By: Shannon Heaton (@QChawkeyeinFL)
Ferris Bueller had it right. Wrestling season moves pretty fast. You don't stop to take a look around once in a while, you could miss it.
Just three days are left in the 2013-14 high school wrestling season, and for those still competing, they're the most important three days of the year.
The FHSAA state tournament kicks off tomorrow (Friday) at The Lakeland Center, with 12 mats (I still shake my head at the spectacle of that -- even in Iowa, they only run eight and running eight can be a circus) of action.
Friday's wrestling begins at noon. There'll be two rounds of championship wrestling in three classifications, with 14 weight classes in each.
There will also be two rounds of consolation wrestling staged up. By the end of the day Friday, half of the qualifiers will be done and either watching on Saturday or returning home, thinking about what might have been or about next season. Semifinals start at 10 a.m. on Saturday, followed by two rounds of consolation-bracket competition and 3rd- and 5th-place matches before a 5:30 p.m. finals start time.
Locally, Clay advanced the most competitors to the state tournament, with nine. The Blue Devils will be looking for a top-three team finish in the Class 1A race.
Fleming Island moved eight on to state in Class 3A and has hopes for a top-five finish there, with somewhere between 6-10 also very possible.
Orange Park was the top team in 2A, with six qualifiers out to state. Each of the Clay County schools were second in their respective region tournaments a week ago.
Pairings for the first round in all three weight classes follow below. Complete brackets can also be found on the Northeast Florida Matmen website.
Mostly-live coverage will be available on Twitter Friday, with live-tweeting under @NEFloridaMatmen taking place Saturday from Lakeland.
Edge of the Mat will have two more installments to close out the season, one next week recapping the state meet and the final one in late-February or early-March announcing publicly the Northeast Florida Matmen all-area teams.
Local state pairings
3A: No locals in field.
2A: #10 Austin Wynn (Creekside, 32-7) v. #7 Hunter Reed (Lakewood Ranch, 45-6). #9 Traevon O’Neal (Gainesville, 40-9) v. Matthew Gjarde (Charlotte, 3-1).
1A: Andrew Klopman (Clay, 31-6) v. Jeromy Homerston (Key West, 31-18). Shayne Kahakua-Lodivero (Bradford, 31-9) v. #4 Cullen Tefler (Tampa Bay HEAT, 29-3).
3A: #5 Chase Robison (Fleming Island, 37-9) v. #3 Jordan Marshall (Southridge, 41-3). #6 Jake Kosachiner (Palm Coast, 36-5) v. #12 Nicholas Villamil (Braddock, 48-8).
2A: #9 Marcus Reid (Orange Park, 34-3) v. #12 Anthony Silvestre (Hollywood Hills, 30-7). Chris Griffin (Oakleaf, 13-4) v. #6 Aaron Wiechel (Jensen Beach, 49-9). #16 Tahj Brennen (Gainesville, 37-9) v. #11 Ryan Hudson (Merritt Island, 41-6).
1A: #4 Dale Browning (Clay, 30-6) v. #8 Jack Lipp (Lemon Bay, 40-10). #15 Jason Griffis (Bradford, 34-5) v. #14 Daniel Valledor (Somerset Academy, 32-12).
3A: #8 Alfred Shavers (Palm Coast, 39-4) v. Kizhan Clarke (Riverview, 28-9). #10 Xaiver Sampsel (Fleming Island, 40-9) v. #4 Austin Haley (Durant, 50-5).
2A: Shawn Lanier (Oakleaf, 16-10) v. #1 Michael McDonald (Springstead, 40-0). #4 Nick Peschek (Gaither, 56-7) v. Tyrese Germain (Orange Park, 17-8).
1A: #6 Nick Toney (Bishop Kenny, 30-8) v. #10 Austin Rasmussen (Deltona, 26-11).
3A: #2 Evan McCall (Fleming Island, 36-2) v. #8 Christopher Brantley (Columbus, 43-15).
