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Previewing State 1A Wrestling Meet

Feb 15, 2013 -- 9:05am

 

By Shannon Heaton

(Follow Heaton on Facebook and Twitter at @QChawkeyeinFL)

 

Here’s one person’s take on the Florida Class 1A state wrestling tournament and breaking down each local wrestler’s chances:

 

106 pounds

  • Ranked wrestlers in field: 14.
  • Toughest part of bracket: The third quarterfinal, in which the #1, #8 and #9 wrestlers are slotted.
  • Best first round match: #8 Austin Runyan (Wakulla) vs. #9 Ross Clark (Cardinal Gibbons).
  • Local outlook: Looking at sixth-ranked Dale Browning (Clay), his chances of making the semis and therefore placing are pretty good. If he gets past #13 Joseph Lopez, an eighth-grader from Somerset, he would have an unranked wrestler in the quarters. Finals are not unrealistic hopes. Providence eighth-grader Dustin Young, who was third at the Bolles regional last weekend, is one of three unranked wrestlers in the field and he opens with #4 Zach Sherman of American Heritage in Plantation, also an eighth-grader. His shot at medalling is likely coming through the wrestlebacks.

 

113

  • Ranked wrestlers in field: 13.
  • Toughest part of bracket: The third quarterfinal, which includes 3-4-5.
  • Best first round match: #4 Travis Ahrens (Astronaut) vs. #5 Zach Tipton (Fernandina Beach).
  • Local outlook: Tipton’s road is challenging right from the get-go, which can crank up some wrestlers. After finishing second at the Bolles regional to #2 Zach Malik of Wakulla, Tipton is looking for a podium finish, and a first-round win is the easiest way to get there. Like Tipton, Bishop Kenny’s Nick Toney (#14) is in a quarterfinal with three other ranked wrestlers, including #1 Franco Valdes of Somerset. Toney starts with eighth-grader Bryce Rogers (#9) of the Orlando area in the first round, and Toney will have to win that to avoid the long wrestleback route.

 

120

  • Ranked wrestlers in field: 13.
  • Toughest part of bracket: The second quarterfinal, which could force a #1 vs. #2 matchup.
  • Best first round match: #8 Ty Lucas (Tampa Bay Christian) vs. #11 Dean Shingola (Suwannee).
  • Local outlook: Clay junior Dylan Martin (#12) represents the area at this weight, and after a runnerup finish at Bolles last weekend, may have a shot at a medal this weekend. He’ll need to get past #7 Anthony Agazarm of Gulf in the first round and the quarterfinals – with a likely date against #4 Christopher Moreno of Doral Academy – won’t get easier. If Martin winds up an early casualty on the championship side, he could get a rematch with Arnold’s Brock Carlan on the back end with elimination on the line.

 

126

  • Ranked wrestlers in field: 14.
  • Toughest part of bracket: The top quarterfinal, in which the #3, #7 and #9 wrestlers are slotted.
  • Best first round match: #3 William Morgan (Wakulla) vs. #7 Johnny Baldridge (Avon Park).
  • Local outlook: Bolles sophomore Josh Calhoun (#8), who was third on his home mats last weekend, has a solid draw for a third-place finisher. He gets #12 Philip Gross of Cocoa Beach in the first round, which should make him favored. He would then get (probably) top-ranked Jamal Morris of Cardinal Gibbons in the quarters.  It’s a tough road to hoe, but not an impossible one, for him to medal.

 

132

  • Ranked wrestlers in field: 15.
  • Toughest part of bracket: The bottom quarterfinal, which could force a #1 vs. #3 matchup.
  • Best first round match: #10 Cody Joseph (University Christian) vs. #6 Eric Cabral (Sarasota Booker).
  • Local outlook: Bolles champion Max Sheppard (Episcopal, ranked #8) faces the only non-ranked wrestler in the weight class who qualified for state in Bradenton Southeast’s Joey Fazio in the first round. A win there would set him up, most likely, with #4 Joe Haan of Somerset in the quarters, but Sheppard’s confidence is solid and the semis – maybe even the title match – are strong possibilities. Clay’s Austin Luke (#11) has a strong bracket to contend with, including #7 eighth-grader Kaman Wilmington of Northside Christian in the first round, while Joseph is looking at Cabral. Both Luke and Joseph are going to have to pull an upset, looking solely at the rankings, to avoid an early wrestleback route.

