#Schedules17-18: Wakulla Is In

Now that we have our projects wrapping up last year (mostly) done, it was good to see our 18th schedule come in today. Wakulla is now in the fold, our first schedule from 1A-District 2 and fourth overall from the Gulfside/Tallahassee wing of the coverage area.

WAKULLA LOGO

The War Eagles will begin the competitive season with its traditional appearance at South Walton’s Border Wars on the first weekend of December, a roundrobin/IBT combined format. They’ll be in the straight IBT format for Chiles’ Capital City Classic in Tallahassee on December 8-9, and in a two-day duals tournament at Yulee, the Yulee Duals, on the 15th and 16th. Wakulla will close out 2017 with an appearance at Beast of the Beach, hosted by Ft Walton Beach at the Emerald Coast Convention Center on December 21-22, an event the War Eagles won a year ago.

2018 will kick off with 1A-District 2 duals competition on January 5, start time TBA, but will be at Suwannee per the War Eagle schedule. Pending the possibility of regional dual competition, the next event on the Wakulla high school calendar will be Lincoln’s one-day IBT, the Trojan Invitational, on January 13. Pending possibility of dual state, next after that will be a home dual for Senior Night on January 24, again against Lincoln.

The War Eagles wrap up January with an appearance in Flagler Palm Coast’s Flagler Rotary IBT tournament on the 26th and 27th, then host a one-day IBT on February 3. The regular season will conclude with their participation in Chiles’ quad dual meet on February 7.

That’s 18. What school will make it 19? YOURS??

Advertisements
Posted in Uncategorized

#NotesToSelf: Who Won 3A States?

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 after the season concludes.

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 region won 3A states?

It wasn’t quite Lake Highland in terms of points, but no other team scored like South Dade did — in any class — so my initial instinct was to think that Region 4 would be the favorite coming into this review, but I was surprised with the findings in both 1A and 2A, so perhaps 3A would also throw me a curveball.

A quick reminder that I’m not looking to see which team won states. They settle that on the mats at Kissimmee (and you can look at my 2017 state brackets if you need a refresher on that one). I’m looking to see which area “won” states, and that requires a look at each set of kids, 1 through 4, that each area brings to states.

There are a few ways to figure this out. Here’s a few different indicators:

1. Points scored at state. Having South Dade at the top of the team standings gave Region 4 a strong push immediately, but a top-four finish from Southwest Miami, and some solid depth (five additional teams with 20+ points) were all enough for the 4s to take first place here, with 547 points. Region 1 got two top-5 team efforts from Fleming Island (2nd) and Winter Springs (5th), plus six additional teams with 20+ points. That combination was more than enough to outdistance Region 2 for second place, 477-353. Region 3 had a good chunk of points from third-place St. Thomas, but only two more teams from the region scored more than 11, and the 3s finished with 250.

2. State champions. This was probably the most one-sided measurement indicator where Region 4 had a clear advantage against the rest of the group, as the 4s won seven titles in all (106/113/132/145/170/220/285). Led by St. Thomas, Region 3 shone most brightly in this stat, with three champions, second-most of the four regions (138/152/195). Region 1 and Region 2 both had two champions, with the 1s taking brackets at 126 and 182 and the 2s winning at 120 and 160.

3. State medalists. This was significantly closer than the champions race was, although Region 4 continued to hold an advantage here as well, holding off Region 1 for most medalists, with 27 in all (three runners-up, five 3rds, five 4ths, four 5ths and three 6ths). The 1s, for their part, countered with 25 state medalists (four runners-up, eight 3rds, four 4ths, three 5ths and four 6ths). Region 2 held a solid third, with 20 medals earned (five runners-up, one 3rd, three 4ths, four 5ths and five 6ths), while Region 3 picked up 12 medals (two runners-up, two 4ths, three 5ths and two 6ths).

4. Wins earned at states. I checked each kid’s state performance. Based upon that, Region 4 held it down here, as well, but it got close toward the end. The 4s had seven weight classes with double-digit wins, finishing with 127 in all, plus a win percentage of .577. They were balanced as well, with 62 wins for the lowers, 65 for the uppers. That wasn’t quite the case for second-place Region 1, which made a push in the uppers to push past Region 2. The 1s finished at 122-100, .550 win percentage, while the 2s fell below .500 after all five weights between 170 on up were below that standard. Region 2 finished at 96-107, while Region 3 was fourth at 61-106.

