Florida Class 2A State Tournament Fan's Guide

 2015 State Tournament

2015 State Tournament

We are excited to bring you "A Fan's Guide" to the FHSAA State Tournaments that are taking place this coming weekend at Silver Spurs Arena in Kissimmee, Florida.  We are pleased to provide the casual fan an insider's look into each bracket and what may (or may not) happen over the course of the weekend.  We make no predictions about who will win or qualify for next week's state tournament.  For each weight class we provide a few bulletpoints to watch and then a copy of the bracket (which you can see for yourself on trackwrestling.com).  Each weight class features:

  • Favorite: Our favorite to win the weight class based on this past season and past performance.
  • Contenders: A list of wrestlers that should challenge the favorite for the top step on the podium.
  • Best 1st round match: The match we believe will be the closest during the 1st round of action.
  • Darkhorse: A wrestler that did not finish 1st or 2nd in his/her region, but has all the tools to knock off everyone and take the top step.
  • Bracket Buster: A wrestler that finished 4th in his/her region, but has the ability to be somewhere on the podium on Saturday evening.
  • Predicted Finals Match: Obviously who we believe will be in the finals.

Individual Notes:  SQ = 2015 State Qualifier; 1st = 2015 State Champ; 2nd = 2015 State Runner-up, R1 = Region 1, R2 = Region 2, etc.

A few notes before we have a look at each weight class.  First, we provide a copy of the bracket (a screenshot from trackwrestling) at the bottom of each "narrative".  But we have come to realize that the setup of the brackets are not always intuitive, as a result we have constructed a short tutorial about how to read the Florida State Tournament Bracket.  Second, it is important to state that much of what is written below is not revolutionary.  It has some opinion, but is largely based on data.  We are limited in the amount of data we have because not every program in the state uses trackwrestling to provide results.  As a result, we collect tournament results throughout the season and pour over those results when trying to construct the Fan's Guide.  If wrestler x lost to wrestler y in a dual on a Tuesday night in early February ... it will not likely be reflected in the Fan's Guide. In the Tempest by William Shakespeare, Antonio uses the phrase "What's past is prologue" to suggest that everything that happened before now, has led to the opportunity that now sits before you.  As a result, we use a few #'s as context for why we have chosen certain wrestlers in the the categories identified above.  Remember ... this is not designed as a prediction.  Rather it is designed to help those people sitting in the stands to understand our great sport and what top watch over the next two days.

  • A Favorite will almost always be one of the four region champions ... and the list of contenders will have every other region champion as well.  It might include other wrestlers, but it will always include the region champions. The reason ... 13 of the 14 (93%) 2015 2A State Champions were Regional Champions.  In fact, 52% of 2015 Regional Champions medaled at last year's state tournament ... meaning that the majority of them will be in the hunt for a spot on the podium in 2016 (ironically these #'s are identical to 3A from 2015).
  • Because the way the FHSAA designs the brackets (with a formula and no seeding) ... a Darkhorse, someone finishing 3rd or 4th in a region) has a very legitimate shot at taking the top spot on the podium.  In many cases the 3rd place finisher from a region is a more difficult draw than the 2nd place finisher ... that is not always the case, but it does happen.  That did not happen in 2A, but did in both 1A and 3A. In 2A, Region Runners-up found the state podium slightly more often than did Region 3rd place finishers (20 to 16 or 24% vs. 19%)) in the 2015 2A State Tournament.  
  • A Bracket Buster is a wrestler that finishes 4th in a Region and finds a way to a spot on the podium ... this exceptionally difficult (just 5% of 4th place finishers were on the podium in 2015) and these are the young men that we believe (given the draw and their past performance) have the best shot.  A 4th place Region finisher very rarely climbs all the way to the top step ... that did happen a season ago with Cole Schneider of Riverdale at 285.  He was the epitome of a "bracket buster".

Region vs. Region vs. Region vs. Region

The last thing to discuss before we take a look at the individual weight classes is an overview of region performance from 2015.  This information should be taken with "a grain of salt" because the strength of an entire region varies from year to year (and fairly significantly).  For example, 3A power Olympic Heights has moved into 2A Region 4 and that should have an impact on their presence at the state tournament.  Additionally, 1A power Pasco has moved up and into Region 2 (aka the Region of Doom) and 1A power Dunedin moved in Region 3.  These numbers will not identical to what happened in 2015, but they do provide context for how the strength in 2A has been distributed in the past.  Regardless, that information should be factored in when looking at each weight class.

