Team Race: Don’t fool yourself. This is strictly a four-team race for the Region 1 title. Flagler Palm Coast and Winter Springs are the frontrunners. They return the most State Placers and have the most depth of any team. A season ago, FPC pushed to the Region title, but Winter Springs came back the following week and finished 2nd to South Dade at the State Tournament. The battle between these two should be fun to watch. Sitting just outside of the top 2 is Fleming Island and Freedom. Fleming Island became significantly more dangerous with the addition of State Placer Jason Davis. For the Golden Eagles to knock off FPC or Winter Springs they will need a superb effort from their “supporting cast”. Freedom dominated District 4 a season ago and returns a strong lineup to make a push for the Region title in 2016. The Patriots will look to State Placer Darrell Wallace and State Qualifier Kurtis Aimable to lead the way. If the Patriots are able to knock off FPC, Winter Springs, and Fleming Island it will likely come down to how well Briso Aimable, Marcus Jean Baptiste, Earl Johnson, Justin Marotta, Christian Rivera, and Romel Stimphil perform. Keep an eye on Lyman, Lake Mary, and Timber Creek. Each returns some quality, but will need some help if they are going to overtake the top teams.
Contenders: Thirteen Region 1 wrestlers, who return in 2015-2016, finished the 2014-2015 season on the podium in Kissimmee. James Nereim of Winter Springs downed Kaz Maia of Flagler Palm Coast 3-1 to take the 145 lb. title in 2015. Don’t be surprised if the two go at it again in 2016. 220 lb. State Champion Dylan Meeks was simply outstanding en route to his 2nd title. Meeks controlled Miami Southridge’s Darius Hamilton in the finals, winning 4-1. Meeks, now a junior, wasn’t really challenged all tournament and looks like a lock to bring home a 3rd title in 2016. Two Region 1 wrestlers finished 3rd in 2015 and look to get over the hump in 2016. Max Wohlabaugh (3rd at 152) of Winter Springs had a fantastic summer of wrestling, especially in Fargo, and is certainly one to beat in 2015-2016. Jason Davis (3rd at 182 in 2A) is back at Fleming Island after a year in 2A at Oakleaf. Davis lost a close decision to Johnley Cadet of Port St Lucie in the semifinals a season ago. Both Wohlabaugh and Davis should be one of the favorites entering the 2015-2016 season.
Michael DeAugustino (126) of Flagler Palm Coast and Kahtrell Casado-Treadwell (160) and Jake Semrad (113) of Lyman finished 4th in 2015. All three have the ability to take the top step in 2016, but will need to wrestle extremely well to knock off those in their way. Evyn Insalaco (6th at 132) of Flagler Palm Coast, John Martorano (6th at 160) and Xavier Sampsel (6th at 120) of Fleming Island, Jeremiah Costen (6th at 113) of Lake Mary, and Darrell Wallace (5th at 182) of Freedom all finished on the podium in 2015. Each has a legitimate shot at the top step, but will need to bring their “A” game if they are going to take the top step in 2016.
Hunting the Podium: Fifteen Region 1 wrestlers qualified for the State Tournament in 2015, but failed to make the podium. David Detwiler of Fleming Island, Tajh Glemaud of Dr Phillips, Jules Joseph of Ocoee, and Devin Kohn of Oviedo finished the 2015 tournament with two or more wins and are likely candidates to be high on the podium in 2016. Avery Holder of Flagler Palm Coast, Raimello Jackson of Wekiva, Kurtis Aimable of Freedom, and Jonathan Gomez of Boone finished 1-2 in Kissimmee in 2015. Each will be looking to improve on that mark and find the podium in 2016. Tracy Davis of Fleming Island, Demetris Harris and Jaren Jefferson of Robert E Lee, Alex Barie of Sandalwood, George Schanck of Ocoee, Cole Mitchell of Winter Springs, and Antonio Estrada of Timber Creek finished their 2015 trip to Kissimmee 0-2. Each member of that group will be looking to be on the podium in 2016, but must wrestle much better in 2016 if any is going to medal.
Under the Radar: Many of the following wrestlers finished the 2015 Region Tournament with two or more wins. Don’t be surprised if each punches his ticket to Kissimmee in 2016. Win four matches in a row in Kissimmee and you are a State Champion. That isn’t likely, but each could find the podium if given the opportunity. Better keep an eye on the following from:
District 1: Erik Kverneland and Gant Moore of Buchholz, Erik Sirmans of First Coast, Trace Insalaco, Tariq Johnson, and Eric Rosso of Flagler Palm Coast, Jose Concepcion and Ryan Smenda of Fleming Island, Luke Karl, Vince Karl, Detrall Lanier, and Ryan Rosano of Oakleaf, Tony Belle of Robert E Lee, and Cameron Bell and Jacques Hale of Sandalwood.
District 2: Logan Celella of Apopka, Jamel Clue of Dr Phillips, Jonathan Estrada and Will Mitchell of Edgewater, Tyrese Brown of Olympia, and Terrel Wallace of West Orange.
District 3: Ethan Kaufmann of Hagerty, Daniel Lively of Lake Mary, Nick Sala of Oviedo, Brian Berroa of University (Orange City), Dimitri Alicia and TJ Boyd of Winter Springs.
District 4: Jude Moore of Boone, Michael Ortega of Cypress Creek, Briso Aimable, Marcus Jean Baptiste, Earl Johnson, Justin Marotta, Christian Rivera, and Romel Stimphil of Freedom, Jackson Saffold of Timber Creek, Eddie Vazquez of University (Orlando), and Hamza Anwar of Winter Park.