 

138

  • Ranked wrestlers in field: 12.
  • Toughest part of bracket: The third quarterfinal, which is the only one with four ranked wrestlers (7, 8, 12 and 15).
  • Best first round match: #4 Erich Byelick (Calvary Christian) vs. #6 Michael Fegins (University Christian).
  • Local outlook: Bolles champion Adam Breindel, ranked 13th for Clay, gets a reasonable opening round match, with an unranked wrestler having a double-digit loss record coming in. That would likely set him up against #2 Anthony Espinosa of Lake Highland Prep in Orlando in the quarters. The battle for team points could be big there. Fegins, who was third at Bolles, takes on a higher-ranked wrestler in Byelick, but he is a senior and Byelick a 7th-grader. Call me old school, but the physical differences ought to be pronounced, and in Fegins’ favor, if he attacks. Menendez senior J.P. Santiago drew Doral Academy senior Danny Garcia, the top-ranked 138, in the first-round. Santiago is Menendez’s only qualifier, and he’ll probably have to battle out of the wrestlebacks.

 

145

  • Ranked wrestlers in field: 12.
  • Toughest part of bracket: The top quarterfinal, where the #2, #7 and #8 wrestlers all reside.
  • Best first round match: #2 Shawn Brown (Suwannee) vs. #8 Andrew Perea (St. Andrews).
  • Local outlook: University Christian sophomore Trevor Betros (#4) represents the area at state, and he has a pretty reasonable path to the semifinals if he wrestles solidly, with an unranked wrestler as the matchup in round 1 (Miami Edison’s Draguan Golden) and likely #6 Andrew Sherer of Fivay in the third quarterfinal. The top wrestler in the bottom quarter is #3 Jarrald Forsyth of Bradford, who Betros manhandled at Bolles last weekend, so a Saturday night bout in the finals is a very real possibility for him.

 

152

  • Ranked wrestlers in field: 13.
  • Toughest part of bracket: The third quarterfinal, which could force a #1 vs. #4 matchup.
  • Best first round match: #3 Tag Wilber (Jupiter Christian) vs. #8 Trace Woxberg (Rockledge).
  • Local outlook: Bolles’ Harry Glasser wasn’t challenged on his home mat last weekend, but the second-ranked junior will likely see a change in Lakeland, though possibly not until the quarterfinals, where #7 Rodney Thomas of Cardinal Gibbons looms. Glasser is the highest-ranked wrestler in the top half of the weight class, and getting to Saturday night is something that he should be favored to do. The road is tougher for Clay senior Jeff Rivers (#9), who has to fight out of a quarter that has four ranked wrestlers, including #3 Wilber. Likewise, Yulee senior Garrett James (#11) also has an uphill battle, taking on #4 Nick Schofield of Lemon Bay in the first round, and #1 Jake Spengler of Lake Highland Prep a possible quarterfinal match. Medaling is possible, but by no means certain.

 

160

  • Ranked wrestlers in field: 15.
  • Toughest part of bracket: The third quarterfinal, which could force a #2 vs. #3 matchup.
  • Best first round match: #1 Colton Jackson (Villages) vs. #6 Matthew Winkler (South Walton).
  • Local outlook: #8 Austin Weltzbarker (Clay) is the highest-ranked wrestler in his quarterfinal, but all four are ranked, so he should get two challenges if he can make it to the semifinals. He’ll have to open up more than he did in the Bolles regional final against #3 Cody Hankerson of University Christian, who also is in a bracket with four ranked kids, including #2 Spencer Baxter of Gulf. Hankerson can get to the semis, and if he does, he could move on to the final. He’s strong enough to out-muscle almost everyone but will have to be quick and light on the feet to get through.