Team

  • Favorite: Brandon
    • I can hear the shouting from Lakeland right now ... and they have every right to say that Lake Gibson is the favorite and the team to beat heading into the weekend.  After two consecutive weeks of taking the title from the Eagles, they have a justified argument.  Now onto why we feel Brandon is still the team to beat.  No one would argue that Brandon is nowhere near as deep as they have been in the past ... in fact they rely on their hammers to deliver the wins (and points).  In District 7, Lake Gibson won by 9.5 points (242 to 233.5).  In last weekend's Region 2 tournament, the Braves beat Brandon by 2 (193 to 191).  As the road becomes more difficult the margin of victory becomes smaller.  The 2A winner will likely come down to bonus points and getting points from unexpected places ... Norstrem, Bruno, etc. should give the Eagles points no problem (but they will be asked to gets pins).  If Lane and Marcano can get to the finals, the Eagles will be tough to beat.  If Scrivens and Bond can find the podium, they will almost certainly win it again in 2016.
  • Contenders:
    • Tier 1
      • Lake Gibson
      • Riverdale
      • Jensen Beach
      • Olympic Heights
      • Tampa Jesuit
        • The Braves of Lake Gibson have had a magical season so far and lightning could strike again in Kissimmee.  With 2 Region Champions and 2 Region Runners-up, the margin is small for them to knock off Brandon and hold off the rest of the pack for the title.  Perry, Leach, Lawwell, and Lopez-Rojas will be counted on to get to the finals or very high on the podium.  The key to whether they can beat Brandon will come down to the 4 #3's ... Bourne, Fanfan, Febus, and Hosegood.  They win matches and find the podium and the Braves are in the running.  If not, their run of titles could come to an end.  Riverdale brings 8 to the big dance and is (along with Jensen Beach) the biggest challenger to Brandon and Lake Gibson.  With 3 Champions and 1 Runner-up, the Raiders will rely on Monos, Galan, and Schneider out of their 3rd place spots to add big points to the 4 at the top.  If the Raiders can put 7 on the podium they will be tough to beat ... don't be surprised if they are holding the trophy at the end of the night.  Jensen Beach brings 10, with 5 Champs and 1 Runner-up.  With those #'s they should be in the hunt ... they probably should be the favorite.  Unfortunately, Region 4 hasn't fared as well as 2 or 3 and that plays a role.  If the Falcons (Jensen Beach) can get those 6 on the podium, they will put pressure on Brandon, Riverdale, and Lake Gibson.  Olympic Heights and Tampa Jesuit will approach their state tournament runs from different perspectives.  Jesuit has just 4 qualifiers ... but all 4 could be in the finals (and 3 are the favorite to win their weight class).  They don't have the #'s to pressure the top 3, but they will be in the hunt.  Heights has 3 champs and 3 runners-up and will be in the mix if they can get those 6 to produce.  We expect the Lions to be pounding on the door for a top 3-5 finish.
    • Tier 2
      • Belleview
      • Palmetto Ridge
      • Dixie Hollins
      • Venice
        • These four teams will all be in the hunt for a top 5 finish, but really lack the overall depth to challenge for the title.  Belleview leads the group with 8 qualifiers, but failed to crown a Region Champion and will have to rely on their #2's and #3's to fight through some tough matches to get points.  Palmetto Ridge has Nadotti, Pereira, and Paramenter and could have a 4th on the podium as well.  Putting 4 in the top 6 (and 1 or 2 champs) will push the Bears toward a top 5 finish.  Hollins has 5 qualifiers and Venice has 4 ... both have 2 Champs.  Without the #'s to contend ... they will need to rely on their small group to win matches, pick up bonus points, and find the podium.  If that happens, both of these teams could finish in the top 5.
    • Tier 3
      • Palm Bay
      • Matanzas
      • Middleburg
      • Lincoln
      • South Broward
      • Ed White
        • Tier 3 teams will look to battle for a top 8 finish ... Ed White and Palm Bay have 6 qualifiers each and will need those 6 to do well if they are going to finish in the top 10.  Middleburg and Matanzas both bring 5 with 1 Champion ... they will need their #3's and #4's to wrestle extremely well if they are going to finish in the top 10.  Lincoln and South Broward bring the fewest overall wrestlers, but with 2 champs each they have a shot at scoring points and climbing into the top 10.  One team to mention that isn't listed above is Pasco.  The Pirates finished outside the top 4 (which was our cutoff) in Region 2, but they have a better shot at breaking into the top 10 than any of the tier 3 teams.  With Hernandez (a Region Champ), DeAugustino (2nd), and a pair of 3rd placers (Castillo and Burt) from a exceptionally tough region ... they should be in the conversation for a spot in the top 8.
  • Methodology: Using a bit of inductive reasoning we will attempt to explain how we arrived at the favorites, contenders, etc. for the team race.  First, it is important to know how different placers fared a season ago ... meaning the average wrestler that won a specific weight class was awarded 25.89 points (taking the average of all 14 2A State Champions from 2015), a runner-up garnered 20.86, 3rd had 17.39, 4th 14.50, 5th 11.29, and 6th finished with 8.21 points on average.  Obviously there is variance in the those numbers, but it gives us a good idea of what the "typical" champion will score.  As you can see the distance between each step (in terms of points) is about 3 points (except between 1st and 2nd where it is closer to 5).  Second, we explained above that just 5% of wrestlers that finished 4th in a region were able to "find" the podium in 2015.  So having a significant number of state qualifiers is always a plus, having a majority of them as 4th place finishers does not bode well in the team race.  The likewise is also true ... 52% of region champions were on the podium in 2015 ... so if you have several region champions - your chances of being in the team race is enhanced.  The difference could come down to the #2's and #3's ... where 20% or so were able to place.  
  • Below is a numerical breakdown of the top 4 teams from each region.  Across the top is the # of State Qualifiers (total) and their region place.

