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: OK, if you really don’t think Clay isn’t going to win its 18th consecutive team title on Saturday at Raines, I’ve got nothing for you. I don’t know that the Blue Devils can necessarily repeat last year’s 13 individual titles, that’s an extremely tall order, but I won’t be surprised at all to see 10 Blue Devil champs. Yulee should be a lock to finish second. Hornets took as-expected lumps at Green Cove Springs Rotary, but they were there, and that in and of itself represented upside. After that…is the interesting question. Westside should be the odds-on favorite to finish third, and the Wolverines have the lineup to do it. But this weekend has been a hurdle to overcome. And if it is again this year, Baker County and West Nassau are waiting in the wings. Raines will factor in the team race with their hammers, and Fernandina Beach and Bishop Snyder should get some kids moved out to Region 1 at Clay next weekend as well.
106: 1. Louis Gagliardo (Clay). 2. Cole Cushman (Baker County). 3. Kyle Davis (Yulee). 4. Demarcus Wilson (Westside). Dark horse: Roy Knight (West Nassau).
My too-short take: Gagliardo has proven himself down at 106 against some very solid competition. Cushman is a state qualifier and Davis has had good results this year.
113: 1. Stevie Chopek (Yulee). 2. Jeffrey Prosser (Bishop Snyder). 3. Clay wrestler. 4. Brendan Ferenchik (West Nassau). Dark horse: David Jackson (Baker County).
My too-short take: I’ve liked what I’ve seen from Chopek this year. Prosser has had some solid efforts, and that’s probably enough to get him to final. Clay has 2 options here.
120: 1. Chris Merring (Clay). 2. Dylan Youmans (Yulee). 3. James Knobb (Baker County). 4. JP Villanueva (Bishop Snyder). Dark horse: Jacob Parker (Westside).
My too-short take: Not only should we see two state qualifiers in the final on Saturday, we may see two state placers. Knobb the best of the rest of the field.
126: 1. Peyton Hughes (Clay). 2. Joseph Haynes (Raines). 3. Jordan Johnson (Baker County). 4. Jacob Godsave (Yulee). Dark horse: Bradly Kraai (West Nassau).
My too-short take: Hughes is pretty far ahead of the rest of the group. Could be a good semi between Haynes and Johnson, if they’re both in the same half of the bracket.
132: 1. Jaquan English (Raines). 2. Dylan Fabiani (Clay). 3. Zach Watson (Yulee). 4. Devon Cole (Baker County). Dark horse: Angelo Philpot (Westside).
My too-short take: It’s possible that Haynes and English will be at 120 and 126, but if so I would project them both second. The 132 path might make more sense. Maybe only to me.
138: 1. Cody Taylor (Clay). 2. Brenden Bizier (Bishop Snyder). 3. Corbin Snyder (Fernandina Beach). 4. Grant Stanish (Yulee). Dark horse: Justin Curry (West Nassau).
My too-short take: Taylor should be the class of the field. I don’t think Bizier and Snyder have met yet this year, and if not, that could be a very entertaining semi if they’re in the same half.
145: 1. Keath Sawdo (Clay). 2. William Tharpe (West Nassau). 3. Jacob Boyd (Westside). 4. Tyler Berrier (Yulee). Dark horse: Johnathan Bokros (Bishop Snyder).
My too-short take: One of the deeper groups that will make it out to Clay. Both Boyd and Berrier have finalist talent. It’s just a very deep group of four.
152: 1. Justin Merring (Clay). 2. Delmontae Davis (Westside). 3. Alonzo Davis (Raines). 4. David Dry (Yulee). Dark horse: Earl Starling (Baker County).
My too-short take: Unless one of them moves to 160, it should be Merring v. Westside’s Davis in the final. Starling hasn’t appeared since December, but if back could challenge.
160: 1. Joseph Helm (Fernandina Beach). 2. John Parker (Yulee). 3. Dylan Taylor (Clay). 4. Westside wrestler. Dark horse: Breyer Wood (West Nassau).
My too-short take: Helm should be the solid favorite to take the bracket. The Parker-Taylor semi could be very interesting. Clay and Westside both have options here.
170: 1. James Barnett (Baker County). 2. John Jones (Westside). 3. Carson Yost (Clay). 4. Hunter Chaney (Bishop Snyder). Dark horse: Gunner Harrison (Yulee).
My too-short take: It’s a bracket there for the taking. Barnett’s win at 5 Star gave him the leg up, in my eyes, but I could see some mix-and-match finishes. Could see Garrett Weseman here for Clay, also.
182: 1. Calvin Altman (Westside). 2. Nathan Manning (Fernandina Beach). 3. Isiah Clifford (Clay). 4. Brice Burnsed (West Nassau). Dark horse: David Crawford (Yulee).
My too-short take: I think Altman’s done enough within this group to be the favorite, but Manning could be a solid challenge and Clay, again, may have options here.
195: 1. Kaleb Collins (Clay). 2. Noah Winebarger (Yulee). 3. Daniel Boylan (West Nassau). 4. Josh Ossmann (Baker County). Dark horse: (if available) Uriah Giedrys (Fernandina Beach).
My too-short take: Collins should not be pushed too hard in winning the bracket, but it has to be pointed out that everybody else projected to move on has made significant gains in their own arsenals.
220: 1. Kurt Jackson (Clay). 2. Blake Hodges (West Nassau). 3. Jevonte Hagan (Raines). 4. TJ Holton (Yulee). Dark horse: Robbie Elefterion (Fernandina Beach).
My too-short take: Like Collins at 195, Jackson will be the overwhelming favorite here, but there should be a few wins collected at region by the rest of the group.
285: 1. Tariq Hookfin (Westside). 2. Ryan Rivers (Clay). 3. McKenzie Lewis (Yulee). 4. Jamon Goodwine (Raines). Dark horse: Jestin Canterbury (Baker County).
My too-short take: Deepest weight class on the day. By far. Canterbury has done enough to be a region qualifier and right now is on the outside looking in.