Florida Class 3A 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 3A 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.
  • 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.  In fact, our only 3A 2015 State Champion that was not a Region Champion placed 3rd in his region the previous week (James Nereim of Winter Springs).  And there were 6 more Region 3rd place finishers on the state podium than Region Runners-up (21 to 15) in the 2015 State Tournament.  The chances that are 3rd place finisher will be on the state podium is 25% compared to a Runner-up at 18%.
  • 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.  In looking at the data ... just one 3A wrestler, Ryan Chaney of Bartow, improved on his 4th place finish at regionals ... taking 3rd at 182.

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 sometimes fairly significantly).  For example, 3A Region 3 struggled at last year's state tournament, having just 6 medalists and no champions.  That will almost certainly not be the case in 2016.  Regardless, it does factor in when looking at each weight class.

Team

  • Favorite: South Dade
    • The Bucs are our favorites because of the 5 region champions and 9 overall wrestlers they bring to the dance.  Region 4 has a tendency to fair well (tied with the most medalists last year) and they have 2 3rd place finishers and 2 4th place finishers.  Getting points from the #3's and #4's is critical to staying ahead of the pack.  Even more critical is having your 5 region champions advance to the semi's and guarantee themselves a spot on the podium.  
  • Contenders:
    • Tier 1
      • Miami Southridge
      • Fleming Island
      • Osceola
      • St Thomas Aquinas
        • Southridge has the fewest total # of qualifiers, but with 5 Region Champions from Region 4 and 2 Runner-up, they have the horses to push South Dade for the top spot.  Don't be surprised if they have 7 placers ... which will make them tough to beat. Fleming Island brings 10, most of any program, with 3 Region 1 Champs and 3 Runners-up.  If they can get those 6 on the podium they will be in the hunt.  How high they climb will depend on those 6 and getting points from the other 4.  Osceola brings 9 with 3 Champions and 2 Runners-up.  They, like Fleming Island, will rely on those 5 to find the podium and get points from their other 4.  If they can they will also be in the hunt.  Aquinas brings the 2nd most Champions with 4 and has 3 others that finished 2nd last weekend.  With 7 horses they will be in the running ... but 2015 was not kind to Region 3 ... they will need to change that this weekend if they are going to push the top 5 teams.
    • Tier 2
      • Southwest Miami
      • reedom
      • Winter Springs
      • Wellington
      • North Port
      • Flagler Palm Coast
        • These six teams will be lurking around the top 5 ... they have the #'s (anywhere from 6 to 9 qualifiers) and all but Flagler have more than 1 Region Champion.  It will depend on how well their #1's and #2's wrestle and whether they can get to the podium.  Southwest Miami, Wellington, Freedom and Winter Springs with 6 #1's and #2's have the best shot to jump up and into the top 5 ... perhaps the top 3.
    • Tier 3
      • Columbus
      • Manatee
      • Palm Beach Gardens
      • Sarasota
      • Seminole Ridge
        • Columbus has 8 qualifiers, but no region champions and 7 of the 8 finished 3rd or 4th.  They will need those wrestlers to come through if they are going to be in the hunt for a top 8 finish.  Sarasota has the best shot of the teams in Tier 3 to jump up ... they have 1 Region Champion and 3 Runners-up.  With just 4 wrestlers their margin for error is very slim.  But if the four find the podium, the Sailors could be back in the top 8 in 2016.
  • 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 25.14 points (taking the average of all 14 3A State Champions from 2015), a runner-up garnered 20.5, 3rd had 17.03, 4th 14.14, 5th 11.64, and 6th finished with 9 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 4.5).  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: Malyke Hines (Osceola) - R2 1st
  • Contenders:
    • Elijah Varona (South Dade) - R4 1st; 6th @ 106 in '15
    • Marcus Jean Baptiste (Freedom) - R1 1st
    • Dennis McNeal (Treasure Coast) - R3 1st
    • Michael Bush (Sarasota) - SQ @ 106 (2-2) in '15
    • Ryan Boncamper (Killian)
  • Best 1st Round Match: Rosano vs. Johnson
  • Darkhorse: Raiden Johnson (Coral Springs) - 1A SQ @ 106 (1-2) in '15
  • Bracket Breaker: Albie Snedaker (Fleming Island)
  • Finals: Hines vs. Jean Baptiste
 Victor downed McCray 9-3 to win the 2015 106 title

