Previewing State 2A Wrestling Meet

Feb 15, 2013 -- 10:02am


By Shannon Heaton

(Follow on Facebook and Twitter at @QChawkeyeinFL)


With (literally) just moments before wrestlers clear the mats at Lakeland, let’s take a quick look at the Class 2A state wrestling tournament, which begins today and concludes on Saturday night, wrapping up the 2012-13 high school wrestling season:



  • Number of ranked wrestlers: 15.
  • Toughest quarterfinal:Tough call between the top (2-6-9-14) and second (1-7-8-12) quarterfinals.
  • Best first round match:6 vs. 9 (Jacob Geiger of Lincoln vs. Olsen Delisca of Homestead) or 7 vs. 8 (Caleb Smith of Lake Gibson vs. Anthony Zucco of Tampa Jesuit). Take your pick.
  • Local outlook:Creekside sophomore Austin Wynn is the only unranked wrestler in the field, and that might make for tough sledding, although the record of #4 Randy Garay of Hallandale, at 12-8, isn’t all that impressive as a first-round matchup for Wynn. Still, though, he’ll have to be at his best to stay alive after two matches.



  • Number of ranked wrestlers: 13.
  • Toughest quarterfinal:The bottom, which features 4, 6, 11 and 13.
  • Best first round match:#3 Cole Schreiber (Columbia) vs. #5 Dakota Arends (River Ridge).
  • Local outlook:Both Middleburg’s Zach McClinton (#12) and Creekside’s Aaron Galang (#6) are staring up against first-round opponents with higher rankings in the first round, and that will mean game on from the get-go if either hopes to stay in the championship side of the bracket. Of the two, McClinton would probably have an easier wrestleback match, though both should be able to stay alive past the first two matches. They could face off against one another, though, with a medal on the line for the winner.



  • Number of ranked wrestlers: 12.
  • Toughest quarterfinal:The top, with all four within it ranked (4, 6, 10 and 15).
  • Best first round match:#3 Jacob Wasserman (Tampa King) vs. #7 Rashaad Bennett (Gainesville Eastside). No locals in field.



  • Number of ranked wrestlers: 12.
  • Toughest quarterfinal:Pick your poison in the top half, with the first one boasting 6-8-11-13 and the second going 1-5-9-15. More wildcards in the bottom half.
  • Best first round match:#1 Chance Arrington (Dunedin) vs. #9 Joey Epstein (Ridgeview).
  • Local outlook:Indeed, the Orange Park-based Epstein will have a tough start with an unbeaten and top-ranked opponent in the first round. From there, though, if the rankings hold up Epstein should have an easier time for a couple of wrestleback rounds and has a solid chance at a podium finish, with so many wildcard possibilities crossing over from the bottom half of the bracket.



  • Number of ranked wrestlers: 12.
  • Toughest quarterfinal:The bottom quarter, with 3-7-10-11 all stacked up there.
  • Best first round match:#1 Jamarius Jackson (Ridgeview) vs. #4 Blake Riley-Hawkins (Lakewood Ranch).
  • Local outlook:Jackson didn’t get much love from the state schematics in drawing a #4 in the first round and a possible matchup with #2 Nicholas Anthony of Cape Coral in the semis. If he can survive the uphill battle the bracket gives him, he could walk away with a state championship on Saturday night, as the bottom half – from top to bottom – is much more rugged.



  • Number of ranked wrestlers: 11.
  • Toughest quarterfinal:The top one, with 2-4-12-15 all featured.
  • Best first round match:#2 Beau Doerr (Gulf Breeze) vs. #12 Devonta Bohannon (Homestead).
  • Local outlook:Unranked Kyle McClinton of Middleburg has a reasonable chance to get several matches this weekend, even given that he has the #11 wrestler in the first round. With so many wildcards in the bottom half of the bracket, McClinton could position himself for a shot at a medal with consistent wrestling.



  • Number of ranked wrestlers: 12.
  • Toughest quarterfinal:The top one, only one with four ranked competitors (5-8-15-16).
  • Best first round match:#3 Steven Vonnlederhausern (Palm Bay) vs. #6 Thomas Herlevich (Gainesville). Even if he wasn’t ranked I have to pick the Palm Bay kid. Best name ever. If it’s incorrect, can you blame me?
  • Local outlook:Matanzas regional runnerup Travis Neubeck snuck up on some people in finishing second last weekend, and with a placement into a light third quarterfinal and a #14 opponent in the first round, it’s not the worst draw at state, either, which should help Neubeck’s survival chances considerably. #12 Dominic Jones of Oakleaf has a little bit tougher road after finishing third at Matanzas last weekend. Jones gets #4 Alex Duran of Miami Springs in round 1 and if he gets through that would possibly face #1 Christian Jurney of Riverdale in the quarters. A tough road, and crossing over into the top half for wrestlebacks doesn’t make things easier for Jones.