2A: #5 Jon Gardner (Gainesville, 39-6) v. #2 Jake Gillis (Archbishop McCarthy, 25-10).
1A: #16 Tharin Hessenauer (Fernandina Beach, 24-7) v. #2 Anthony Vazquez (Cardinal Gibbons, 34-0). #11 Michael Brown (Pedro Menendez, 32-5) v. #6 Justin Cohen (Monsignor Pace, 29-6).
3A: #3 Charles Cuthbert (Fleming Island, 38-2) v. #8 Jaquan Loney (Gateway, 37-13). Ollie Dixon (Atlantic Coast, 12-6) v. #1 Connor Prince (Palm Harbor, 61-0). #13 Kaz Maia (Palm Coast, 38-5) v. #4 John Cruz (North Port, 43-5).
2A: #4 Kaleb Warner (Columbia, 37-3) v. Jonathan Crunkilton (New Smyrna Beach, 29-6). #8 Anthony Hauser (Oakleaf, 28-6) v. #12 Jared Tarvin (Lake Gibson, 34-10). #11 Joey Epstein (Ridgeview, 27-8) v. #5 Andrew Smith (Springstead, 40-7).
1A: #6 Josh Calhoun (Bolles, 32-4) v. #7 Jesus Nieves (Weeki Wachee, 49-8). #4 Dylan Martin (Clay, 46-8) v. #13 Brandon Harvey (Baker County, 38-6).
3A: #16 Joshua Sweeten (Fletcher, 19-3) v. #13 Donteveous Jones (Ely, 31-8). #9 David Detwiler (Fleming Island, 39-9) v. JP Azevedo (Olympic Heights, 26-11).
2A: #11 Travis Neubeck (Middleburg, 30-6) v. #14 Hunter Johnson (Palmetto Ridge, 3-2). Tristen Roderick (Oakleaf, 27-14) v. #4 Trey Hoff (Charlotte, 4-0). Dustin Regar (Columbia, 29-15) v. #8 Bryce Balsinger (Venice, 42-9).
1A: #16 Timothy Worthen (Yulee, 28-11) v. #3 Leo Tarantino (Tampa Prep, 33-7). #11 Billy Jenkins (Suwannee, 3-1) v. #8 Eric Cabral (Booker, 39-7). #6 Austin Luke (Clay, 18-5) v. #1 Jamal Morris (Cardinal Gibbons, 38-2).
3A: Anthony Moore (Buchholz, 34-10) v. #4 Laurence Kosoy (Olympic Heights, 48-4). #9 John Martorano (Fleming Island, 35-7) v. #12 Jimmyson Jeanite (Palm Beach Gardens, 32-8).
2A: #5 Matthew Tamayo (Gainesville, 44-3) v. #11 Quinton Fleming (South Ft. Myers, 3-2). #15 Jared Langdo (Creekside, 19-6) v. #4 Joey Nadotti (Palmetto Ridge, 4-0). Jake Maguire (Columbia, 31-20) v. #6 CJ Trammell (Venice, 45-6).
1A: #1 Adam Breindel (Clay, 49-3) v. Ben Delez (Calvary Christian, 16-15). #11 Cody Joseph (University Christian, 29-6) v. #7 Marc Allison (Dunedin, 36-6). #13 Josh Helm (Fernandina Beach, 13-1) v. William Sadlo (Sarasota Military, 45-8).
3A: No locals in field.
2A: #13 Marcellus Boyd (Gainesville, 16-7) v. #9 Jacob Ewles (Winter Haven, 27-5). #11 Mitchell Harris (Orange Park, 24-3) v. #7 Tommy Fretwell (Brandon, 51-10).
1A: #9 Tyler Foster (Suwannee, 4-0) v. #13 Kyle Barrington (Rockledge, 21-4). #11 Rodney Padgett (Pedro Menendez, 34-7) v. #1 Jake Spengler (Lake Highland Prep, 48-0). #15 Thomas Monaghan (Fernandina Beach, 26-8) v. #6 Jonte Scott (Anclote, 40-5). #2 Imier Almanzar (Clay, 41-6) v. #5 Devin Combs (Marianna, 32-11).
