Welcome to another edition of The Scouting Reports. Here, we take a spin through what the entire state of Florida has coming back. More information for you, the readers, is what we’re all about at Matmen.
I’ve heard about a few transfers locally (on the Northeast side) that supposedly have already taken place, and a couple others that I’ve heard about that may be in process. What I hear about, and what I can report, are two very different things, however. And there are probably others that I haven’t even heard about yet. So if the information here is not 100% correct because of a transfer, it’s because it hasn’t been confirmed to me. Upon confirmation from a coach or from the kid transferring, I would be happy to correct the record — one of the pleasant upsides of doing these over the Internet as opposed to a newspaper-based format.
Pro Tip: This would be a good time to tell me you’re officially transferring. You’ve got some time — either a few hours or a few days, as these will all be done before the end of the month — to let me know via DM in Twitter or Facebook instant message or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
(Note: All records are Matmen-generated except for Ed White)
2015-16 team finish: 1. Middleburg. 2. Orange Park. 3. Ed White. 4. Ridgeview. 5. Englewood. 6. Terry Parker. 7. Stanton.
2014-15 team finish: 1. Orange Park. 2. Middleburg. 3. Oakleaf. 4. Ed White. 5. Ridgeview. 6. Robert E. Lee. 7. Englewood. 8. Terry Parker. 9. Stanton.
2013-14 team finish: 1. Orange Park. 2. Middleburg. 3. Oakleaf. 4. Ridgeview. 5. Ed White. 6. Terry Parker. 7. Englewood. 8. Stanton. 9. Robert E. Lee.
Ed White (Jacksonville)
Other post-season stats: 2016 — 4th at region, 21st at states. 2015 — 9th at region, T-49th at states. 2014 — 16th at region, T-62nd at states.
Individual returners: Darrell Lampkin (senior, 132, district 3rd, 1 match from states); Vanquez Gooch (junior, 170, 1 match from regions); Robert Carley (junior, 182, district 4th).
Key losses: Darien Tucker (138, district champ, region 4th); Juwan Lee (145, district champ, region 4th); Sergio Jordan (160, district champ, region 3rd); Atyrus McDonald (195, district champ, region runnerup, 1 match from state podium); Avery Wilds (220, district runnerup, region 4th); Kelton Johnson (285, district champ, region runnerup, state 3rd).
Program strengths: Coaching staff is strong and has been well-invested in group success. Schedule has challenged the Commanders. We saw off-season participation in larger events (Disney) for the first time since I started tracking those.
Program needs: Graduation losses are, in a word, enormous. Numbers were an issue already — probably kept the Commanders from a Gateway or district title in 2016 — and there are not a lot of returners, whether they wrestled post-season or not.
Why Florida should know about the Commanders: Lampkin will be one of the team’s leaders after coming up just a takedown short of the state tournament. All 2016 representation at Kissimmee was from its graduated seniors. Tucker was 0-2 at states in 138, losing by fall in the first round to eventual finalist Daniel Williamson of Riverdale and then 5-1 to Palm Bay’s Shane Stewart in consi round 1. Lee also was 0-2, with a pair of losses by major — Hunter Weeks of Riverdale (12-2) in the first round and Miami Springs’ Randall Sandoval (17-3) in consi round 1. Jordan was 0-2 at 160, with a first-round loss to Merritt Island’s Rene Capo, 8-4, and loss by fall in consi round 1 to Belleview’s Jared Burgess. McDonald went 2-2 at 195, with a first-round win over Olympic Heights’ Garrett Davidofsky, 5-3, but then lost by fall in the quarters to eventual champion Joe Marcano of Brandon. On the backside, McDonald decisioned Sunlake’s Ronnie Estep, 8-4, but then lost to Region 1 and Matmen-area rival Jordin Castanheira of Matanzas, 4-3, in the consi quarters or “blood round.” Wilds was 0-2 at 220, with losses by fall to Olympic Heights’ Alexi Castro in the first round and Leonard Jacobs of Belleview in consi round 1. Johnson lost only once in the tournament, decisioning Nick Burt of Pasco in the first round and then dropping an 11-5 decision to eventual finalist Michael Delago of Fort Myers in the quarters. Johnson then won all four consolation-round matches he had with bonus point margins, with a fall over Port St. Lucie’s Deandre Sims in consi round 2, 15-4 major over Olympic Heights’ Stefen Singer in the blood round, fall over Lennard’s Rowdy Driggers in the consi semis and injury-default win over Riverdale’s Cole Schneider for third place.
