gainesville slightly back of them. But I thought it was going to be much different than it turned out to be last year, too. What makes this district interesting this year is that all these teams are — on one site or another of mine — area teams. However, I only have records for Columbia and Gainesville — these Northwest coaches are solid folk but they can’t always attend events that I can get all results for.
Individual projections (unofficial Matmen records added for Columbia & Gainesville kids)
Prediction: 1. Scotty Tacinelli, Gainesville (20-13). 2. Mark Munroe, Lincoln. 3. Whoever Columbia has between Alex Williams (4-34) and Brandon Lloyd (6-24). I have not seen a Chiles or Leon wrestler at 106 all year.
Snapshot: Tacinelli has put together a nice season for the Hurricanes and will be a building block for the future…Munroe should at least be well ahead of Columbia’s representative and could give Tacinelli battle. Williams and Lloyd do have contested wins for the Tigers.
Prediction: 1. Michael Crowder, Lincoln. 2. Traevon O’Neal, Gainesville (25-8). 3. Austin Hall, Chiles. 4. Lloyd or Williams, Columbia. I have not seen a Leon wrestler at 113 all year.
Snapshot: Could be a very competitive final match for the title, one of the district’s best of the night. O’Neal and Crowder are only one spot apart on the state rankings (O’Neal 11 and Crowder 13), what also concerns me is Crowder being out a little while, but perhaps he’ll be in the it-helps-him camp. Big gap down to Hall and an equally big one from Hall to Columbia’s, I think.
Prediction: 1. Chace Curtis, Columbia (42-5). 2. Tyree Young, Lincoln. I have not seen Gainesville, Chiles or Leon wrestlers at 120 all season.
Snapshot: Curtis should be an overwhelming favorite. Somewhere there is a runnerup wrestler in Region 1 breathing a sigh of relief on Sunday, what with no third-place competitor in Round 1. Curtis (#3 Matmen, #5 statewide in 2A) has done a fantastic job of staying in the lineup and was impressive with his third at Clay Rotary.
Prediction: 1. Sean Hendley, Lincoln. 2. Tahj Brennen, Gainesville (12-5). 3. Matt Ross, Columbia (32-19). 4. Michael Hawkins, Chiles. I have not seen a Leon wrestler at 126 all season.
Snapshot: I would hedge here. If Logan Mellor of Chiles is at 126, I would pencil him in for 2nd and slide down Brennen and Ross, but I think he’s better off at 132 and so I’ve put him there. That being said, it would be a nice battle, with Brennen recently ranked (but no longer) and Hendley ranked 14th at this weight. I like Brennen a great deal, just feel he’s lost some mat time this year by being out. Just might not be the right week, but he could win it and/or still have a very good shot at states. Ross has been a nice battler for the Tigers, with 30-plus wins. Well ahead of Hawkins, if Hawkins is the guy at 126 for the Timberwolves.
Prediction: 1. Logan Mellor, Chiles. 2. Parker Fedderson, Leon. 3. Zach Williams, Columbia (18-23). 4. Scott Prine / Eli Crum, Lincoln.
Snapshot: Here’s why Mellor (16th in 2A) should be at 132 — he would be the guy in a weight class that he should be the heavy favorite against everyone else. With him at 126, there’s three studs and a very solid fourth and a wide-open field, the first one to have a full bracket, here. That’s why I see him moving up. Am giving the slight edge to Fedderson over Williams & Prine, as well as Gainesville’s Elijah Keselowsky (10-23), but the 2-4 places should be a scramble.
Prediction: 1. Kody Waldron, Columbia (29-14). 2. Andrew Tychsen, Chiles. 3. Braxton Winder, Lincoln. 4. Daniel Williams, Gainesville (4-5).
Snapshot: The reason Mellor should be at 132 is the same reason Waldron should try coming back down to 138 after being at 145 for awhile — it’s a class that needs someone at the top, and 145 — as we’ll see shortly — has a clear top guy. Chiles could throw two or three guys here (Tychsen, plus either CJ Emmert or Ben Strickland), I think Winder is ahead of Williams and either Chris Crago or Taylor Hayes of Leon.
Prediction: 1. David Jackson, Lincoln. 2. Austin Nolan, Chiles. 3. Will Vickers, Columbia (5-14). 4. Jaquenez Madison or Crago, Leon. I have not seen a 145 for Gainesville this year.
Snapshot: Even were Waldron to be here, this is still Jackson’s weight class to control, if not dominate. Again, Chiles may have room to maneuver as it has depth options in the middle, but Nolan’s seen a lot of time, and that should separate him from the remaining guys. With no Gainesville 145, that will mean Vickers will get out if he’s up here.
