original photo courtesy of Sam Janicki; SJanickiPhoto.com
Welcome to our new feature, “Hidden Gems”! With the country going through an unprecedented time and most national-level high school wrestling events canceled or postponed for the foreseeable future, it is challenging to be a rising senior. Typically, the spring and summer are places where overlooked wrestlers breakout and become household names heading into their senior seasons. This year, no such luck. At TOM’s we’ve tried to help out and shine the spotlight on some of those wrestlers that are currently unknown to many fans and college coaches. That’s where “Hidden Gems” comes in.
Each edition will focus on one particular state. We will highlight ten wrestlers that are not currently in the list of the top-150 wrestlers in the Class of 2021. Why, you ask? Most of the wrestlers in the top 150 are “out there”. Coaches/fans/observers know their names and are on the lookout for them. After those 150, there are plenty of hidden gems, wrestlers that could be successful on the next level.
Today we’re focusing on Florida. The Sunshine State is arguably the toughest in the southeast (though fast-rising George may warrant an argument). Five teams from Florida appeared in the top-12 in TOM’s Southeast Regional Team rankings, following the 2019-20 season. Only one other state had more than two. Florida is led by national power Lake Highland Prep who made headlines this summer when news broke that they would be competing at the National Prep level, rather than the state tournament. Florida’s state tournament has three different classifications with class 3A containing the largest schools. Collegiate wrestling in Florida could be described as spare, at best. Currently, there are no NCAA schools that sponsor wrestling in the state, with only three at the NAIA level. There are no in-state opportunities for women either; however, the state will be a sanctioned girls high school state tournament for the first time in 2020-21.
Below is the lone Florida wrestler in the top-150; therefore, he will not be featured below.
#65 Tylynn Lukens (Manatee)
Florida’s Hidden Gems
Mason Arnold - Carrollwood Day - 1A
2019-20 Weight: 285
Projected Weight: 285
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