Weekend results will probably be posted on Sunday. I do have plans to post FPC: The Season later this afternoon, but we know how plans go.
You can see everything I have on the Rams in 2015-16 here –> ENGLEWOOD
Win/loss record: 16-6 in dual meets, Please review the attached document for a review of the Rams’ performance in IBT events.
Season in a nutshell: When I first started the website three seasons ago, Englewood was one of the first schools I saw after the go-live date, and its program was a little scattershot at that point. What the Rams have figured out during that time is a simple truth: to get better, they have to wrestle better competition. It’s taken some time, but Englewood is starting to make the necessary changes to its schedule in order to get better. Last year, the Rams went to Clay — a tournament that they never would have gone to in the past. I don’t think that will be the last change. And, the quality of wrestling has improved significantly, as three different kids were all one match short of qualifying for states. Just getting to Saturday alone was a tall order for Englewood in the past. I could see all three of those kids — all of whom return next year — qualifying out in 2016-17.
2015-16 MVP: Kids that play football in the fall can sometimes be a little bit slow to return to the wrestling mats on a competitive basis; often times, we don’t see much of them in the first or second weeks of the regular season. That wasn’t the case with Englewood’s stronger kids, most notably Tavian Whitehead, who is in the lineup and wrestling for titles right from the off. Whitehead had two losses prior to the Clay Rotary — the first was in the finals at Optimist to a wrestler going down to 145 and the second was at Army Duals, where he bumped up to face an eventual 2A state qualifier at 160. Being in the lineup from day 1 and facing those tough challenges probably was the difference between winning a Gateway title and not for Whitehead. His two losses at regions were to kids with stronger schedules, so…there’s still more work to be done, but Whitehead will probably do it.
2016-17 captain: Whitehead had the Gateway run, freshman Zykeim Sermons had the big splash and some very surprising wins, but the quietly consistent one was Michel Augustin, who closed the 2015-16 season with an absolute flurry. Augustin was 6-4 after the Rams’ 2016-opening duals at Lee against the Generals and Fletcher, but then won 15 of his next 17 matches (unfortunately, at his hottest part of the season, he wasn’t entered in the Gateway draw). After the first weekend of the season, Augustin took only one loss by fall before the region tournament, with a third at districts and winning three matches at regions before being knocked out by an eventual state placer (and top threat for a state title at 170 or 182 next year) in the consi semis, or “blood round.” You can make a splash early and fizzle out, or you can start slow and close with a fury. Wrestlers tend to prefer, if they can’t start AND finish fast, to at least close with a fury. Augustin did, and that will be key for the Rams next year.
Heaton’s Hero: I’ve made mention before about how I appreciate first-year senior varsity starters. I’ve made mention before about how I appreciate kids who hit me up on Twitter (there’s one wrestler who was absolutely vital in getting the website, but I digress). Emrah Kalabic was a first-year varsity starter AND one of the first kids to retweet a lot of the things I wrote, particularly if the Rams were involved. He’d also briefly talk to me at events where he’d see me. I like that. For the most part, in conttested matches, he did have some struggles (of his 16 wins, 12 of them were forfeits), but he did have three falls and a major decision, and the last of those falls got him into the region tournament. That tournament was a two-and-out experience, but three years ago the season that Kalabic had would have been one of the Rams’ best on the team. He’s a good kid, and I appreciate all of his efforts to help us promote what we’re trying to do in Englewood and everywhere else, too. Emrah Kalabic is the Englewood representative for the Heaton’s Hero nomination.
Projected returning starters for 2016-17 (with year in school as they’ll be next year): Tyler Crawford (junior, wrestled 106 this past year, District 3 4th place); Marcus Elam (junior, wrestled 145 this past year, District 3 4th place); Whitehead (senior, wrestled 152 this past year, District 3 champ, 1 match from 2A states); Zykeim Sermons (sophomore, wrestled 160 this past year, District 3 3rd place, 1 match from 2A states); Augustin (senior, wrestled 170 this past year, District 3 3rd place, 1 match from 2A states); Chase Hamilton (senior, wrestled 182/195 this past year, District 3 3rd place). Also: Leo Galeas (junior, wrestled 120 this past year, did not compete in post-season); Tanner Kern (senior, wrestled 126 this past year, did not compete in post-season); Tymofiy Hyorchuck (sophomore, wrestled 132/138 this past year, did not compete in post-season); Brandon King (junior (wrestled 195 this past year, did not compete in post-season).
