ORANGE PARK - The Orange Park High wrestling roster, with a handful of near misses last year, will have one of the strongest senior lineups in the area with Cameron Broughton, Arlo Wilson, Vincent Walker, Jacob Campbell and Jacob Moore top returners for Raider coach Justin Daniels.
"We should be stronger," said Orange Park coach Justin Daniels. "Our seniors will be the core."
Orange Park, 16th in Class 2A last year, stays in 2A with Middleburg, but loses Ridgeview, now in Class 1A. The district 2-2A will now include Chiles, Leon and Lincoln (duals state semifinalist in 2A) from Tallahassee, Columbia, Mosley and Gainesville high schools as one of the strongest overall districts. Both Middleburg and Orange Park were first round exits in last year's district duals state tournament.
Of the underclassmen returning, sophomore Julian Moore is one of the surprises of 2018 with a district title at 195 and a third at regions before winning just one match at state all in his freshman year.
Broughton, Campbell and Moore are all state meet wrestlers with Campbell, unbeaten for most of 2018 (44-1 at districts), losing a close 8-7 region semifinal match to Matanzas High junior Quenteen Robinson a setback to a strong state meet. Both would meet up for their final matches of the season with Robinson pinning Campbell for a fifth place finish at 170 in Class 2A.
Broughton, at 138, hooked up with Middleburg High's Storm Mercado for the district and region finals and got beat in both. Mercado is now graduated and leaves Broughton as a clear state meet favorite.
At 182, Moore is one of the strongest in the state, if not the area, with his wrestling skills improving to catch up to his immense power. Moore, second in districts to unbeaten Landon Dains of Terry Parker, now graduated, finished third in region and went to state only to lose again to Dains in the fifth place match.
Walker, third in districts at 152 and a quick exit at regions, is primed to use his athleticism to get to state.
Also returning are junior Davon Bailey, who lost in the district final to Ridgeview's Gabe Guzman then again in the consolation semifinal to get nudged out of the top four at regions.