Victor downed McCray 9-3 to win the 2015 106 title

  • Summary: Two best wrestlers in the bracket ... one a seasoned veteran that has been on the podium previously (and the big stage in Fargo), the other a phenomenal freshman that is 59-0 and has beaten everyone in his path are on the same side of the bracket.  Varona (the veteran) and Hines (the phenom) should battle it out on the bottom side.  Hines beat Varona 6-4 in the finals of the Kowboy Knockout Christmas Invitational and Varona has been anxious for the re-match ever since.  Bradshaw, Arechabaleta, Rosano, and Johnson should be good matches and the winners should give both Hines and Varona a good match Friday night, but it would be a surprise if Varona and Hines weren't in the semi's on Saturday morning.  The top side is another story.  All four opening round matches are tough and could go to either wrestler.  Freedom's Marcus Jean Baptise assumes the favorite role, but by the slimmest of margins.  He beat Snedaker 4-3 in the semi's last week (McNeal's opening match) and will need to bring that game again this week.  Boncampber, Fragale, Nadhelo, and Bush make this a very even bracket.  McNeal was superb in taking the Region 3 title (except for a tough 15-14 win over Charlie O'Neil in the quarters).  Don't be surprised if a #2, #3, or even a #4 is in the finals from the top side.

113 lbs.

  • Favorite: Alex Victor (Miami Braddock) - R4 1st; 1st @ 106 in '15
  • Contenders:
    • Jeremiah Costen (Lake Mary) - R1 1st; 6th @ 113 in '15
    • Marshall Craig (Manatee) - R2 1st; SQ @ 106 (1-2) in '15
    • Edward Barrett (Atlantic) - R3 1st; SQ @ 106 (1-2) in '15
    • Angel Perez (Southwest Miami)
    • Avery Holder (Flagler Palm Coast) - SQ @ 113 (1-2) in '15
  • Best 1st Round Match: Stewart vs. Abramson
  • Darkhorse: Payton Stewart (Lakeland)
  • Bracket Breaker: DeAndre Demus (Fleming Island)
  • Finals: Victor vs. Perez
  Telfer downed Tripke 3-2 to win the 2015 3A 113 title

Telfer downed Tripke 3-2 to win the 2015 3A 113 title

  • Summary: Very tough weight class to assess.  A week ago, our coverage of Region 1 centered around Demus and Holder (with Costen as a tough wrestler, but probably not ready to beat either of the two big names) ... well we were wrong.  Costen handled Demus 10-0 in the semi's and beat Holder 5-3 in the finals.  He is a legitimate threat to make his way to the finals out of the top quarter.  On the top side, past data points us (most returning champs return to the finals the following season ... it doesn't happen all the time ... and when it doesn't it is usually a 106 that has moved up) to take the returning State Champ, Alex Victor of Miami Braddock. Victor is 41-2 on the season and won the always tough Region 4 title a week ago.  His 3-2 decision over Angel Perez is more of a testament to how tough Perez is than Victor coming back to the field.  But his path is far from easy ... with Demus in the 1st round and either Stewart or Abramson in the quarters.  The 3rd quarter features Craig, Silvestre, and Holder ... all 2015 State Qualifiers.  It also features a tough freshman in Gianni Gurriero ... Craig can't look past him anticipating either Holder or Silvestre.  The bottom quarter is a tough one to call because Perez has looked very good when he has wrestled, but we know very little about him.  Be sure to watch the bottom quarter ... Barrett is the favorite and Region Champion, but each of the other 3 are poised to win 2 matches and be in the semi's on Saturday morning.

120 lbs.

  • Favorite: Michael DeAugustino (Flagler Palm Coast) - R1 1st; 4th @ 126 in '15
  • Contenders:
    • Randy McCray (Miami Southridge) - R4 1st; 2nd @ 106 in '15
    • Stephen Moreno (St Thomas Aquinas) - R3 1st; 1A 4th @ 113 in '15
    • Lucas Rodriguez (Gateway) - R2 1st; SQ @ 120 (0-2) in '15
    • Alean Gonzalez (Southwest Miami)
    • Jake Semrad (Lyman) - 4th @ 113 in '15
  • Best 1st Round Match: Hollingsworth vs. Semrad or Farr vs. Martinez
  • Darkhorse: Omar Garcia (Deland)
  • Bracket Breaker: Jacob Sandoval (Fleming Island)
  • Finals: DeAugustino vs. McCray
  Marshall downed Cannon 5-2 to win the 2015 3A 120 title

