TurkeyNWrestling: 2A-District 2

Team synopsis: Last year, Lincoln lost its hold on the Region 1 championship, and came back to post the strongest finish it’s had at states in the past couple of seasons.

There’s not been as much flux at the top of the table in 2A-2, however, where Lincoln added another to its string of titles. Even with some heavy graduation losses to overcome, I don’t expect that to change in February, even in a district where there’s been quite a bit of shuffling over the past few seasons.

Transfers are key for the Trojans, with state podium-finisher Justin Grant coming over from Leon and Ikeon Myles joining Lincoln after finishing one match short of 1A states last year at Florida High.

Chiles has a pretty solid nucleus of kids, and I look for the Timberwolves to take another step up the ladder in the district. This group might have enough to win some districts around the state, but a runnerup in this one — with all the state hardware 2A-2 racked up last year — ain’t too shabby.

Where the tossups remain in this district are the 3-5 slots, and depending on how things shake out could see a number of different combinations. Going into the season, I’ll give the nod to Columbia for third, but Leon’s got some very strong talent and Gainesville could put together a wild-card team finish before February rolls around.

Projected finish: 1. Lincoln. 2. Chiles. 3. Columbia. 4. Leon. 5. Gainesville.

Chiles (Tallahassee)
Coach: James Marschka, 12th year.
2015-16: 5-1 in duals. 14th at Border Wars, 7th at Capital City Classic, T-3rd at Timberwolf Challenge, 6th at Wakulla Challenge, 6th at Trojan Invitational, 6th at Tri-County. No team result from Thomas County GA roundrobin event (team scores may not have been kept).
Post-season stats, last 3 years: 2016 — 3rd at district, 15th at region, T-34th at states. 2015 — 4th at district, 16th at region, T-47th at states. 2014 — 4th at district, 11th at region, T-28th at states.
Individual returners (post-season starters and those with 15+ matches): Austin Hall (junior, 16-24 at 113, district 3rd); Michael Hawkins (sophomore, 1-17 at 126, 1 loss from regions); Logan Mellor (senior, 32-12 at 132, district champ, 1 match from states); Ben Strickland (senior, 7-13 at 132/138, did not compete in post-season); Andrew Tychsen (senior, 14-27 at 138, district runnerup); Austin Nolan (junior, 21-19 at 145, district 3rd, 1 match from states); Miles Mercer (senior, 13-13 at 152, district 3rd); Gavin Hoard (senior, 43-5 at 170, district champ, region 3rd, state 4th); Michael Molen (junior, 1-13 at 195, district 4th); Bobby Williams (senior, 33-11 at 220, district runnerup, 1 match from states).
Key losses (to graduation): Elijah Toomey (21-15 at 160, district 3rd); Casey Hall (12-25 at 182, district 3rd).
Program strengths: Solid group of experienced returners coming back for next year on a team that is pushing upward in the district standings. Some did struggle at Disney, but they stayed on the mats while others hit the beach or the videogames, so that will pay dividends.
Program needs: Given that Timberwolves have more or less a full team, more dual events could be helpful for this group. Finding a couple more kids shading toward the 106/113 edge of the spectrum would help. Continued off-season emphasis will be needed.
Matmen’s take: Timberwolves have a strong shot at moving into second in the district, particularly if they can find some lowers.

