Northeast Florida Matmen staff report
First of four reports: Coming (hopefully) tonight (or overnight Wednesday) — 3A Region 1.
Host: Astronaut in Titusville, with wrestling at Building 4, Eastern Florida State College. When: Wrestling starts Friday at noon. The usual course of business is for two rounds of championship and two rounds of consolation wrestling. Finals to start Saturday at 6 p.m.
We will attack each weight class by attempting to project a favorite for each of the four quarters of the bracket and then project an overall favorite.
Top quarter: I would project District 5 champ Dalton David (5th statewide) of Crystal River to get out to the semis, beating former district rival Kevin Rochon of Villages.
Second: Promises the best quarterfinal matchup, I would guess that Astronaut’s Connor Kirk (14th statewide, with a first-reound bye) would overcome Bishop Moore’s Ryan Rowland (10th statewide) to reach the semi.
Third: Looks a bit open, I’m going to go with Weeki Wachee junior Devin Horton to move to the semi.
Bottom: LHP freshman Ryan Chauvin (2nd statewide) is the overwhelming favorite to reach the semi.
Local chances: Very long odds. Palatka freshman Andrew Leary, the only local in the field, has to overcome Rockledge’s Eriq Reed in the first round; he’s the only wrestler in his quarter with a sub-.500 record.
Overall favorite: Chauvin over David.
Qualifiers 1-4: Chauvin; David; Kirk; Rowland.
Top quarter: In an open quarter, I’ll take another Crystal River District 5 champ, Chase Bunts, to move through.
Second: Seems almost impossible, particularly with a bye, that top-ranked Lake Highland 8th grader Noah Castillo wouldn’t reach the semis.
Third: Villages senior Austin Bonasota (6th statewide) should be the solid favorite to win twice and get at least to the semis.
Bottom: Some solid competitors and probably the best quarterfinal matchup, between Astronaut’s Louie Cortez (10th statewide) and Bishop Moore’s Nick Walker.
Local chances: Fair shot. Palatka sophomore Marcellus Metson actually doesn’t have a bad draw, although I project a first-round loss to Walker. Metson should be able to win his first consi match and has a reasonable second one (against a quarterfinalist with a sub-.500 record). I would see Metson face Hudson’s Francisco Gener in the first round of consis on Saturday; if he can win that, he either faces Bonasota or Cortez most likely in the consi semis, and that’s a tall order.
Overall favorite: Castillo over Bonasota.
Qualifiers 1-4: Castillo; Bonasota; Cortez; Walker.
Top quarter: Bishop Moore sophomore Devin Kohn (6th statewide) shouldn’t have any problems moving through to the semis, with more wins in his resume this year than the rest of his quarter.
Second: Experience should count, and home mat should count. Astronaut senior Nick Lebeau has both, and should advance.
Third: Pencil top-ranked LHP junior Mason Wohltman to roll through the semis and probably beyond.
Bottom: Both Weeki Wachee’s Brandon Smith (8th statewide) and Rockledge’s Austin Lashure get byes in the first round, Smith should get through.
Local chances: Needs to run through the back for Palatka senior Shade Ward, for even if he does win a first-rounder against Hernando’s Joshua Hulse, he’d have Wohltman in the quarters. That would send Ward into a consi second-rounder, likely against Villages’ Colter Sharp, a matchup that appears to be a true tossup. Saturday’s possible, but Ward will have to be on point to get there.
Overall favorite: Wohltman over Kohn.
Qualifiers 1-4: Wohltman; Kohn; Smith; Lebeau.
Top quarter: District 5 champ Bryce Follett of Dunnellon should move through, after a first-round bye.
Second: No one will beat LHP sophomore Joey Silva, one of Florida’s best wrestlers at any weight.
Third: Should be a solid quarterfinal between Bishop Moore’s Jake Wheeler (13th statewide) and Weeki Wachee’s Nick Marsh.
Bottom: Tough draw for Palatka senior Dean Lowe (16th statewide), who has a tough first-rounder against Villages’ 30-match winner Graylan Wilson and then with a win would likely face Astronaut junior Connor Kirk (4th statewide) in the quarters.
Local chances: Doable, even if Lowe falls in the quarters. He is going to have a winnable consi second-rounder against either Titusville’s Joseph Ramos or Anclote’s Alex Roberds, and then would probably face Marsh. If he can get through, a consi semi with Follett would bring about a District 5 title-match rematch with states on the line.
Overall favorite: Silva over Kirk.
Qualifiers: Silva; Kirk; Wheeler; Follett.
Top quarter: I’m projecting the winner of the Nick Tomesko, Bishop Moore/Nael Lopez, Rockledge winner as getting out.
Second: Weeki Wachee’s Hunter Gibson (11th statewide) should be the heavy favorite not only to get out of this quarter, but reach the final.
Third: LHP 8th grader Kai Bele (2nd statewide) should roll through and reach the semis.
Bottom: Tough one to predict, I’m going to go with the traditionally-stronger district and pick Hernando’s Dakota Ellerbee to edge out Space Coast’s Jason Amato.