3A: #14 Justin Boyle (Palm Coast, 39-8) v. #4 Eric Perez (Cooper City, 34-1). Jerome Abbott (Fleming Island, 25-6) v. #6 Alberto Pedraza (South Dade, 42-6).
2A: #11 Tristen Barth (Nease, 23-4) v. #16 Dilano Taylor (Stranahan, 24-4).
1A: #3 Jarraid Forsyth (Bradford, 39-0) v. Adam Hassanien (Coral Springs, 28-12). Caleb Loyd (Clay, 42-13) v. Bradley Bolesta (Citrus Park Christian, 9-4). #6 Daniel Folkner (University Christian, 32-11) v. #14 John Piraino (Key West, 26-9). #9 Michael Dudzinski (West Nassau, 35-2) v. #8 Julien Georgescu (Cardinal Gibbons, 36-6). #1 Shawn Brown (Suwannee, 4-1) v. Bryce Hill (American Heritage-Delray, 31-21).
3A: #15 Heath Whiddon (Fleming Island, 18-8) v. #2 John Weiss (St. Thomas Aquinas, 54-4).
2A: William Rinchiusa (St. Augustine, 25-9) v. Jamel Davis (Barron Collier, 3-1). #7 Clayton Dennis (Matanzas, 39-8) v. #10 Ty McLeod (Lakewood Ranch, 12-4).
1A: #5 Kuba Kaszuba (Bishop Kenny, 31-1) v. #11 Selbourne Steward (Indian Rocks Christian, 37-12). Trevor Larson (Clay, 31-13) v. #9 Uriel Diaz (Key West, 19-7). #14 Brandon Dattoli (Bolles, 30-8) v. #6 Anthony Dampier (Dunedin, 48-5). #7 Sasha Key (Suwannee, 3-1) v. #8 Tupac Isme (Lely, 37-11).
3A: No locals in field.
2A: Jordin Castanheira (Matanzas, 19-16) v. #3 Max Reynolds (River Ridge, 36-2). #16 Jeremy Beaulieu (Creekside, 30-11) v. #4 Nico Lightfoot (Fivay, 36-7).
1A: #2 Brandon Marshall (Bishop Snyder, 51-1) v. Matthew Johnson (Clewiston, 40-15). Robert Rodriguez (Suwannee, 4-2) v. #7 Tremaine McClendon (Lely, 43-4). #5 Jermaine Oliver (Raines, 26-5) v. #14 Zach Fouch (Mariner, 33-8).
3A: Jonathan Muniz (Palm Coast, 39-8) v. #8 Luis Hernandez (SW Miami, 39-14).
2A: Chasen Irvine (Orange Park, 29-16) v. #1 Chris Favoroso (Jensen Beach, 49-2).
1A: #1 Trey Miller (University Christian, 33-1) v. #11 Jarvis Gamble (Ft. Pierce Westwood, 20-7). #14 Garrett Fairbanks (Pedro Menendez, 32-12) v. #3 Ryan Thomas (Cardinal Gibbons, 38-1). #8 Nathan Morales (Bishop Snyder, 47-5) v. #9 John Pozzi (Key West, 29-6).
3A: #16 Vincent Sunter (Buchholz, 41-11) v. #5 Demond Richardson (South Dade, 10-1).
2A: #7 Devon Brooks (Orange Park, 25-1) v. #15 Cory Vickers (Okeechobee, 24-4). #16 Rafael Lopez (Creekside, 28-11) v. #4 Anthony Wint (Homestead, 16-0).
1A: Lenny Carter (Baker County, 12-4) v. #7 Ken Rosa (Coral Springs Charter, 36-4). David Trigg (University Christian, 26-8) v. #13 Juan Cornett (Monsignor Pace, 18-9). #16 Max Cobb (Providence, 25-7) v. Austin Nelson (Cardinal Gibbons, 20-6).