Marshall downed Cannon 5-2 to win the 2015 3A 120 title

  • Summary: Picking a favorite at 120 is exceptionally tough.  Both DeAugustino and McCray have some really good wins this season and each could be considered the favorite ... fortunately they are on opposite sides of the bracket so they shouldn't meet until the finals (assuming they both win).  Rarely do you see a freshman State Placer drop to a lower weight class the following season, but that is what DeAugustino has done ... placing 4th at 126 and now making a run for the top step at 120.  McCray was close to a title a season ago, falling to Alex Victor in the finals at 106.  He was outstanding in the finals of both the Knockout Christmas Classic and Chase Life Invitational earlier this season, beating freshman phenom Raydan Wilder of Camden County 11-6 at KO and Howell's Kyle Slendorn 10-6.  They are the co-favorites, but the bracket is littered with talented wrestlers ready to knock them off.  Region Champions Lucas Rodriguez and Stephen Moreno have been to the big dance and should give both DeAugustino and McCray tough matches if they can escape their quarters.  Keep an eye on Francisco Farr and Edgar Martinez in the top quarter, Alaen Gonzalez of Southwest Miami in the 2nd quarter (he lost 12-11 to McCray in last week's Region 4 final, and Hollingsworth and Semrad in the 3rd quarter.  Semrad is a returning Placer, Hollingsworth is a returning qualifier and both have the ability to beat anyone on the bottom side.

 

126 lbs.

  • Favorite: Franco Valdes (Southwest Miami) - R4 1st; 2x State Champion; 2nd @ 126 in '15; 3rd @ 106 in '12
  • Contenders:
    • Cullen Telfer (Strawberry Crest) - R2 1st; 1st @ 113 in '15
    • Jordan Marshall (Miami Southridge) - 1st @ 120 in '15; 5th @ 113 in '14
    • Tracy Davis (Fleming Island) - R1 1st; SQ @ 126 (0-2) in '15
    • Vinny Sessa (St Thomas Aquinas) - R3 1st
    • Colton Macfarlane (Wellington) - SQ @ 120 (2-2) in '15; 5th @ 120 in '14
  • Best 1st Round Match: Macfarlane vs. Capone
  • Darkhorse: Joe Capone (Palm Harbor) 
  • Bracket Breaker: Anthony Vizcaino (Coral Gables) - SQ @ 120 (1-2) in '15
  • Finals: Valdes vs. Telfer
  Lugo downed Valdes 2-2 tb1 to win the 2015 3A 126 title

Lugo downed Valdes 2-2 tb1 to win the 2015 3A 126 title

  • Summary: Picking the finalist on the bottom side of the bracket was exceptionally tough.  This bracket is exceptionally deep, but is headlined by 3 former State Champions, Valdes a 2xer who finished 2nd at 126 a year ago, Marshall who finished 1st at 120 in 2015, and Telfer who is your defending 113 lb. State Champion.  It is likely (unless Moore, Codinach, Maharaj or Sessa can pull the upset) that it will be Marshall vs. Telfer on Saturday morning.  That bout could easily be a state final ... but the winner will likely get 2x State Champion Franco Valdes later that day.  Valdes doesn't have an easy road either, but after the season he has had it would be foolish to bet against him.  The top quarter could be the most interesting because any of the four could make it out and be standing across from Valdes on Saturday morning.  This is one of the best weight classes in 3A ... don't miss any of the action.

132 lbs.

  • Favorite: John Locksmith (Osceola) - R2 1st; 3rd @ 120 in '14; 
  • Contenders:
    • Alex Uriquiza (Southwest Miami) - R4 1st; SQ @ 132 (1-2) in '15
    • Kizhan Clarke (Riverview) - 2nd @ 132 in '15
    • Cole Mitchell (Winter Springs) - R1 1st; SQ @ 132 (0-2) in '15
    • Xavier Sampsel (Fleming Island) - 6th @ 120 in '15
    • Tyler Difiore (Wellington) - R3 1st
  • Best 1st Round Match: Sampsel vs. Cameron
  • Darkhorse: Brevin Balmaceda (South Dade) - 1A 1st @ 120 in '15
  • Bracket Breaker: Marcieus Brown (Miami Braddock)
  • Finals: Locksmith vs. Urquiza
  Jared Prince downed Clarke 13-4 to win the 2015 132 title

