TurkeyNWrestling: 1A-District 1

Team synopsis: This is Matmen’s first prediction of the District 1 races in 1A, and in predicting the top of the standings, I’m going to let recent history be my guide.

Each of the past three years, Arnold has been the district champion, and I would foresee at least one more year where the Marlins can make it happen. Last year was Arnold’s strongest team finish at states after repeating as district champ and region runnerup, and a good chunk of weaponry (former state champ, two former state finalists) comes back from that team, along with the district’s biggest transfer move in junior Cole Maddox coming over from Marianna.

Next year, though, the field could tighten dramatically, and four teams will have a lot to say about that. Marianna has the tradition, and has enough people with deep post-season experience to get the early nod, but their position as district runnerup each of the past three years shouldn’t allow the Bulldogs to be comfortable, because…

Mosley has some good athletes and is getting some travel in its schedule. Wewahitchka is a program that continues to make strides, and don’t be surprised if Bozeman finishes ahead of its projections.

I would say for the rest of the group, South Walton might be the most intriguing of the picks, but we could see as many as eight teams get wrestlers to states out of District 1.

Records for all 1A-District 1 teams (except Wewahitchka), in terms of dual wins & losses, are unknown, as every team had at least some missing over the course of the year. Even the Gators did have some other missing results besides, however.

Projected finish: 1. Arnold. 2. Marianna. 3. Mosley. 4. Wewahitchka. 5. Bozeman. 6. South Walton. 7. Bay. 8. North Bay Haven. 9. Rutherford. 10. Rocky Bayou Christian.

Arnold (Panama City Beach)
Coach: Jeff Skipper, 11th year.
2015-16: Unknown for duals. 5th at Border Wars, 2nd at Capital City Classic, 4th at Scott Rohrer Invitational, 2nd at Kowboy Invitational, 5th at Flagler Rotary, 4th at Clay Rotary, 1st at Panhandle/Bay County.
Post-season stats, last 3 years: 2016 — 1st at district, 2nd at region, 3rd at states. 2015 — 1st at district, 2nd at region, 5th at states. 2014 — 1st at district, 5th at region, T-16th at states.
Individual returners (post-season starters and those with 15+ matches): Ethan Pickren (sophomore, 68-4 at 106, district champ, region champ, state runnerup); Alex Zapata (senior, 31-8 at 113, district runnerup); William Pickren (senior, 51-6 at 120, district champ, region champ, state 4th); Richie McClanahan (senior, 60-5 at 132, district champ, region runnerup, state 3rd); Andrew St. Amant (junior, 40-24 at 138, district champ, region runnerup); John Lee (sophomore, 12-19 at 160, district 4th); Riley Belden (senior, 160, did not participate in post-season); James Woodham (senior, 12-27 at 285, district 4th).
Key addition: Cole Maddox (junior, 37-13 at 170, district champ, region 3rd, 1 match from state podium; transferred from Marianna).
Key losses (to graduation): Alex Cao (22-14 at 126, district champ, 1 match from states); Dylan Tuttle (61-14 at 145, district champ, region runnerup); Paul Patterson (61-5 at 152, district champ, region champ, state 3rd); Brian Girard (60-9 at 182, district champ, region champ, state 3rd); Randy Koscak (60-7 at 220, district champ, region champ, state 4th).
Program strengths: A lot of talent remains in the tank for Arnold, which has a string of at least four district titles to defend and had pushed its way up to a top-3 state finish in March. Team members worked extensively on their craft this off-season, from Disney to New Orleans to J Robinson Intensive camps. Strong coaching staff in place.
Program needs: A LOT of wins graduated in 2016, and without an infusion of young blood into the lineup, the 2017-18 Marlins could struggle from a team standpoint. Upperweights, in particular, might need some shoring up.
Matmen’s take: Between Penn State commit McClanahan, the Pickrens and Maddox, and some solid supporting cast, there’s enough for another title.

Bay (Panama City)
Coach: Cliff Gore, 10th year.
2015-16: Unknown for duals. 6th at Gator Brawl. Unknown for Tate Invitational & Cougar Classic.
Post-season stats, last 3 years: 2016 — 6th at district, 26th at region. 2015 — 7th at district, 28th at region. 2014 — 3rd at district, 22nd at region, T-69th at states.
Individual returners (post-season starters and those with 15+ matches): Caitlyn Koller (junior, 1-6 at 106, 1 match from regions); Trophie Long (sophomore, 113, did not compete in post-season); Gabriel Meyer (senior, 15-8 at 120, district 4th); Zaccheaus Houston (junior, 120, did not compete in post-season); Damien Stayer (senior, 24-8 at 126, district runnerup); Preston Davis (sophomore, 138, did not compete in post-season); Aaron Retherford (junior, 5-16 at 145, 0-2 at districts); Davis Whitfield (sophomore, 6-14 at 152, 1 match from regions); Cameron Ellis (sophomore, 152, did not compete in post-season); Alex Palacious (senior, 3-16 at 160, 0-2 at districts); Kurt Stephens (junior, 160, did not compete in post-season); Matthew Sanders (sophomore, 6-16 at 170, 1 match from regions); Andrew Luzny (junior, 16-10 at 182, 1 match from regions); Danterius Ghant (senior, 9-7 at 220, district 3rd); Justin Pippin (junior, 220, did not compete in post-season); Zach Hartfield (senior, 220, did not compete in post-season).
Key losses (to graduation): Jordan May (15-12 at 132, 1 match from regions).
Program strengths: Good number of returners should help improve things in 2016-17. Not a bad duals schedule, with time spent at a couple of larger events. Did move up a couple of spots in the region standings.
Program needs: Kids could’ve stood a look at more wrestlers outside the Gulf area, and they should get a little bit more. Program needed to engage in off-season work in order to push the pace on getting better. Could use a couple more bigs in the lineup.
Matmen’s take: Getting in the top half of the district not impossible for Tornadoes, improvements to schedule could help that happen.

Bozeman (Panama City)
Coach: Jared Brookman, 2nd year.
2015-16: Unknown for duals. 23rd at Capital City Classic, 9th at Gulf Breeze Invitational, 2nd at Gator Brawl.
Post-season stats, last 3 years: 2016 — 4th at district, 19th at region. 2015 — 8th at district, T-32nd at region. 2014 — 6th at district, 17th at region, T-66th at states.
Individual returners (post-season starters and those with 15+ matches): Dylan Mosley (7th, 106, did not compete in post-season); DJ Hanson (junior, 32-6 at 113, district champ, 1 match from states); Delton Griffin (senior, 32-11 at 120, district runnerup, 1 match from states); Brian Zerr (sophomore, 14-22 at 126, district 4th); Matthew Green (junior, 126, did not compete in post-season); Triston Tiller (junior, 27-18 at 132, district runnerup); Hunter Kruger (sophomore, 36-17 at 145, district 4th); Caleb Hale (senior, 152, did not compete in post-season); Michael Stout (senior, 28-17 at 160, 1 match from regions); Ryan Kruger (senior, 39-9 at 195, district champ, 1 match from states); Joey Delarosa (junior, 20-22 at 285, district 3rd); Brandon Shuller (senior, 285, did not compete in post-season); Landon Harris (junior, 285, did not compete in post-season).
Key losses: None.
Program strengths: No graduation losses among 2015-16 post-season starters means Bucks should have a good amount of continuity. Some good quality, with seven of eight post-season starters getting to Week 2 of the post-season. Bozeman does leave the Gulf for an IBT event during the year, which is helpful.
Program needs: While there was one off-area event, more was needed to test the Bucks more completely. Again (and there will feel like a theme to this), more off-season work was needed to keep up with teams in other parts of the north and throughout Florida.
Matmen’s take: If the Bucks can start this year and maintain as well as they finished last year, top-3 in the district is a real possibility.

Marianna
Coach: Todd Larson, 1st year at present school.
2015-16: Unknown in duals. 20th at Border Wars, T-14th at Capital City Classic, 3rd at Billy Saylor Invitational, 8th at Seminole Wrestling Classic, 10th at Wakulla Challenge, 10th at Trojan Invitational, 5th at Tri-County.
Post-season stats, last 3 years: 2016 — 2nd at district, 6th at region, T-36th at states. 2015 — 2nd at district, 17th at region. 2014 — 2nd at district, 4th at region, 19th at states.
Individual returners (post-season starters & those with 15+ matches): Neal Smith (sophomore, 10-35 at 106, district 3rd); Hunter Hutton (junior, 13-31 at 126, district 3rd); Ethan Ellis (junior, 18-21 at 132, district 4th); Max Martinez (senior, 29-18 at 145, district 3rd, 1 match from states); Isaac Ellis (senior, 145, did not compete in post-season); Gunner Nebel (junior, 26-23 at 160, district 3rd); Stephon Gaines (junior, 24-15 at 182, district runnerup); Nick English (junior, 32-19 at 195, district 3rd, region 4th).
Key losses (all graduation except as noted): Timothy Walker (126, did not compete in post-season); Marquez Patterson-Rhodes (22-15 at 138, district 3rd, state 4th); Christian McIntire (41-16 at 152, district runnerup, region runnerup); Cole Maddox (junior, 37-13 at 170, district champ, region 3rd, 1 match from state podium; transferred to Arnold); Alvin Castillo (3-6 at 220, 1 match from regions).
Program strengths: Lot of returners, not only for the upcoming season, but for the next as well. All but one Marianna wrestler moved on at least to regions, which is a good thing. Several Bulldogs competed in off-season competitions. Very solid schedule. This is a team that is very close to breaking out as it did in 2014.
Program needs: Could use a couple of bigs to fill out the lineup, and middles will need some filling, but there should be enough returning depth in the lowers to make that happen.
Matmen’s take: Bulldogs took some lumps at IBTs in-season, but those lumps paid off with a solid post-season run and probably again this year.

Mosley (Lynn Haven)
Coach: John Winkler, 1st year at present school.
2015-16: Unknown in duals. 21st at Border Wars, 19th at Capital City Classic, 8th at Gulf Breeze Invitational, 8th at Billy Saylor Invitational, 1st at Gator Brawl. No results from Tate Invitational.
Post-season stats, last 3 years: 2016 — 3rd at district, T-17th at region. 2015 — 8th at 2A-District 1, 27th at 2A-Region 1. 2014 — 8th at 2A-District 1, 20th at 2A-Region 1, T-51st at states.
Individual returners (post-season starters and those with 15+ matches): Gavin Krisco (junior, 18-17 at 113, district 4th); Kenyel Plaza (junior, 120/126, did not compete in post-season); Shane Ferry (senior, 41-21 at 132, district 3rd); Caleb Schultz (senior, 46-25 at 138, district 4th); Bailey Boakes (senior, 37-29 at 145, 1 match from regions); Jarrod Pitts (junior, 39-27 at 152, district 3rd); Jarkeis Bass (sophomore, 48-15 at 160, district champ, 1 match from states); Dalton Childs (senior, 54-19 at 170, district 3rd); Noah Shoemaker (senior, 7-11 at 182, 1 match from regions); Ashon Jackson (senior, 41-16 at 220, district runnerup); Dylan Rodriguez (senior, 28-15 at 285, district runnerup).
Key losses (to graduation): Jose Garcia (126, did not compete in post-season); Chase Atkinson (18-28 at 195, district 4th).
Program strengths: Dolphins have a lot of returners off a team that had some regular-season success (including first tournament win in program history). Team does travel away from the Gulf on occasion and isn’t afraid of the larger tournaments on the Gulf, which is necessary for program success.
Program needs: Needed off-season work at state/national level to make a push past the Arnold/Marianna block at the top of District 1. Team did have lowers wrestle in regular season, but only Krisco competed in post-season.
Matmen’s take: Win at Wewa has big for the program as a whole, and Dolphins do have enough in the tank to do more than just win an event.

