TurkeyNWrestling: 1A-District 3

Team synopsis: It was a tough February for wrestlers not clad in Clay singlets to make much headway in 1A-District 3.

The Blue Devils nearly ran the table in terms of district titles last season, picking off 13 along the way and romping to their 17th consecutive district team title, adding a Region 1 title and 1A runnerup effort over the next two weeks.

And they only look stronger this year. By most measures, Clay has the second-strongest team in all of 1A Florida, with only national #3 Lake Highland Prep eclipsing the Blue Devils. They’ll have plenty of chances to prove that, with appearances (among others) at Knockout Christmas Classic and hosting the 1A Dual Championships, where they could dual Lake Highland head-to-head.

I look for Yulee to retain Nassau County top honors and remain runnerup in this district, but West Nassau is going to push the Hornets very hard for those spots; as a team, the Warriors came on with a rush last year.

Baker County has had the benefit of massive (for school size) numbers, and is another team that might take a significant step upward this year. I look at the Wildcats as having a leg up on the rest of the district, but if Westside can retain the momentum it started last season with having, the Wolverines could be a threat for both a top-3 district finish and could figure into the Gateway Conference mix.

Projected finish: 1. Clay. 2. Yulee. 3. West Nassau. 4. Baker County. 5. Westside. 6. Raines. 7. Bishop Snyder. 8. Fernandina Beach.

Baker County (Glen St. Mary)
Coach: Hank Farmer, 3rd year.
2015-16: 13-7 in duals. 9th at Billy Saylor Invitational, 8th at 5 Star Invitational, 58th at girls’ state meet.
Post-season stats, last 3 years: 2016 — 4th at district, T-17th at region. 2015 — 3rd at district, 16th at region. 2014 — 6th at district, 16th at region, T-69th at states.
Individual returners (post-season starters and those with 15+ matches): Cole Cushman (junior, 23-7 at 113, district 4th); Carson Padgett (junior, 6-10 at 113, did not compete in post-season); Jordan Johnson (junior, 15-18 at 126, district 3rd); Devon Cole (junior, 16-14 at 132, 1 match from regions); Earl Starling (junior, 6-8 at 145, district 3rd); James Burnett (junior, 12-16 at 160, 1 match from regions); Blake Dicks (junior, 20-15 at 170, district 3rd); Josh Ossmann (sophomore, 8-19 at 195, did not compete in post-season); Jestin Canterbury (senior, 12-19 at 285, 1 match from regions).
Key losses (to graduation): Sydney Williams (14-13 at 106, district 3rd); Shelbie Martin (13-15 at 120, 1 match from regions); Robbie Martin (17-12 at 138, district 4th); Caleb Griffin (13-11 at 152, district 4th); Corey Paine (28-8 at 220, district runnerup, 1 match from states).
Program strengths: Numbers. Baker has just about as many kids that saw lots of time during the regular season as those who suited up for the Wildcats for the districts. Six juniors return, and they could form a solid nucleus for the next two seasons.
Program needs: Off-season wrestling was a critical need. That’s started to be addressed with the Baker County Youth Wrestling program. Wildcats could use at least one highly competitive IBT event that will help prep them for the challenges of the post-season.
Matmen’s take: If all that depth ever sorts itself into one strong lineup, the Wildcats could push Yulee and West Nassau very hard by February.