Local chances: Best for Interlachen sophomore Cade Marsh, but still not great. Mason has something of a tossup match with Anclote’s Owen Lott in the first round, and would face Bele in the quarters with a win there. I think either path in the consi side has difficulties, but the first-round win side is better, because it would guarantee a consi second-rounder against Eastside freshman Roven Anonuevo, who has Gibson in round 1 and would struggle with Mason. Palatka sophomore Isaiah Beauboeuf has Ellerbee in the first round, and is likely to see Crystal River’s Chance Luckey — the District 5 champ — in the consi second round.
Overall favorite: Bele over Gibson.
Qualifiers: Bele; Gibson; Tomesko; Ellerbee.
Top quarter: In a bracket that proved very complicated to follow, I am looking for the hosts’ Jerry Begera to get to the semis, but it might go any one of four ways.
Second: Lake Highland’s Max Cosmides doesn’t have the star power of some of his teammates, but I think the room he has will help get him past Satellite’s Tyler Hansen in the quarters.
Third: The winner of the Keegan Davis, Nature Coast (12th statewide)/TJ Rideout, Atlantic (16th statewide) gets to the semi. I see Davis doing it.
Bottom: Bishop Mason senior Aaron Mason (7th statewide) is the solid favorite to win the quarter, and the bracket.
Local chances: If Palatka freshman Austin Beauboeuf gets a win in the tournament, that’s a good tournament, as he has the lightest record in the bottom quarter. This year will be about getting experience, mostly.
Overall favorite: Mason over Cosmides.
Qualifiers: Mason; Cosmides; Davis; Begera.
Top quarter: He’ll have to overcome a 44-match winner to do it, but I’ll go with Hernando’s Codey Maniates, a 40-match winner himself, to move forward in a battle.
Second: This should be the most competitive quarter, with Astronaut’s Ethan Ahrens (5th statewide) moving through and past Bishop Moore’s Bradley Kata (10th statewide).
Third: Weeki Wachee senior Brandon Enoch (11th statewide) should not have any issues with winning one match and reaching the semi.
Bottom: Pencil in Lake Highland junior Jake Brindley, barring injury, for every win on the front side.
Local chances: Have to come on the back. Eastside’s Niknil Lamba does have a chance in the first round against Rockledge junior Garrett Brackett, but a win means Brindley in the quarters. That could lead to the possibility of getting to the consi semis, but you have to get that first-rounder to have that. Losing in the first round means probably facing District 5 champ CJ Lawson in the consi second round. Palatka’s Branden Lee has Ahrens in the first round and then either Kata or a very solid Alexander Knowles of Hudson. Getting exposure.
Overall favorite: Brindley over Ahrens.
Qualifiers: Brindley; Ahrens; Enoch; Maniates.
Top quarter: Bishop Moore senior Ryan Violette (3rd statewide) should have a pair of pins in reaching the semi.
Second: I like Nature Coast junior Jordan Gibson to advance, should be a good quarter against Villages’ Ryan Hatcher.
Third: Nobody is taking down Lake Highland sophomore Erich Byelick (#1 statewide), who rolls through to the semis.
Bottom: Eastside’s Robert Taylor can win a first-rounder, but I don’t see him getting past Satellite senior Brock Grant (14th statewide).
Local chances: Thus far, Palatka’s Lowe has had the best shot at wrestling with states on the line, but Taylor’s draw might be even better for it. Taylor would start in the consi second round with a winnable match against Gulf junior Yusef Mostafa. What will be key would be that first Saturday match, which I project to be against Hernando senior Christian Dowdell. A win there would bring Gibson with states on the line. Palatka’s Jamar Danzler has Gibson in round 1, and Danzler might be able to pull together a consi win against Space Coast’s Pete Hyers on the back side.
Overall favorite: Byelick over Violette.
Qualifiers: Byelick; Violette; Gibson; Grant.
Top quarter: In the most open quarter of the group, I will project Hernando junior Demarcus Munford to get out.
Second: Great match, maybe, if LHP junior Bryce Rogers (#1 statewide) needs it; I see him winning handily over Anclote’s Zack Adams (8th statewide) in the quarter.
Third: Another solid quarter, with Weeki Wachee senior Nathaniel DeJesus (6th statewide) overcoming Atlantic senior Justin Perkins (12th statewide) in the second round.
Bottom: I don’t see anyone overcoming Astronaut sophomore Nathaniel Newberry, at least not on Friday night.
Local chances: Very long odds for Eastside freshman Maxwell Tuchman, who has Rogers in the first round and then (likely) will face Cocoa’s Joey Smith, who’s got 20 wins, in the consi first round. Good experience for the Rams there.
Overall favorite: Rogers over DeJesus.
Qualifiers: Rogers; DeJesus; Adams; Perkins.
Top quarter: I think North Marion’s Willie James has enough experience to be able to get out to the semis, but Hernando’s Harry Williams could be a challenge.
Second: Looks somewhat open, but Rockledge’s Chase Hall should be considered the favorite to make it through.
Third: Weeki Wachee senior Donte Young (8th statewide) should be the heavy favorite to move through at least to this round.
Bottom: Like many others among his teammates, pencil in LHP’s Elijah Cleary for every win on the front side. The semi between Cleary and Young might be for the effective championship.