Under every indicator that I’ve been using (I do have to concede that Region 2 had the most teams score points in the tournament), Region 4 conclusively “won” 2A states. Here’s a couple of notes on each region:

Region 1
Best weight class: The weight where the 1s shone the brighest was at 182, where they were 13-5 as a group, with all four wrestlers contributing. Leading the charge was champion Jason Davis (Fleming Island), with Logan Celella (Apopka) having a solid showing by taking five at the back, after dropping his opening-round match, to finish third, while Jason DeGroat (Winter Springs) added a fourth.
Toughest struggle: There weren’t many major stumbles for the 1s, but one where they got close was at 113, where the group had one Saturday qualifier and went 4-8 as a group.

Region 2
Best weight class: There is no statistical way to choose between 120 and 160. Both groups were 10-5. Both swept the top two medal finishes, with Malyke Hines (Osceola, 120) and Charles Small (Manatee, 160) winning brackets and Marshall Craig (Manatee, 120) and Ethan DeLong (Osceola, 160) finishing second. Both had an additional Saturday qualifier. Both had all four wrestlers win at least once. Just no way to really pick.
Toughest struggle: There were two weights where the 2s were 3-8, but this at least offered a path where there was none at the top end: at 285, no one in the region got past Friday’s wrestling.

Region 3
Best weight class: It was a long weekend for the 3s as a whole, with just one weight above .500. That was at 138, where the group was 8-7 on the weekend, led by champion Grant Aronoff (St. Thomas) and sixth-place Ty Warner (Martin County), who combined for seven of those wins.
Toughest struggle: The 145 quartet couldn’t get past the first day of competition, with just one win among them in a 1-8 Friday.

Region 4
Best weight class: Tough call between 113 and 285, where both groups were 13-5, and also tough to look past 220 (12-4, swept top 3 spots on podium), but I’ll take 285, since all four wrestlers won at least once and there were three medals won, led by champion Kyron Taylor (South Dade), third-place Jaafari Stephens (Coral Gables) and fourth-place Trayvonne Jackson (Killian).
Toughest struggle: There were not many mishaps on the weekend, but the 4s at 195 had a tough time, going 4-8 as a group with just one Saturday qualifier.

Special mention
It’s tough for any kid to lose a match in the blood round, but the seniors who fell in the blood round — in this case, one match short of the podium — deserve a special bit of kudos, particularly since many of them are now off doing other things (college, work, military, and the like). Most, though surely not all, had their first appearance at states in their last opportunity to get there. So this space will give props to them, in order of ascending weight class:
Michael Ortega (Cypress Creek, 113)
Jonathan Brabazon (Plant, 120)
Marcus Jean Baptiste (Orlando Freedom, 126)
Brenden Maharaj (Orlando Freedom, 132)
Zack Buchanan (Sarasota Riverview, 132)
Jordan Goldman (Lake Mary, 138)
Joel Ramirez (South Dade, 138)
Liam Jones (Cooper City, 145)
Eric Reid (Wellington, 152)
Connor Jones (Cooper City, 152)
Christian Lemaster (George Jenkins, 170)
Jorge Benitez (Southwest Miami, 182)
Marshal Sweet (Killian, 195)
Kurk Jackson (Atlantic Coast, 220)
TJ Boyd (Winter Springs, 285)
Christian Gomez (Hagerty, 285)

Posted in Uncategorized

#NotesToSelf: Who Won 2A States?

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 after the season concludes.

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 region won 2A states?

I would have thought, on first thought, given the dominating performance of District 7 within Region 2, that the 2s would be the odds-on favorite, but I was also kind of curious about how competitive Region 3 would be in the various indicators that we’ve been using over the last few days.

A quick reminder that I’m not looking to see which team won states. They settle that on the mats at Kissimmee (and you can look at my 2017 state brackets if you need a refresher on that one). I’m looking to see which area “won” states, and that requires a look at each set of kids, 1 through 4, that each area brings to states.