Jared Prince downed Clarke 13-4 to win the 2015 132 title

  • Summary: In what universe do you get a first round match between Dylan Cameron and Xavier Sampsel?  That should tell you how deep this weight class is and how tough it will be to get to the top step.  Throw in Brevin Balamceda, returning 1A 120 lb. State Champion, as a 3rd out of Region 4 and you will have some very tough early round matches at 132.  Balmaceda vs. Wigutow is a tough match with the winner getting Mitchell ... tough top quarter.  Locksmith is the favorite on the top side, but will likely need to beat Abreu to advance to the semi's.  Difiore, the Region 3 Champ, is in the 3rd quarter with a very tough Cameron and Sampsel and Region 4 Champion Alex Urquiza is in the same quarter as returning State Runner-up Kizhan Clarke.  Expect the winner of Clarke and Urquiza to make it through the bottom side.

138 lbs.

  • Favorite: Grant Aronoff (St Thomas Aquinas) - R3 1st; 2nd @ 138 in '15
  • Contenders:
    • Anthony Kinsey (Miami Southridge) - R4 1st; 3rd @ 132 in '15
    • Christian Rivera (Freedom) - R1 1st
    • Justin Camacho (Gateway) - R2 1st
    • Chris Bentley (Columbus)
    • Dimitri Alicea (Winter Springs)
  • Best 1st Round Match: Acedo vs. Henson
  • Darkhorse: Jesse Acedo (Southwest Miami)
  • Bracket Breaker: Tariq Johnson (Flagler Palm Coast)
  • Finals: Aronoff vs. Kinsey
  Connor Prince downed Aronoff 8-3 to win the 2015 3A 138 title

Connor Prince downed Aronoff 8-3 to win the 2015 3A 138 title

  • Summary: We said it last week and it deserves repeating in this preview ... the best wrestler in the state might not be Norstrem, Meeks, or a member of LHP's squad ... it very well could be Grant Aronoff of St Thomas Aquinas.  Aronoff proved once again that he is wrestling at another level in dismantling the Region 3 bracket.  He had two falls and two technical falls en route to the title and wasn't even pushed.  Returning State Placer Anthony Kinsey is on the opposite side and should give Aronoff his toughest match.  After watching him take 4th at the Walsh Ironman and then hammer a very good Knockout Christmas Invitational bracket ... it was apparent he was the man to beat at 138 (in reality it was apparent when he faced Connor Prince in last year's 138 lb. final, but we always like to see how everyone progresses over the summer).  Kinsey should take care of the bottom side, but a match with either Stephens or Alicea will be one to watch.  

145 lbs.

  • Favorite: Ozzy Lugo (South Dade) - R4 1st; 2x State Champion
  • Contenders:
    • Bryce Marcus (St Thomas Aquinas) - R3 1st; 1A 5th @ 126 in '15; 3A 5th @ 106 in '14
    • Angel Delcueto (Southwest Miami) - 6th @ 138 in '15
    • Charles Small (Manatee) - R2 1st; SQ @ 132 (1-2) in '15
    • Kurtis Aimable (Freedom) - R1 1st; SQ @ 138 (1-2) in '15
    • Xavier Maxwell (Winter Springs)
  • Best 1st Round Match: Londono vs. Hernandez
  • Darkhorse: Evyn Insalaco (Flagler Palm Coast) - 6th @ 132 in '15 
  • Bracket Breaker: DeAndrew Walker (Evans)
  • Finals: Marcus vs. Lugo
  Nereim downed Maia 3-1 to win the 2015 3A 145 lb. title

Nereim downed Maia 3-1 to win the 2015 3A 145 lb. title

  • Summary: A great weight class that features a returning 2x State Champ Lugo, 3 returning State Placers (Marcus, Del Cueto, and Insalaco), and 2 returning State Qualifiers that won matches at the 2015 State Tournament.  145 lbs. is always a tough weight class ... 2016 is no different.  Marcus, Aimable, and Del Cueto should battle it out on the top side ... the Londono vs. Hernandez winner will likely get Marcus in the quarters.  Marcus beat Del Cueto earlier this season 17-9, but Aimable knocked off Marcus 7-5 in the quarters at the Knockout ... so expect the top semifinal to be a good one.  Lugo, the reigning 126 lb. State Champion, is the favorite on the bottom side.  His two losses have come to Jake Brindley of LHP and Adam Lewis of Tampa Jesuit at the Knockout Christmas Classic.  Small and Insalaco should battle it out in the 3rd quarter to see who gets a shot at Lugo.  Remember Lugo beat Marcus 9-5 earlier this year as well ... so if they end up in the finals ... Marcus will be looking to avenge the earlier loss.