Columbia (Lake City)
Coach: Peter Whittington, 1st year (as HC).
2015-16: 10-8 in duals. 12th at Border Wars, 13th at Capital City Classic, 6th at Billy Saylor Invitational, 7th at Wakulla Challenge, 7th at Trojan Invitational, T-16th at Clay Rotary.
Post-season stats, last 3 years: 2016 — 4th at district, 12th at region, T-14th at states. 2015 — 3rd at district, 10th at region, 24th at states. 2014 — 2nd at district, 7th at region, 14th at states.
Individual returners (post-season starters and those with 15+ matches): Brandon Lloyd (sophomore, 8-25 at 106, district 3rd); Alex Williams (sophomore, 4-38 at 113, district 4th); Chace Curtis (junior, 51-5 at 120, district champ, region champ, state champion); Matt Ross (sophomore, 36-22 at 126, district 3rd); Zach Williams (junior, 20-21 at 132, district 3rd); Will Vickers (junior, 7-16 at 138, district champ); Chad Sapp (sophomore, 12-30 at 170, district 4th); Devon Wilson (junior, 9-6 at 170, did not compete in post-season); Zion James (junior, 10-10 at 170/182, did not compete in post-season).
Key losses (to graduation): Kody Waldron (32-17 at 145, district runnerup); Austin Chapman (18-9 at 160, district runnerup); Marcus Zeighler (49-11 at 285, district runnerup, region 3rd, state 6th).
Program strengths: Good nucleus of returners from 106 to 138, plus there’s a lot of depth returning that has regular- and prior post-season experience that just didn’t wrestle in the post-season this past year. Very strong schedule that prepares kids for the post-season; strong wrestlers have shown well there. Offseason work should help.
Program needs: More kids with size. While there are some returners that didn’t compete in the post-season that are bigger kids, they could have difficulty filling all of the weights between 152 on up to 285.
Matmen’s take: Numbers are holding for the Tigers and they’re taking some necessary lumps in the off-season, in order to get growth as a group.

Gainesville
Coach: Patrickk McDonald, 2nd year.
2015-16: 10-12 in duals. 21st at Capital City Classic, 8th at Timberwolf Challenge, 10th at Ed Kilpatrick Classic, 9th at Trojan Invitational.
Post-season stats, last 3 years: 2016 — 5th at district, 17th at region, 17th at states. 2015 — 5th at district, 18th at region, T-67th at states. 2014 — 3rd at district, 4th at region, 14th at states.
Individual returners (post-season starters and those with 15+ matches): Scotty Tacinelli (sophomore, 24-15 at 106, district champ); Elijah Keselowsky (senior, 10-23 at 132, 1 match from regions); Justin Harbilas (junior, 11-16 at 152, district 4th); Corey Ryan (junior, 12-19 at 160, 1 match from regions); Jacob Hake (junior, 18-12 at 170/182, did not compete in post-season); Carlos Wilson (senior, 11-19 at 182, district 4th); Mike Lundgren (sophomore, 5-10 at 195, did not compete in post-season); Jackson McLendon (senior, 19-19 at 220, district 4th).
Key losses (to graduation): Trae-von O’Neal (35-9 at 113, district runnerup, region champ, state champion); Tahj Brennen (14-8 at 126, district runnerup); Ben Fulwider (9-21 at 170, 1 match from regions); Luis Vazquez (6-8 at 195, district 3rd); Yessic Spencer (22-9 at 285, district 3rd).
Program strengths: Year 2 with coaching staff will promote some stability on that front. The weight classes between 160-195 should be a focal point in 2016-17. Current group will see a program that has been part of a lot of winning in the past few years, including O’Neal’s state title in March.
Program needs: Heavy, heavy graduation losses make this a transition year for Gainesville program. Numbers will need to improve just to replace the numbers that were in place last year. We saw a couple of kids get some off-season mat time in, but as a group off-season work was not as extensive as desirable.
Matmen’s take: Kids that return saw what it takes to win last season, but will have to add in a lot of hard work to get closer.

Leon (Tallahassee)
Coach: Charles Ringel, 14th year.
2015-16: 1-2 in duals. 8th at Capital City Classic, 5th at Timberwolf Challenge, 7th at Seminole Wrestling Classic, 9th at Wakulla Challenge, 5th at Trojan Invitational, 4th at Tri-County. No results from Cougar Classic.
Post-season stats, last 3 years: 2016 — 2nd at district, 7th at region, T-8th at states. 2015 — 2nd at district, 6th at region, 12th at states. 2014 — 5th at district, T-23rd at region.
Individual returners (post-season starters and those with 15+ matches): Payton Smith (sophomore, 2-18 at 126, district 4th); Chris Crago (junior, 1-17 at 138, district 4th); Jaquenez Madison (sophomore, 7-15 at 145, district 4th); Mason Judd (junior, 13-22 at 160, district 4th); Reynaldo Bourget (senior, 4-6 at 170, district 3rd); Henry Segura (senior, 33-11 at 195, district champ, 1 match from states); JT Grant (junior, 35-8 at 220, district champ, region champ, state 4th).
Key losses (to graduation except as noted): Parker Feddersen (15-9 at 132, district runnerup); Justin Grant (junior, 44-3 at 152, district champ, region champ, state 4th; transferred to Lincoln); Thirkeal Lightsey (16-14 at 182, district champ); Gabe Beyer (47-0 at 285, district champ, region champ, state champion).
Program strengths: Uppers will once again be the strength of the team in 2016-17. Top end of the room is very top end, and hopefully the success they’ve seen will attract the others to follow suit. Strong IBT schedule.
Program needs: Other than the Grants, Segura had the only other region victories among the Leon returners, so the less-experienced guys need to step up. Team needs more duals to go along with its solid amount of IBT work. Some lowers will be needed as well.
Matmen’s take: Lions will have some presence at states, but may struggle some during the regular season due to inexperience for group as whole.

Lincoln (Tallahassee)
Coach: Mike Crowder, 22nd year.
2015-16: 9-0 in duals. 7th at Border Wars, 6th at Capital City Classic, 1st at Timberwolf Challenge, 2nd at Seminole Wrestling Classic, 2nd at Trojan Invitational, 6th at Clay Rotary, 2nd at Tri-County.
Post-season stats, last 3 years: 2016 — 1st at district, 2nd at region, 12th at states. 2015 — 1st at district, 1st at region, T-40th at states. 2014 — 1st at district, 1st at region, T-18th at states.
Individual returners (post-season starters and those with 15+ matches): Mark Munroe (sophomore, 19-16 at 106, district runnerup); Michael Crowder (junior, 32-11 at 113, district champ, 1 match from states); Tyree Young (senior, 13-21 at 120, district runnerup); Scott Prine (senior, 10-13 at 132, district 4th); Eli Crum (sophomore, 10-28 at 138, district 3rd); Braxton Winder (sophomore, 3-16 at 138, did not compete in post-season); Jeremy Burke (senior, 10-7 at 152, did not compete in post-season); Justin Lopeman (senior, 22-12 at 170, district runnerup); Gus Altenburg (junior, 8-22 at 182/195, did not compete in post-season); Jared Newhall (junior, 17-18 at 195, district runnerup); Josh Martin (senior, 26-10 at 220, did not compete in post-season); Thomas Moss (senior, 28-19 at 285, district 4th, 1 match from states).
Key additions: Justin Grant (junior, 44-3 at 152, district champ, region champ, state 4th; transferred from Leon); Ikeon Myles (sophomore, 23-19 at 106, district runnerup, 1 match from states; transferred from Florida High).
Key losses (to graduation): Sean Hendley (35-11 at 126, district champ, region champ, 1 match from state podium); David Jackson (38-10 at 145, district champ, region 3rd); Estrado Bagias (15-21 at 152, district runnerup); Jaycie Rudd (38-2 at 160, district champ, region champ, state runnerup); Isaac Gutierrez-Tapia (32-10 at 182, district runnerup); Robert Norton (3-4 at 220, district 3rd).
Program strengths: Best state finish since 2013, and Lincoln was just a couple of wins away from being able to defend its Region 1 title. Bookends will be particularly solid. Schedule, both in-season and out-of-season, prepares this team well for the post-season run. Strong coaching staff that has worked to better not only the Tallahassee area, but was instrumental in bringing a state dual series to Florida as a whole. And the transfers are a sizable leg up.
Program needs: It’s a heavy graduation loss that Lincoln will have to overcome this year, with three state qualifiers and a fourth reaching Day 2 at Chiles. Otherwise, not many weaknesses. Lincoln will reload.
Matmen’s take: Trojans are reloading rather than rebuilding, even with all the graduation losses, and should once again be in mix for region title.

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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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