There are a few ways to figure this out. Here’s a few different indicators:

1. Points scored at state. The race between Regions 2 and 3 got started right at the top of the team standings, with the two regions holding down seven of the top eight teams. However, Region 3 had a little more depth, with 11 teams from SW Florida scoring 20+ points compared to Region 2’s eight, and that helped the 3s outpoint the 2s for the top spot, 576.5-533. Although Region 1 didn’t have a team in the tournament finish in the top five, like Region 4 did with Palm Bay, the 1s had eight teams with 20+ points, while the 4s had four, and that helped Region 1 take third with 298 points, with Region 4 scoring 249.

2. State champions. Region 2 asserted itself strongly once again here, but this time — unlike in terms of points — came out on top over Region 3, with seven champions overall (106/113/138/145/152/182/220) to Region 3’s five (120/126/132/195/285). Region 1 and Region 4 each had one champion apiece, with Region 1 taking first at 160 and Region 4 first at 170.

3. State medalists. Although the 2s did have a couple more state champions, Region 3 had solid numbers under each kind of medal finish, taking 30 medals overall (seven runners-up, four 3rds, four 4ths, five 5ths and five 6ths), while Region 2 had a solid 28 (four runners-up, one 3rd, seven 4ths, four 5ths and five 6ths). Region 1 and Region 4 each finished the tournament with 13 medals, with the 1s collecting two runners-up, six 3rds, one 4th, two 5ths and one 6th, while the 4s earning one runner-up, three 3rds, two 4ths, three 5ths and three 6ths.

4. Wins earned at states. I checked each kid’s state performance. Based upon that, Region 2 held the upper hand through 160, but some stumbles in the uppers allowed Region 3 to surge past and earn not only more wins (134 to the 2s’ 125), but also a stronger winning percentage (.583 to .561). Region 1 had — as we’ll mention again later — a very slow start, and never got over .500, but did finish ahead of Region 4 for third place in both total wins (77-70) and win percentage (.428 to .391).

With a hat-tip to Region 2’s strength at the top of the podium in Kissimmee, I think it was pretty clear that on every other measurement indicator (unless you also count # of teams that scored at states, in which case Region 2 would have a slight edge here as well), Region 3 “won” 2A states. Here’s a couple of notes on each region:

Region 1
Best weight class: Region 1 didn’t really get going until the uppers (the group as a whole was 40 losses under .500 through 152). I would count 195 as their strongest overall group, as the foursome of 1s went 11-7 on the weekend, led by third-place Key Nettles (Pace) and fifth-place Henry Segura (Leon), plus an additional Saturday qualifier.
Toughest struggle: At 152, all four of the Region 1 wrestlers were 0-2 and were eliminated on Friday.

Region 2
Best weight class: The 2s had four weight classes with at least 12 wins, so it’s a bit of a tough choice; I’ll go with their performance at 145: 13-6 as a quartet over the weekend, led by champion Ashton Habeil (Lake Gibson), fourth-place Noah Ridley (Brandon) and fifth-place Emmanuel Torres (Wesley Chapel), plus an additional Saturday qualifier.
Toughest struggle: There weren’t many stumbles for the 2s at states, but the group at 195 went 1-8 as a whole, with no wrestlers making it to Saturday.

Region 3
Best weight class: Even though the 3s had two different weights where all four qualifiers wound up on the state podium, it’s tough to argue with the performance of the 126s, where the group was 13-4, where everyone won at least once, and swept the top three spots, led by champion Justin Rivera (Fort Myers), runnerup Kyle Nesbit (Estero) and third-place Drew Harrington (Dixie Hollins).
Toughest struggle: The 3s had only four weights under .500; the one furthest under was at 182, where the group was 4-8 despite Jack Simpson (Barron Collier) finishing fifth.

Region 4
Best weight class: The 4s had just one weight with double-digit wins as a group. At 152, the 4s were 10-8 overall, led by Danny Perez (Sunset), who was fourth at regions and again at state, and fifth-place Eric Lentz (West Boca Raton). All four wrestlers contributed at least one win to the group.
Toughest struggle: The foursome at 220 finished 0-8 on Friday, with all four wrestlers eliminated after consi round 1.