Bishop Snyder (Jacksonville)
Coach: Jeremy Mosley, 3rd year.
2015-16: 1-21 in duals. 16th at Westside Kiwanis, 9th at Bierbaum Invitational, 14th at 5 Star Invitational, 33rd at Clay Rotary.
Post-season stats, last 3 years: 2016 — 7th at district, 25th at region. 2015 — 6th at district, T-12th at region, T-59th at states. 2014 — 1st at district, 7th at region, T-16th at states.
Individual returners (post-season starters and those with 15+ matches): Elijah Bishop (sophomore, 5-14 at 106, did not compete in post-season); JP Vilonueva (sophomore, 7-28 at 113, 1 match from regions); Brenden Bizier (senior, 27-17 at 132, district 3rd); Johnathan Bokros (sophomore, 5-30 at 138, 1 match from regions); Thomas Graden (sophomore, 6-29 at 145, 1 match from regions); Azim Hameed (senior, 26-9 at 160, district champ, 1 match from states); Mark Morante (sophomore, 4-28 at 220, 1 match from regions).
Key losses: None.
Program strengths: Rebuilding effort after schedule change forced several Cardinals out of wrestling has been slow going, but progress is happening. Having everyone return next year, and return to the sport next year, will be a big boost for all of the Cardinals.
Program needs: Youngsters do need more mat time, with a mixture of all levels of competition. Snyder schedule has evolved toward that.
Matmen’s take: Cardinals’ rebuilding effort continues, but finishing outside the basement at district — plus a weight-class champ — are positive signs.

Clay (Green Cove Springs)
Coach: Jim Reape, 24th year.
2015-16: 23-8 in duals. 2nd at Westside Kiwanis Invitational, 1st at Somerset 1A Scuffle, 1st at Clay Rotary.
Post-season stats, last 3 years: 2016 — 1st at district, 1st at region, state runnerup (Lake Highland Prep). 2015 — 1st at 1A-District 5, 3rd at 1A-Region 2, 9th at states. 2014 — 1st at 1A-District 5, 2nd at 1A-Region 2, 4th at states.
Individual returners (post-season starters and those with 15+ matches): Louie Gagliardo (sophomore, 45-8 at 106, district champ, region runnerup, state 5th); Chris Merring (senior, 35-8 at 113, district champ, region champ, state runnerup); Peyton Hughes (sophomore, 27-4 at 113, did not compete in post-season); Dylan Taylor (sophomore, 40-15 at 120, district champ, region runnerup, state 6th); Keath Sawdo (senior, 36-14 at 145, district champ, region champ, state 5th); Connor Green (junior, 35-17 at 152, district champ, region 3rd, state 6th); Garrett Weseman (junior, 15-22 at 160, district 4th); Abbott Taylor (sophomore, 19-12 at 182, district champ, region runnerup); Kaleb Collins (senior, 39-7 at 195, district champ, region champ, state 3rd); Ryan Rivers (junior, 23-16 at 220, did not compete in post-season).
Key additions: Max Beavor (junior, 36-8 at 170, 3A-District 1 3rd place; transfer from Mandarin); Kurt Jackson (junior, 41-14 at 195, 2A-District 3 runnerup, 2A-Region 1 4th place; transfer from Middleburg).
Key losses (to graduation): Dale Browning (49-6 at 126, district champ, region champ, state 3rd); Derek Miller (42-6 at 132, district champ, region champ, state champion); Julian Summa (41-8 at 138, district champ, region champ, state 4th); Caleb Steinmetz (38-14 at 170, district champ, 1 match from states); Jeremy Beaulieu (16-4 at 220, district champ, region 3rd, 1 match from state podium); Roland Samec (30-7 at 285, district champ, region 3rd).
Program strengths: Holds one of the, and arguably the, premier traditions of any wrestling team in the coverage area, with one of, if not the, most vocal and supportive fan bases in Florida. Has one of the deepest benches in the coverage area and certainly deepest in the district, and the kids who’ve transferred make the overall group just that much stronger.
Program needs: Not many. A couple of Clay kids did take some off-season surgeries, and are all ready to roll now.
Matmen’s take: Not many groups can lose six seniors — some with multiple state appearances — and still not miss a beat moving into next season. Clay can.

