Our last preview to do is the 1A-Region 1 preview. This is the one which I will be attending today and Saturday.
If there is both a Northeast and a Northwest “dark horse” pick that I can choose, I will include two dark horses for each half of the bracket. There may not always be one for both sites. Also, the Northeast dark horse will be listed first for purposes of convenience. It does NOT mean necessarily that I feel the NE kid will go further in the bracket.
As my friend Brant is quick to caution with his preview picks, these are for entertainment purposes only. Prove me wrong, or prove me right. I am good either way.
106: 1. Lou Gagliardo (Clay). 2. Brandon Trask (Suwannee). 3. Matthew Rodriquez (University Christian). 4. Brooks Dyer (Florida High).
Top-half dark horses: Kyle Davis (Yulee), Josh Bono (Bolles), Jaden Moseley (Wewahitchka).
Bottom-half dark horses: Matthew Owen (Wakulla).
First-round match worth the price of admission: Davis v. Christian Miranda (FSDB).
My too-short take: The top half of the bracket is Trask’s to lose. I think there’s more depth in the bottom half. The experience factor in this tournament environment favors Gagliardo, but we’ll see how close Rodriquez is to Gagliardo in the semi. Other than a possible Dyer-Owen rematch in the consi quarters, the consi rounds should proceed fairly predictably.
113: 1. Larry Smith (Wakulla). 2. Kyle Hopkins (Episcopal). 3. Stevie Chopek (Yulee). 4. Daniel Porter (University Christian).
Top-half dark horses: Tyler Ogles (Suwannee), Jeffrey Prosser (Bishop Snyder), Griffin Hebert (Arnold), Mike Cerio (Florida High).
First-round match worth the price of admission: Cerio v. Prosser.
My too-short take: The top half of this bracket is quite loaded with solid depth, but I don’t know who in it will challenge the Hopkins that has emerged since joining the lineup in early January. The bottom half has much more star power, but the depth isn’t quite there behind it. The Porter-Chopek quarterfinal will be one I’m watching closely later this afternoon. Porter has the ranking, the experience, and the match in hand in the first round, but Chopek has a big frame and some solid wins of his own. I could quite easily be wrong about it. What I do know is that Larry Smith should be a solid favorite.
120: 1. Chris Merring (Clay). 2. Dylan Youmans (Yulee). 3. Jack Delaney (Bishop Kenny). 4. Gabe Meyer (Bay).
Top-half dark horses: Chase Clark (Suwannee), Robert Iglesias (Pedro Menendez).
Bottom-half dark horses: Rolin Malik (Wakulla), Douglas Hanson (Bozeman).
First-round match worth the price of admission: Iglesias v. Dennis Ganim (Florida High).
My too-short take: I suspect that Merring is a solid favorite to win this bracket, and I can very easily see the Youmans-Malik winner, in the quarterfinal round, moving on to the final. The top two District 1 kids, Meyer and Hanson, are both more than capable of either getting to the semifinals on the front side or pushing their way into the third-place match. The 120 weight class should be the first one where some really solid performers go home early.
126: 1. Peyton Hughes (Clay). 2. Ethan Pickren (Arnold). 3. Jaquan English (Raines). 4. Max Metcalf (Florida High).
Top-half dark horses: Jordan Johnson (Baker County), Max Owen (Wakulla).
Bottom-half dark horses: Jacob Godsave (Yulee), Damien Stayer (Bay).
First-round match worth the price of admission: Owen v. Jordan Johnson (Baker County).
My too-short take: Hughes is a pretty solid choice to reach the final, and Pickren is the chalk choice on the top half of the bracket, but there were close moments earlier this month when he and English met at GCS Rotary. Owen and Stayer are the likeliest kids to make a top-four run outside of those already projected to advance that far.
132: 1. William Pickren (Arnold). 2. Bryan Metcalf (Florida High). 3. Dylan Fabiani (Clay). 4. Seth Weinthal (South Walton).
Top-half dark horses: Kenneth Foster (Suwannee), Blake Reeves (Wakulla).
Bottom-half dark horses: Ryan Timmons (Baker County), Jack Donghit (Bishop Kenny), Shane Ferry (Mosley).
First-round match worth the price of admission: Timmons vs. Ferry.
My too-short take: Pickren and Metcalf are solid choices to make the final, but there’s probably five kids to make it into two spots on the consi side of the bracket. I think for both Timmons and Reeves, the “we-may-never-know” factor is in play for them. What would a full season have done for them? We may never… know. At least until we get to the blood round.
138: 1. Richie McClanahan (Arnold). 2. Cody Taylor (Clay). 3. Max Harris (Florida High). 4. Andrew Slade (Bishop Kenny).
Top-half dark horse: Brenden Bizier (Bishop Snyder).
Bottom-half dark horse: Terrell Williams (Suwannee), Ethan Ellis (Marianna), Micah Lanier (Wakulla).
First-round match worth the price of admission: Williams v. Ellis.
My too-short take: Like 132, there are two solid choices for the final lines of the bracket and, I think, these are the right ones for the 3-4. I might not be surprised to see Lanier advance out of the bottom quarter of the bracket, in which case I would expect to see Lanier at the 4 and Slade a match short. Ellis might be able to push his way into the “blood round” as well.
145: 1. Keath Sawdo (Clay). 2. Jake Richardson (Florida High). 3. William Tharpe (West Nassau). 4. Joey Borrell (Suwannee).
Top-half dark horse: Jonathan Lozada (Arnold).
Bottom-half dark horses: KJ Fagan (Bolles), Noah Wilson (Wakulla), Caleb Schultz (Mosley).