Special mention
It’s tough for any kid to lose a match in the blood round, but the seniors who fell in the blood round — in this case, one match short of the podium — deserve a special bit of kudos, particularly since many of them are now off doing other things (college, work, military, and the like). Most, though surely not all, had their first appearance at states in their last opportunity to get there. So this space will give props to them, in order of ascending weight class:
Casey Jackson (Merritt Island), 126)
Johnathan Fan-fan (Lake Gibson, 132)
David Sastre (Miami Sunset, 145)
Dominic Bass (Palmetto, 152)
Jacob Mathis (Venice, 152)
Gabe Bourne (Lake Gibson, 160)
Chase Cleveland (Ft Walton Beach, 170)
Melvin Waters-Dennard (King, 170)
Michel Augustin (Englewood, 182)
Tyler Dehart (Orange Park, 220)
Willie Mason (King, 285)

Posted in Uncategorized

#NotesToSelf: Who Won 1A States?

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.

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 region won 1A states?

This seems like an obvious answer is looming here. Clearly, as dominating a performance as Lake Highland had here — more than doubling up the point total of their nearest rival, scoring more points than the second- and third-place teams combined — surely Region 2 had to have “won” states.

Without going down the Twain rabbit-hole regarding lies, damned lies and statistics, though, when I crunched the numbers, a different picture began to develop. I’m not looking to see which team won states. They settle that on the mats at Kissimmee (and you can look at my 2017 state brackets if you need a refresher on that one). I’m looking to see which area won states, and that requires a look at each set of kids that each area brings to states.

There are a few ways to figure this out. Here’s a few different indicators:

1. Points scored at state. Taking four spots out of the top eight teams in the tournament allowed the Region 1 kids to amass sufficient depth at the top and emerge with the highest area point total, with 441.5 points. Lake Highland’s 298.5 was two-thirds, more or less, of the overall Region 2 collection, as the 2s finished second with 423.5, just ahead of Region 4’s 417.5. Region 3 had the most teams score points at states — so there’s that — and finished with an overall total of 326.

2. State champions. This was probably the only indicator where there was a clear and overwhelming choice. Here, Lake Highland’s presence was most-keenly brought to bear, as the Highlanders contributed eight titles for the Region 2 collection, with wins at 113/126/132/138/160/170/182/220. Region 3 otherwise struggled in comparison to the other regions, but out-performed Regions 4 and 1 here, with three champs at 106/145/152. Region 4 had two champions at 120/195, while Region 1’s lone championship came at 285.

3. State medalists. Region 4 emerged as tops in the group, with 23 state medalists (three runners-up, two 3rds, eight 4ths, three 5ths and five 6ths). That was just enough to overcome Region 1 (seven runners-up, eight 3rds, one 4th, four 5ths, one 6th), which had 22, and Region 2’s 21 (two runners-up, three 3rds, two 4ths, four 5ths, two 6ths). Region 3 had 18 medalists (two runners-up, one 3rd, three 4ths, three 5ths and six 6ths).

4. Wins earned at states. I checked each kid’s state performance. Based upon that, both Region 1 and Region 4 have cases to make. The 4s’ case rests upon most wins at the tournament, with 112 in all, edging out Region 1 (107) and Region 2 (100), with Region 3 fourth with 87. The 1s’ case rests upon winning percentage. The 1s were 107-96 (.527 win percentage), while the 2s were 100-93 (.518) and 4s were 112-108 (.509). Region 3 finished 87-109 over the course of the weekend.

No region dominated a statistical indicator like Region 2 did with state champs, and it’s impossible to understate, for even a casual wrestling fan, how good Lake Highland is. But an in-depth look at the data showed that — among small-school areas in Florida — north and south Florida had a lot to say at states, enough that the question of which area “won” states ultimately comes down to which measurement you use. Here’s a couple of notes on each region:

Region 1
Best weight class: The 1s had three weights where they had double-digit wins and took three podium spots, but the 195 group nosed out the other two behind a 2-3-4 medal effort and an 11-6 overall weekend. Cam Brown (Florida High) reached the finals, Kaleb Collins (Clay) was third and David Lunn (North Florida Christian) took fourth.
Toughest struggle: The 1s never fully got their footing at 160, going 3-8 as a quartet. Region champ John Parker (Yulee) made a Saturday appearance, reaching the blood round.