3A: No locals in field.
2A: #4 Malcolm Kirce (Ridgeview, 30-0) v. Colton Rausch (Auburndale, 30-11). Cole Eubanks (Creekside, 32-11) v. #1 Austin Underwood (Jesuit, 31-0). Kelton Johnson (Ed White, 23-4) v. #9 Robert Mosley (Chamberlain, 51-5). #11 Christian Tejada (Orange Park, 40-4) v. #13 Brandon Martin (New Smyrna Beach, 33-8).
1A: #1 Jamal Fiffer (University Christian, 35-1) v. Alan Perrotta (Dunnellon, 5-3). Austin Gwin (Pedro Menendez, 31-13) v. #3 Andrew Ivie (Pasco, 42-2). #12 Roland Samec (Clay, 21-9) v. MaShawn Knight (Godby). #11 Anthony Vines (Weeki Wachee, 53-5) v. DeAngeles Harris (Wolfson, 23-5).
By: David Levin (@davidlevin71)
By: Shannon Heaton (@QChawkeyeinFL)
There’s a phrase that winds its way around the wrestling world: “February wants to know what you did all summer long.”
For high school wrestlers in Florida, that question is being asked now. For all intents and purposes, February starts today as post-season competition kicks off at the district level throughout the state, with 48 tournaments (16 in each of three classes) tonight through Saturday. Locally, the 40 teams inside the six-county area head off to seven different tournaments – one tonight and six more on Saturday.
In Class 3A, local #2 Fleming Island will headline the local contingent making the short drive south to Palm Coast for District 1 wrestling on Saturday (11 a.m. start, 4 p.m. for finals). The Golden Eagles (7th statewide in 3A) and Bulldogs (newly-minted at 22nd in today’s state rankings) are the top candidates to win the team title, though Atlantic Coast, #8 Fletcher, Sandalwood, Mandarin and #9 First Coast all should move a few on to next weekend’s region tournaments. Buchholz rounds out the 3A-1 field.
There are three tournaments with local impact in Class 2A, starting this afternoon with #7 Columbia traveling to Tallahassee Leon for District 2 competition. That meet actually will start in an hour, so if you want to go and aren’t en route, get moving. It’s a bit of a haul from here. (3 p.m. start, with finals immediately after prelims). Columbia is the only local team in the field, which includes Tallahassee Lincoln, Tallahassee Chiles and Tallahassee Leon, as well as Gainesville.
On Saturday, Duval and Clay County 2A schools will congregate at Englewood for District 3 competition. The FHSAA website says the meet starts at 9 a.m., but Englewood officials confirmed on the Northeast Florida Matmen website that the meet begins at 10. Duval teams include Ed White, Englewood, Lee, Stanton and Terry Parker, with Clay teams Middleburg, Oakleaf, #3 Orange Park and Ridgeview also there. Look for a fight between the Raiders and Middleburg for the top team spot.
Southward, St. Johns and Flagler 2A teams will meet at Creekside (11 a.m. Saturday start, finals immediately after preliminaries). In addition to the #5 Knights, Bartram Trail, Ponte Vedra, Nease, St. Augustine and Matanzas will be in competition. Competition between Creekside and the visiting Pirates should be keen for first place in the team standings.
Three Class 1A districts have local interest. #1 Clay is the only one split off from the rest of the local group. The Blue Devils (ranked 4th statewide) have been moved into Region 2, which means a drive to Villages (not far from the Gulf side of the state) for district competition Saturday (11 a.m. start, finals 30 minutes after prelims). Clay should get a solid test from nearby Crystal River, whom the Blue Devils defeated in a dual meet in December. Palatka, Interlachen, Gainesville Eastside, Dunnellon, North Marion and Ocala’s Trinity Catholic round out the District 5 field.