106 lbs.

  • Favorite: Trey Lane (Brandon) - R2 1st
  • Contenders:
    • James Monos (Riverdale) - 2nd @ 106 in '15
    • Ryan Rubenacker (Charlotte) - R3 1st; 6th @ 106 in '15
    • Anthony Valverde (South Broward) - R4 1st
    • Kris Smith (St Augustine) - R1 1st; SQ @ 106 (0-2) in '15
    • Nathan Lawwell (Lake Gibson)
  • Best 1st Round Match: Timothy Tran vs. Anthony Lopez
  • Darkhorse: Wyatt Kirkham (Jensen Beach)
  • Bracket Breaker: Chase Ayers (Pasco)
  • Finals: Monos vs. Rubenacker
  Lopez downed Monos 5-2 to win the 2015 2A 106 lb. title

Lopez downed Monos 5-2 to win the 2015 2A 106 lb. title

  • Summary: Freshman Trey Lane of Brandon enters as our favorite after capturing the Region 2 title last weekend.  Monos would have been the favorite, but his DQ loss in the opening round of the Region 3 tournament derailed that a bit.  As a #3, he has a more difficult path than a region champion has ... but that doesn't mean the returning State Runner-up won't make it back to the finals in 2016.  Monos has been dominant all season (losing just twice besides his DQ loss ... once 113 to 3A's Demus of Fleming Island) and had he not had the DQ last weekend (and assuming he won against Rubenacker - which is never a safe assumption), he would be on the opposite side of Lane.  It is dangerous to look ahead at the state tournament, but if Monos and Lane take care of business, that should be a fantastic semifinal on Saturday morning.  The top side features returning State Placer Ryan Rubenacker, returning State Qualifier Kris Smith, and four very talented wrestlers in bouts 3 and 4.  Rubenacker, who's only loss this season is to Trey Lane, should be the favorite on the top side.  If Monos makes it to the semi ... it will be interesting to see if he is ready to go with a very tough Trey Lane.

113 lbs.

  • Favorite: Diamonte Perry (Lake Gibson) - R2 1st; 3rd @ 106 in '15
  • Contenders:
    • Rocco Pereira (Palmetto Ridge) - R3 1st; SQ @ 106 (1-2) in '15
    • Trae-von O'Neal (Gainesville) - R1 1st; SQ @ 113 (0-2) in '15
    • Andrew Valverde (South Broward) - R4 1st
    • Rocky Samples (Matanzas)
    • CJ Robles (Barron Collier)
  • Best 1st Round Match: Tufo vs. Samples
  • Darkhorse: Joey Tufo (Jensen Beach) - SQ @ 106 (1-2) in '15
  • Bracket Breaker: Bryant Haire (Pasco)
  • Finals: Robles vs. Perry
  Smith pinned Landgraff to win the 2015 2A 113 lb. title

Smith pinned Landgraff to win the 2015 2A 113 lb. title

  • Summary: The best two in the bracket, Perry and Pereira, are on the bottom side and should (assuming both make it to the semi's) have a great semifinal bout Saturday morning.  Valverde, Robles and O'Neal are tough on the top side, but that bracket is really open to any of the 8.  Robertson, our bracket buster, has State Tournament experience and should give O'Neal a tough match in the opening round.  Bouts 10 and 11 should feature some fireworks and any of the four could advance out of their quarter.  Tufo vs. Samples could be the best 1st round bout at 113, with the winner likely getting returning State Placer Perry in the quarters.  

120 lbs.