Region 2
Best weight class: With so many state champions for the 2s, it surprised me that only one weight class had double-digit wins. That was at 160, where the 2s were 13-5 as a group (most wins of any region at any weight) and went 1-3-4 on the podium, led by champion Jake Brindley (Lake Highland), third-place Brad Kata (Bishop Moore) and fourth-place Jordan Gibson (Nature Coast).
Toughest struggle: Apart from fifth-place Zaqueri Viers (Space Coast), a semifinalist at 195, the group in that weight class struggled, going 3-8 as a group, with Viers taking all the wins.

Region 3
Best weight class: The 3s put together a very solid 10-5 weekend at 106, sweeping the top two spots behind impressive performances from champion Nic Bouzakis (Citrus Park Christian) and runnerup Jonathan Conrad (Carrollwood Day). All four wrestlers added at least one win to the weekend, with Matthew Malavsky (Evangelical Christian) reaching the blood round.
Toughest struggle: Outside of sixth-place Gabriel Ramirez (Immokalee), who got to the semis, none of the 3s found a win at 126, going 2-9 as a group.

Region 4
Best weight class: The 4s had back-to-back weights at 170 and 182 where all four wrestlers got to Saturday, but I’ll go with the 182s based on medal efforts, even though they had one fewer win in an 11-8 weekend. Runnerup Michael Lopouchanski (Cardinal Gibbons) led the way, with Raul Gierbolini (Somerset Academy) taking fourth and Prince Hall (Jupiter Christian) sixth. Jordon Johnson (AH-Plantation) had a blood-round appearance as well.
Toughest struggle: The 4s stumbled right out of the chute, going 4-8 out of the chute at 106. Region champ Jacob Delgado (Keys Gate) did get to Saturday, falling in the blood round.

Special mention
It’s tough for any kid to lose a match in the blood round, but the seniors who fell in the blood round — in this case, one match short of the podium — deserve a special bit of kudos, particularly since many of them are now off doing other things (college, work, military, and the like). Most, though surely not all, had their first appearance at states in their last opportunity to get there. So this space will give props to them, in order of ascending weight class:
Matthew Malavsky (Evangelical Christian, 106)
Dylan Youmans (Yulee, 120)
Christopher Sexton (Admiral Farragut, 132)
Daylon Hutchins (Dunbar, 138)
Joey Lopez (Cardinal Gibbons, 138)
Codey Maniates (Hernando, 152)
John Parker (Yulee, 160)
Andrew Bradley (Monsignor Pace, 195)
Cole Coyne (Fivay, 220)
Tariq Hookfin (Westside, 285)
Edward Krajewski (Rockledge, 285)

Posted in Uncategorized

Super 32 Prep

NFWA photo

A sizable group of wrestlers from a dozen different high schools in Florida and Georgia congregate post-workout in preparations for this coming Saturday’s Super 32 qualifier event in Kissimmee. The North Florida Wrestling Academy, located in Green Cove Springs, held a pre-Super 32 event on Saturday (Photo submitted via NFWA page on Facebook).

Posted in Uncategorized

#NotesToSelf: Who Won 3A-Region 2?

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 3A-Region 2? (our last region post; never fear, we will be working on who won states perhaps as soon as Monday, but more likely Tuesday).

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 Lakeland). While the battle for second through fourth was pretty tight, the top spot was pretty clearly in favor of District 8, thanks to the runnerup effort from Manatee and fourth from Palm Harbor University, plus Lakewood Ranch’s fifth (that team was sixth at districts). That led to an overall 512-point effort for the 8s, fourth-best in 3A and seventh-best among all 48 districts statewide. Thanks to third-place Strawberry Crest, plus a sixth from host George Jenkins, District 6’s 359.5 points were enough to push past District 7 (319.5) and District 5 (309.5, more than half of that from team champion Osceola).