In Region 1, local teams will either congregate at Yulee (District 3) or Episcopal (District 4), also both on Saturday. Up north, the Hornets will be hosting Andrew Jackson, Bishop Snyder, Forrest, Paxon and Raines from Duval County, West Nassau and Fernandina Beach from within Nassau County, as well as Baker County (start time 9:45 a.m., finals still to be determined). The Cardinals, newly-ranked 21st in the team polls, should be the prohibitive team champion favorite, but all three Nassau teams and Forrest especially should give good chase.
At Episcopal, there will be a 10-team district tournament – the largest among the local events. From Duval, #10 Bishop Kenny, Bolles, Duval Charter at Baymeadows, the host Eagles, Providence, #4 University Christian and Wolfson will compete, with Pedro Menendez and Florida School for the Deaf & Blind migrating north from St. Johns and Bradford coming over from Starke County. Look for Bishop Kenny to push the Christians for top honors in the team race.
At each tournament, there will be two sessions of wrestling, with separate admission fees of $6 for each session. Gyms will be cleared between each session.
Edge of the Mat will publish results from each of the seven tournaments and regional pairings next week in this space. For more preview information, the Northeast Florida Matmen website (http://northeastfloridamatmen.wordpress.com ) has comprehensive previews for 3A District 1, 2A Districts 2 and 4, and 1A District 5 published, with 1A District 3 being released later this afternoon, 1A District 4 later this evening and 2A District 3 late Friday afternoon or evening.
By: Shannon Heaton (@QChawkeyeinFL)
The road to the Gateway Conference wrestling title still can’t be traveled without overcoming the power of the beach.
Fletcher – now ranked 8th in the Northeast Florida Matmen team rankings, just issued today -- bagged five individual conference titles – including three in a row from 126 through 138 pounds, along with two more at 160 and 170 – to win its sixth consecutive Gateway title Saturday afternoon at First Coast. In scoring 186 team points, the Senators withstood spirited challenges from #10 Sandalwood (2nd, 162.5 points), the host and honorable mention Buccaneers (137.5) and HM-lister Atlantic Coast (133.5) to win the tournament. Forrest, which shared the first-day lead with Fletcher, had a rough semifinal round Saturday morning, but the Rebels rallied in the wrestlebacks to finish fifth, a half-point ahead of Ed White – both of which also bagged HM listings after both were ranked in the top 10 earlier in the season.
Winning individual Gateway titles were the following wrestlers: Jaques Hale (Sandalwood, 106); Erik Sirmans (First Coast, 113); Brandon Bemister (Atlantic Coast, 120); Jake Loizos (Fletcher, 126); Cal Rodgers (Fletcher, 132); Joshua Sweeten (Fletcher, 138); Mitchell Pendleton (Sandalwood, 145); Dillon May (Atlantic Coast, 152); William Kohlhaas (Fletcher, 160); Skylor Coxon (Fletcher, 170); Jermaine Oliver (Raines, 182); Jahlan Walker (First Coast, 195); Scott Dollison (First Coast, 220) and Kahlil Welsh (Forrest, 285). Welsh will be Forrest’s final Gateway Conference champion – at least under that name.
It was a busy day in the area on Saturday, with four larger events within just a couple of hours’ drive. At Orange Park, the #3 Raiders lost only to Tallahassee Lincoln, which has put together an unbeaten duals record in 2013-14, in their 10-Way Duals. #9 Bishop Kenny was fourth, with newly-minted HM-lister Oakleaf edging Baker County for fifth. At Bartram Trail, #5 Creekside won that dual tournament for the third consecutive year, defeating #6 Bishop Snyder for top honors. Finally, at nearby Buchholz, both #4 University Christian and Middleburg finished in a tie for third, losing only to Gainesville and the host Bobcats along the way.
