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: Last one to send out on the Northeast side of the site. Here’s how close that host Flagler Palm Coast and Fleming Island have been of late: 2017 Flagler Rotary — 1 point apart, FPC ahead; 2016 District 1 — 1/2 point apart, Fleming ahead; 2014 District 1 — teams tied. The point being, these two teams already know going in they’re going to be counting on every point, and fighting for every point. Of the 10 districts in the Matmen coverage area, this one should be the closest, the hardest-fought and most drama-filled of each of them. Who’ll be chasing the Bulldogs and Golden Eagles? I suspect it could — or at least should — be a good fight for third place between Buchholz and Fletcher. I would tip Oakleaf for fifth, Sandalwood battling with Mandarin and Atlantic Coast for the 6-8 spots and First Coast and Robert E. Lee toward the bottom of the team standings. But everybody should get a couple of kids out to next week’s Region 1 tournament at FPCHS.
106: 1. Briar Jackson (Fleming Island). 2. John Johnson (Flagler Palm Coast). 3. Bryan Perkins (Buchholz). 4. Cam’Ron Dove (Oakleaf). Dark horse: Mitchell Conover (Mandarin).
My too-short take: Johnson is back in the FPC lineup, but Jackson should still be the favorite. I would tab Perkins as the solid third choice, but if First Coast’s Jason Schwartz is down here (I’m projecting at 113) or if Oakleaf’s Kyle Tairovski-Romeu can return, this could change the picture. I would put Schwartz as high as third, and Perkins would have a real fight to get out as the 4 if both were back.
113: 1. Albie Snedaker (Fleming Island). 2. Ryan Rosano (Oakleaf). 3. Rayquan Piper (Fletcher). 4. Jason Schwartz (First Coast). Dark horse: Andrew Dance (Flagler Palm Coast).
My too-short take: Snedaker had a 4-0 win over Rosano in the semifinals at Clay Rotary, Piper won Gateway convincingly over Schwartz. Dance is an interesting X factor, having placed third at JV state with some pretty solid kids there in that field.
120: 1. Michael DeAugustino (Flagler Palm Coast). 2. Deandre Demus (Fleming Island). 3. Trent Dalldorf (Fletcher). 4. William Green-Church (Buchholz). Dark horse: Chase Mattox (Mandarin).
My too-short take: DeAugustino and Demus are the class of the field, and I think Dalldorf and Green-Church are a bit ahead of the rest. If anyone else can pull together a top-four, it would be Mattox.
126: 1. Avery Holder (Flagler Palm Coast). 2. Ethan Gustilo (Oakleaf). 3. Jacob Sandoval (Fleming Island). 4. James Knox (Fletcher). Dark horse: DeAngelo Fletcher (Buchholz) & Gunner Stier (Mandarin).
My too-short take: Holder should dominate the bracket, although the potential for a good match in the semis between Gustilo — one of the area’s most improved competitors at any weight — and Sandoval, if they’re both in the same half of the bracket, is certainly high. In addition to the two dark horses listed, don’t forget First Coast’s Gerard Taylor. It’s a pretty deep weight.
132: 1. Damion Figourea (Flagler Palm Coast). 2. Trace Insalaco (Fleming Island). 3. Vince Karl (Oakleaf). 4. Ivante White (Fletcher). Dark horse: Jamison Harris (Mandarin).
My too-short take: Figourea and Insalaco both won matches against one another at Flagler Rotary, and the nature of the matches really does make it look like a tossup (Insalaco 6-2 in the first one, Figourea 4-2 in the second). Karl should be ahead of the rest of the group for third. One of the fuller brackets in the tournament — at least so far.
138: 1. Gant Moore (Buchholz). 2. Michael Martins (Flagler Palm Coast). 3. Vince Hauser (Fleming Island). 4. Darius Wells (Robert E. Lee). Dark horse: Austin McFarlane (Oakleaf).
My too-short take: This is a good group at the top, pretty solid three-deep list, and it looks pretty even from 4 on down to at least 7 or so. This will be an interesting weight, most specificly because it should be one of the few where someone not from Flagler or Fleming walks away with the title.
