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 have not seen anything that will tell me anything besides Bishop Kenny winning its fourth district title in a row. This one might be a bit easier of a challenge than any of the previous three are, and that’s a combination of both the Crusaders’ solid full lineup and some setbacks in the rest of the district from a team standpoint. Bolles always puts a rush on at the end of the year, but with the kids that they have had in the lineup, I’m not 100% sold on the Bulldogs as the runnerup. I like Wolfson and the improvements the Wolfpack have made. They could make things interesting. I still think the Bulldogs will pull a rabbit out of the hat in the form of a returning starter who hasn’t wrestled much (or at all) this year, but if not, Wolfson may seize the day. 4-8 will be a mix-and-match of fuller teams (Pedro Menendez/Bradford) against individual star power (Episcopal/University Christian). I would also expect FSDB to have a better district showing this year.
106: 1. Matthew Rodriquez (University Christian). 2. Christian Miranda (FSDB). 3. Reilly Gentges (Bishop Kenny). 4. Josh Bono (Bolles). No dark horse.
My too-short take: It’s always tough for a middle-schooler to shine at the varsity level, but Rodriquez has handled it well so far this season. Heavy favorite to win Saturday.
113: 1. Kyle Hopkins (Episcopal). 2. Daniel Porter (University Christian). 3. Robert Iglesias (Pedro Menendez). 4. Reynaldo Suero-Perez (FSDB). Dark horse: Keayon Gray (Wolfson).
My too-short take: This weight class could see two state qualifiers and a few additional region wins along the way. Pretty deep group, the way it’s shaking out.
120: 1. Jack Delaney (Bishop Kenny). 2. Aries Fahnbulleh (Wolfson). 3. Cameron Wiley (University Christian). 4. Thomas LeVasseur (Bradford). Dark horse: Ty Snow (FSDB).
My too-short take: Delaney will be the solid-to-heavy favorite to win the bracket. Fahnbulleh, though, has been perhaps Wolfson’s most improved wrestler this year.
126: 1. Garrett Tirado (Bishop Kenny). 2. Reid Hampton (Episcopal). 3. Julian Morris (Bolles). 4. Cameron Frison (Wolfson). Dark horse: Aaron Blazs (Bradford).
My too-short take: Tirado and Hampton have met once before, as they faced off at 132 against one another, with Tirado taking a 4-1 decision in that match.
132: 1. Bishop Kenny wrestler. 2. Gavin Carter (Wolfson). 3. Tyler Lussier (Bradford). 4. Andrew Suarez (FSDB). Dark horse: Robert Richard (Pedro Menendez).
My too-short take: The Crusaders have options here in this open-looking weight class, but whether they send out Dean Corless or Jack Donghit, Kenny should be on top at this weight.
138: 1. Andrew Slade (Bishop Kenny). 2. Collin Tanner (Pedro Menendez). 3. Hunter Dixon (Bolles). 4. Phillip Wright (University Christian). Dark horse: Episcopal wrestler.
My too-short take: Slade shouldn’t be pushed in this field, which looks open after the title spot. Tanner has the most experience and wins. Episcopal does have options here.
145: 1. KJ Fagan (Bolles). 2. Joey Cusick (Bishop Kenny). 3. Sai Hassalla (Wolfson). 4. Andrew Hetler (Bradford). Dark horse: John Leone (University Christian) & Episcopal wrestler.
My too-short take: Fagan has established himself as the clear leader in the weight class, but if they’re in the same half, I’d be curious to see the Cusick-Hassalla semi. Don’t count Hetler out, either.
152: 1. Sid Madison (Bishop Kenny). 2. Trevor Jones (Bradford). 3. David Soule (Pedro Menendez). 4. Ernest Ross (Wolfson). Dark horse: Derek Champine (Bolles) & Kaiman Clark (Episcopal).
My too-short take: Madison appears to have cleaned up some things in his attacks, which should help Saturday. Bradford does have options here and at 145, though, and Hetler at this weight might be tough.
160: 1. Max Worthington (Pedro Menendez). 2. Caleb Calhoun (Bolles). 3. Derrick Stumph (University Christian). 4. Logan Montemurro (Bradford). Dark horse: Bishop Kenny wrestler.
My too-short take: This weight class got sneaky deep on me this year. Calhoun’s weight drop makes the final compelling. Bishop Kenny will have options that could factor in here at the 3-4 level.
170: 1. Christian Rickey (Episcopal). 2. Nick Beenen (Bishop Kenny). 3. CJ Grimes (Bolles). 4. Alex Cathcart (Pedro Menendez). Dark horse: Clyde Holland (Wolfson).
My too-short take: If it plays out this way, Rickey should be the solid favorite, but I’d be intrigued with a Rickey-Worthington final, because Menendez has options here. Bradford does, too.
182: 1. Jacob Hake (Bradford). 2. Jimmy Citrano (Bishop Kenny). 3. James Omlor (Bolles). 4. Steven Ho (Wolfson). Dark horse: Jason Castillo (FSDB).
My too-short take: Hake’s experience would be enough for him to take districts, but I haven’t seen him in the lineup for a little while. This feels like an up-for-grabs class.
195: 1. Austyn Holsomback (Pedro Menendez). 2. Addison Glisson (Bishop Kenny). 3. Jesse Burch (Bradford). 4. Anthony Hoyt (FSDB). Dark horse: Bolles wrestler.
My too-short take: This weight, too, feels like there’s room for somebody we haven’t seen much of to make an impact. Holsomback has been solid all season.
220: 1. Eddie McCormick (Bradford). 2. Keethan Seay (Wolfson). 3. John Alexander (Bishop Kenny). 4. Mason Yost (Bolles). Dark horse: Freddie Dollison (Episcopal).
My too-short take: Nothing between 2-5 would surprise me here, but I think McCormick can more than hold his own against the rest of the group here.
285: 1. Josiah McCallum (Bishop Kenny). 2. Ronald Brunson (Wolfson). 3. Orlando Heggs (Bolles). 4. Carter Payne (Pedro Menendez). No dark horse.
My too-short take: All I can say is that there will be a lot of close matches. Just wonder what Heggs would be like with a full season. Very big boy. McCallum knows how to be patient, though.