2. Region champions. As befitting their point total, the 8s again had a solid performance using this indicator, taking half of the brackets in the tournament (titles at 113/120/132/145/160/182/220). District 7 had a slight edge on both 5 and 6, with three champions (106/126/195) to the two put up by 5 (152/285) and 6 (138/170).

3. State qualifiers. District 8 enjoyed, more or less, the same kind of advantage here as it had under overall points and under total champions, but the gaps did narrow a bit, as all four districts had double-digit qualifiers. The 8s did lead the way, with 19 overall (five runners-up, four 3rds and three 4ths). District 6 was next on the list, with 14 qualifiers (six runners-up, three 3rds and three 4ths), while District 5 edged out District 7, 12-11, behind three runners-up, three 3rds and fourth 4ths. District 7 wound up with three 3rds and five 4ths.

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 8 again had the clear advantage, with a sizable gap between it and the field in most victories (120) and fewest losses (88). District 7 had slightly more wins than District 6 (95 to 91), but the 6s had a slightly-better win-loss record (91-97 to 95-103). District 5 was fourth in wins, with an overall mark of 84-102.

In a competition between areas, it was District 8 that had a clean sweep of the statistical indicators and thus “won” Region 2. Here’s a couple of notes on each district:

District 5
Best weight class: The 5s’ best tournament effort came at 138, where they were 10-7 overall as a quartet, paced by third-place Demetrius Anderson of St. Cloud and fourth-place Jeffery Mercado of Osceola, plus an additional Saturday qualifier.
Toughest struggle: District 5 had a few weights where they had four more losses than wins, but in only one of those did they not qualify anyone to states. That was at 220, where the group was 4-8 as a whole, despite St. Cloud’s Fidel Lara’s reaching the blood round.

District 6
Best weight class: At 170, the 6s didn’t have the most wins any of their 14 groups would gather up, but they were 11-4 during the course of the weekend and went 1-2-3 on the podium. George Jenkins’ Christian Lemaster won the title, reprising his district win in the final over Lakeland’s Johnathon Tutiven, with Strawberry Crest’s Harry Combs again taking third.
Toughest struggle: All four wrestlers at 132 were 0-2 on the first day of the tournament and were all eliminated Friday.

District 7
Best weight class: Most of the groups were around the .500 mark, but the only one that had double-digit wins was at 195, where the 7s were 10-6 overall. East Bay’s Kevin Clayton won the title, with Riverview’s Logan Malouff reaching the blood round, plus the 7s had an additional Saturday qualifier as well.
Toughest struggle: The 7s probably struggled the most at 138, where they were 3-8 as a group, with just one Saturday qualifier in the mix.

District 8
Best weight class: The 8s had several very solid groups in the tournament, but the group with the best performance was probably at 120, where all four wrestlers were in the final six left standing during a 13-6 weekend. Leading the charge was champion Marshall Craig, with a fourth-place finish from Palm Harbor University’s Gabriel Naranjo and blood-round efforts from Lakewood Ranch’s Jake Seaman, a semifinalist (the 8s had three of those), and Sarasota Riverview’s Cameron Lynch.
Toughest struggle: Only three weight classes finished the weekend under .500, and the one with the least top hardware among them was at 170 (6-8 as a quartet), where only fourth-place Matthew McAleer of Manatee made it even to Saturday.

Special mention
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:
Mason Hart (Seminole, 113)
Jake Seaman (Lakewood Ranch, 120)
Lucas Pancake (St. Cloud, 132)
Owen Graham (Melbourne, 145)
Devin Praesel (Wiregrass Ranch, 160)
Daniel Aguilar (Lake Nona, 170)
Joseph Medina (Ridge Community, 182)
Ne’Kari Cheaves (Manatee, 285)

Posted in Uncategorized

#NotesToSelf: Who Won 2A-Region 2?

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 2? (our next-to-last region post; never fear, we will be working on who won states perhaps as soon as Monday, but more likely Tuesday).

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 Brandon). Having a reprise of the spirited two-team fight for top honors in District 7 certainly helped the 7s when it came to the team “competition” here, as Brandon and Lake Gibson’s 1-2 combination of 369.5 points led the 7s to a combined total of 625.5 in all, most in 2A by more than 100 points and second only to 1A-District 7 overall. From there, it was a pretty steep drop back to second, but the fourth-place finish by Land O’Lakes and a balanced set after that was enough for District 8 to outlast District 5 (fueled by third-place region finisher Springstead), 367.5-338. District 6 was fourth, with 220.5 points.