145: 1. Cameron Bell (Sandalwood). 2. Curtis Brock (Flagler Palm Coast). 3. Luke Chop (Fleming Island). 4. Tywaine Rochebrun (Atlantic Coast). Dark horse: Tracen Ransdell (Buchholz) & Trenton Carroll (Oakleaf).
My-too short take: Pretty good group of six here. Bell is the class of the group. Brock has taken lots of steps forward this year. Chop is shaping up to be a really solid freshman, probably the best of the incoming freshmen. Rochebrun, Ransdell and Carroll are experienced hands, but there’s not a lot of room for them to force their way into next week.
152: 1. Paul Detwiler (Fleming Island). 2. Tyrone Jones (Flagler Palm Coast). 3. Donovan Gray (Oakleaf). 4. Adam Spikes (Mandarin). Dark horse: Jordan Mobley (Buchholz).
My too-short take: Detwiler and Jones haven’t met this year, but they probably will in the final on Saturday. I think Detwiler comes out on top there. I can be convinced of a different order of finish from 3-6 at this weight class. Some of that is going to come down to belief and heart.
160: 1. Ben Sann (Fleming Island). 2. Chandler Bell (Sandalwood). 3. Owen Beining (Fletcher). 4. Keith Boswell (Flagler Palm Coast). Dark horse: Isaiah Graham (Oakleaf) & Blake Pruitt (Mandarin).
My too-short take: Sann has taken no prisoners since becoming part of the Golden Eagle lineup, filling a spot in that lineup that had been going begging for some while now. Group coming out of this district will get a lot of wins at regions next weekend. This weight class easily goes seven deep, with no problem.
170: 1. Steve Canidate (Flagler Palm Coast). 2. Jalyn Robinson (Fleming Island). 3. Julion Fix (Fletcher). 4. Dillon Morency (Sandalwood). Dark horse: Dylan Lewis (Buchholz).
My too-short take: Another solid group that should come out of the district. The most intriguing match that would come out of this weight class — if it were seeded like my picks — would be seeing Robinson vs. Fix in the semis. That would be a really interesting semifinal. As for the rest of the group, I think it would be tough for anyone other Lewis to break their way in here.
182: 1. Jason Davis (Fleming Island). 2. Eddie Bryant (Flagler Palm Coast). 3. Cole Friend (Sandalwood). 4. Armando Acosta (Buchholz). Dark horse: Uriah Ford (Atlantic Coast); Christopher Telusma (Robert E. Lee); Valois Ochoa (First Coast).
My too-short take: This is most definitely the weight class with the potential to be the most loaded up. I think there’s a few kids who have options to go up to 195 here, and it might certainly break up the logjam. Does it go eight deep? Perhaps. Certainly seven deep. And I would not have expected that in a district that includes the state’s top-ranked wrestler in it. Some good kids at this weight don’t get to go on to next weekend. Unfortunate. That’s wrestling.
195: 1. Narek Stepanyan (Fletcher). 2. Ryan Smenda (Fleming Island). 3. David Johnson (Robert E. Lee). 4. Jamari Broussard (Atlantic Coast). Dark horse: Dexter Moore (Oakleaf).
My too-short take: I put nothing past either Stepanyan or Smenda. I have enjoyed watching both over the last couple of seasons, and have no reason to expect anything less than a titanic matchup of styles iin the final. Johnson v. Broussard would a very good third-place match. Any 182 thinking of moving up, these two are both good also, and just might have other ideas rather than just letting you move on past them.
220: 1. Brandyne Mackey (Fleming Island). 2. Tyler Irigoyen (Flagler Palm Coast). 3. Darrell McBride (Fletcher). 4. Kurk Jackson (Atlantic Coast). Dark horse: Jose Romero (Buchholz).
My too-short take: Although the top four separated itself from the rest as I went through them, they’re going to get some tests. They’re going to get pushed in their quest for regions next week. But this should be a pretty good group that makes it out.
285: 1. Jose Concepcion (Fleming Island). 2. Vincent Ebanks (Flagler Palm Coast). 3. Darius Idlebird (Atlantic Coast). 4. Kyle Redding (Mandarin). Dark horse: Stanley Hollenbach (Fletcher).
My too-short take: A little less depth in this weight than in some of its upperweight cousin classes, but Concepcion and Ebanks have solid chances to get out to states and Idlebird may well win a match or two next week.