152 lbs.

  • Favorite: James Nereim (Winter Springs) - R1 1st; 1st @ 145 in '15
  • Contenders:
    • John Cruz (North Port) - R2 1st; 3rd @ 145 in '15; 6th @ 132 in '14
    • Kaz Maia (Flagler Palm Coast) - 2nd @ 145 in '15
    • Marcos Perez (Miami Southridge)
    • Jarrod Smiley (Seminole Ridge) - SQ @ 138 (1-2) in '15
    • Gavin Arnold (Osceola)
  • Best 1st Round Match: Smith vs. Chester
  • Darkhorse: Romoan Chester (Palmetto) - SQ @ 145 (1-2) in '15
  • Bracket Breaker: Todd Perry (South Dade) - 1A SQ @ 138 (1-2) in '15
  • Finals: Nereim vs. Maia
  Lugo downed Bonilla 16-4 to win the 2015 3A 152 lb. title

Lugo downed Bonilla 16-4 to win the 2015 3A 152 lb. title

  • Summary: Nereim and Maia have met so often over the past 2 years it feels like Frazier vs. Ali ... for those of you that aren't in the know (or that old) ... that is Joe Frazier vs. Muhammad Ali (their 1971 fight is considered by many to be the fight of the century).  Anyway, Nereim's 5-1 win over Maia in last week's Region 1 finals vaults him to the "favorite" spot ... but does him no favors in the bracket.  He gets 2x State Placer John Cruz of North Port on the same side.  Maia has it tough as well with Vasquez, Smiley, and Perez, but Cruz is probably the one wrestler that can knock off both Maia and Nereim and take the title for himself.  Expect fireworks at 152!  

160 lbs.

  • Favorite: Giovanny Bonilla (Osceola) - R2 1st; 2nd @ 152 in '15; 4th @ 145 in '14
  • Contenders:
    • Max Wohlabaugh (Winter Springs) - R1 1st; 3rd @ 152 in '15; 1A 1st @ 138 in '14
    • Luis Rios (Miami Southridge) - R4 1st
    • Nick Sorace (Martin County) - R3 1st
    • Christian Bounce (George Jenkins) 
    • Kendrick Koller (Apopka)
  • Best 1st Round Match: Salahutdin vs. Lapeter
  • Darkhorse: Hamid Salahutdin (Sickles)
  • Bracket Breaker: Matt McAleer (Manatee)
  • Finals: Wohlabaugh vs. Bonilla
  Crosby downed Tague 9-4 to win the 2015 160 lb. title

Crosby downed Tague 9-4 to win the 2015 160 lb. title

  • Summary: Returning State Placers Max Wohlabaugh and Giovanny Bonilla appear to be on another level than the rest of the 160 lb. bracket.  Both have been on the podium for multiple years and will look to take the top step in 2016.  Fortunately, the two are on opposite sides of the bracket ... so that should be a fantastic final.  Who can knock them off?  On the top side, Bounce and Loy are in Wohlabaugh's quarter and both would give him a good match ... in the semifinals he could face Region 4 Champion Luis Rios of Southridge.  Rios didn't qualify last season, but has been fantastic so far this season and could be a tough out.  On the bottom side, Bonilla will have to beat the winner of Flores vs. Koller (one of our 1st round matches to watch) and then beat Nogradi, Gomez, McAleer, or Sorace out of the bottom quarter.  It would be a surprise to see someone other than Wohlabaugh or Bonilla in the final ... and if it is Wohlabaugh vs. Bonilla - grab your popcorn early and kick back because it could be the best final of the night.

170 lbs.