2. Region champions. District 7 wasn’t quite as dominating here, but then there’s only so many championship slots to fill. Still, the 7s picked up a majority, with eight titles in all (106/126/145/152/160/170/182/220). District 8 was next in the race, with three championships at 120/132/138, followed by District 5 (113/195) and then District 6 with one titlist at 285.

3. State qualifiers. While other districts had more champions in the state, none could match 2A-7’s 25 state qualifiers, as the 7s had at least five wrestlers win each color of medal (five runners-up, five 3rds and seven 4ths). Districts 5 and 8 — combined — had just one more state qualifier than the 7s, with each of them picking up 13 (three runners-up, four 3rds and four 4ths for the 5s, and four runners-up, four 3rds and two 4ths for the 8s). District 6 had the other five state spots (two runners-up, one 3rd and one 4th).

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 7 had another dominating performance, with a win-loss record of 143-87. While other districts had fewer losses across the way, no district had more wins in 2A, or even statewide. All three of the other districts were below the .500 mark, but District 8 was close at 95-98, followed by District 5 at 88-97 and then District 6 at 61-106.

In a competition between areas, in 2A as well as 1A, there was really no question about it: District 7, by every measure, “won” Region 2. Here’s a couple of notes on each district:

District 5
Best weight class: The 5s had three weight classes where they had three more wins than losses, so I’ll go with the weight where they had the best tournament finish; that was at 113, where the 5s were 9-6 overall, led by champion Richie Rivera of Springstead, plus a blood-round effort from South Lake’s Tanner Kitta, and wins from all four wrestlers.
Toughest struggle: None of the 5s’ set of 182s was able to get to Saturday competition, as the group went 2-8 and were all eliminated Friday.

District 6
Best weight class: District 6 had just one weight class where they were above .500, and that was at 220, where the group went 10-7 on the weekend, led by a third-place finish from Seabreeze’s Braden Buswell and a blood-round appearance from New Smyrna Beach’s Hank Baker, with an additional Saturday qualifier.
Toughest struggle: All four wrestlers at 160 were 0-2 and were eliminated on Friday.

District 7
Best weight class: The 7s had three different weights with 13 wins, but I’ll choose the one where they went 1-2-3 and had all four wrestlers in the final six. That would be at 145, where the group was 13-4 and swept all four semifinal berths. Brandon’s Noah Ridley won the title, with district champ Ashton Habeil taking second and Wesley Chapel’s Emmanuel Torres third. Armwood’s Jacob Newman had an appearance in the blood round as well.
Toughest struggle: The 7s had just one weight where they were less than .500 as a group, that being at 132, where Lake Gibson’s Johnathan Fan-fan still took fourth and Winter Haven’s Larson Razzano reached the blood round in a 7-8 weekend for the foursome.

District 8
Best weight class: I don’t know if it’s possible for a group of four wrestlers — the way they get grouped — to generate 15 wins as a group, but the 120s for the 8s got 14, with just five losses. Champion Jarrett Kinney of Land o’Lakes led the way, with state-qualifying efforts from Lennard’s Hunter Lefevre (3rd) and Jefferson’s Brian Mas (4th), plus an additional Saturday qualifier.
Toughest struggle: Although they had one Saturday qualifier, the 106s otherwise struggled for wins, going 3-8 as a group.

Special mention
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:
David Cifuentes (Wesley Chapel, 106)
Joseph Figueroa (Liberty, 126)
Larson Razzano (Winter Haven, 132)
Rudy Hajaistron (Wesley Chapel, 138)
Torben Moses (Land o’Lakes, 145)
Austin Gilhart (Harmony, 152)
Brett Estep (Brandon, 160)
Justin Lyon (Citrus, 160)
Marcus Gillott (Wesley Chapel, 170)
Girinaldo Alicea (Liberty, 195)
Donovan Willingham (Wesley Chapel, 220)
Jesus Gonzalez (Jefferson, 285)

Posted in Uncategorized