The area – or at least Clay County’s part of it – is probably still buzzing after the #1 Blue Devils led, then trailed, and then led again at the last minute, as 220-pound Jon Whiting’s third-period fall over Kihim Carr gave Clay a 30-29 victory over #2 Fleming Island. With the Blue Devils hosting Orange Park tonight – and with Fleming wrestling at Camden County last weekend – both of the area giants will be done until districts in two Saturdays from now. The regular season, more or less, wraps up this week, with a full slate of duals tonight, led by Clay-Orange Park and Sandalwood’s quadrangular meet.
The weekend is punctuated by another 15-team dual tournament hosted by Terry Parker Friday and Saturday, which includes University Christian and Fletcher as ranked teams in the field, with formerly-ranked teams Ridgeview, Nease and Mandarin also all included. Just over the border, Brunswick GA is hosting a dual tournament, with part of the proceeds going to benefit Relay for Life in memory of the father of a graduated Brunswick wrestler. #6 Bishop Snyder headlines the list of locals there. Fernandina Beach hosts Baker County in a rare Saturday-afternoon dual meet, while Oakleaf travels to Daytona Beach for a tournament at Seabreeze and Providence makes the long drive south all the way to Englewood, halfway between Sarasota and Fort Myers, for a tournament at Lemon Bay.
Next week: Edge of the Mat takes a look at 6 local district meets with our preview.
By Shannon Heaton (@QChawkeyeinFL)
Clay. Fleming Island. Two teams. One mat. A whole county isn’t big enough for the two of them.
It’s the Uncivil War, and expect a ton of fireworks Wednesday night when these local wrestling titans meet up. Clay is #1 in the Northeast Florida Matmen team poll, #3 statewide in Class 1A, while Fleming Island is #2 locally and #7 in 3A. The Blue Devils seized the early advantage with a decisive win at the Green Cove Springs Rotary two weekends ago. Now, the venue moves to Fleming Island for what should be THE powerhouse dual of the season.
After JV matches and a brief Senior Night program, varsity action is scheduled to begin around 7. Here’s Edge of the Mat’s take match-by-match at what to expect Wednesday:
106 – Andrew Klopman/Cody Taylor (Clay, Taylor is #11 in 1A at this weight) vs. Joseph Cooper (Fleming Island). Clay has some options in the first three weights and may try to exploit them. Klopman was 15-4 before giving way to Taylor two weekends ago at this weight, but was at 106 last weekend at Suwannee, where he finished second. Taylor is ranked #2 at this weight, while Cooper is #3. Taylor beat Cooper 1-0 at Clay two weekends ago, but Cooper knocked off #1 Austin Wynn of Creekside at Palm Coast last weekend (Klopman had, also, earlier in the season at Bishop Snyder).
113 – Taylor/Dale Browning (Clay, Browning is #5 in 1A) vs. Chase Robison (Fleming Island, #3 in 3A). Clay’s strongest lineup has Taylor wrestling here and Browning at 120, but Browning was named the Outstanding Wrestler at this weight at Suwannee last weekend, where he pinned the statewide #3 in 2A in the first period of the title match. Browning is ranked #1 locally at 113, based on his dominant performance at Clay – where he pinned his way through the bracket. He didn’t face #2 Robison along the way though, as Robison was eliminated from the tournament in earlier rounds due to a flagrant disqualification, which the Golden Eagles successfully appealed.
120 – Browning/Caleb Wyman (Clay) vs. Xaiver Sampsel (Fleming Island, #12 in 3A). Should Browning bump up to this weight, as many expect, it would match up the local top-ranked wrestlers at two weights, as Sampsel is the top-ranked 120 this year. Sampsel got some tests at Clay two weekends ago, coming from behind in both the semis and finals to win the weight class, and followed that with a fifth-place finish in a deep Palm Coast bracket.
126 -- Julian Summa (Clay, #14 in 1A) vs. Evan McCall (Fleming Island, #2 in 3A). This would be a rematch of the Clay Rotary final from two weekends ago, a match McCall won handily by major decision, 11-3. Getting as many bonus points as possible would be critical for the Golden Eagles here. McCall is far and away the top 126 in the area, but Summa moved into the top-5 this week (#4, based on results through January 4) and proved he’ll be a force to be reckoned with in the future.
