Next up: Oakleaf
Season record: 1-8 in duals.
Tournament record: 17th at Westside Kiwanis December 12-13, 6th at Lee Backyard Bash December 19-20, 10th at Gateway Conference meet January 16-17, 2nd at Westside Roundrobin February 14, 2nd at 1A-District 3 meet February 28, T-12th at 1A-Region 1 meet March 6-7. No state qualifiers.
Season in a nutshell: Given what I have recorded for the Wolverines this season, it was a difficult uphill battle for Westside in its first year of existence under its new name (in case you’ve been under a rock or are from out of the area and reading this, it was Forrest High School a year ago). I got a couple of looks at Westside, but nothing directly after Gateway. I keep the records that I do because of rankings purposes and also so I can just have an informal record of who’s wrestled who, and how the outcomes went down. They help me make some semi-accurate forecasts (assuming weights don’t get shuffled up) for the post-season. So when I got the brackets for District 3, I was concerned that my records were so very different than what was reported on the brackets for District 3. If you’ve a mind, you can check those brackets out and compare to the records I’ve compiled. I would have to be missing at least two larger events to explain some of the discrepancies. I don’t really know why there is such a difference, all I know is what I can prove, which is in the results contained here. However, it’s hard to argue with a runnerup District 3 finish — generated despite missing four weights and only one champion. Westside’s getting better, even if it’s hard to show exactly how much better.
2014-15 MVP: Regardless of which record is accurate, I’ve got to go with one of the Wolverines’ bevy of sophomores as the Westside MVP for 2014-15. Delmontae Davis doubled his win total from a year ago (under either my numbers or Track’s) and did so after moving up three weight classes from 106 to 126. Davis was the top seed at districts, qualifying out with a runnerup effort, and then advanced the farthese of all of the nine Region 1 qualifiers, falling short just one match before being able to punch his Kissimmee states ticket. He should get another shot at moving all the way through before his career is over, particularly if he keeps up the off-season work (he was at Southeast Regionals in Atlanta last weekend). That’s a good way to start paving a path for states next season.
Returning starters for 2015-16: Davis (junior in 15-16, Trackwrestling had him at 31-9, I had him at 20-13 at 126), Jacob Boyd (junior in 15-16, Track had him at 29-8, I had him at 16-11 at 132), Keyvonta Broadwater (junior in 15-16, Track had him at 21-12, I had him at 9-15 at 138), Caleb Gibbs (senior in 15-16, Track had him at 24-12, I had him at 9-14 at 152), Calvin Altman (sophomore in 15-16, Track had him at 20-11, I had him at 12-14 at 160), Christian Wilkerson (senior in 15-16, Track had him at 28-13, I had him at 15-10 at 170), Tyler Gathright (junior in 15-16, Track had him at 15-8, I had him at 14-8 at 220), Tariq Hookfin (junior in 15-16, Track had him at 13-9, I had him at 14-13 at 285), plus Vannie Flomo (junior in 15-16, I had him at 2-5 at 152) and Richard Murray (senior in 15-16, I had him at 3-15 at 195).
2015-16 captain: In what appears to be his first year out for the sport, Caleb Gibbs had a solid season, doing enough to qualify for regionals with a runnerup finish. He went 8-4 with an eventual state qualifier in the first round of regions and then won a match convincingly on the backside and hung in against an experienced Marianna wrestler into the third period before losing by fall. Unlike many guys whose seasons were cut shorter than hoped for, however, what Gibbs is doing this off-season turned my head. He’s been at both the Marine Corps Ironman and at Southeast Regionals, like Davis. There aren’t a lot of Duval kids, at least among those who don’t already have a developed pedigree thus far, who are wrestling this off-season, but Gibbs is doing it. That, and being a senior next year, makes for a good captaincy combo. There’s plenty of returning guys back in the lineup for Gibbs to help lead, and I think the future could be looking up for Westside.
Heaton’s Hero: Although I’m breaking my rule for the Hero nomination, as the Westside representative, because the representative didn’t wrestle the post-season, I’m a bit hamstrung because of the sizable record disparities in play with the Westside kids. So I’ll go with the one wrestler who saw a fair amount of time and documented struggles as well. Richard Murray will be a senior next year and likely will have a shot at a full-time spot in the lineup. Murray’s two contested wins came during the Wolverines’ roundrobin events this season, with wins at Backyard Bash and at the Westside roundrobin. All of the outcomes — other than one forfeit — were wins by fall or losses by fall, with only match going into the second period. I hope Murray will stay with the sport; he’s got the opportunity for good instruction there. Richard Murray is the Westside representative for the Heaton’s Hero nomination.