Wrestlers across the state begin their postseason quest this weekend, and one of the tougher districts will fight it out at Keller Fossil Ridge on Saturday.
Top to bottom, one of the toughest districts has to be District 4-6A (the pairings aren’t the same as in other sports) which includes the four Keller ISD teams — Keller, Fossil Ridge, Central and Timber Creek — plus Southlake Carroll.
Even the district with eight-time state winning-streak Allen may not compare in depth up and down the 14 weight classes. Plus, Timber Creek’s depth in the girls brackets will be tough to contend with.
Many would tag Carroll as the team favorite, as they’ve gone a perfect 16-0 in their dual season. Whether that dual team success translates to a tournament format remains to be seen.
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Carroll has ventured outside the area — and state — to compete in the early part of the season. The Dragons have travelled to Washington State and wrestled in an Oklahoma tournament.
Having the experience of traveling to a tournament and competing at a high level is the sharpening-up process for Carroll.
“I tell the guys they’ve ‘been there, done that’ when it comes to having to travel to a regional or state,” said Carroll head coach Joe Hathaway. It seems to have worked as the Dragons picked up the state runner-up trophy last year.
But this is when upsets happen and wrestlers are peaking at the right time. Or at least when it counts.
There are no returning state champions, but Cameron Haddock of Carroll, is a returning runners-up. Parker Decker of Keller and Jake Johnson, Carroll, took third last year while Preston Decker, Keller and Jacob Doddridge, Carroll, were fourth. Central’s Blaine Martinez won a state title before graduating last year.
While Parker Decker will be the favorite at 106, Carroll’s Owen Hollaway is ranked in the top 10 and could press the issue.
Preston Decker is a likely top seed at 113, but this will be an interesting bracket of matches.
Ben De Lemos, Jr. of Carroll and Greyson Thomas, Central, will add to the excitement, along with Timber Creek’s Will Caillet. De Lemos beat Thomas earlier, but Caillet beat De Lemos. Fossil Ridge’s Elias Oliver is also having a solid year.
“This is the most competitive weight in our district,” said Central head coach Bill Wilson. “All five wrestlers are solid here. Somebody is staying home,” he said, referencing the fact that just the top four will advance to the regional tournament.
Eli Landman from Keller is a favorite at 120, but Jacob Garcia of Central is on a 19-3 streak since dropping from 126.
That drop from 126 should leave no doubt that Timber Creek’s Tommy Dalzell will get the top seed.
The weight classes from 120 through 138 may be open for the taking but Keller’s Corbin Schee could be the man to beat at 145.
With Haddock at 152, the outside shot of an upset may be at the feet of Fossil Ridge’s Isreal Osorio.
The Panthers will also have Joseph Rodriquez at 160 who can be a contender along with Keller’s Chris Moore.
A head-on collision may occur at 170 when Carroll’s Ryan Dooley meets Central’s Isiah Ganaway or Keller’s Nolan Kistler. The scramble with something on the line should be good.
Timber Creek’s Nathan Grimes is a returning state qualifier at 182 and is the favorite there.
Another Carroll-Central scrap could be in store at 220, with the Dragons’ Doddridge likely to meet Jake Riberich of the Chargers. Both were state qualifiers last year but have not met yet this season.
At Heavyweight, Griffin Hutchison, Central, hasn’t lost to a district foe this year and should continue his hot streak.
On the girls side, Timber Creek should coast to a team title.
The Lady Falcons are led by Bianca Rosales (185) the state runner-up last year at 215.The Rodriguez twins are heading into districts on complete tears. Chalimarys (95) is heading into district with a 30-1 record, while Chalimar (102) is undefeated in district match competition.
Rachel Ingram (110) is a state tournament alternate from last season. The Lady Falcons have won five of their six tournaments this season.
Fossil Ridge’s returning state qualifier, Isabell Montes (110) will look to avenge a loss to Ingram. Teammate Mercedes Nerios (119) could find a district title.
Central’s Colleen Weber (128) is a returning state qualifier and should be top seed and the Lady Chargers’ other state qualifier, Amalani Latu (138) should also get the number-one seed.