  • Favorite: Brent Smallwood (Venice) - R3 1st; SQ @ 113 (1-2) in '15
  • Contenders:
    • Matthew Daner (Tampa Jesuit) - R2 1st
    • Justin Baxter (Bayside) - R4 1st
    • Chace Curtis (Columbia) - R1 1st
    • Kyle Irwin (Belleview) - SQ @ 120 (2-2) in '15
    • Garrett Allen (East Lake)
  • Best 1st Round Match: Irwin vs. Reid Jr.
  • Darkhorse: Marcus Reid Jr (Orange Park) - 6th @ 113 in '15
  • Bracket Breaker: Drew Harrington (Dixie Hollins)
  • Finals: Curtis vs. Smallwood
  Norstrem pinned Hudson to win the 2015 2A 120 lb. title

Norstrem pinned Hudson to win the 2015 2A 120 lb. title

  • Summary: A wide open weight class where any of the 16 wrestlers could make their way to the final.  Curtis hasn't wrestled D'Alessandro, Johnson or Allen (we don't believe) so the top quarter should be interesting.  Curtis has beaten the other Region Champion on the top side, Matt Daner (8-2 very early in the season) of Jesuit and his 1st round adversary Nelson Elder of Choctawhatchee.  Daner won some very tough matches at last week's Region 2 Tournament (7-5 ot vs. Hosegood and 10-8 over Irwin) to put himself in position to make a run at a spot in the finals.  After capturing the Region 3 title last weekend, Smallwood looks like the favorite on the bottom side of the bracket.  Baxter, the Region 4 Champion, hasn't wrestled Harrington of Dixie Hollins (and that is a tough match right out of the gate ... Smallwood only beat Harrington 1-0 in the Region 3 semi's).  The winner of that match will get either Marcus Reid Jr., a 2015 State Placer at 113, of Orange Park or Kyle Irwin, a 2015 State Qualifier that finished 2-2, of Belleview.  The bottom quarter is the toughest of the bracket ... and if you are watching from the stands be sure you catch bout #23 ... Irwin vs. Reid should be one of the best 1st round matches of the tournament.  Could Hosegood, Martinson, Opalensky, or Adeclat surprise everyone?  Absolutely.  Wide open weight class.

126 lbs.

  • Favorite: Kyle Norstrem (Brandon) - R2 1st; 4x State Champion
  • Contenders:
    • Andrew Klopman (Jensen Beach) - R4 1st; 4th @ 120 in '15
    • Christian Minto (Mariner) - R3 1st
    • John DeAugustino (Pasco) - 1A SQ @ 113 (2-2) in '15
    • Sean Hendley (Lincoln) - R1 1st
    • Stephen Nicholls (Dunedin) - 1A SQ @ 113 (1-2) in '15
  • Best 1st Round Match: Fanfan vs. Nicholls
  • Darkhorse: Johnathan Fanfan (Lake Gibson)
  • Bracket Breaker: Chris Patterson (Palm Bay)
  • Finals: Norstrem vs. DeAugustino
  McDonald beat Bruno 5-2 to win the 2015 2A 126 lb. title

McDonald beat Bruno 5-2 to win the 2015 2A 126 lb. title

  • Summary: With 4 State Titles in his back pocket, Norstrem is probably the single greatest favorite heading into the 2016 State Tournament.  He has struggled with an injury throughout his senior campaign, but since his return he has been unbeatable.  Mariner's phenomenal freshman Christian Minto gets Norstrem on the same side of the bracket ... meaning that if he is going to "shock the world" he will need to do it Saturday morning rather than Saturday afternoon/evening.  Klopman, a 2015 State Placer, is the favorite on the top side.  He handled the Region 4 bracket with little trouble and is benefitted to be on the opposite side of both Norstrem and Minto (Minto beat him 5-3 earlier this season).  He will have to contend with a bevy of very talented wrestlers on the top side.  Hendley, the Region 1 Champion, easily took care of business last weekend and looks to be a tough out.  DeAugustino, Ortiz, Fanfan, and Nicholls make any quarterfinal match-up a real grind.  Each of the four could be in the semi's Saturday morning. (DeAugustino beat Fanfan 8-6 in last weekend's Region semifinal, before he lost to Norstrem 10-4 in the finals).  Nicholls lost a very close 5-4 decision to Minto in the Region 3 finals.

 

132 lbs.

  • Favorite: Colten Thomas (Ft Myers) - R3 1st; 2nd @ 132 in '15; 
  • Contenders:
    • Konnor McHale (Jensen Beach) - R4 1st; SQ @ 120 (1-2) in '15; 3rd @ 106 in '14
    • Clayton Leach (Lake Gibson) - R2 1st
    • Saeid Ejmali (Orange Park) - R1 1st
    • George Zetropoulis (Palmetto Ridge)
    • Nick Peglow (Olympic Heights)
  • Best 1st Round Match: Zetropoulis vs. Christman
  • Darkhorse: Jalen Soto (Cypress Lake) - 3rd @ 120 in '15
  • Bracket Breaker: Lawrence Scrivens (Brandon)
  • Finals: Soto vs. Thomas
  Perry beat Thomas 3-0 to win the 2015 2A 132 lb. title