  • Favorite: Dacoda Flenard (North Port) - R2 1st; 5th @ 160 in '15
  • Contenders:
    • Kahtrell Treadwell (Lyman) - R1 1st; 4th @ 160 in '15
    • Jarred Hardinger (Sarasota)
    • Deandre Chery (North Miami) - R4 1st; SQ @ 160 (2-2) in '15
    • John Martorano (Fleming Island) - 6th @ 160 in '15
    • Eric Saber (Wellington) - R3 1st
  • Best 1st Round Match: Kaercher vs. Beriguete
  • Darkhorse: Bryan Beriguete (Osceola)
  • Bracket Breaker: Jude Moore (Boone)
  • Finals: Treadwell vs. Flenard
  Baldwin pinned Dolorit to win the 2015 3A 170 lb. title

Baldwin pinned Dolorit to win the 2015 3A 170 lb. title

  • Summary: Are there still any doubters that Dacoda Flenard is ready to take the top step this weekend?  After beating Hardinger twice in 2 weeks and beating Beiguete 5-0 in the Region semifinals, he appears to be ready to claim the top step.  Returning State Placer Kahtrell Treadwell has had a fantastic season and could emerge as the finalist from the top side, but his path to the finals is extremely difficult.  He will have to beat either Kaercher or Beriguete on Friday evening and then Hardinger on Saturday morning to setup a showdown with Flenard (assuming he makes it through the bottom side).  Flenard has a good quarter, but it would be a surprise if he isn't in the semi's on Saturday morning.  Returning State Placer John Martorano and Deandre Chery have been wrestling great in 15-16, but the two might clash in bout 188 on Friday night ... the winner will likely need to beat Flenard to advance to the finals.  Overall a fantastic weight class.

182 lbs.

  • Favorite: Johnny Raich (Palm Beach Gardens) - R3 1st; SQ @ 170 (2-2) in '15
  • Contenders:
    • Steven Mercadante (Sarasota) - R3 1st
    • Ryan Smenda (Fleming Island) - R1 1st
    • Corey Harvey (South Dade) - R4 1st
    • Josiah Gittman (St Thomas Aquinas) - SQ @ 170 (1-2) in '15
    • Brandon Dossey (Manatee)
  • Best 1st Round Match: Williams vs. Didden
  • Darkhorse: Darrell Wallace (Freedom) - 5th @ 182 in '15
  • Bracket Breaker: Marshal Sweet (Killian)
  • Finals: Raich vs. Mercadante
  Fulk downed Hope 4-3 sv2 to win the 2015 3A 182 lb. title

Fulk downed Hope 4-3 sv2 to win the 2015 3A 182 lb. title

  • Summary: The most wide open weight class in 3A.  As many as 7 different wrestlers have a legitimate shot at the top step.  On the top side, Ryan Smenda, a 1st time qualifier, hammered the Region 1 field ... posting 3 falls and an 8-5 decision over Runner-up George Schanck.  His pin of Wallace in the semifinals was particularly impressive.  Freshman Brandon Dossey of Manatee has looked superb this post-season and should give favorite Johnny Raich a tough match in the 2nd quarter of the bracket (assuming Dossey can down Eisman in the 1st round).  The most impressive wrestler heading into the weekend is probably Sarasota's Steven Mercadante.  Mercadante pinned all four of his Region 2 opponents last weekend and has looked like the man to beat for the last month of the season.  South Dade's Corey Harvey looked fantastic en route to the Region 4 title, but he might pull the toughest quarter with Schanck, Gittman, and Delong.  

195 lbs.

  • Favorite: Chei Hill (South Dade) - R4 1st; 2nd @ 195 in '15
  • Contenders:
    • Jason Davis (Fleming Island) - R1 1st; 2A 3rd @ 182 in '15
    • Adolofo Sotolongo (Southwest Miami) - 4th @ 182 in '15; 2nd @ 182 in '14
    • Isaiah Dawson (Lake Nona) - R2 1st
    • Kenny Deangeles (Park Vista) - R3 1st
  • Best 1st Round Match: O'Briwn vs. Adonis
  • Darkhorse: Carlos Osterling (Cypress Bay) - SQ @ 195 (0-2) in '15
  • Bracket Breaker: Kevin Clayton (East Bay)
  • Finals: Hill vs. Sotolongo
  Moodie downed Hill 5-4 to win the 2015 3A 195 lb. title

