Understanding Florida's State Tournament Brackets 101

I made a very poor assumption earlier this season and this "bracket tutorial" is an attempt to remedy the situation.  Over the past two weeks I talked with several parents at both the Georgia and Alabama State Tournaments who had lots of questions about how to read the brackets that were included in the Fan's Guides we wrote for each State Tournament.  The interesting thing is that both of those state tournaments include both 8-man and 16-man brackets ... 7A in Alabama and 1A and 2A in Georgia are 8-man brackets and Georgia 3A-6A and Alabama 1A-5A and 6A are 16-man brackets.  Brackets come fairly easy to me, but I understood where their confusion was coming from and walked them through how to read each bracket.  Last week we finished the Florida Region Fan's Guide and immediately received an email asking how the brackets are "created" or decided.  Just like the regions, the state tournament varies based on a formula that is held by the FHSAA alone ... but the basic idea is the same. and this is just we will walk you through now.

We think of all brackets in terms of "lines" (and Florida is no different in that thinking than any other state).  Below (see graphic) we have taken the 3A 106 lb. bracket from the 2015 State Tournament and have "written" on it to help illuminate what we are describing.  

  • First ... remembering the terms "lines" we think of a bracket as having 16 "lines" going down the center of the bracket.  If you win in the 1st round you advance to the right and if you lose you move to the left.  Region Champions always fall on lines 1, 8, 10, and 16.  
    • In this case the Region 1 Champion ... Zachary Branning of FPC (Flagler Palm Coast) is on line #1,
    • Region #2 Champion Cain Martin of COU (Countryside) is on line #8,
    • Region #3 Champion Alex Radli of JUP (Jupiter) is on line #10, and
    • Region #4 Champion Alex Victor of BRD (Miami Braddock) is on line #16
  • Second ... A Region Champion and a 4th place finisher from the same Region are always on the "same side of the bracket" and the 2nd place and 3rd place finishers from that Region are always on the "opposite side of the bracket".  A bracket is really broken down into a "top side" and "bottom side" ... so in the example below ... Region 1 Champion Zachary Branning is on Line #1 and Region #1 4th place finisher Antonio Estrada is on Line #7.  The #2 and #3 wrestlers from Region 1 (Alex Barie and Devin Kohn) are on lines 12 and 14.  The 4th place finisher will always face a Champion from another Region in the 1st round and a 2nd place finisher from a Region will always face the 3rd place finisher from the another Region in the 1st round.  So in the example below our 1st round matches pit wrestlers from Region 1 against wrestlers from Region 2 ...
    • Region 1 Champion (Branning) faces Region 2 #4 (Ramirez) - lines #1 and #2
    • Region 1 #2 (Kohn) faces Region 2 #3 (Craig) - lines #13 and #14
    • Region 1 #3 (Barie) faces Region 2 #2 (Acevedo) - lines #11 and #12
    • Region 1 #4 (Estrada) faces Region 2 Champion (Martin) - lines #7 and #8
  • Third ... Region 1 and Region 2 will not always face one another in the 1st round.  The formula changes for each weight class.  So at 113 it might be Region 1 on lines #1, #7, #12, and #14, but all of Region 1 wrestlers might face Region 3 rather than Region 2.  But the Region Champions will always be on the lines described above (1, 8, 10, and 16) ... that will not vary.
  • Four ... the bout # is always listed between the wrestlers.  In the example below ...
    • Jared Abramson vs. Randy McCray is bout #2 with 2 underlined.
    • Eddie Barrett vs. Edgar Martinez is bout #3

I hope this helps explain the Florida State Brackets ... it is important to note a few things:

  1. Not all brackets are constructed the same way.  This is how Florida does it.  It is not how other states construct their brackets
  2. Florida does not seed wrestlers.  The two best wrestlers may face it each other the semifinal.  "Seed" refers to placing the best wrestler in line #1 and the second best wrestler on line #16, the 3rd best wrestler in either line #9 or #10, and the 4th best wrestler on line #8.  
  3. The black #'s on the left side of the bracket 113, 114, 115, and 116 for example ... refer to the "loser" of the quarterfinal bouts on the opposite side.  For example, Zach Branning lost to Randy McCray in bout #113 in the top quarter of the bracket.  As a result, Branning moved to the bottom quarter of the consolation bracket and ultimately faced Devin Kohn in bout #228.