Perry beat Thomas 3-0 to win the 2015 2A 132 lb. title

  • Summary: Soto isn't really a darkhorse, but he fell to 3rd after a close 2-1 semifinal loss to Colten Thomas in last week's Region 3 Tournament and is certainly the #3 with the best shot at advancing to the finals (or winning it all).  A potential quarterfinal with Clayton Leach should be a good one to watch Friday night (this is assuming Soto takes care of business against a very tough Nick Peglow of Olympic Heights).  It doesn't appear Soto has wrestled either Peglow or Leach ... so that will make things interesting.  Ejmali easily handled the Region 1 Tournament a week ago, but with losses this season to Fisher of Jesuit (who didn't qualify out of Region 2), Tristan Kraus, Gant Moore, Hayden Raulerson, etc. he looks like the most vulnerable of the region champions.  Zertopoulis and Christman also have some tough losses, so any of the 4 in the top quarter could be in the semi's on Saturday morning.  Who will rise to the occasion?  The bottom side shoudl come down to Thomas and Konnor McHale of Jensen Beach.  The bottom side of the Region 2 bracket fell apart when Lukas Twardosky of Pasco and David Kirk of Lennard didn't wrestle.  Yerk was the beneficiary of their absence (the other 3 qualifiers from Region 2 all came from the top side of the Region 2 bracket).  That doesn't take anything away from Yerk, but with Thomas and McHale waiting on the winners of bouts 38 and 39 ... their advancement was going to be tough anyway.  It would be a surprise to see someone other than Thomas and McHale in the bottom semifinal.

138 lbs.

  • Favorite: Frank Bruno (Brandon) - R2 1st; 2nd @ 126 in '15; 1st @ 106 in '14
  • Contenders:
    • David Sanchez (Miami Springs) - R4 1st; SQ @ 138 (2-2) in '15
    • Daniel Williamson (Riverdale) - R3 1st
    • Travis Thompson (Pace) - R1 1st
    • Jessen Hendrix (Belleview) - SQ @ 126 (0-2) in '15
    • Coleman Bryant (Dixie Hollins)
  • Best 1st Round Match: Kraus vs. Bryant
  • Darkhorse: Chance Sharbono (Braden River) -SQ @ 126 (2-2) in '15
  • Bracket Breaker: Hadley Vadyak (Ft Myers)
  • Finals: Williamson vs. Bruno
 Julian Ramirez celebrates after capturing the 2A 138 lb. title

Julian Ramirez celebrates after capturing the 2A 138 lb. title

  • Summary: Bruno obliterated a very talented Region 2 field last weekend and enters this weekend as the favorite at 138.  He does get a tough bottom side of the bracket, but if he wrestles the way he has in recent weeks ... there is little reason to think he won't be on top of the podium once again.  The top side of the bracket has two region champions, Thompson and Williamson, that are new to the big dance (as far as we can tell in looking back at previous state tournament brackets ... apologies if we are incorrect).  Both will have their hands full with tough 1st round and quarterfinal matches, but it would be a surprise if the two didn't advance to Saturday morning's semifinal.  Hendrix, a returning 2015 State Qualifier, finished 2nd to Bruno in Region 2 and is a particularly tough draw for Williamson.  The bottom quarter of the bracket is the most difficult ... featuring Sanchez, Sharbono, Calonje, and Torres.  Torres nearly beat Hendrix in last week's Region 2 semifinal and is a very tough #4.  Sharbono's only loss last weekend was 2-0 semifinal to Williamson.  Sanchez meanwhile won the Region 4 title, but not after some tough bouts with Stewart and L'Abadie.  Should be some very good wrestling in that bottom quarter.

145 lbs.

  • Favorite: Adam Lewis (Tampa Jesuit); R2 1st; 1st @ 145 in '15; 2nd @ 138 in '14; 2nd @ 126 in '13
  • Contenders:
    • Hunter Weeks (Riverdale) - R3 1st; 6th @ 145 in '15
    • Keaton Koselke (Mariner) - 1A 2nd @ 138 in '15; 1A 4th @ 126 in '14
    • Kyle Kirkham (Jensen Beah) - R4 1st; 4th @ 132 in '15
    • Noah Ridley (Brandon) - 6th @ 132 in '15; 1A 3rd @ 113 in '14
    • Anthony Krevatas (Pace) - R1 1st; SQ @ 138 (1-2) in '15
  • Best 1st Round Match: Jackson vs. Ditro
  • Darkhorse: Brendan Ditro (Dunedin) - 1A 5th @ 138 in '15
  • Bracket Breaker: Carl Monix (East Lee County)
  • Finals: Weeks vs. Lewis
  Lewis pins Ratliff to win the 2015 2A 145 lb. title