Fernandina Beach
Coach: Mike Emanuel, 1st year (has prior HC experience).
2015-16: 4-11 in duals. 7th at Bierbaum Invitational, 5th at Battle of the Border, 11th at 5 Star Invitational.
Post-season stats, last 3 years: 2016 — 8th at district, 28th at region. 2015 — 5th at district, 24th at region. 2014 — 3rd at district, 6th at region, T-52nd at states.
Individual returners (post-season starters and those with 15+ matches): Christian Crews (junior, 8-11 at 145, did not compete in post-season); Joseph Helm (senior, 25-5 at 152, district runnerup), Trevor Dubose (senior, 160, 0-2 at districts); Brad Lucas (senior, 15-6 at 182, did not compete in post-season); David Sturgis (junior, 4-11 at 195, district 4th); potentially Robbie Elefterion (class unknown, 220, 0-2 at districts).
Key losses (to graduation): Rafael Charriez (14-14 at 126, 1 match from regions).
Program strengths: Pirates still have talent in the lineup. New HC should be a shot in the arm for the program.
Program needs: Numbers have dropped and team will need an influx of new blood to continue to try to compete in duals. Program also needs to reach out to the Jacksonville area and compete in a couple more events to get more mat time.
Matmen’s take: I didn’t see Coach Emanuel’s previous teams, but am looking forward to taking a look at the new-look Pirates this year.

Raines (Jacksonville)
Coach: Brian Gilbert, 9th year.
2015-16: 7-12 in duals. 12th at Arlington Optimist Invitational, 20th at Capital City Classic, 9th at Somerset 1A Scuffle, 5th at Gateway Conference, 9th at 5 Star Invitational, 29th at Clay Rotary.
Post-season stats, last 3 years: 2016 — 5th at district, 10th at region, T-34th at states. 2015 — 7th at district, 21st at region, T-70th at states. 2014 — 7th at district, 19th at region, T-59th at states.
Individual returners (post-season starters and those with 15+ matches): Ahmad Jenkins (senior, 7-8 at 106, did not compete in post-season); Anthony Haynes (junior, 21-17 at 113, district 3rd); Lehman Buggest (senior, 17-5 at 113, did not compete in post-season); Joseph Haynes (senior, 32-12 at 120, district 3rd, region 3rd); Jaquan English (junior, 51-9 at 126, district runnerup, region 3rd, state 6th); Joshua McAfee (junior, 3-16 at 152, did not compete in post-season); Dondre Stephens (sophomore, 10-24 at 182, district 4th); Jahcoassy Leo (senior, 23-11 at 195, district runnerup).
Key losses (to graduation): Daisean Biffle (30-9 at 138, did not compete in post-season); Travaris Shanks (18-17 at 285, district 3rd).
Program strengths: Coaching staff is a quiet strength for this program in the heart of the inner city. Athleticism across the board is top-notch. The schedule this school wrestles takes the Vikings all over Florida to seek out strong competition, and it showed up in Raines’ best showing at states in the past four years.
Program needs: Numbers continue to be an issue, as the program takes a back seat to strong football and track programs. There’s been some off-season work, but not as much across the board as the coaching staff would want to see.
Matmen’s take: Vikings don’t lose much to graduation, if they can gain numbers — with this coaching staff — they could be fairly solid.

West Nassau (Callahan)
Coach: Frederick Avery, 3rd year.
2015-16: 12-7 in duals. 15th at Westside Kiwanis Invitational, 4th at Bierbaum Invitational, 4th at Battle of the Border, 5th at 5 Star Invitational, 28th at Clay Rotary.
Post-season stats, last 3 years: 2016 — 3rd at district, 12th at region, T-47th at states. 2015 — 4th at district, 9th at region, 25th at states. 2014 — 4th at district, 18th at region, T-55th at states.
Individual returners (post-season starters and those with 15+ matches): Jake Blount (junior, 33-10 at 113, district runnerup, region 4th); Jacob Hulbert (sophomore, 17-25 at 120, district 4th); William Tharpe (junior, 28-10 at 138, district runnerup, 1 match from states); Levi Mumford (junior, 20-15 at 152, 1 match from regions); Chance Terrell (junior, 13-8 at 160, district 3rd); Daniel Boylan (junior, 15-17 at 195, district 3rd); Blake Hodges (senior, 23-15 at 220, district 3rd).
Key losses (to graduation): Brandon Bostick (7-8 at 132, did not compete in post-season); Daniel Hill (24-15 at 170, district runnerup); John/Owen Evans (14-17 at 182, district runnerup).
Program strengths: Program continues to make upticks over the past couple of seasons, with newcomers making it stronger each season, and that has shown in their improved district position. The Warriors have been to the state tournament each of the past three seasons and should have multiple kids there in 2017.
Program needs: Schedule is getting stronger, but could continue to get better. Off-season work was in some short supply, at least against in-state competition (given their location, they might be seeing south Georgia kids).
Matmen’s take: I look at the Warriors as a team that could surprise people around the area this year; they’ve quietly gotten significantly better.