North Bay Haven (Panama City)
Coach: Brandon Collins, 3rd year.
2015-16: Unknown in duals. 24th at Border Wars, 10th at Timberwolf Challenge, 12th at Gulf Breeze Invitational, 12th at Gator Brawl.
Post-season stats, last 3 years: 2016 — 9th at district, T-30th at region. 2015 — 6th at district, 26th at region. First-year program in 2014-15.
Individual returners (post-season starters & those with 15+ matches): Micheal Freeman (freshman, 4-4 at 120, 0-2 at districts); Micheal Tores (sophomore, 1-3 at 126, 0-2 at districts); Aidan Campbell (junior, 6-31 at 132, 1 match from regions); Kurt Howard (8th, 132/138, did not compete in post-season); Dillon Fuder (senior, 16-15 at 138, 1 match from regions); Dagon Womack (senior, 27-14 at 145, 1 match from regions); Jackson Emery (senior, 11-22 at 170, 1 match from regions); Garrett Hester (junior, 24-20 at 182, district 3rd).
Key losses (to graduation): Brandon Hays (27-19 at 160, district runnerup); Micah Presley (170, did not compete in post-season).
Program strengths: Program kept almost all of its returners from a year ago, which is always tough to do for a new team. Team will travel, even going to Jacksonville for one two-day dual event. Hester is perhaps going to point the way for the future of the program.
Program needs: Numbers still continue to struggle, which is unsurprising for a new team. Wrestlers needed to step up off-season work, as Buccaneers took a step backward at region tournament.
Matmen’s take: Numbers and off-season work have to improve for program success, but hosting a big event to close out year won’t hurt visibility.

Rocky Bayou Christian (Niceville)
Coach: Kevin Walsh, 1st year as HC with rebooted team.
2015-16: No program in place.
Post-season stats, last 3 years: 2016 — No program in 2015-16. 2015 — 9th at district, 34th at region. 2014 — 7th at district, 32nd at region.
Individual returners: None from 2015-16. Unclear if earlier wrestlers still eligible to compete will return.
Key losses: None from 2015-16, other than the program itself as a whole.
Program strengths: Just putting the program back together is a bonus for the district.
Program needs: Mat time, experience.
Matmen’s take: Let’s hope that the Knights can keep things hanging together beyond this season.

Rutherford (Panama City)
Coach: Miles Godwin, 1st year.
2015-16: Unknown in dual meets. 5th at Gator Brawl. Unknown for Tate Invitational & Cougar Classic.
Post-season stats, last 3 years: 2016 — 7th at district, 23rd at region, T-63rd at states. 2015 — 5th at district, 27th at region. 2014 — 4th at district, 20th at region.
Individual returners (post-season starters and those with 15+ matches): Ethan Shover (sophomore, 1-27 at 120, 1 match from regions); D’vante Sims (sophomore, 126, did not compete in post-season); Josh Tiernan (senior, 138, did not compete in post-season); Keivontie Logan (sophomore, 10-27 at 145, 0-2 at districts); Kevin Bui (senior, 160, did not compete in post-season); Yakeif Duncan (senior, 31-8 at 170, district runnerup, region 4th); Calvin Coleman (senior, 10-27 at 182, 0-2 at districts).
Key losses (to graduation): Jacob Munn (220, did not compete in post-season); Anthony Hudson (33-5 at 285, district champ).
Program strengths: Program has some skilled kids in it, with a state qualifier (first one since 2013) and a district champ among its numbers this past year. Rams also took steps in the right direction in the region classification. Some good events on the schedule.
Program needs: Numbers are an issue, with just five post-season starters. Program needed to mix in some in-season travel out of the Gulf, in order to improve its competitive balance, and off-season work needed to happen as well.
Matmen’s take: Rams will need more than Duncan’s individual success to flourish; numbers are the biggest key.