Other post-season stats: 2016 — 21st at region. 2015 — 24th at region. 2014 — 22nd at region.
Individual returners: Tyler Crawford (junior, 12-22 at 106, district 4th); Marcus Elam (junior, 19-18 at 145, district 4th); Tavian Whitehead (senior, 31-6 at 152, district champ, 1 match from states); Zykeim Sermons (sophomore, 29-9 at 160, district 3rd, 1 match from states); Michel Augustin (senior, 27-10 at 170, district 3rd, 1 match from states); Chase Hamilton (senior, 12-7 at 182, district 3rd).
Key losses: Dustin Williams (11-8 at 138, district 4th); Emrah Kalabic (16-17 at 195, district 4th); Brandon Hudson (21-11 at 285, district runnerup).
Program strengths: Program continues to bring in stronger talent levels each year, with one or two new recruits coming in that aren’t freshmen, and as a result expectations continue to improve each year. Schedule is slowly getting stronger, which is also a plus. Coaching staff committed to longer-term success.
Program needs: Program hasn’t had a state qualifier in four seasons at least and has had trouble getting into the top 20 in the region team race. Numbers in-season and mat-time off-season continue to be struggles the Rams are attempting to overcome.
Why Florida should know about the Rams: Whitehead was a semifinalist at Chiles in getting to within one match of the state tournament. Sermons — one of if not the most-talented freshman upperweights in the city — also was one match short, but he had to win three matches on the back side to get there. Finally, Augustin won on both sides of the bracket, getting to the quarters at Chiles.
Other post-season stats: 2016 — 1st at region, T-22nd at states. 2015 — 2nd at region, T-17th at states. 2014 — 14th at region, T-51st at states.
Individual returners: Austin Benton (junior, 14-15 at 120, district 3rd); Storm Mercado (sophomore, 1-11 at 132, district 4th); Cody Eastwood (senior, 27-21 at 152, district runnerup); Robbie Riesenbeck (junior, 10-16 at 160, 1 match from regions); Bryan Heflin (junior, 28-18 at 182, district runnerup, 1 match from states).
Key losses: Robert Sheridan (29-15 at 106, district champ, 1 match from states); Briar Jackson (sophomore, 37-17 at 113, district champ, region 3rd); Dylan Rossetti (30-13 at 126, district champ, region 4th, 1 match from state podium); Jonathan Shoen (48-4 at 170, district champ, region champ, state runnerup); Kurt Jackson (41-14 at 195, district runnerup, region 4th); Ammon Meeks (30-20 at 220, district champ, region 3rd).
Program strengths: Slow & steady push up the ranks led to both district and region titles last year for the Broncos. Part of a solid county tradition for the sport. Schedule has had a good mix of events for Middleburg kids to flourish.
Program needs: Significant program exits, between graduations and transfers…and there’ll be a new head coach in place this coming year. Hopefully the recent success will help keep numbers in place, but even then numbers do need to improve.
Why Florida should know about the Broncos: Will definitely be a transition year for Middleburg in 2016-17, but with one wrestler (Heflin) just one match short of states and a second (Eastwood) getting to Day 2 at Chiles, the Broncos should continue to have a presence at Kissimmee levels. As for the 2016 grads, Rossetti was 2-2 at states after an opening-round loss to Jensen Beach’s Andrew Klopman (a former Clay County rival), 13-1, picking up consi-round wins over Lake Gibson’s Johnathan Fanfan (5-1) and Nease’s Tristen Lucessi (4-2), falling to Olympic Heights’ Ethan Altabet, 13-1, in the blood round. Shoen had an exceptional close to his tournament series, reaching Saturday night at state, where he lost by fall to Olympic Heights’ Laurence Kosoy. Shoen decisioned Fort Myers’ Mike Edouard, 8-7, pinned Pasco’s Blake Castillo in the second period of the quarters, and downed Gaither’s Brad Bolesta 10-7 in the semi. We ran through Kurt Jackson’s state tournament as part of the Clay preview, while Meeks was 1-2 at states at 220. He lost in UTB to Dwyer’s Kyven Higgins in the first round, but then decisioned Lake Wales’ Kelton Wileman (6-2) in consi round 1, but then lost by fall to Lake Gibson’s Devan Lopez-Rojas in consi round 2. We’ll have Briar Jackson’s state synopsis when the scouring reports wrap up and we summarize his new school, Fleming Island.