Westside (Jacksonville)
Coach: Christopher McNealy, 4th year.
2015-16: 14-10 in duals. 10th at Westside Kiwanis Invitational, 10th at Gateway Conference, 2nd at Westside Classic.
Post-season stats, last 3 years: 2016 — 6th at district, 16th at region, 72nd at states. 2015 — 2nd at district, T-12th at region. 2014 — 5th at district, 23rd at region.
Individual returners (post-season starters and those with 15+ matches): Isaac Parker (senior, 16-16 at 113, 1 match from regions); Malik Hardison (sophomore, 15-16 at 126, district 4th); Keyvonta Broadwater (senior, 16-21 at 132, district 4th); Jacob Boyd (senior, 12-7 at 138, did not compete in post-season); Delmontae Davis (senior, 29-11 at 145, district runnerup); Matthew Gathright (sophomore, 23-15 at 152, 1 match from regions); John Jones (junior, 15-19 at 170, 1 match from regions); Tariq Hookfin (senior, 30-10 at 285, district runnerup).
Key losses (to graduation): Caleb Gibbs (38-10 at 160, district runnerup, region 3rd, 1 match from state podium).
Program strengths: Wolverines were in the hunt for area ranking early in the season, were ranked in Florida Times-Union poll in late December. Numbers have gone up consistently and new faces continue to enter the lineup and make impacts. Have done a decent amount of off-season work.
Program needs: Schedule needs to improve in order to push the better wrestlers to new heights (a Disney Duals appearance in off-season would as well). Wolverines will want to either sustain success they had in December, for the entire season, or build toward it.
Matmen’s take: Wolverines have wrestled well above and well below competition last year; this year is all about achieving consistent successes.

Yulee
Coach: Brandon Crowder, 9th year.
2015-16: Unknown for duals (didn’t have one out-of-state dual last year). 3rd at Bierbaum Invitational, 3rd at Battle of the Border.
Post-season stats, last 3 years: 2016 — 2nd at district, T-14th at region, T-42nd at states. 2015 — 1st at district, 7th at region, T-59th at states. 2014 — 2nd at district, 15th at region, T-69th at states.
Individual returners (post-season starters and those with 15+ matches): Gavin Loring (sophomore, 106, district runnerup); Dylan Youmans (senior, 120, district runnerup); Zach Watson (senior, 126, 1 match from regions); (possibly) Blaine Dorsey (no school year noted on Track, 132, did not compete in post-season); John Parker (senior, 138, district 3rd); (possibly) Tyler Berrier (no school year noted on Track, 138, did not compete in post-season); (possibly) David Dry (no school year noted on Track, 145, district 4th); Grant Stanish (sophomore, 152, district 3rd); Dylan Dial (senior, 160, 1 match from regions); Kris Maxie (junior, 170, district 4th); (possibly) Michael Crawford (no school year noted on Track, 195, 1 match from regions); TJ Holton (senior, 220, district 4th); McKenzie Lewis (junior, 285, district 4th).
Key losses (to graduation): RJ Adams (182, district runnerup, region 3rd, 1 match from state podium).
Program strengths: Hornets have a ton of returners off a team that would win more than a few districts’ titles. Not many losses due to graduation, unusual for a deeper program. Coaching staff is consistently good and youth program is well-established.
Program needs: Schedule needs upgrading for a team with area top-10 capability. We saw a little more diversity in some of the dual event, but another strong IBT in the region would be particularly helpful.
Matmen’s take: Hornets should be favored to re-take the Nassau County title, should be in area top-10 mix entering the season.

Advertisements

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.

Posted in Uncategorized

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: