A side note before we begin: We WILL have additional content available for this tournament Wednesday. Nease’s team of managers will be helping the Matmen platform with both photos and interviews of the winning coach.
By the way, Christmas has nothing on this. THIS is the most wonderful time of the year.
Just remember before you read. It’s not personal, but you’re allowed to take it personally if you want. Prove me wrong. Or prove me right. I like both.
Team outlook: I’ve been told on a couple of occasions by a couple different 2A-4 coaches that piling up pins is going to be critical for team success. I have Bartram Trail projected to win six titles and Creekside five, so right now I’m going to go with my preseason pick and favor the Bears. Results in recent IBTs have been sort of inconclusive in looking at a favorite, as the Knights didn’t have a strong tournament at Flagler and the Bears were off on their performance at Clay. I see Nease as holding down third over the host Pirates, and Ponte Vedra should be ahead of St. Augustine and Paxon for fifth.
106: 1. Luke Davis (Creekside). 2. Gavin Riccobono (Ponte Vedra). 3. Ethan Goodman (Matanzas). 4. Blake Swor (Bartram Trail). Dark horse: Andy Ward (Nease).
My too-short take: Davis should be the favorite, but Riccobono has made clear improvements over last year.
113: 1. Nicholas Vugman (Bartram Trail). 2. Sean Arnold (Nease). 3. Josh Bower (Matanzas). 4. Colin Brown (Creekside). Dark horse: Preston Turner (Ponte Vedra).
My too-short take: Deeper class. Vugman had the last win over Arnold, but they’ve met three times, Vugman with two wins and Arnold one.
120: 1. Gannon Janssen (Nease). 2. Stone White (Matanzas). 3. Jake Summers (Creekside). 4. Jerry Gomer (Bartram Trail). Dark horse: Dalton Jackson (Paxon).
My too-short take: Janssen is the favorite, but White went 4-3 with him at St Johns River. Won’t be surprised if Summers makes final.
126: 1. Lawrence Russo (Matanzas). 2. Timothy Alalla (St. Augustine). 3. Brenden Teaman (Nease). 4. Max Patterson (Creekside). Dark horse: Joseph Governara (Bartram Trail).
My too-short take: Russo has elevated his game significantly over last year and might be Pirates’ most improved. Won’t be surprised to see shuffles in the order of finish.
132: 1. Jacob Satterfield (Nease). 2. James Mueller (Bartram Trail). 3. James Stanton (Ponte Vedra). 4. Jalen Hines (Creekside). Dark horse: Matanzas rep at 132.
My too-short take: Satterfield has been impressive, MVP-level, for the Panthers. 2-4 will be interesting. Matanzas has several options at this weight and 138.
138: 1. Matt Pickett (Bartram Trail). 2. Harrison Crowley (Ponte Vedra). 3. Marcus Petersen (St. Augustine). 4. Aidan Pagana (Nease). Dark horse: Matanzas rep at 138.
My too-short take: After Pickett, who’s close to a lock, this is a wide-open class. Crowley has most consistent post-season experience.
145: 1. Jacob Cooney (Creekside). 2. Christian Crews (Bartram Trail). 3. Jacob Linden (St. Augustine). 4. Ian Eckert (Matanzas). Dark horse: Corey Jones (Paxon).
My too-short take: A turning-point weight class. Not necessarily WIDE open, Cooney enters as a slight favorite, but I could see any one of six kids at this weight making it to Tallahassee.
152: 1. Brendan Jones (Creekside). 2. Tanner Hill (Nease). 3. Ralph Hamilton (Bartram Trail). 4. Troy Maritato (Ponte Vedra). Dark horse: Victor Paci (Matanzas).
My too-short take: Bartram and Ponte Vedra have options here (Kevin Williams for BTHS and Evan Merry at PVHS), so could be some mix-and-match. If the mid-January Williams is here, pencil him in at the top.
160: 1. Kevin Williams (Bartram Trail). 2. Tracey Beshara (St. Augustine). 3. Evan Merry (Ponte Vedra). 4. Carson White (Nease). Dark horse: Jack Tellin (Creekside).
My too-short take: Williams has match history that makes him the favorite either at 152 or 160, but hit some snags toward season’s end. Beshara never fails to surprise me. Merry might contend for third at 152 as well.
170: 1. Brandon Dickman (Creekside). 2. Christopher Mixan (Matanzas). 3. William King (Bartram Trail). 4. Grayson Suggs (Nease). Dark horse: Alexander Mewes (St. Augustine).
My too-short take: I’m the most certain not only about this winner, but about the final in general. King at 170 helps the Bears more.
182: 1. Trey Chesser (Creekside). 2. Jarrod Case (Nease). 3. Jakobi Givens (Matanzas). 4. Jacob Bennett (Bartram Trail). Dark horse: Micah Hartley (St. Augustine).
My too-short take: Another weight class that could decide the team title. Bartram has options at this weight which could impact the class and team title. Pretty open bracket.
195: 1. Brooks Harp (Bartram Trail). 2. Corey Grower (Creekside). 3. Jacob Loveland (Paxon). 4. Tyrel Scheltz (Matanzas). Dark horse: None.
My too-short take: Nease could put Nick Thoresen here, but IMO he’s better set at 220. Would be a really nice rematch in the projected final, as Harp and Grower went double-OT in the dual.
220: 1. Kolton McDaniel (Bartram Trail). 2. Nick Thoresen (Nease). 3. Paul Berent (Matanzas). 4. Matt Weiland (Ponte Vedra). Dark horse: Caleb Dickens (Creekside).
My too-short take: Matanzas has had other 220s out there, which could put the 3-4 up for grabs. McDaniel the heavy favorite here.
285: 1. Justin Thompson (Bartram Trail). 2. Jon Walter (Nease). 3. Zach Fisch (Matanzas). 4. Josh Saunders (Creekside). Dark horse: Jordan Smith (Paxon).
My too-short take: Thompson should be the favorite, but Walter has made improvements. 3 through 5 would not surprise me to see any different combination shake out.