Lewis pins Ratliff to win the 2015 2A 145 lb. title

  • Summary: The bottom side of the bracket is simply outstanding and will feature some great matches from the opening round all the way through the semifinals.  Lewis, the returning 2A 145 lb. State Champion, has had a fantastic season (especially in last weekend's Region 2 tournament) and will need that momentum to get through the bottom side.  His potential quarterfinal match-up with returning 1A 138 lb. Runner-up Keaton Koselke has the makings of a State Final.  You won't want to miss that match on Friday evening (not saying that Jean or Jackson can't beat the two, but Lewis and Koselke are two of the best in the bracket).  You also have another potential match-up of returning State Placers in Ditro and Kirkham in the bottom quarter.  Ditro will have his hands full with Johnson and Crew could give Kirkham a tough match as well.  The top side features Krevatas and Weeks ... Weeks 5-4 win over Koselke in the Region 3 finals puts him as the favorite to get out of the top side.  A tough quarterfinal against either Ridley or Sandoval and then Krevatas, Poppell, or Miller in the semi's makes this a tough bracket all the way around.

152 lbs.

  • Favorite: Julian Ramirez (Tampa Jesuit) - R2 1st; 1st @ 138 in '15; 3rd @ 113 in '14
  • Contenders:
    • Justin Grant (Leon) - R1 1st; SQ @ 152 (1-2) in '15
    • Jacob Mathis (Venice) - R3 1st; SQ @ 152 (0-2) in '15
    • Dan Georges (Olympic Heights) - R4 1st
    • Chad Heidt (Robinson) - SQ @ 138 (0-2) in '15
    • Brandon Dickman (Creekside) - SQ @ 152 (0-2) in '15
  • Best 1st Round Match: Dickman vs. Febus
  • Darkhorse: Christian Febus (Lake Gibson) - 5th @ 152 in '15
  • Bracket Breaker: Travis Williams (Springstead)
  • Finals: Ramirez vs. Georges
  Joyce downs Williams 7-0 to win the 2015 2A 152 lb. title

Joyce downs Williams 7-0 to win the 2015 2A 152 lb. title

  • Summary: The best wrestler in the bracket is returning 138 lb. State Champion Julian Ramirez of Tampa Jesuit.  Ramirez has been outstanding - you only need to look at his performance at Walsh Ironman (Ohio) to see that he is wrestling on a different level than most anyone else in Kissimmee.  That isn't to say that Grant, Mathis, Georges, and the others don't have a shot, but they will need to be superb this weekend to beat Ramirez.  Grant draws the short straw and gets Ramirez on the top side.  Both should have some tough competition to get to the semifinal, but it would be a surprise if they weren't facing off Saturday morning.  The bottom side is much more wide open ... with Mathis, Georges, Febus, Dickman, and Heidt all having a legitimate shot of advancing through.  The 3rd quarter of the bracket with Febus, Dickman, Naimi, and Mathis is the most difficult in our opinion and should yield some great matches.

160 lbs.

  • Favorite: Joey Nadotti (Palmetto Ridge) - R3 1st; 1st @ 160 in '15; 3rd @ 145 in '14; 3rd @ 138 in '13
  • Contenders:
    • Miguel Angel Hernandez (Pasco) - R2 1st
    • Jaycie Rudd (Lincoln) - R1 1st; SQ @ 160 (1-2) in '15
    • Matthew Cates (Palm Bay) - R4 1st
    • Adam Pyle (Auburndale) - 4th @ 160 in '15
    • Rene Capo (Merritt Island) - SQ @ 152 (1-2) in '15
  • Best 1st Round Match: Jean vs. Lee
  • Darkhorse: Luke Veigel (Venice)
  • Bracket Breaker: Sullivan Gerlits (Pace)
  • Finals: Nadotti vs. Rudd
  Nadotti beat Norman 6-0 to win the 2015 2A 160 lb. title

Nadotti beat Norman 6-0 to win the 2015 2A 160 lb. title

  • Summary: Once again one side of the bracket appears to be significantly more difficult than the other (in a few weeks I need to go back and do an analysis of placers from this year and see if that ends up being the case).  The bottom side is brutal and features probably the two best wrestlers in the weight class in defending State Champion Joey Nadotti and Miguel Angel Hernandez.  Add in Jean, Capo, and Lee and you should have some excellent matches.  The top quarter of the bracket might be the most difficult quarter with Rudd, Wiswell, Pyle, and Veigel.  A Rudd vs. Pyle quarter (not a foregone conclusion they will both be there) will be one to watch Friday evening.  Cates looks like the man to beat in the 2nd quarter of the bracket, but Teague pinned Leonel Barboza (2015 State Placer) in the Region 3 semifinals last weekend and could be a roadblock for Cates to get to the semi's.

170 lbs.

