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.
Remember also: “Returners” are those who wrestled in the post-season only. There are a lot of kids who were listed as “returners” in the individual school recaps that aren’t listed here. Just had to be consistent across 48 different district scouting reports.
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 email@example.com.
2015-16 team finish: 1. Tate. 2. Pace. 3. Gulf Breeze. 4. Niceville. 5. Ft Walton Beach. 6. Choctaw. 7. Crestview. 8. Milton.
2014-15 team finish: 1. Ft Walton Beach. 2. Niceville. 3. Pace. 4. Choctaw. 5. Gulf Breeze. 6. Crestview. 7. Tate. 8. Mosley. 9. Milton.
2013-14 team finish: 1. Pace. 2. Choctaw. 3. Niceville. 4. Gulf Breeze. 5. Ft Walton Beach. 6. Crestview. 7. Milton. 8. Mosley. 9. Tate.
(Individual records are as reported to FHSAA)
Choctawhatchee (Ft Walton Beach)
Other post-season stats: 2016 — 20th at region, T-41st at states. 2015 — 17th at region. 2014 — 6th at region, T-26th at states.
Individual returners: Jerson Cabiao (sophomore, 32-16 at 106, district runnerup); Aaron Ojeda (senior, 18-18 at 113, district 4th); Logan Myer (sophomore, 16-22 at 126, 1 match from regions); Hunter Pelfrey (sophomore, 5-17 at 138, 0-2 at districts); Nathan Gunn (junior, 22-20 at 145, 0-2 at districts); Isaac Smith (senior, 34-12 at 160, 1 match from regions); Sam Mason (senior, 39-16 at 182, district champ, 1 match from states); Hunter Merrell (senior, 9-17 at 195, 0-2 at districts); David Zapata (senior, 18-13 at 285, district 4th).
Key losses: Nelson Elder (46-12 at 120, district champ, region 4th, state 6th); Daniel Smith (21-19 at 132, 1 match from regions); David Sherman (22-21 at 152, 0-2 at districts); Mycah Sutton (34-11 at 220, district 3rd).
Program strengths: Solid group of returners coming back for Choctaw, with nine wrestling in the post-season. Picked up some regular-season success, with 11 straight dual wins on one occasion. Indians do travel out of the Gulf area to get some different looks, which is always a good thing.
Program needs: With five post-season returners not getting past districts, off-season work is a priority. Team returned to states after not getting there in 2015, but drop in both the district and region classifications continued.
Why Florida should know about the Indians: Choctaw had one state qualifier, with two returners — Mason (1 match from states) and Cabiao (consi quarters) — getting to Day 2 at Chiles. But for Kissimmee, just Elder was able to make it out, earning a podium place along the way by reaching the semis at 120. Elder had a solid Friday, decisioning Region 2 champ Matthew Daner of Tampa Jesuit, 14-9, in the first round, and then pinning Heritage’s Seth Adeclat in the quarters. Elder then lost to Region 1 rival and eventual state champ Chace Curtis of Columbia, 11-1, in the semis, taking losses on the consi side of the bracket against Marcus Reid of Orange Park (2-1 in consi semis) and Kyle Irwin of Belleview (6-0 in fifth-place match).
Other post-season stats: 2016 — 16th at region, T-64th at states. 2015 — 19th at region, T-67th at states. 2014 — T-25th at region.
Individual returners: Edwin Rivera (junior, 3-17 at 106, 0-2 at districts); Darien Hallmon (sophomore, 6-17 at 113, 1 match from regions); Jackson Moore (sophomore, 2-7 at 120, 1 match from regions); Angel Ortega (junior, 20-11 at 126, district 4th); Diego Calonje (junior, 31-6 at 138, district runnerup, region runnerup); Milton Bouchard (junior, 16-14 at 152, 1 match from regions); LaJonte Watson (senior, 16-19 at 170, 1 match from regions); Luis Berrios (senior, 15-14 at 182, 1 match from regions); Austin French (sophomore, 16-18 at 195, district 3rd); Coleman Young (junior, 15-14 at 220, district 4th); Jeremy Cassidy (junior, 12-17 at 285, 1 match from regions).
