TurkeyNWrestling2018-19: 2A-District 1

Team synopsis: We may not know a lot about what is going to happen in the 2A-District 1 wrestling scene by February of next year.

What we do know, however, is this: there’s going to be a lot of coaching change again this year.

New coach at Choctaw. New coach at Niceville. New/old coaches taking over at Pace and Tate. Second-year coaches at Crestview and Milton, a third-year coach at Gulf Breeze. And, once again, the dean of the district, Tobi Marez at Ft Walton Beach, in year 13.

One of those coaches in a new location, Reggie Allen, has been busy in his new home at Pace, where the Patriots have finished no lower than second in the district in each of the past three years. Last year, even after a very slow start and a heavy graduation loss, Pace roared back to finish second.

It could be by the slimmest of margins, but I’m looking at them to win the district this year in what should be a hotly-contested three-way battle for the top. An injection of talent within the district, with state medalists Nate Golmon and Gabe Jacobs donning Patriot singlets, will make a big difference.

Don’t fully count out last year’s traditional district champion, Gulf Breeze. The 2A Dolphins might have the strongest lineup in the district, if not the region, from 106 through 170, based upon last year’s returners, but what made them a fully-complete team in 2018 was a complement of bigs up top.

Those guys have moved on now, and their lockdown points are going to be missed. Gulf Breeze might be able to overcome it, based on the talent they have returning, which ought to make for a fun battle to watch.

2017-18 inaugural district duals champion Niceville lost two state medalists and an additional pair of state qualifiers to graduation, but the Eagles still have a lot back in the tank and should be the choice for third place. They’ll be a team relying mostly upon the strength of their middles.

That will be the case at Tate, too, where founding coach Aaron Telatovich returns to head up the program. The Aggies will need some bookend kids, but would be the early favorites over Choctaw and Crestview to finish into the top half. The Indians and Bulldogs both have good numbers back, however. Fort Walton Beach and Milton both have lost state qualifiers, so from that stance they’re in rebuilding mode. If they can replace numbers, they will be threats to return to Kissimmee at a weight or two.

Projected finish: 1. Pace. 2. Gulf Breeze. 3. Niceville. 4. Tate. 5. Choctawhatchee. 6. Crestview. 7. Ft Walton Beach. 8. Milton.

Choctawhatchee (Ft Walton Beach)
Coach: Charles Bertubin, 1st year.
2017-18: 9-14 in duals. 12th at Capital City Classic, 9th at Trojan Invitational, 2nd at Gator Brawl, 3rd at Wakulla IBT.
Post-season stats, last 3 years: 2018 — Duals: 5th at district; Traditional: 4th at district, 17th at region, T-69th at states. 2017 (traditional only) — 5th at district, 20th at region. 2016 (traditional only) — 6th at district, 20th at region, T-41st at states.
Projected individual returners (post-season starters & those with 15+ matches, with 2017-18 weights): Giovani Gonzalez (freshman, 24-18 at 106, district 4th, 1-2 at regions); David Tambula (junior, 20-21 at 113, district 4th, 0-2 at regions); Jerson Cabiao (senior, 29-18 at 120, district runnerup, region 4th, 0-2 at states); Bradley Bates (senior, 9-13 at 120, did not compete in post-season); Devonte Knox (sophomore, 9-10 at 126/132, did not compete in post-season); Logan Myers (senior, 36-14 at 138, district 3rd, 2-2 at regions); Paul Roberts (senior, 19-18 at 152, district 4th, 1-2 at regions); Hunter Pelfrey (senior, 10-18 at 152, did not compete in post-season); Ajani Berlin (junior, 24-18 at 160, 0-2 at districts); Michael Barton (sophomore, 4-28 at 195, 0-2 at districts); Aiden Savage (senior, 9-25 at 220, district 4th, 0-2 at regions); Keone Corpuz (junior, 17-20 at 285, 1 match from regions).
Key losses (graduation or as noted): Jacky Grissom (126, district runnerup, 1 match from states); Eli Smith (132, 1 match from regions); Carlos Bogan (senior, 145, district champ, 1 match from states; transferred to Ft Walton Beach); Taylor Newnam (170, district 4th, 0-2 at regions).
Program strengths: Program tweaked its schedule for the better last year. Indians return a solid group of kids, particularly in the lower half of the lineup, where multiple kids have multiple years of starting experience. District finish reflected that experience a year ago.
Program needs: Several post-season starters returning for second and third seasons need to make qualitative step forward, particularly in upper weights. Travel outside of Gulf/Tallahassee would help with that.
Matmen’s take: While Cabiao should be a threat to get to Kissimmee, rest of the group needs to take that example and work toward getting better. With experience Indians have back, they should contend for top-half district finish once again.