South Walton (Santa Rosa Beach)
Coach: Carey Nick, 11th year.
2015-16: Unknown in duals. 23rd at Border Wars, 25th at Capital City Classic, 13th at Gulf Breeze Invitational, 19th at Scott Rohrer Invitational, 7th at Gator Brawl, 12th at Trojan Invitational, 34th at Clay Rotary.
Post-season stats, last 3 years: 2016 — 8th at district, 24th at region. 2015 — 3rd at district, 5th at region, T-17th at states. 2014 — 5th at district, 14th at region, 22nd at states.
Individual returners (post-season starters and those with 15+ matches): Minh Nguyen (sophomore, 33-28 at 106, district runnerup); Seth Weinthal (sophomore, 43-22 at 120, district 3rd); Joseph Gajewski (sophomore, 16-22 at 126, 1 match from regions); Mason Levasseur (sophomore, 132, did not compete in post-season); Tristan Combs (sophomore, 5-26 at 145, 0-2 at districts); Jaden Page (sophomore, 3-4 at 152, district 4th); Aaron Sears (sophomore, 4-16 at 160, 0-2 at districts); Elijah Perryman (sophomore, 160, did not compete in post-season); Gavin Lizana (sophomore, 7-25 at 170, 0-2 at districts); Gus Delgadillo (sophomore, 7-27 at 182, 0-2 at districts); Eldrich Trinidad (sophomore, 1-20 at 195, 1 match from regions); Cole Anderson (sophomore, 220, did not compete in post-season).
Key losses: None.
Program strengths: Seahawks had to rebuild from the ground up, and they have, with nine 10th graders all taking lumps together, which can make for good chemistry later on. Although not much larger tournament experience, South Walton is getting after it in off-season. Team is willing to travel great lengths for good competition.
Program needs: Youth is a problem now, one that does go away over time. 2017 off-season needed to see some Disney work or something of that level.
Matmen’s take: Ambitious schedule overmatched the Seahawks last year, but it could pay off with more dividends this season.

Wewahitchka
Coach: Tracy Malcolm, 8th year.
2015-16: 4-9 in duals. 22nd at Border Wars, 4th at Westfield GA tournament, 9th at Timberwolf Challenge, 11th at Gulf Breeze Invitational, 17th at Scott Rohrer Invitational, 4th at Gator Brawl. No results from Cougar Classic.
Post-season stats, last 3 years: 2016 — 5th at district, 11th at region, T-63rd at states. 2015 — 4th at district, T-22nd at region. 2014 — 8th at district, 30th at region.
Individual returners (post-season starters and those with 15+ matches): Tyler Dubray (freshman, 10-20 at 106, district 4th); Johnathan Harvey (sophomore, 22-17 at 113, district 3rd); Mathew Laster (freshman, 5-6 at 120, 1 match from regions); Dylan Jacobs (sophomore, 5-29 at 126, 1 match from regions); Burley Parker (senior, 46-18 at 145, district runnerup); Delinger Chance (senior, 10-17 at 152, 1 match from regions); Jackson Vines (senior, 43-22 at 160, 1 match from regions); Dylan Edwards (sophomore, 8-33 at 170, district 4th); Malachi Davenport (junior, 23-23 at 182, district 4th); Alex Edwards (sophomore, 195, district runnerup, region 3rd); Claeton Horne (freshman, 4-20 at 285, 1 match from regions).
Key losses (to graduation): Austin Malcolm (40-16 at 138, district runnerup); Bubba Brogdon (12-24 at 220, district 4th).
Program strengths: A solid number of returners come back in 2016-17, most of them still quite young and able to grow together. Rallied from a so-so district tournament to nearly crack top 10 at regions. Wrestlers did get to travel quite a bit, both to Tallahassee and out of state, to get ready for the post-season.
Program needs: Needed full complement of kids to take advantage of schedule (at one tournament, less than half the starters made the trip). Off-season work was needed at state/national level to make gains on the top teams in district.
Matmen’s take: Even with just two starters lost to graduation, this is still something of a young group that could be in title mix soon.

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I covered wrestling for 15 years up north and "retired" in 2011. But as I thought I had in 1992, I couldn't stay away. Started Northeast Florida Matmen in 2013, Northwest Florida Matmen in 2015. New initiative this year is to create a space on my sites where ALL Florida results can be stored, searched, reviewed and used by my readers, with NO COST TO THEM.

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