132 – Dylan Martin (Clay, #4 in 1A) vs. Charles Cuthbert (Fleming Island, #3 in 3A). A matchup of seniors with contrasting personalities on the mat. Cuthbert is #1 in the weight and Martin is third, but Cuthbert has taken it to every other local 132 in the area. Cuthbert and Martin have yet to meet this season. Bonus points for Fleming might be a must here, too, for the Golden Eagles to have a chance.
138 – Austin Luke (Clay, #7 in 1A) vs. David Detwiler (Fleming Island, #7 in 3A). Another #1 vs. #2, as at 113. However, Luke (#1 locally) and Detwiler (#2) did meet at Clay Rotary two weekends ago, with Luke taking a 7-4 decision. Luke hasn’t gotten in as many matches as Detwiler this season, as he’s been rounding into form after injuries hampered his start, but he controlled the pace against Detwiler then.
145 -- Adam Breindel (Clay, #1 in 1A) vs. John Martorano (Fleming Island, #8 in 3A). Another #1 vs. #2. Kind of a theme there, but this one is also a rematch of the Clay Rotary final. There, Breindel dominated early, got his knee dinged mid-match and had to hold off a furious charge from Martorano at the end before winning, 12-11. Both are capable of huge flurries of points in a very short amount of time.
152 – Imier Almanzar (Clay, #3 in 1A) vs. Jason Davis (Fleming Island). Senior vs. freshman, and two weekends ago Almanzar (ranked #1 locally) pinned the HM-listed Davis in the second period of their semifinal match at Clay Rotary. This should be Clay’s match to win, and collect bonus points besides. But there is one possible wrinkle out there. Fleming Island hasn’t – yet – had the services of junior Trevor Betros, who transferred over from University Christian to start the academic year and who has been out with knee issues. An Almanzar-Betros matchup would be a very different, far less predictable affair, plus would give the Golden Eagles a bit more flexibility in setting lineups the rest of the way up.
160 – Caleb Loyd (Clay, #10 in 1A) vs. Jerome Abbott (Fleming Island). Two seniors who don’t get the recognition of some of their peers, but who have been quietly solid all season. Abbott is #2 locally at this weight, Loyd is #4. They were on opposite sides of the bracket at Clay Rotary and did not meet. Loyd lost to University Christian’s Daniel Folkner, whom Abbott decisioned in the final. Transitive property, however, does not always work in wrestling, though, so don’t necessarily expect a Fleming win. This will be a good tossup.
170 – Tristain Sichmeller/Trevor Larson (Clay, Sichmeller is #11 in 1A at this weight) vs. Heath Whiddon (Fleming Island). Again some flexibility for Clay over the next few weights. Whiddon is the #2-ranked 170 locally and has been state-ranked this year before injury in December caused a temporary setback. He finished a solid fifth at Clay Rotary, losing only to two state-ranked wrestlers after an unfortunate draw put him in the quarters against local #1 Kuba Kaszuba of Bishop Kenny. Sichmeller was at 182 at Clay Rotary, but had a solid third-place finish at Suwannee in this weight class, while Larson was one match short of placing at Clay Rotary at this weight and was fifth at 182 in Suwannee.
182 – Sichmeller/Larson/Kaleb Collins (Clay) vs. Devin Farrar/Austin Smenda (Fleming Island). Lots of possibles at this weight. Collins was third at 195 at Suwannee for the Blue Devils last weekend and wrestled 195 for Clay at the Rotary, but has spent most of the season at this weight. Farrar was Fleming’s 182 at Palm Coast last weekend, where he was one match short of placing, but, if healthy, Smenda is probably the Golden Eagles’ best here. He hasn’t seen a lot of local action recently, however.