First-round match worth the price of admission: Wilson v. Schultz.
My too-short take: Get to the semifinals. That’s the path to getting out of this weight class, at least the way I drew it up. There’s certainly a few kids that won’t get to the semis that can still contend for a 3-4 spot. In fact, I would even stipulate that I could look at 11 kids and say, yes, sure, you could pull together a path to Kissimmee. It is one of the deeper brackets on the weekend.
152: 1. Drew St. Amant (Arnold). 2. Max Martinez (Marianna). 3. Tanner Clark (Suwannee). 4. Dylan Taylor (Clay).
Bottom-half dark horses: Delmontae Davis (Westside), Alonzo Davis (Raines), Sid Madison (Bishop Kenny), Burley Parker (Wewahitchka).
First-round match worth the price of admission: Parker vs. D. Davis.
My too-short take: Like 145, get to the semis. I realize the rankings differences, but I think St. Amant has worked enough with his fellow Arnold middles that he’s seen solid competition and will be ready for the challenge. So I am thinking it will be a District 1 rematch, with District 2 and 3 champs meeting for 3rd. I think no matter what happens in the Parker-Davis first-rounder, unless somebody’s ejected they’ll both go a long way.
160: 1. Billy Jenkins (Suwannee). 2. Joseph Helm (Fernandina Beach). 3. John Parker (Yulee). 4. Noah Breeden (Wakulla).
Top-half dark horses: Max Worthington (Pedro Menendez).
Bottom-half dark horses: Caleb Calhoun (Bolles), Jarred Pitts (Mosley).
First-round match worth the price of admission: Pitts v. Derrick Stumph (University Christian).
My too-short take: The bracket is a favorable one for Helm. If he can get past Worthington in the quarters, he should be able to get through to the final. I don’t think Jenkins has a walk-through, but the bottom half is his for taking. I don’t know exactly how deep the consi side will wind up being, but there will be five looking for two on Saturday.
170: 1. Cole Maddox (Arnold). 2. Jesse Burch (Bradford). 3. Christian Rickey (Episcopal). 4. Jemel Fanfan (Florida High).
Top-half dark horses: James Barnett (Baker County), Nick Beenen (Bishop Kenny).
Bottom-half dark horses: John Jones (Westside), Caleb Hale (Bozeman).
First-round match worth the price of admission: Rickey v. Jones.
My too-short take: I think this is definitely Maddox’s bracket to win. Solid favorite in fact. The bottom half of the bracket is odd to me. From an ability and an experience standpoint in the bottom half, I would have said Rickey was best. And I still kind of think that. I would say that whoever wins the Jones-Rickey first-rounder should make it out.
182: 1. Will Haigler (Florida High). 2. Andrew Annand (Wakulla). 3. Yakeif Duncan (Rutherford). 4. Calvin Altman (Westside).
Bottom-half dark horses: Anthony Hoyt (FSDB), Andrew Luzny (Bay), Malachi Davenport (Wewahitchka).
First-round match worth the price of admission: Luzny v. Donterius Spencer (Rickards).
My too-short take: This is not a very deep bracket. Talent at the qualifier level? Absolutely. Haigler could make Saturday night next week. Duncan and Annand are potential placewinners next week. In my view, regardless of what happens in the Altman-Lunzy match in the quarters, both kids should get out.
195: 1. Kaleb Collins (Clay). 2. John Trevor Hinsey (Wakulla). 3. Cam Brown (Florida High). 4. David Lunn (North Florida Christian).
Top-half dark horses: Addison Glisson (Bishop Kenny), Garrett Hester (North Bay Haven).
Bottom-half dark horse: Danterius Ghant (Bay).
First-round match worth the price of admission: Lunn v. Noah Winebarger (Yulee).
My too-short take: Don’t let the apparent top-heaviness of the bracket fool you. There’s LOTS of mix and match here. Start with the bottom-half semi. It’s gonna be Collins/Brown. And it could go either way, so a Brown 1/Collins 3 scenario wouldn’t surprise me. I’m also very intrigued by the two quarterfinals on the top half. Hester/Hinsey could produce the finalist. Lunn/Glisson has a shot to produce two qualifiers out. Lots of variables.
220: 1. Kurt Jackson (Clay). 2. Eddie McCormick (Bradford). 3. Marlon Ng (Wakulla). 4. Jonathan Wainwright (North Florida Christian).
Top-half dark horses: Blake Hodges (West Nassau), Jevonte Hagan (Raines), Veryl White (Arnold).
Bottom-half dark horse: Brandon Jackson (Mosley).
First-round match worth the price of admission: Wainwright v. Hodges.
My too-short take: Kurt Jackson and Ng are the two best 220s here, but one can do no better than third, as they’re on the same (bottom) side of the bracket. On the top half, I would go on points with McCormick over the ranked kids, but I would also say that the Hodges-Wainwright winner has a good chance of making the show.
285: 1. Jacob Marin (Wakulla). 2. Tariq Hookfin (Westside). 3. Josiah McCallum (Bishop Kenny). 4. Ryan Rivers (Clay).
Top-half dark horses: McKenzie Lewis (Yulee), Ronald Brunson (Wolfson), Devon Neely (Godby).
Bottom-half dark horse: Jamon Goodwine (Raines).
First-round match worth the price of admission: Elliot Woodham (Arnold) v. Lewis.
My too-short take: I can for sure pencil in three names into the semis — Marin, Hookfin and McCallum. Getting that fourth spot is no guarantee of the show, but it is a help. It’s a bracket that goes around eight deep, six kids looking to fight for two spots. Experience is going to count for a lot.