Crestview
Coach: Damon Welch, 1st year.
2017-18: 15-11 in duals (as far as we know; one dual result was missing). T-12th at Keystone Invitational, 4th at Aggie Invitational, 20th at Scott Rohrer Memorial, 5th at Panhandle Championships, 4th at Gator Brawl, 47th at Girls’ State.
Post-season stats, last 3 years: 2018 — Duals: 3rd at district; Traditional: 7th at district, 13th at region, T-64th at states. 2017 (traditional only) — 6th at district, 17th at region, T-57th at states. 2016 (traditional only) — 7th at district, 16th at region, T-64th at states.
Projected individual returners (post-season starters & those with 15+ matches, with 2017-18 weights): Javan Alto (senior, 113, did not compete in post-season); Dylan Fife (sophomore, 9-8 at 120, did not compete in post-season); Easton Flamand (junior, 126, 1 match from regions); Malachi Santiago (sophomore, 132, 0-2 at districts); Kendra Sanders (senior, 138, 0-1 at girls’ state); Karter Watson (senior, 4-22 at 145, did not compete in post-season); Rowan Gomez (sophomore, 4-26 at 145, 1 match from regions); Dakota Matthews (senior, 11-20 at 145/160, did not compete in post-season); Eddie Olesiuk (senior, 17-7 at 160, did not compete in post-season); James Secrest (senior, 6-6 at 170, 1 match from regions); Kennard Madden (junior, 195, 1 match from regions); Rolando Hernandez (junior, 11-10 at 220, did not compete in post-season).
Key losses (graduation): Noah Kryfka (106, district champ, region 3rd, 1-2 at states); Katie Meinert (106, 0-2 at girls’ state); Angel Ortega (138, district runnerup, 2-2 at regions); Nathan Gunn (160, district 3rd, 2-2 at regions); Ryan Stontenburgh (182, 0-2 at districts); Coleman Young (220, district champ, region champ, 0-2 at states); Xavier Molina (285, district runnerup, 1 match from states).
Program strengths: Schedule did pay dividends for stronger Bulldog wrestlers, and gave lots of mat time to kids that needed it. Travel is an asset that will continue to help the Crestview kids. Upper-weight bookend has been a strength over the past couple of seasons, and burgeoning girls’ group also has provided quality depth for Bulldogs.
Program needs: Graduation losses were heavier last year, with two state qualifiers moving on. Middle of the lineup needs to solidify to make significant push into top three/four in district.
Matmen’s take: Bulldogs had a team that was better suited to duals than IBT finishes last year, but did have a decent finish at Region 1 and made it into the state tournament field for the fourth straight year. The IBT finishes will get more consistent with more experience.

Ft Walton Beach
Coach: Tobi Marez, 13th year.
2017-18: 7-18 in duals. 20th at Border Wars V, 14th at Southeastern Pools (ALA), 10th at Gator Brawl.
Post-season stats, last 3 years: 2018 — Duals: T-7th at district; Traditional: 6th at district, 15th at region, T-69th at states. 2017 (traditional only) — 7th at district, 13th at region, T-19th at states. 2016 (traditional only) — 5th at district, 19th at region, T-76th at states.
Projected individual returners (post-season starters & those with 15+ matches, with 2017-18 weights): Weston Burbidge (sophomore, 23-29 at 106, district 3rd, 2-2 at regions); Brandon Mallin (sophomore, 33-20 at 113, district runnerup, 1 match from states); Caleb Tourgee (sophomore, 14-10 at 132, 1 match from regions); Tino Muniz (sophomore, 14-8 at 138, did not compete in post-season); Walker Robinson (sophomore, 8-19 at 138, 1 match from regions); Eddie Alexis (junior, 20-18 at 160, 1 match from regions); Kaleb Williams (sophomore, 13-9 at 182, district 3rd, 1-2 at regions).
Key addition: Carlos Bogan (senior, 42-7 at 145, district champ, 1 match from states; transferred from Choctaw).
Key losses (graduation or as noted): Sterling Glover (120, 1 match from regions); Colwyn Mason (132, did not compete in post-season); Nick Woodward (170, district champ, 1 match from states); Corban Ferguson (junior, 170, did not return to team); Connor Cleveland (195, district champ, region runnerup, 0-2 at states); Owen Yancy (senior, 220, did not return to team); Valentin Tristan (junior, 285, did not return to team).
Program strengths: Upper weights will be the better half of the group, but there are a couple of solid lower-weight kids that enjoyed good post-season runs. Schedule is a pretty solid one that usually generates at least one state qualifier. Team did travel a bit more, out of state, in the past, and that could be helpful once again this year.
Program needs: Vikings graduated two former state qualifiers from last year’s group, along with two additional multiple-year starters, so will need a bit more experience at state’s elite level quickly. Need to find some lower-weight kids to fill some holes in lineup.
Matmen’s take: Combination of elite graduated talent and potential need to fill lineup holes will make it difficult to move into the top half of the district. Finding leadership early is going to be a priority for the Vikings; getting Bogan back on that front will help significantly.