  • Number of ranked wrestlers: 14.
  • Toughest quarterfinal: Either the second (1-6-7-10) or fourth (3-4-9-15) should be meat-grinders.
  • Best first round match: #3 Kenny Boyd (Stranahan) vs. #4 Joe Russo (Springstead).
  • Local outlook: #15 Frank Waters of Orange Park is guaranteed to face two ranked opponents in his two certain matches this weekend, and it should be a good test for him, as well as a good springboard into his senior season next year. He has an outside shot at medalling if he wrestles as he did at Matanzas, where he finished ahead of two kids ranked higher than him going into regionals.



  • Number of ranked wrestlers: 11.
  • Toughest quarterfinal: The second one, where 7-8-13-14 reside.
  • Best first round match: Either 8 vs. 13 (Brandon Vovan of Nature Coast vs. Branden Wade of Nease) or 7 vs. 14 (Robert Witte of Seffner Armwood vs. Ripoll O’Connor of Homestead).
  • Local outlook: Like Waters at 152, Nease’s Wade is guaranteed two ranked opponents this weekend. The rest is up to him, but if he can survive on one side of the bracket or the other, it could loosen up enough for Wade to have a realistic shot at a medal.



  • Number of ranked wrestlers: 14.
  • Toughest quarterfinal: The first one, with #2, #4, #5 and #14 all lining up for a shot at the semis.
  • Best first round match: #2 Connor Ross (Springstead) vs. #5 Luis Aldana (Dixie Hollins).
  • Local outlook: All things considered, despite being in the toughest bracket, it’s not a bad setup for #4 David Martinez of St. Augustine, as he has the lowest-ranked wrestler of his quarter in the first round and should get a fatigued opponent in either Ross or Aldana in the quarters. Either way, Martinez’s survival chances are better than average, and he should get a third match. He’ll have to stay on his toes, though, in a loaded field if he wants to medal. The semis would be the best way to assure that.



  • Number of ranked wrestlers: 10.
  • Toughest quarterfinal: The bottom one, which is the only one to have four ranked competitors (4-6-7-15).
  • Best first round match: #3 Terry Rosier (Tallahassee Lincoln) vs. #5 Aris Knight (Blanche Ely).
  • Local outlook: The good news for #2 junior Corey Van Dorn of Orange Park? He’s the only ranked wrestler in his quadrant. The bad news? If you call it bad, he’d get #1 Keith Simmons of Homestead not in the finals but in the semi. However, if he overcomes Simmons – who has three losses, while Van Dorn is undefeated – he could get a Matanzas regional final rematch with Rosier, who is the top-ranked wrestler in the bottom half of the bracket. That could mean gold for Van Dorn on Saturday night. The bad news for Atlantic Coast senior Adrian Steinbrecher? He gets Simmons in round 1. The good news is he gets another match after that, but he’s the only competitor in the field with a sub-.500 record.



  • Number of ranked wrestlers: 11.
  • Toughest quarterfinal: Although the third has four ranked wrestlers, I’ll go with the top one, which has 2-3-5 within its quadrant.
  • Best first round match: Three good ones, with #3 Danny Bergstrom (Largo) squaring off against #5 Anthony Wint (Homestead).
  • Local outlook: With no top-ranked wrestler here, the onus shifts to Creekside senior Shane Carpenter, ranked second and unbeaten going into today. Carpenter has an unranked opponent in round 1, but then faces the Bergstrom-Wint winner. You can just about all but pencil in the winner of that match for the title match on Saturday night, as the second quadrant is about as light as I’ve seen. Atlantic Coast senior Travis Hutchinson is the lowest-ranked of the four wrestlers in the third quadrant (13), so he’ll be guaranteed two tough bouts, but if he survives, he should get an easier time of it in trying to medal.



  • Number of ranked wrestlers: 12.
  • Toughest quarterfinal: Each has three ranked kids, but I’ll go with the top one (4-5-9).
  • Best first round match: #4 Matthew Sheffield (Fort Walton Beach) vs. #9 David Rudd (Lake Gibson).
  • Local outlook: #15 Frank Giordano of Ponte Vedra has an unranked Springstead wrestler in round 1, so not a bad draw overall for the Shark senior. He has a decent shot at medaling, even with a likely quarterfinal matchup against #2 Demond Richardson of Homestead looming.



  • Number of ranked wrestlers: 12.
  • Toughest quarterfinal: The third one, with 6-13-14 all joining top-ranked Charlie Feguierson, who lost in his regional final last weekend.
  • Best first round match: #5 Antonio Thomas (Auburndale) vs. #8 Keyon Burgess (Miami Central).
  • Local outlook: Orange Park’s Devon Brooks (12th, Matanzas regional champ) has a winnable first-rounder against a higher-ranked, but fourth-place regional finisher, wrestler, and if he can get past that the semifinals are not out of the realm of possibility. His draw sets up nicely for a run at a medal, which would really springboard him into next year. His intracity rival, Ridgeview’s Malcolm Kirce, got fewer favors in the draw. Kirce, ranked 13th, gets #1 (and likely a little unhappy about losing) Feguierson in the first round, plus a guaranteed ranked opponent in the next match regardless of outcome. 

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