Key losses: Michael Cantwell (132, district runnerup, region 3rd); Cody Brooks (3-6 at 145, 1 match from regions); Neiko Barnes (22-14 at 160, 0-2 at districts).
Program strengths: Lots of returners coming back for Crestview, many of whom will have at least two years to come back. Bulldogs are making their way up the region classification and made it to states for the third time in the past four seasons.
Program needs: Team needs some off-Gulf competition during the regular season to get itself better-prepared for the post-season and more off-season time to catapult up the ladder of improvement.
Why Florida should know about the Bulldogs: Calonje was 0-2 at Kissimmee in the 138 bracket, with both losses coming to eventual placers. In the first round, Calonje lost 7-4 to Braden River’s Chance Sharbono, a 61-match winner, and then sustained an injury in consi round 1 against Miami Springs’ David Sanchez, requiring him to default. Cantwell was 1-2 at 132, picking up the Bulldogs’ two points with a 9-6 first-round win over Belleview’s Dalton Yerk. Cantwell then lost by tech fall to eventual state champ Konnor McHale, also a 60-match winner, in the quarters, and then lost by fall to Palmetto Ridge’s George Zertopoulis in consi round 2.
Ft Walton Beach
Other post-season stats: 2016 — 19th at region, T-76th at states. 2015 — 12th at region, T-67th at states. 2014 — 17th at region.
Individual returners: Colwyn Mason (junior, 12-23 at 106, 1 match from regions); Carter Lurk (senior, 26-20 at 120, 1 match from regions); William Bigger (junior, 6-34 at 132, 0-2 at districts); Connor Cleveland (junior, 26-15 at 138, district 4th); Owen Brooks (junior, 3-8 at 145, 0-2 at districts); Chase Cleveland (senior, 38-10 at 152, district runnerup); Joey Royce (senior, 15-18 at 160, district 4th); Gabriel Hamilton (senior, 0-3 at 170, 0-2 at districts); Nick Woodward (junior, 14-23 at 182, 1 match from regions); Brian Haynes (senior, 26-10 at 195, district champ, 1 match from states); Joseph Pearson (senior, 35-10 at 285, district champ, region 4th).
Key losses: RJ Leon (41-12 at 113, district runnerup).
Program strengths: Another group that will have a lot of returners in 2016-17, good mix of junior and seniors in place. FWB is not afraid of travel, they will go all over the South to find good competition. Vikings also did some good off-season work.
Program needs: For the successes in-season, FWB didn’t get as much payoff at the end — several kids that wrestled a lot in the regular season were not in the lineup in February. Uppers are a strength, but returning lowers need to at least get to where the middles are, and if they do, that will help everyone.
Why Florida should know about the Vikings: In addition to Pearson, FWB had four wrestlers get to Day 2 at Chiles, with Haynes reaching the semis and three others — Leon, Connor Cleveland and Chase Cleveland — each getting to the consi quarters. At states, Pearson was 0-2, losing by fall in the first round to eventual placer Rowdy Driggers of Lennard. Pearson’s second match was closer, but he was eliminated in consi round 1 by Port St. Lucie’s Deandre Sims, 7-3.
Other post-season stats: 2016 — 18th at region, T-69th at states. 2015 — 15th at region, T-30th at states. 2014 — 9th at region, T-48th at states.
Individual returners: Nate Golmon (sophomore, 35-10 at 126, district runnerup, 1 match from states); Noah Losievsky (junior, 35-10 at 132, district champ); Calvin Malo (sophomore, 10-30 at 138, 0-2 at districts); Alex Jacobs (junior, 19-24 at 145, district 4th); Tannen Slack (junior, 42-9 at 170, district champ, 1 match from states); Bradley Miller (senior, 29-14 at 182, district runnerup); Will Cross (senior, 7-10 at 285, 1 match from regions).