Gulf Breeze
Coach: Dave Daily, 3rd year.
2017-18: 27-7 in duals. 8th at Border Wars V, 1st at Panhandle Championships, 1st at Gator Brawl.
Post-season stats, last 3 years: 2018 — Duals: 4th at district; Traditional: 1st at district, 3rd at region, T-34th at states. 2017 (traditional only) — 2nd at district, 14th at region, T-52nd at states. 2016 (traditional only) — 3rd at district, 18th at region, T-69th at states.
Projected individual returners (post-season starters & those with 15+ matches, with 2017-18 weights): Ian Daily (sophomore, 52-9 at 106, district champ, 1 match from states); William Barretta (sophomore, 16-13 at 113, 1 match from regions); Kelly Scanlon (junior, 21-16 at 126/132/138, did not compete in post-season); Michael Walls (senior, 26-10 at 132, district 3rd, 2-2 at regions); David Phelps (senior, 15-10 at 138, did not compete in post-season); Dylan Lawrence (junior, 23-15 at 138, district 4th, 1-2 at regions); Calvin Malo (senior, 40-18 at 145, district 3rd, 2-2 at regions); Hunter Dupont (sophomore, 9-10 at 152, 1 match from regions); Jaxson Tucker (sophomore, 7-17 at 160, did not compete in post-season); Austin Earle (senior, 31-25 at 170, 1 match from regions).
Key losses (graduation or as noted): Gabe Jacobs (junior, 126, district champ, region 3rd, state 6th; transferred to Pace); Hunter Kimball (junior, 120, transferred to Milton); Gabe Trostle (junior, 126, did not return to team); Tannen Slack (182, district champ, region runnerup, 1 match from state medal); Rocky O’Rourke (195, district runnerup, 1 match from states); Jacob Tisdale (220, district runnerup, region runnerup, 0-2 at states); Ben Richards (285, did not compete in post-season); Noah Young (285, district champ, 1 match from states).
Program strengths: Dolphin lowers up to around 152, at least, will be a match for just about anyone in the region. State finish, thanks in part to augmented schedule, last year was Gulf Breeze’s best since the 2014-15 season. Coaching staff has had nothing but success since coming in to start the 2016-17 season, and has had little trouble attracting new kids to the lineup.
Program needs: None of this year’s returners — that had at least 15 matches anyway — wrestled above 170 for the 2A Dolphins, so finding bigs is going to be a huge priority. Team needed more off-season work to keep momentum sharp.
Matmen’s take: There’s enough talent returning to keep Gulf Breeze in the top three, if not top two, in the district and top eight in the region, but unless there’s some bigs — and some very good ones — there’ll be some drop from last year’s heights. Dolphins will still be a force in the Panhandle, however.

Milton
Coach: Chafan Marsh, 2nd year.
2017-18: 0-18 in duals. 16th at Gator Brawl.
Post-season stats, last 3 years: 2018 — Duals: T-7th at district; Traditional: 8th at district, 20th at region, T-69th at states. 2017 (traditional only) — 8th at district, 24th at region. 2016 (traditional only) — 8th at district, 24th at region.
Projected individual returners (post-season starters & those with 15+ matches, with 2017-18 weights): Micah Kendrick (sophomore, 4-20 at 120, 0-2 at districts); Gabriel Walls (sophomore, 5-21 at 126, did not compete in post-season); Brandon Nicholson (junior, 10-6 at 132, district 4th, 1-2 at regions); Ian Van Gestel (senior, 6-13 at 138, 1 match from regions); Christopher Cobbs (senior, 2-7 at 152, 1 match from regions); Daniel McDonal (junior, 16-19 at 160, 1 match from regions).
Key addition: Hunter Kimball (junior, 9-16 at 120, 1 match from regions; transferred from Gulf Breeze).
Key losses (graduation or as noted): Devin Bundy (senior, 182, did not return to team); Caleb Wise (sophomore, 220, did not return to team); Connor Saint (285, district 3rd, region runnerup, 0-2 at states).
Program strengths: Panthers had their first state qualifier in at least the three prior seasons this past March. Middle of the lineup has a fair amount of experience, with most starters coming back for a third year. Growing pains for last year’s new kids should not be quite so painful.
Program needs: While Milton had its first state qualifier in the last four seasons, that qualifier also graduated. Panthers are going to need leadership from new sources; at the same time, they’re going to need infusion of kids to more fully fill the lineup.
Matmen’s take: Saint was often Milton’s lone bright spot in what was a difficult year. This year’s group is going to have to look within to avoid more of the same in 2018-19.