Prediction: 1. Justin Grant, Leon. 2. Austin Chapman, COlumbia (17-8). 2. Miles Mercer, Chiles. 4. Estrado Bagias, Lincoln.
Snapshot: Chapman (10th statewide) has had a nice senior recovery after not getting much time on the mats as a junior, but Grant — second statewide — is absolutely dominant. Should not be an issue for Chapman to take second over Mercer. Bagias or Justin Harbilas of Gainesville (11-12). I look for the Tallahassee kids to move on, but Harbilas isn’t all that far behind them, if he’s behind at all.
Prediction: 1. Jaycie Rudd, Lincoln. 2. Corey Ryan, Gainesville (12-17). 3. Elijah Toomey, Chiles. 4. Mason Judd, Leon.
Snapshot: Rudd (4th statewide) is significantly further-advanced than the rest of the group, and should have two quick matches Friday night. It’s hard to plan on what Gainesville will do here, as they’ve mixed and matched a lot at 160-195 this season, but Ryan was in the lineup at Villages at this weight, so here is where he goes. Experience could be a difference, but Toomey and Judd might not be all that easy. Not sure if Columbia will have a 160; when the Tigers did, it was Chase Burlingame (5-5), but that was early in the year.
Prediction: 1. Gavin Hoard, Chiles. 2. Jared Newhall/Justin Lopeman, Lincoln. 3. Jacob Hake (18-12)/Ben Fulwider (7-17), Gainesville. 4. Chad Sapp, Columbia (11-28).
Snapshot: We’re going to see lots of hedging at this weight and also at 195, where my notes are all over the place. I have to figure Hoard (5th statewide) will be here as opposed to up higher, where there’s closer good competiition. Here, he should dominate the weight class. I’ll go with the Lincoln rep in the runnerup spot, but I may regret that if Hake — who was solid for a good chunk of the season — returns and at this weight. Then, it might be a dogfight of a semi. If Hoard, who wasn’t in the lineup late (TriCounty), appears at 182, then move everyone up and put the T’wolves’ Michael Molen in for fourth ahead of Leon’s Reynaldo Bourget. Columbia had other options earlier in the year at 170, but haven’t seen either of them much past early January, if even then.
Prediction: 1. Isaac Gutierrez-Tapia, Lincoln. 2. Casey Hall / Molen, Chiles. 3. Thirkeal Lightsey, Leon. 4. Carlos Wilson (11-15), Gainesville.
Snapshot: This should definitely be Gutierrez-Tapia’s bracket. Hall and Lightsey both lost by decision to 1A intracity rival DeJay Robinson of Florida High, and I could easily have switched this the other way. Wilson (or Hake or Fulwider if they’re slotted here) could also move up higher, and should Columbia pull out of storage one of their former 170s, they could figure into the mix here, too. The Tigers have done it before.
Prediction: 1. Bobby Williams, Chiles. 2. Henry Segura, Leon. 3. Luis Vazquez (4-5) / Wilson, Gainesville. 4. Austin Glenn, Lincoln.
Snapshot: If it’s these guys, pretty simple. But will Williams, who was at 220 for Tricounty, be down here or up there? If he’s down here, he’s the pick. If up there, well…it might depend. The only guy I’m sure (or I should say semi-sure of) is Segura being the guy for the Lions. Gainesville could plug and play, even Lincoln — as I haven’t seen much of Norton this year — should have a 195 here. Columbia hasn’t had one all season, but if a storaged 170 were bulked up a bit, Straight up, this is what I see happening.
Prediction: 1. JT Grant, Leon. 2. Josh Martin, Lincoln. 3. Jackson McLendon, Gainesville. As of right now, I don’t have anyone at 220 for Columbia or Chiles.
Snapshot: With Grant (10th statewide) competing (although not at Tricounty, which led me to believe he maybe could not wrestle), he’s the class of the field, although Martin has had a solid season in his first year wrestling for Lincoln, plus Martin (13th statewide) wasn’t at Tricounty and got dinged up at Clay. I would move Williams to third at 220 if he’s at 220 here and drop McLendon to fourth.
Prediction: 1. Gabe Beyer, Leon. 2. Marcus Zeighler, Columbia (42-6). 3. Thomas Moss, Lincoln. 4. Yassic Spencer, Gainesville (19-6).
Snapshot: Pretty straightforward, can’t argue with the 1 (top-ranked heavy in 2A), can’t argue with the 2 (12th in 2A), the 3-4 could flip-flop, and I don’t have a 285 for Chiles this season. Just wonder, given Spencer’s solid performance in a half-season, how he would have done with a full one.