Key losses: Hamada Hamideh (19-25 at 113, 1 match from regions); Aaron Mantuano (52-10 at 152, district 3rd, region 3rd); Brett Latimer (34-2 at 160, district 3rd); Pete Staviski (26-9 at 195, district runnerup).
Program strengths: At least fourth straight season with appearances in the state tournament for this team. Middles will be very solid for the Dolphins once again in 2016-17. Good early schedule gets things off on the right foot.
Program needs: There will be some graduation losses to overcome for the 2A Dolphins, which continued to take a step back on the region classification. Gulf Breeze kids needed more off-season work at state/national level to take another step.
Why Florida should know about the Dolphins: With three returners getting to Day 2 at Chiles in March, I would expect at least a fifth straight appearance at states for Gulf Breeze in 2017. Golmon and Slack both were one match from Kissimmee, and Losievsky as well as 2016 grad Staviski both reached the consi quarters. As for state qualifiers this past season, it was Mantuano who repped solo for the Dolphins, going 1-2. In the first round, Mantuano fell to eventual placewinner Chad Heidt of Robinson, 10-2, but rallied for a 7-5 win over Dom Bass of Palmetto in consi round 1. In his third match of the day, Mantuano fell to Palm Bay’s Dylan Perrow, 7-3, in consi round 2.
Other post-season stats: 2016 — 24th at region. 2015 — no presence after districts. 2014 — T-25th at region.
Individual returners: Donovan Smith (senior, 17-19 at 106, 1 match from regions); Ian Van Gestel (sophomore, 11-29 at 113, 0-2 at districts); Camryn Smith (senior, 11-29 at 132, 0-2 at districts); Aiden Sterba (sophomore, 10-28 at 138, 1 match from regions); Eric Simmons (junior, 29-22 at 145, district 3rd); Xavier Morgan (senior, 13-17 at 152, 1 match from regions); Dakota Busbee (sophomore, 8-5 at 160, 0-2 at districts); Seth Martin (senior, 29-15 at 170, district 3rd); Jovanni Salas (senior, 8-28 at 182, 0-2 at districts); Brandon Ortiz (junior, 10-10 at 195, 1 match from regions); Connor Saint (junior, 9-14 at 220, 1 match from regions); Hunter Hall (senior, 36-5 at 285, district runnerup, 1 match from states).
Key losses: None.
Program strengths: Milton loses no wrestlers from 2015-16 post-season lineup, which is always a plus for team chemistry from year to year. Got three wrestlers to week 2 of the post-season after no one advanced out of districts in 2015. Team did engage in some off-season work, recognizing the improvements it needed to make.
Program needs: Program should consider traveling to a couple of out-of-area events in order to prep more fully for the post-season; even a little more in-area variety is a good thing.
Why Florida should know about the Panthers: Just one Milton wrestler got to Day 2 at Chiles, as Hall lost by fall in the first round and then won three matches by fall before losing again to an eventual state placer in Columbia’s Marcus Zeighler.
Other post-season stats: 2016 — 13th at region, T-64th at states. 2015 — T-7th at region, T-40th at states. 2014 — 8th at region, 46th at states.
Individual returners: Dominic Cerillo (senior, 17-13 at 106, district 3rd, region runnerup); Zach Hartzog (junior, 120, district runnerup, 1 match from states); Bailey Howes (junior, 28-23 at 132, district 4th); Ryan Graff (senior, 21-14 at 138, 1 match from regions); Jack Johnson (junior, 145, district champ, region runnerup); Cannon Crum (senior, 41-17 at 152, district 4th); Devon Moseley (senior, 7-7 at 160, 1 match from regions); Wesley Sites (senior, 21-30 at 170, 1 match from regions); Darrius Pena (junior, 29-9 at 195, district 4th); Seth Witt (senior, 39-18 at 220, district runnerup).
Key losses: None.