  • Favorite: Laurence Kosoy (Olympic Heights) - R4 1st; 3A 3rd @ 160 in '15
  • Contenders:
    • Jon Shoen (Middleburg) - R1 1st; 6th @ 170 in '15
    • Joey Parmenter (Palmetto Ridge) - R3 1st
    • Brian Almeida-Torres (Liberty) - R2 1st
    • Jared Galan (Riverdale) - SQ @ 160 (0-2) in '15
    • Brad Bolesta (Gaither)
  • Best 1st Round Match: Galan vs. Hoard
  • Darkhorse: Gavin Hoard (Chiles)
  • Bracket Breaker: Jesse Seidl (Land O'Lakes) - SQ @ 170 (1-2) in '15
  • Finals: Shoen vs. Kosoy
  Greene beat Buser 9-5 to win the 2015 2A 170 lb. title

Greene beat Buser 9-5 to win the 2015 2A 170 lb. title

  • Summary: We have little information about actual season match-ups from this bracket, but given previous post-season results it appears that Kosoy should be considered the favorite and Shoen and Parmenter will battle it out up top.  The 3rd quarter of the bracket is by far the most difficult with Liberty's Brian Almeida-Torres as the Region Champ (who won a tough 3-2 semifinal over Jesse Seidl of Land O'Lakes), Chiles' Gavin Hoard, and Riverdale's Jared Galan.  Don't sleep on Jimenez either ... he was a tough out in Region 4 and could give Almeida-Torres a very good match in bout #77.  Kosoy, our favorite, will have to contend with Seidl (a returning State Qualifier) right out of the gate ... that could be one of the best 1st round matches of the tournament.  On the top side, Shoen was super impressive in pinning or winning by technical fall through the Region 1 Tournament.  A match-up with Boudreau or Castillo in the quarters should be entertaining.  Parmenter won Region 3 with an injury default over Galan and should be the man to beat in the 2nd quarter of the bracket.  The Bordeau vs. Bolesta 1st round match could also be one of the best of the tournament.  In short ... Kosoy is the man to beat, but the weight class is deep an it wouldn't be surprising to see a non-region champion in the finals on Saturday afternoon/evening.

182 lbs.

  • Favorite: Brian Buser (Tampa Jesuit) - R2 1st; 2nd @ 170 in '15
  • Contenders:
    • Connor Knauer (Hillsborough) - 6th @ 182 in '15
    • Brandon Nevitt (Dixie Hollins) - R3 1st
    • Cole Podaras (Jensen Beach) - R4 1st; SQ @ 170 (1-2) in '15
    • Maverick Dennis (Matanzas) - R1 1st; SQ @ 170 (0-2) in '15
    • Jacob Figur (Sebring)
  • Best 1st Round Match: Dean vs. Ortiz
  • Darkhorse: Malachi Ortiz (Belleview) - SQ @ 182 (2-2) in '15
  • Bracket Breaker: Nick Richards (Ida Baker) - SQ @ 160 in '15
  • Finals: Knauer vs. Buser
  Root pinned Cadet to win the 2015 2A 182 lb. title

Root pinned Cadet to win the 2015 2A 182 lb. title

  • Summary: The top side of the bracket could go to any of four different wrestlers (perhaps five).  Dennis, Ortiz, Knauer, Dean, and Nevitt should all contend for the spot on the top side. Knauer has losses to Buser (twice) and Smenda of Fleming Island ... meaning he is a legit threat from the #2 spot to advance to the finals.  His (assuming he beats Kelly of Goleman ... not a foregone conclusion) quarterfinal match with Nevitt will be one to watch (or Nevitt vs. Kelly will be one to watch).  Ortiz lost to Knauer 2-1 in the Region 2 semi's and Kelly lost to Dean 6-5 in the Region 4 semi's ... both #82 and #83 should be interesting to watch.  Matanzas' returning State Qualifier Maverick Dennis hammered the Region 1 field, but pulls a tough Nick Richards in the opening round.  Richards, also a returning State Qualifier, finished 4th in very tough Region 3.  On the bottom side, Buser looks like the man to beat.  The winner of Figur vs. Stith should give him a good match, but if he continues to wrestle well ... he should be in the semi's with relative ease.  The bottom quarter is once again on of the toughest with Lulias of Creekside, Gage Schield of Riverdale, Brandon Burgess of Springstead, and Cole Podaras of Jensen Beach.  If you can watch only a few matches from 182 in the 1st two rounds ... be sure to catch bouts #87, #88, and #196.

195 lbs.