195 – Collins/Jon Whiting (Clay) vs. Smenda/Peter Martorano (Fleming Island, #7 in 3A). Collins has handled the move up well, but Whiting is also more than capable of competing here – Whiting started the season at this weight, and also finished third at 220 at Suwannee last weekend. As for Fleming Island, it would make the most strategic sense to put Smenda, if healthy, in here (where he wrestled a year ago) and move Martorano up to 220 – assuming that he can go. He was injured at the Lyman tournament last month and hasn’t been in the lineup since that date. Fleming also has a freshman, Michael Stanick, who saw a lot of off-season time with the team and could theoretically be put in the mix here or at 220.
220 – Whiting/Jarron Leeds (Clay) vs. ????? (Fleming Island). The Golden Eagles have not fielded a 220 in any dual or tournament this season. But this is the Uncivil War. Winning is the priority here. If Smenda and Martorano are both healthy enough to compete, I would expect this weight to be filled by someone wearing green and gold Wednesday night. Otherwise, it’s an easy six via forfeit for Clay.
285 – Roland Samec/Jayvin Tobler (Clay, Samec is #13 in 1A) vs. Kihim Carr/????? (Fleming Island). Samec and Tobler have wrestled in equal measure during dual competitions, but Samec (1st HM at 285, therefore effectively ranked sixth) has been the consistent choice in tournament formats and has more big-match experience, with a year of post-season matches under his belt. Carr has appeared only a few times in the Fleming lineup and not at all since the Kiwanis tournament in mid-December. It would not surprise me (at all) to see Farrar at 182, Smenda/Stanick at 195/220 and Martorano – the best of Fleming’s uppers – at 285.
If you can get there Wednesday night, you will not be disappointed – by the quality of wrestling, by the atmosphere, by the stakes involved.
As big as the Uncivil War might be Wednesday, and it’s huge, Saturday’s got a three-pack of powerhouse events planned that should provide plenty of sizzle all on their own. Closest in to Jacksonville will be the Gateway Conference tournament at First Coast, which starts Friday at 1 p.m. (no school in Duval County that day) and picks back up Saturday at 9 a.m. If last weekend’s battle at Terry Parker’s Army Duals is any indication, it won’t be a cakewalk for anyone to claim the title.
Fletcher started the year as the presumptive Gateway favorite, and the Senators have tradition and a solid lineup on their side, but both Ed White and First Coast boasted 6-1 records at Terry Parker – with the Commanders beating the Buccaneers by just one point during the course of the dual. Both Ed White and First Coast have cracked the local top 10 during the course of the season, as has Forrest, which may also play a role this weekend. Mandarin, too, was 6-1 at Terry Parker, with its lone loss coming to #5 Bishop Snyder, and has been hanging around the honorable mention lists all season. The Mustangs have shown more strength in duals than tournaments thus far this season, however, and that may play a hand in their outcome this weekend.
Another draw of big interest will be at Orange Park, which hosts its annual 10-way dual event Saturday. Two pools of five teams will get four pool matches in, then cross pools to determine first through 10th places. In addition to the Raiders, local teams in the field are Bishop Kenny, Baker County, Nease, Oakleaf, St. Augustine and West Nassau, plus nearby Matanzas and Palatka and the #7-ranked team in Class 2A statewide, Tallahassee Lincoln. Wrestling starts at 9 a.m., with a potential wrapup of all competition by 4 p.m.
Bartram Trail will also host a duals tournament on Saturday, with Bishop Snyder, Creekside, Bolles, Pedro Menendez and Ponte Vedra scheduled to appear. That tournament is scheduled for 9:30 a.m. Fleming Island, Fernandina Beach and Yulee will cross the border for Camden County’s duals event on Saturday (8 a.m. start), with Middleburg, Ridgeview and Duval Charter all competing in Buchholz’s duals tournament Saturday starting at 9 a.m. Finally, Providence and Columbia will enter the land of the giants Saturday, competing in Florida powerhouse Brandon’s Ippolito tournament starting at 10 a.m.