Program strengths: Another program that loses no wrestlers from its post-season lineup of the previous season. Niceville’s stronger kids did engage in bigger off-season work (Disney), and that should pay dividends in February and March of 2017. Strong regular-season schedule.
Program needs: Need to fill in some holes in the lineup, even though there were no graduation losses. Entire Eagle group needed to emulate leaders and engage strongly in off-season activity. Region and state classification positions took a hit.
Why Florida should know about the Eagles: Niceville should have the basis to move up the state standings, with two returning state qualifiers, a third right on the doorstep in Hartzog and Witt also getting to Day 2 at Chiles, falling in the consi quarters. At Kissimmee, Cerillo was 0-2, losing by fall in the first round to #1 and eventual placewinner James Monos of Riverdale, and falling in sudden-victory to Pasco’s Chase Ayers, 9-4. Johnson was 1-2 at 145, losing to eventual placer Brendan Ditro of Dunedin, 10-2, in the first round. He scored the Eagles’ two state points with a 13-1 major over Belleview’s Jakob Crew, 13-1, but then fell to district and region rival Anthony Krevatas of Pace (more in a moment on him), 3-1, in consi round 2.
Pace (Santa Rosa Beach)
Other post-season stats: 2016 — 9th at region, T-52nd at states. 2015 — 11th at region, T-44th at states. 2014 — 3rd at region, T-32nd at states.
Individual returners: Austin O’Gara (senior, 38-14 at 106, district 4th); Joseph Verda (junior, 24-12 at 113, district 3rd); Kevin Green (senior, 36-17 at 120, district 4th); Leland Knoch (senior, 42-15 at 126, district 3rd); Owen Moore (junior, 27-14 at 132, district 3rd); David Montano (senior, 17-15 at 152, 0-2 at districts); Sullivan Gerlits (senior, 29-20 at 160, district runnerup, region 4th); Justin Gehrke (junior, 28-18 at 170, district 4th); Brian Miller (senior, 41-17 at 182, district 4th); Nick Singletary (senior, 22-9 at 195, 0-2 at districts); Brady Deloach (junior, 6-13 at 220, 1 match from regions); Murphy Bennett (senior, 38-18 at 285, district 3rd).
Key losses: Travis Thompson (54-10 at 138, district champ, region champ); Anthony Krevatas (57-7 at 145, district runnerup, region champ, 1 match from state podium).
Program strengths: Pace has another strong group coming back off a district-runnerup showing, with 12 returners that have post-season experience. Has had at least four years of consecutive state appearances. Good mix of juniors and seniors in the returning group. Schedule is solid, if dual-heavy in the latter half.
Program needs: Krevatas and Thompson were team leaders; this year’s leader will have to emerge quickly. Returning group has worked out together in off-season, but didn’t engage in larger competitions outside the Gulf area (like Disney or Fargo prep).
Why Florida should know about the Patriots: Pace had three state qualifiers in 2016 (one returning) and had two additional wrestlers (Knoch & Bennett) get to Day 2 at Chiles, both falling in the consi quarters. Gerlits, the lone returner who got to Kissimmee, went 0-2 at 160, with a first-round loss by fall to eventual placer Matthew Cates of Palm Bay. Gerlits went six minutes in consi round 1, but was knocked out of the tournament by East River’s Miguel Ruberia, 10-2. Thompson was 1-2 at 138, with a first-round loss, 9-6, to Fort Myers’ Hadley Vadyak. He rallied to win in consi round 1, downing Lake Gibson’s Gabriel Bourne, 3-2, but then lost to Braden River’s Sharbono, 12-2, in consi round 2. Krevatas had the strongest Patriot presence in Kissimmee, going 2-2 (both losses to placers) at 145. He had a first-round win over East Lake’s Carl Monix, 9-3, but then fell 11-6 in the quarters to Palm Bay’s Bryce Poppell. His win over Niceville’s Johnson moved him into Saturday’s round, but there Riverdale’s Hunter Weeks was too much in the “blood round” or consi quarters, taking a 26-12 major.