Other post-season stats: 2016 — 8th at region, T-27th at states. 2015 — 3rd at region, 26th at states. 2014 — 2nd at region, 12th at states.
Individual returners: Dean Ganci (sophomore, 15-21 at 106, district runnerup); Frank Sawyer (junior, 23-9 at 113, district runnerup, 1 match from states); Dashner St. Vilus (senior, 30-17 at 138, district 3rd); Nartorian Lee (senior, 49-7 at 160, district champ, region runnerup, 1 match from state podium); Reed Danielson (junior, 19-12 at 170, district 4th); Ben Elliot (sophomore, 20-17 at 195, district 3rd); Deon Williams (senior, 2-13 at 285, district 4th)..
Key losses: Marcus Reid (31-3 at 120, district champ, region 3rd, state 3rd); Jeremiah Watson (26-9 at 126, district runnerup, 1 match from states); Saeid Ejmali (39-9 at 132, district champ, region champ).
Program strengths: Multiple returners were involved in off-season wrestling, which will only help. Excellent schedule has pushed Raiders at the right times. Returning group (which does include a couple more starters that didn’t compete in the post-season) will feel like they have some things to prove, which is always a strong motivator.
Program needs: Transfers of three starters (two both post- and regular-season, the third regular-season only so far) makes returning to the top more problematic for Orange Park.
Why Florida should know about the Raiders: Among the returners besides Lee and Sawyer, Danielson also was a Day 2 region advancer at Chiles. At Kissimmee, though, Lee went 2-2, both losses against eventual placewinners, with a first-round major over Miami Norland’s Cednet Jean, then lost 12-8 to Dunedin’s Robby Washam in the quarters. Lee got to Saturday with a fall in consi round 2 over East River’s Miguel Ruberia, but then himself lost by fall to Auburndale’s Adam Pyle in the blood round. Discussions on Reid and Ejmali will follow shortly.
Ridgeview (Orange Park)
Other post-season stats: 2016 — 14th at region, T-57th at states. 2015 — 22nd at region, T-67th at states. 2014 — 13th at region, T-26th at states.
Individual returners: Hunter Click (sophomore, 11-20 at 106, district 3rd); Tanner Belden (sophomore, 18-16 at 126, district 3rd); Nick Robinson (senior, 15-18 at 145, district 3rd); John Tiedeman (sophomore, 12-14 at 160, 1 match from regions); Thaddeaus Everett (junior, 5-13 at 182, 1 match from regions); Brandon Wilkerson (senior, 7-17 at 220, district 3rd); Jonathan McDow (senior, 11-15 at 285, 1 match from regions).
Key additions: Marcus Reid (senior, see above for stats); Saeid Ejmali (junior, see above for stats)
Key losses: Justin Trinh (24-13 at 120, district runnerup, 1 match from states); Trevor Belden (22-11 at 132, district runnerup, region runnerup); McKenzie Williams (17-14 at 138, district runnerup); Steven Richardson (4-18 at 152, district 4th); Daryn Tucker Brown (25-13 at 170, district runnerup, region runnerup).
Program strengths: Transfers — the ones noted above, but including also regular-season starter Joseph Moss — provide an immediate shot in the arm for Panthers, but they have a sizable influx of numbers besides. Coaching staff includes one of the more successful young middle-school coaches in Clay County.
Program needs: Just needs some team success. Before I started this website, Ridgeview had exceptionally powerful individuals and some very solid kids my first year with the site. Team success, though, was at times tough to find.
