Sometimes as we’re looking toward the future of a new season, it’s helpful to look back at the past.
We did that for a couple of months in the spring with our “The Season” recaps. No one in Florida recaps every team within their given coverage area, and we even learned a couple of additional lessons along the way there (h/t to a Lincoln parent for that).
But one thing that often informs any preview of an upcoming season — even one as crazy as this one promises to be, between the impact of the FHSAA state duals series and the impact of “open” enrollment — is the tradition of what has gone before.
Area bragging rights are one such thing.
With that said, who — or better yet, which district — won 2A-Region 1? (our first of four local posts — we’ll also bring you notes on the other eight regions, although not sure I’ll be as detailed just yet).
There are a few ways to figure this out. I’ve tried a couple in the past. This year, I’m going to try to keep it simpler. Maybe. I’ve been told I over-complicate things at times, most often by myself.
1. Points scored at the region (staged in Tallahassee). With two teams scoring 100+ by themselves (Pace 112, Tate 106.5), District 1 had 509 points to lead the four districts in competition. Districts 2-4 were fairly closely bunched up behind the 1s, with 54 points separating second (District 2, paced by Lincoln’s team title effort, with 378) from fourth (District 3, 324.5), with District 4 third at 356. Only seven districts statewide scored more than District 1’s 509, and just one in Class 2A (that would be District 7, the Brandon/Lake Gibson district).
2. Region champions. This packs the four districts a little bit closer, but District 1’s five champs (106/145/152/195/285) were the most, followed by four from District 2 (126/160/182/220), three from District 4 (113/132/170) and two from District 3 (120/138). That conclusion tracks a similar path that total points generated.
3. State qualifiers. Again, District 1 had a clear advantage, with 20 kids getting out to state (six runners-up, three 3rds and 6 4ths) from that district. As would be expected from the previous points, District 2 had a slight advantage (13 qualifiers) over the other two districts, with a slight flip-flop for third and fourth, in that District 3 had one more qualifier (12) than did District 4 (11).
4. Wins earned at the region. I checked each kid’s region performance. Wins were based upon contested matches (brackets that gave kids byes meant those kids did not receive wins, but brackets that listed forfeits, where the forfeiting wrestler was still on the bracket, did get a +1 for those). Kids that did not compete for whatever the reason but qualified out and were listed on the bracket were given 0-2 records. Based upon that, District 1 carried the day there, with a win-loss record of 115-93. None of the other three districts were over .500 as an entire group, but as it turned out, District 4 had the most wins (91-100), followed by District 3 (85-94) and District 2 (81-85).
So, I think the evidence is pretty clear. In a competition between areas, the Gulfside teams in District 1 “won” Region 1. Here’s a couple of notes on each district:
Best weight class: Tossup between 145 (title from Bailey Howes of Niceville, a third from Diego Calonje of Crestview, plus Kishma Davis of Pace reaching the blood round, the group as a whole going 11-5) and 285 (title from Joseph Pearson of Ft Walton Beach, a fourth from Murphy Bennett of Pace, and a blood-round appearance from Crestview’s Weston Tew, group as a whole going 12-6).
Toughest struggle: Only two classes were below .500 as a group, but the 170s were 5-7 (despite a runnerup showing from Chase Cleveland of Ft Walton Beach).
Best weight class: From a win-loss standpoint, the two-man group at 220 had the highest percentage, as Josh Martin of Lincoln took 1st and Bobby Williams of Chiles reached the blood round. Combined, the pair went 6-2 on the weekend.
Toughest struggle: The 152s were 4-7 as a group, with district champ Jeremy Burke of Lincoln picking up all the wins in finishing third and qualifying out of regions.
Best weight class: The 182s, by virtue of having one less loss, just edged out the next-best group, with three state qualifiers in Orange Park’s Reed Danielson (2nd), Englewood’s Michel Augustin (3rd) and Middleburg’s Bryan Heflin (4th); as a group, the four 182s were 12-6.
Toughest struggle: The 3s sent three wrestlers at 113; as a group, they were 1-6 in contested matches.
Best weight class: The 113s carried the strongest group effort, going 10-5 and sweeping the top two spots behind district/region champ Sean Arnold of Nease and district/region runnerup Nicholas Vugman of Bartram Trail, plus a blood-round effort from Matanzas’ Josh Bower.
Toughest struggle: Three groups went 4-8, but I’ll go with the 220s, who were 3-7 as a quartet. Runnerup Kolton McDaniel of Bartram Trail had all three wins for the 4s.
It’s tough for any kid to lose a match in the blood round, but the seniors who fell in the blood round deserve a special bit of kudos — particularly since many of them are now off doing other things (college, work, military, and the like). So this space will give props to them, in order of ascending weight class:
Sullivan Gerlits (Pace, 152)
Cody Eastwood (Middleburg, 160)
Dylan Hanna (Middleburg, 170)
Jordan Hines (Niceville, 182)
Seth Martin (Milton, 182)
Bobby Williams (Chiles, 220).