Niceville
Coach: Tom Bierly, 1st year.
2017-18: 22-8 for duals. 6th at Border Wars V, 7th at Capital City Classic, 5th at Scott Rohrer Memorial, 3rd at Trojan Invitational, 11th at Gator Brawl, 39th at Girls’ State, 4th at Green Cove Springs Rotary.
Post-season stats, last 3 years: 2018 — Duals: 1st at district, region semifinalist; Traditional: 3rd at district, T-6th at region, T-27th at states. 2017 (traditional only) — 4th at district, 8th at region, 24th at states. 2016 (traditional only) — 4th at district, 13th at region, T-64th at states.
Projected individual returners (post-season starters & those with 15+ matches, with 2017-18 weights): Noah Tritz (sophomore, 6-21 at 106, did not compete in post-season); Ethan Jimenez (sophomore, 11-20 at 113, 0-2 at districts); Keane Creager (junior, 39-30 at 132, district runnerup, 1 match short of states); Luis Gallego (8-42 at 138, 0-2 at districts); Sam Williams (senior, 27-14 at 145, district 4th, 1 match short of states); Collin Lentz (senior, 17-9 at 152, did not compete in post-season); Brian Son (senior, 4-13 at 160/170, did not compete in post-season); Jackson Schoener (junior, 37-32 at 170, district 3rd, 1-2 at regions); Ramsey Kidder (junior, 5-22 at 182, did not compete in post-season); Tanner Ayers (senior, 6-12 at 220, did not compete in post-season); Aiden Ancog (senior, 9-13 at 285, 0-2 at districts).
Key losses (graduation): Emma Allsbrook (106, 0-2 at districts, girls’ state 3rd); Zachary Hartzog (120, district champ, region 3rd, state 4th); Evan Mickey (126, district 4th, 2-2 at regions); Bailey Howes (152, district runnerup, region runnerup, 1-2 at states); Jack Johnson (160, district champ, region champ, 1 match short of state medal, 2017 state champion); Tyler Neiss (182, 1 match short of regions); Morgan Causey (195, 1 match short of regions); Darrius Pena (220, district 3rd, region 4th, 0-2 at states).
Program strengths: Schedule is one of the strongest in the Panhandle, and it has showed in February and March. Middles (132 through 170) will be called upon for leadership and wins. Program has known a lot of recent success, and that will bolster confidence among returners.
Program needs: Graduation losses in 2018 were much heavier than the previous year, what with two former state medalists graduating in May. Eagles will need to pick up a couple of lowers to stay at or near the top two of the district.
Matmen’s take: Eagles will certainly remain in the top half of the district, and could push up to as high as second with a couple of breaks. But where prior teams were stronger in IBTs, this one might be better in duals format.