 

170

  • Ranked wrestlers in field: 11.
  • Toughest part of bracket: The second quarterfinal, with the #4, #5 and #8 wrestlers in it.
  • Best first round match: #4 Nick Mosco (Tampa Prep) vs. #8 David Prindiville (Mulberry).
  • Local outlook: The state schematic didn’t do #1 Clay senior Jake Bain any favors; although he has an unranked Cardinal Gibbons opponent in Round 1, he would face (probably) #3 Nicco Lightfoot of Fivay in the quarters, which is probably a round earlier than he’d like. Still, though, Bain is the favorite for the title after medaling in 2011 and 2012. University Christian junior Trey Miller, ranked ninth, has a winnable first-rounder against #11 Tyler Gilbert of American Heritage Delray, though Miller would likely face #2 Luis Pergero of Tampa Robinson in the quarters. With Pergero and Miller the top two-ranked juniors in the weight class, it could foreshadow a title battle at 182 in 2014.

 

182

  • Ranked wrestlers in field: 12.
  • Toughest part of bracket: The third quarterfinal, in which the #1, #3 and #9 wrestlers are slotted.
  • Best first round match: #2 Colin Hahn (Fivay) vs. #10 Christopher Rodriguez (Tampa Robinson).
  • Local outlook: University Christian senior Tim Betros, ranked third, has a very reasonable first-round matchup; he would be looking (probably) at #1 Taylor Jackson of Villages in the quarters. To say that is a title-level matchup isn’t overstating the situation; the winner has, in looking at the bottom half of the 182 bracket, overwhelming odds in their favor to go to Saturday night. Should Betros fall in the quarters, his road to third place would actually be a little more challenging, because he’d cross over into the top half, which is a stronger half. Raines sophomore Jermaine Oliver takes on #5 Chase Kelley of Key West; for Oliver, this is a learning experience to grow upon in 2014 and 2015.

 

195

  • Ranked wrestlers in field: 11.
  • Toughest part of bracket: The third quarterfinal, the only one with four ranked wrestlers (#1, #2, #7 and #8).
  • Best first round match: #1 Alex Kruklinski (Northside Christian) vs. #7 Marquis Brown (Miami Jackson).
  • Local outlook: In many similar ways to the Betros brothers, University Christian’s Robert Parland got a favorable draw from the state schematic. Ranked fourth, the Bolles regional champion has an unranked wrestler in the first round, and if he can get past #3 Ben Willard of Ft. Myers Evangelical Christian in the quarters, he would be a strong threat to make the final. And with the top wrestler on the bottom half being Bradford’s Phillip James, whom Parland defeated by disqualification due to stalling in the Bolles final, a title would loom large indeed.

 

220

  • Ranked wrestlers in field: 9.
  • Toughest part of bracket: The top quarterfinal, where #2, #9 and #11 reside.
  • Best first round match: #5 Zach Jordan (Pasco) vs. #8 Alijah Soffore (Rutherford).
  • Local outlook: Clay senior Justin Fountain is that #2 in the toughest bracket, so his route to the semifinals is as challenging as anyone’s in a weight class full of wild-cards. But Fountain should be the heavy favorite to not only reach the semis, but also the title match. Like Fountain, top-ranked Carter Shipley has two other ranked wrestlers in his quarterfinal, so he’ll have to pick his way through as well.

 

285

  • Ranked wrestlers in field: 10.
  • Toughest part of bracket: The third quarterfinal, in which the #1, #8 and #9 wrestlers are located.
  • Best first round match: #8 Kole Krimm (Arnold) vs. #9 Michael Quintero (Bradenton Southeast).
  • Local outlook: University Christian junior Jamal Fiffer, ranked third in the weight class, couldn’t get his offense untracked against a very tall opponent in #7 Christopher Griffin of Wakulla in the Bolles regional final. He’ll need to this weekend, but his first-round matchup isn’t too bad. He could face American Heritage Delray’s Richard Desir, ranked fourth, in the quarters, but Fiffer’s half of the bracket is the harder one to reach the title. With only #1 Aaron Pringle of North Marion ranked ahead of him, medaling is a very real possibility.

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