  • Favorite: Joe Marcano (Brandon) - R2 1st; 3rd @ 195 in '15; 5th @ 182 in '14
  • Contenders:
    • Clifton Thomas (Dixie Hollins) - R3 1st; 4th @ 195 in '15
    • Gus Fischer (Creekside) - R1 1st
    • Ivan Martinez (Goleman) - R4 1st
    • Nick Vischulis (Venice)
    • Cody Bush (Auburndale)
  • Best 1st Round Match: Estep vs. Vischulis
  • Darkhorse: Ronnie Estep (South Lake) - SQ @ 195 (1-2) in '15
  • Bracket Breaker: Logan Penman (Jesuit)
  • Finals: Marcano vs. Fischer
  Kerkesner beat Ross 3-1 to win the 2015 2A 195 lb. title

Kerkesner beat Ross 3-1 to win the 2015 2A 195 lb. title

  • Summary: The two best in the weight class end up on the same side ... meaning (assuming no upsets on the bottom side) the Marcano vs. Thomas semifinal match will be unbelievable.  That isn't to take away from anyone else in the bracket, but it would be a surprise if Marcano and Thomas didn't advance to face one another on the bottom side.  With Marcano and Thomas on the bottom side, the top side is wide open and could feature any of five wrestlers in the finals.  Region 1 Champion Gus Fischer is the favorite, but only because the 2nd quarter of the bracket is such a grind.  Estep, Vischulis, Jackson, and Martinez will battle it out.  Fischer must beat Dixson and then either Bush or Jacob to advance.  Not easy, but not impossible either.  Jacob lost 8-0 to Thomas in last week's Region 2 semifinal and Bush fell 11-1 to Marcano in the Region 2 finals.

220 lbs.

  • Favorite: Jesse Pryor (Riverdale) - R3 1st; 3rd @ 220 in '15 
  • Contenders:
    • Silas Root (Harmony) - R2 1st; 5th @ 285 in '15
    • Alexi Castro (Olympic Heights) - R4 1st; 3A SQ @ 195 (1-2) in '15
    • Jonathan Grant (Leon) - R1 1st; SQ @ 220 (1-2) in '15
    • Jamel Davis (Barron Collier)
    • Devan Lopez-Rojas (Lake Gibson)
  • Best 1st Round Match: Jacobs vs. Davis
  • Darkhorse: Leonard Jacobs (Belleview)
  • Bracket Breaker: Kelton Wilemon (Lake Weir)
  • Finals: Pryor vs. Castro
  Mosco beat Warren 5-4 2 ot to win the 2015 2A 220 lb. title

Mosco beat Warren 5-4 2 ot to win the 2015 2A 220 lb. title

  • Summary: Another weight class where the two best are on the same side of the bracket ... not taking anything away from Grant, Castro, or the others on the top side, but returning State Placers Root and Pryor appear to be the best of the bracket (and should face each other in the bottom semifinal).  Wilemon, our bracket buster, has a tough opening match against Pryor, but he fought back last weekend from an opening round loss to take 4th.  That is the epitome of a bracket breaker ... fighting back from an early loss to find a place on the podium.  The top side is wide open and could go to at least 6 different wrestlers.  Castro, who is unbeaten at 37-0 this season, is our pick to advance, but his path is anything but easy.  The middle two 1st round matches (bouts #98 and #99) will be fan-friendly and pay-per-view worthy.  

285 lbs.

  • Favorite: Gabe Beyer (Leon) - R1 1st; 2nd @ 285 in '15
  • Contenders:
    • Mike Delago (Ft Myers) - R3 1st; 4th @ 285 in '15
    • Rowdy Driggers (Lennard) - R2 1st; 3rd @ 285 in '15
    • Julian Santos (East Lake) - 3A 6th @ 285 in '15
    • Cole Schneider (Riverdale) - 1st @ 285 in '15
    • Nate Podaras (Jensen Beach) - R4 1st; SQ @ 285 (2-2) in '15
  • Best 1st Round Match: Burt vs. Johnson
  • Darkhorse: Nickolas Burt (Pasco) - 1A 4th @ 220 in '15
  • Bracket Breaker: Jesse Smith (Dixie Hollins)
  • Finals: Beyer vs. Delago
  Schneider beat Beyer 7-6 ot to win the 2015 2A 285 lb. title

Schneider beat Beyer 7-6 ot to win the 2015 2A 285 lb. title

  • Summary: The best weight class in 2A!  Easy.  A year ago, Cole Schneider was the ultimate bracket breaker ... finishing 4th in Region 3 and advancing all the way through the bracket to beat Beyer in the finals.  Unbelievable.  Is that in the cards for another bracket breaker in 2016?  That is difficult to predict so we will stick with the likely suspects ... Mike Delago of Ft. Myers and Gabe Beyer of Leon.  The top side is just brutal.  Beyer (returning runner-up), Santos (state placer), Singer (returning qualifier), Schneider (the defending champ), Sims (returning qualifier), and Driggers (returning placer) could all be in the finals.  Our pick is Beyer, but honestly it could be any of the names listed.  Delago and Podaras have the "easier" side of the bracket ... and it is far from easy.  Delago, assuming he wins against Lopez, will have to face either 1A State Placer Nickolas Burt or once beaten Kelton Johnson.  Podaras has potentially the toughest #4 seed of the bracket in Jesse Smith and then, if he wins, would have to beat Ortega or Zeighler to advance.  This is the best weight class in 2A ... and it might be the best weight class of the entire state tournament.