You can see everything I have on the Vikings in 2015-16 here –> RAINES
Win/loss record: 7-12 in dual meets, Please review the attached document for a review of the Bobcats’ performance in IBT events.
Season in a nutshell: Numbers were an issue for the Vikings in dual meets and tournaments, but where Raines had wrestlers, most of them were at least solid and some were outright exceptional over the course of the season. But the numbers were down quite a bit. I suppose football had a sizable bit to do with that, as a lot of the bigger kids that had been staples in the Viking lineup in the previous two seasons, kids that were also part of Raines’ state-title football run, did not go out for wrestling this year. That allowed for a couple of pleasant surprises in the upper weights to make their mark, but this was a team that definitely emphasized the lower half of the lineup. Fortunately, most of those kids return for next year. This is a coaching staff that knows its business — and I have to believe there are bigger kids roaming the Raines halls that don’t make the football team that would become better football players if they wrestled.
2015-16 MVP: We saw so much promise from Jaquan English‘s freshman year, and it would have been easy for English to rest easy on that promise and sort of coast on that for a couple years, but instead English went to work, going everywhere he could and wrestling everywhere he could (props to the Beat the Streets folks for a lot of that). He came back with a sizable offensive arsenal this year. English had just one loss up until 5 Star (and judging where and when and to whom it was, I have to think of it as something stylistic that he didn’t expect), winning 37 matches in a row at one point. The post-season was not ideal, as an earlier regular-season victory saw the tables turned at Clay and again at districts and regions, but English still earned a state medal and exceeded 50 wins. There’s lots of kids that would want that kind of season. And one last thing — I have to apologize to Jaquan, and he knows why or might remember why. All I can say is the winter cap he had on reminded me of another wrestler. Completely my bad.
2016-17 captain: Welcome back, Joseph Haynes. You had such a splash to your freshman year and we were stoked about that. We missed you last year, and we were puzzled about that, and you came back this season and we were glad for it. Took a little while to get started, but you hit your stride after a tough tournament at Somerset, winning a Gateway Conference title and advancing through the post-season series all the way to the state tournament (yes, I noticed that you went overtime with a state placer at regions AND that you avenged an earlier-season loss in the third-place match. Yes, states was a tough day — tough first-round matchup, but from where you had to battle back from, this was an exceptional year. I see you as a podium threat next year; your teammates just need you to keep being the leader you can be.
Heaton’s Hero: It’s tough for freshman upperweight wrestlers everywhere. Simply just adjusting to wrestling against (most often) juniors and seniors when being just a few weeks removed from the feel of junior high (where, in Duval County, there are no school-sponsored wrestling programs). Dondre Stephens didn’t appear at either Optimist or Capital City, and it took a short while to get his feet weight, as he didn’t pick up his first contested win until Backyard Bash, and the only other ones were deep in the season (two at Parker Duals and one at 5 Star), but from the moment Stephens entered the lineup he stayed in it; I think that was only true of two other teammates from December through the post-season, and I like that determination. He’ll get better as he gets more physically mature. Dondre Stephens is the Raines representative for the Heaton’s Hero nomination.
Projected returning starters for 2016-17 (with year in school as they’ll be next year): Anthony Haynes (junior, wrestled 113 this past year, District 3 3rd place); J. Haynes (senior, wrestled 120 this past year, District 3 3rd place); English (junior, wrestled 126 this past year, District 3 runnerup); Stephens (sophomore, wrestled 182 this past year, District 3 4th place); Jahcoassy Leo (senior, wrestled 195 this past year, District 3 runnerup). Also: Ahmad Jenkins (senior, wrestled 106 this past year, did not compete in post-season); Lehman Buggest (senior, wrestled 113 this past year, did not compete in post-season); Joshua McAfee (junior, wrestled 152/160 this past year, did not compete in post-season).