Moodie downed Hill 5-4 to win the 2015 3A 195 lb. title

  • Summary: Sotolongo's loss to Hill in the finals of the Region 4 tournament actually ends up being a blessing because he is on the opposite side of the bracket from Davis and Hill.  Davis and Hill, both returning Placers, are the two best in the bracket and should battle it out in the top semifinal.  That isn't to say Macugoski, Gouviea, Perez, O'Briwen, and others don't have a chance, but it would be a surprise with how dominant both Davis and Hill have been this season.  Davis' only loss this season came to Hill in the semifinals of the Knockout Christmas Classic in December.  Expect the two to meet again with a birth in the finals on the line.  On the bottom side, Dawson and Deangeles are the Region Champions and both are first timers at the "big dance".  Sotolongo has twice placed, once as runner-up as a Sophomore, and should be considered the favorite on the bottom side.  Keep an eye on the Saffold vs. Osterling first round match ... it could be one of the best matches of the opening round.  

220 lbs.

  • Favorite: Dylan Meeks (Dr Phillips) - R1 1st; 2x State Champion
  • Contenders:
    • Darius Hamilton (Miami Southridge) - R4 1st; 2nd @ 220 in '15; 6th @ 220 '14
    • Darrius Mosley (George Jenkins) - R2 1st; SQ @ 220 (1-2) in '15
    • Theo Gerve (Treasure Coast) - R3 1st
    • Giovanny Mentor (Killian)
    • Joseph Bolton Henry (Plantation) - SQ @ 220 (0-2) in '15
  • Best 1st Round Match: Robinson vs. Taylor
  • Darkhorse: Raimello Jackson (Wkiva) - SQ @ 220 (1-2) in '15
  • Bracket Breaker: Raymond Hauerty III (Deland)
  • Finals: Meeks vs. Mosley
  Meeks downed Hamilton 4-1 to win the 2015 3A 220 lb. title

Meeks downed Hamilton 4-1 to win the 2015 3A 220 lb. title

  • Summary: 2x State Champion Dylan Meeks of Dr Phillips is an absolute beast.  He hammered everyone at the 2015 except Michael Rodriguez of South Dade in quarters (4-0) and Darrius Hamilton of Southridge 4-1 in the finals.  This is the one weight class where the fans deserve to see the two best in the finals, but because of a formula and no seeding we will be witnessing that match in the semifinals.  This isn't to take away from any of the other wrestlers on the top side of the bracket, but if a Meeks vs. Hamilton semifinal doesn't happen it would be a huge surprise.  With Meeks and Hamilton up top, the bottom side is fairly open for any of the 8 to get through.  Mosley and Raimello Jackson are the only returning 2015 State Qualifiers of the bunch.  Keep an eye on all four of the opening round matches and both quarters.  There should be some very competitive matches.

285 lbs.

  • Favorite: Kyron Taylor (South Dade) - R4 1st; 2nd @ 285 in '15
  • Contenders:
    • Samuel Harrison (George Jenkins) - SQ @ 285 (2-2) in '15
    • Will Davis (Ft Pierce Central) - SQ @ 285 (1-2) in '15
    • TJ Boyd (Winter Springs) - R1 1st
    • Melchisedek Juedy (Southridge)
    • Sean Behrens (Newsome)
  • Best 1st Round Match: Sokolovic vs. Harris
  • Darkhorse: Kyle Mann (Columbus)
  • Bracket Breaker: Nick Parsons (Osceola)
  • Finals: Harrison vs. Taylor
  Shriner downed Taylor 5-4 to win the 2015 285 lb. title

Shriner downed Taylor 5-4 to win the 2015 285 lb. title

  • Summary: Returning State Runner-up Kyron Taylor is the man to beat at 285.  He is the only returning Placer from a season ago, but the bracket is stacked with some very competitive 285's and should be some good viewing if you can tear yourself away from watching 2A 285.  All 8 of the top side wrestlers have a legit shot at making the finals.  Keep an eye on Cosgrave vs. Mann with the winner getting either Parsons or Boyd in the top quarter ... that is a tough quarter of the bracket.  Juedy vs. Harrison seems like the logical pick for the 2nd quarter and any of the 6 could win 3 in a row and be in the finals.  On the bottom side Region 3 Champion Will Davis will have to contend with a very tough Stephens to start and then either Sokolovic or Harris in the quarters.  Harris moved up from 1A where he took 4th at 285 in 2015.  Behrens vs. Glemaud could be the best 1st round match at 285, but the winner should run into Taylor in the bottom quarter.  From top to bottom this is a very good weight class.