Local chances: Palatka’s Jason Gullet might be able to win a match on the backside after facing Space Coast’s Johnathan Pankow (16th statewide) in the first round, but could be facing either James or Williams in the consi second round, and that’s a tall order. Interlachen freshman Julian Rivera has Hall in the first round and then another tough challenge in the consi first round; just getting to Friday evening might be tricky enough.
Overall favorite: Cleary over Hall.
Qualifiers: Cleary; Hall; Young; Pankow.
Top quarter: Crystal River senior Eddie Bennis (5th statewide) has a first-round bye and should be able to move through to the semis without too much difficulty.
Second: Satellite senior Chris Ralston (2nd statewide) should be the solid, if not heavy favorite, to move through.
Third: Interlachen’s Logan Hastings has an excellent chance to get to the semis, with two very winnable matches, but they’re against fellow seniors that want it as much as he does.
Bottom: Lake Highland senior Kevin Ford (1st overall) isn’t the slam dunk favorite like teammates such as Brindley, Silva, Rogers or Cleary, but he’s a for-sure into the semis and final.
Local chances: The longer Hastings can stay on the bottom half of the bracket, the better, because a quarterfinal loss would probably send him in the path of either Bennis or Ralston on the consi side, which isn’t tenable for state chances; wrestling them for third or fourth is a much different thing. That’s the issue facing Palatka’s Kedrick Davis, who has Ralston in the first round. He should be able to win twice to get to Saturday, but could face Space Coast’s Zac Viers there and then gets either Bennis or Ralston. Just too difficult a road there. Eastside’s Camilo Moraga-Lewy has Viers in the frist round and has two winnable matches on the backside, and then possibly three; he’d face Atlantic’s Wilbur Thomas Saturday morning. It’s a long shot, but Hastings and Moraga-Lewy could wrestle with states on the line.
Overall favorite: Ford over Ralston, but I don’t love the pick. Ralston came down from 195, Ford came up. Could be a great matchup.
Qualifiers: Ford; Ralston; Bennis; Hastings.
Top quarter: Interlachen’s Lance Hastings, the lone area District 5 champ, didn’t get a lot of favors from the draw, as I think he’ll have to face 40-match winner Kyle Schaefer of Nature Coast in the quarter, which is a tough one.
Second: I would not be surprised to almost see this one go any one of four ways, but the chalk poick would be to go with Hernando’s Abel Terkovich (11th statewide).
Third: Bad news for the 195s — Hudson senior Drake Carson (7th statewide at 220) dropped down late, and should be the pick to get through to the semi.
Bottom: Crystal River senior Jaret Flynn (9th statewide) has a first-round bye and should win in decisive fashion in the quarters.
Local chances: Pretty good, even better here than they are at 182. Hastings has a decent chance to make the final at this weight, with a draw that shouldn’t be overly intimidating, but even if he doesn’t get past the semi, he’s likely to face local competition, as I’m projecting Eastside senior Kenneth Vance to get to the consi semis and face Hastings. Vance has a winnable first-rounder, but then would face Carson in the quarters. Should be win that first consi match, the next one should actually almost be easier, which would create a Hastings-Vance match with states on the line, so either way, a local is getting out. Palatka sophomore Bryan Smith could even theoretically get to the semis, but more likely could be a Saturday consi competitor. That will give him a ton of experience down the road.
Overall favorite: Carson over Terkovich.
Qualifiers: Carson; Terkovich; Hastings; Flynn.
Top quarter: In what looks to be an open quarter for the taking, I’m going to go with Hernando’s Michael Listebarger, but I see the first round winner of Listebarger/Dane Blizard, Astronaut as getting out.
Second: Lake Highland sophomore Ben Goldin (2nd statewide) should win his quarterfinal after a first-round bye.
Third: A solid quarterfinal, but Nature Coast senior Anthony Contegiacomo (1st statewide) should overcome Atlantic junior Matt Whitehouse (10th statewide).
Bottom: Another open quarter down here, I will go with Rockledge’s Spencer Beard on points, but it could be a battle.
Local chances: No local qualifiers.
Overall favorite: Contegiacomo over Goldin, another great matchup.
Qualifiers: Contegiacomo; Goldin; Whitehouse; Romeo Tzobanakis, Weeki Wachee.
Top quarter: Rockledge junior EJ Krajewski (13th statewide) might have a battle with Crystal River’s Jason Graham in the quarters, but I would project him to get through.
Second: Weeki Wachee senior Dean Brooks (2nd statewide) should be the solid favorite to get out, could be a good quarter with #14 Joe Schwartz of Satellite.
Third: I foresee a tough first-rounder between Phillip Baer of North Marion (15th statewide) and Hernando’s Robert Graves; whoever wins that match should be the odds-on favorite to make the final.
Bottom: A bit of an open bracket; I’m intrigued by Hudson’s Adrian Carson (younger brother of Drake), but I’ll go with Astronaut’s Javohn Maravolo.
Local chances: No local qualifiers.
Overall favorite: Brooks over Graves.
Qualifiers: Brooks; Graves; Krajewski; Schwartz.