Pace (Santa Rosa Beach)
Coach: Reggie Allen, 1st year in new stint as HC at Pace.
2017-18: Unknown in duals. 18th at Border Wars V, 13th at Capital City Classic, 11th at Aggie Invitational, 4th at Panhandle Championships, 7th at Gator Brawl.
Post-season stats, last 3 years: 2018 — Duals: 5th at district; Traditional: 2nd at district, 9th at region, T-69th at states. 2017 (traditional only) — 1st at district, 2nd at region, 37th at states. 2016 (traditional only) — 2nd at district, 9th at region, T-52nd at states.
Projected individual returners (post-season starters & those with 15+ matches, with 2017-18 weights): Derrick Lancero (junior, 113, district 3rd, 2-2 at regions); Seth O’Gara (sophomore, 24-17 at 120, district 3rd, 0-2 at regions); Bryce Tressler (sophomore, 8-12 at 126/132, did not compete in post-season); Nick Webb (junior, 126/132, did not compete in post-season); Zachary Higgins (senior, 5-10 at 138, did not compete in post-season); Ethan Billhimer (junior, 145, district runnerup, region 3rd, 0-2 at states); Brody Andrews (sophomore, 4-15 at 145/160, did not compete in post-season); Anthony Root (senior, 152, district 3rd, region 4th, 0-2 at states); Wyatt Dillon (sophomore, 195, district 4th, 1-2 at regions); Cody Steppe (junior, 6-25 at 220, did not compete in post-season).
Key additions: Gabe Jacobs (junior, 56-9 at 126, district champ, region 3rd, state 6th; transferred from Gulf Breeze); Nate Golmon (senior, 45-3 at 152, district champ, region champ, state runnerup; transferred from Tate).
Key losses (graduation): Owen Moore (126, district 3rd, 1 match from states); Cameron Bennett (38-15 at 138, district champ, region 4th, 0-2 at states); John Gunther (170, district runnerup, region 3rd, 0-2 at states); Ben Wilson (17-16 at 182, 1 match from regions); Brody Deloach (285, district 4th, 0-2 at regions).
Program strengths: Graduation this past year didn’t hit quite so hard as 2017, but even then Patriots were able to rally by season’s end. Experienced coaching staff is among the best in the region. Off-season work was substantial, if somewhat area-focused, this past spring and summer, but a couple of kids did a lot of work on their own as well.
Program needs: Patriots will have to find a couple of upper-weight kids to plug into spaces where graduated talent moved on. If Pace can start the year the way it finished last year, that would be a great help.
Matmen’s take: Patriots did lose two state qualifiers, but got them back via transfer and lost less to graduation than previous year. With Allen stabilizing the coaching situation, Pace should be the team everyone else will have to chase.

Tate (Cantonment)
Coach: Aaron Telatovich, 1st year in new stint as HC (6th overall).
2017-18: 6-10 in duals. 13th at Border Wars V, 5th at Aggie Invitational, 15th at Scott Rohrer Memorial, 7th at Trojan Invitational, 10th at Panhandle Championships.
Post-season stats, last 3 years: 2018 — Duals: 2nd at district, region quarterfinalist; Traditional: 5th at district, 10th at region, T-22nd at states. 2017 — 3rd at district, 3rd at region, 31st at states. 2016 — 1st at district, 6th at region, T-14th at states.
Projected individual returners (post-season starters & those with 15+ matches, with 2017-18 weights): Sean O’Neal (sophomore, 3-6 at 106, 1 match from regions); Marcus Virgin (sophomore, 14-6 at 113, did not compete in post-season); Brandon Biello (junior, 23-12 at 120, district 4th, 2-2 at regions); Lee Pedicord (junior, 15-10 at 126, 1 match from regions); Taylor Finney (senior, 5-10 at 132, did not compete in post-season); Brannon Hogue (junior, 7-14 at 138, did not compete in post-season); TJ Scott (senior, 5-11 at 145, did not compete in post-season); Azaya Purifoy (senior, 19-7 at 195, district 3rd, 2-2 at regions).
Key losses (graduation or as noted): Jacob Cochran (113, district champ, region champ, 1 match from state medal); Matthew Blalock (132, district champ, region 3rd, 0-2 at states); Nate Golmon (senior, 152, district champ, region champ, state runnerup; transferred to Pace); Juan Alvarez (160, district 4th, did not compete at regions); Anthony Stafford (182, district runnerup, did not compete at regions).
Program strengths: Aggies still have a number of solid lower-weight kids in the lineup, as most weights through 145 should be filled with returning ability. Golmon is one of the most capable wrestlers on the Gulfside, and will be a leader for the Aggies this year. Having a head coach who founded the program initially will be a big step upward from simply hiring a new first-year HC.
Program needs: There are no returners from 152 on up that had at least 15 matches, so finding bigs is critical. Graduation losses were pretty heavy, with three former district champions having moved on in May.
Matmen’s take: The Aggies had some really tremendous wrestlers in the recent past, but the team as a whole had holes that were sometimes tough to keep filled. We’ll have to see how that changes in an environment where everything old is new again, with Telatovich back in charge.

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I covered wrestling for 15 years up north and "retired" in both 1992 and again in 2011. But I couldn't stay away. Started Northeast Florida Matmen in 2013, Northwest Florida Matmen in 2015. We combined those sites into North Florida Matmen in the summer of 2018. And, we've started South Georgia Matmen in November of 2018. Our work is never paywalled, our content is searchable for all time. We're here because the kids keep lacing 'em up, so we'll keep writing 'em up.

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