Other post-season stats: 2016 — 6th at region, T-14th at states. 2015 — 20th at region, T-67th at states. 2014 — T-28th at region.
Individual returners: Jacob Cochran (junior, 40-11 at 106, district champ, region 3rd, state 6th); Alex Porter (senior, 113, district champ, region 4th, state 6th); Isiah Brill (junior, 13-22 at 145, 1 match from regions); Juan Alvarez (junior, 20-13 at 160, district champ); Jacob Neales (senior, 12-17 at 195, 1 match from regions); Jacob Nowling (junior, 0-15 at 285, 0-2 at districts).
Key losses: Scott Houston (21-18 at 120, district 3rd); Tanner Wood (40-11 at 126, district champ, region 3rd); Brandon Pheabus (14-13 at 132, 1 match from regions); Daniel Pigg (138, district 3rd, 1 match from states); Logan Womack (152, district champ, 1 match from states); Heath Herndon (33-11 at 170, district runnerup, region 4th); Dalston Decoux (8-4 at 182, district 3rd); Gaven McAnally (42-7 at 220, district champ, region runnerup, state 5th).
Program strengths: Big improvements in district, region and state standings over 2015 numbers. Might be tough to duplicate district team title, but three individual champs do return. Lower weights should be a highlight; Cochran repped Team Florida at Junior National Duals, competing at 100 there. Tate does hit some stronger events during the regular season to prepare for tournament run.
Program needs: Pretty heavy graduation losses will be tricky to overcome for the Aggies. The middle weights, in particular, are going to have some holes to fill.
Why Florida should know about the Aggies: Tate was right there in the mix for the Region 1 title and had a very solid state weekend. With five wrestlers making it to Kissimmee, here’s a breakdown on each performance:
Cochran — Lost in the first round to non-placer Ryan Fountain of Sebring, 13-6, but then won three matches in a row to secure a medal, all by fall. Cochran pinned Carol City’s Derrod Walker (consi round 1), Lake Gibson’s Nathan Lawwell (consi round 2) and Cape Coral’s Christopher DePaola (blood round) to make podium. From there, Cochran lost by fall in the consi semis to Riverdale’s Monos and then again to Liberty’s Anthony Lopez, 13-7, in the fifth-place match.
Porter — Like Cochran, Porter lost in the first round (but to an eventual placer), 15-6, to South Broward’s Andrew Valverde, but won three times to get to the medal. He won by forfeit over Barron Collier’s CJ Robles (consi round 1), 14-6 over Matanzas’ Rocky Samples (consi round 2) and 11-4 over Pasco’s Bryant Haire (blood round). After that, Porter took two narrow losses, first 3-2 against Brandon’s Andreus Bond in the consi semis and then 4-3 to Olympic Heights’ Paul Steger in the fifth-place match.
Wood — Went 0-2 in the tournament at 126, falling to eventual placer Ethan Altabet of Olympic Heights, 17-4, in the first round. Wood was closer against King’s Jean Pierre Loyola in consi round 1, but fell in that match by a 9-5 count.
Herndon — Also was 0-2 at 170, falling in the first round to Palmetto Ridge’s Joey Parmenter, 12-7. In consi round 1, Herndon fell to West Boca Raton’s Alex Bordeau, 18-8.
McAnally — Had the Aggies’ best finish at both regions and states, losing only to placers in Kissimmee. He started with a 6-1 decision over Blanche Ely’s Marvens Saint Charles in the first round, but then fell by a 1-0 score to Harmony’s Silas Root in the quarters. McAnally had two decisions to clinch his medal, downing Belleview’s Leonard Jacobs 4-3 in consi round 2 and winning 6-4 over River Ridge’s Brian Batey in the blood round. He fell to Region 1 rival JT Grant of Leon, 5-3, in the consi semis, but closed out his weekend with a fall over Saint Charles in the fifth-place match.