Why Florida should know about the Panthers: Among the returners, there were no advancers to day 2 at regions. So, as we set them up with Clay’s preview, we’ll start with the newcomers’ performances at states, since there aren’t any returners from state in 2016. Reid went 5-1 in taking third at states, with a first-round win over #1 Kyle Irwin of Belleview in a match of 1 vs 2, 8-4. His only loss came in overtime in the quarters against Dixie Hollins’ Drew Harrington (#3 state-ranked, if I recall correctly), 5-1. From there, Reid set the pace and controlled it in four back-side wins, against Vinny D’Alessandro of Springstead (7-0 in consi round 2), Austin Hosegood of Lake Gibson (3-0 in the blood round), Nelson Elder of Choctaw (2-1 in the consi semis, more on Elder later) and Harrington (3-2 for third place). Ejmali was 0-2 at states, with an overtime loss in the first round against eventual placer Lawrence Scrivens of Brandon, 6-4. Ejmali then fell in consi round 1 to Palmetto Ridge’s George Zertopoulis, 7-3. As for the 2016 state-qualifying Panther graduates, Trevor Belden was 1-2 at 132, with a first-round loss by fall to eventual placer Austin Smith of East River. Belden then pinned Heritage’s Alex Bucy in consi round 1, but then fell 12-1 in consi round 2 to Lake Gibson’s Clayton Leach. Brown was 0-2 under tough circumstances at 170, losing both matches by one point, 5-4 in the first round to East Lake’s George Hall and 2-1 in consi round 1 to Land O’Lakes’ Jesse Seidl, an eventual placer.
Other post-season stats: 2016 — T-26th at region 2015 — no presence after districts. 2014 — T-23rd at region.
Individual returners: Mitchell Mika (junior, 25-13 at 145, district runnerup).
Key losses: None.
Program strengths: Not a lot of short-handed rooms can go practice with another room, but Mika was able to do that, working against Robert E. Lee kids in-season to keep his skills sharp after losing his teammates to injury. Strong academic environment.
Program needs: Numbers. Even without injury, Stanton would have struggled to field more than five wrestlers during the course of the season. That makes scheduling difficult and makes training just as hard.
Why Florida should know about the Blue Devils: Mika had one bonus-point victory at regions, but didn’t get past the first day, losing by fall to an eventual state qualifier in consi round 2. Like Paxon, it’s gratifying to see an elite public magnet school offer wrestling in an urban area. I’m sure they’re not alone, but I don’t know about others in other cities (and I admit some bias toward Stanton).
Terry Parker (Jacksonville)
Other post-season stats: 2016 — T-23rd at region, T-69th at states. 2015 — T-25th at region. 2014 — 21st at region.
Individual returners: Chris Walker (senior, 28-14 at 113, district 3rd); Reema Sabella (senior, 0-14 at 120, district 4th); Dalton Deckerhoff (senior, 23-13 at 138, 1 match from regions); Jason Reed (junior, 2-14 at 145, 1 match from regions); Boakai Kanneh (junior, 17-17 at 152, district 3rd); Landon Dains (sophomore, 22-18 at 160, district 4th, 1 match from states); Manuel Rodrigues (sophomore, 5-10 at 170, 1 match from regions); Ben Sabella (sophomore, 2-13 at 195, 1 match from regions); Matthew Walls (senior, 17-17 at 285, district 3rd).
Key losses: Aquana McCalop (30-5 at 182, district champ, region 4th).
Program strengths: Stable coaching situation. Wrestlers can count on being at home for three larger tournaments (two dual, one IBT) each season. Program is slowly attracting more kids to come out. Girls’ program is flourishing at Parker.
Program needs: Team travels just before Christmas to Harmony for its dual invitational, but doesn’t travel much otherwise during the regular season. Kids do need more off-season time to make jumps in improvements as well.
Why Florida should know about the Braves: Parker has kids that were close, as Dains got within one match of the state tournament in his freshman year (going six minutes with a prior state qualifier with Kissimmee on the line) and Walker was a Day 2 advancer. But it was a 2016 Braves graduate, McCalop, who was the only wrestler to get out and, in so doing, was Terry Parker’s first qualifier since 2013. He lost to a pair of placers, with a first-round loss (12-1) to Dixie Hollins’ Brandon Nevitt and consi round-2 loss by fall to Sebring’s Jacob Figur sandwiching a 3-2 consi round 1 decision over Goleman’s Enrique Kelly.