Note: This was posted on the Northwest site. A bit of a drive involved, but if you want to get a look at what several state champions do, and you’ve not picked up a state title of your own, it’s at least worth some consideration…
Wrestlers competing in the Jazztown Duals or Disney Duals events in June are invited to attend joint practices, held at South Walton HS in Santa Rosa Beach on June 1st and 2nd. The Back in Black offseason team and Camden County (GA) are hosting the joint practice sessions. Camden County is one of the pre-eminent programs in Georgia, and the Back in Black team has three current or former Florida state champions, and six current placers. Morning-session practices are scheduled from 10 a.m.-11:45 a.m., afternoon session noon-1:45 p.m. These practices follow on the heels of the Jordan Leen camp that will be held earlier that week.
Camden is taking its A & B teams to Jazztown Duals on June 4-5, while Back in Black, Ft. Walton Beach & Tate also have teams entered. For more information on the practice sessions, email Chris Pickren at email@example.com.
You can see everything I have on the Bobcats in 2015-16 here –> BUCHHOLZ
Win/loss record: 21-8 in dual meets, Please review the attached document for a review of the Bobcats’ performance in IBT events.
Season in a nutshell: I saw the Buchholz season as one with several successes — certainly the third-place finish at districts was a strong performance, particularly given that Buchholz didn’t field a 113 or a 285 in the tournament — and a 20-win duals season certainly adds to the conclusion. Buchholz went 5-3 at Weeki Wachee’s solid duals event and brought home the title from the O-Town Showdown in Oviedo and the Bear Duals title at Bartram Trail — and that was a decent one-day event. The Bobcats’ largely-even dual-meet strength worked against them in solid larger IBT events, where a nucleus of superstars with lock-down points often fares better than a group of seven or eight solid kids — in other words, a group like Buchholz had this past year — otherwise would. There are, once again, many returners next year, but sustained off-season work is going to be needed to elevate Buchholz into the rarefied air where Fleming Island and Flagler Palm Coast move. But, especially this past year, there were moments where the Bobcats got close to that place.
2015-16 MVP: From an accomplishment standpoint, no Buchholz wrestler did more than Gant Moore did in 2015-16. Moore bounced around the lineup a bit early on but settled in on 126 pounds — mostly — from the Bear Duals onward. At one point, Moore won 22 straight matches in a string that began at the Hurricane Cup in between Christmas & New Year’s and ended with a loss in the finals of the George Jenkins IBT. During that time, only four of those were by simple decision; the other 18 all had bonus points attached. The only thing we didn’t see was a tournament win, but there were some pretty solid finishes — runnerup at George Jenkins, third at Clay, runnerup at District 1 and fourth at Region 1 in a pretty strong field. Moore will definitely be in play for a state podium finish in 2016-17.
2016-17 captain: The motor and the athleticism have always been there for Khauriee Sullivan, but there weren’t always the full-time opportunities in the lineup and his technique wasn’t always as sharp. This past season brought both into focus, and Sullivan responded well when given that opportunity, moving ahead of kids he’d been behind last season, and even moving ahead, by season’s end, of kids he was behind early on. Sullivan has a lot of tools in the arsenal, and he will be a role model from a physicality standpoint for the Bobcats next year. And next year, Matmen promises to spell his name correctly all season. Small point, but trust me, if people get your name wrong — and a lot of people have missed on mine over the years — it matters to see it be right.
Heaton’s Hero: Remember this name — Christine Goff. She prepped for the girls’ state tournament with a (mostly)-full season (she platooned at 145 and 152 this year), and it was a tough year. She’s competing in the middle weights among boys, which are usually among the deepest and toughest weight classes in wrestling. Goff didn’t have a single contested victory before the girls’ state tournament. Not one of those matches even went a full six minutes. But, the preparation for girls’ state paid off in the end for Goff, who reached the final at 145, losing only to a host Osceola wrestler in that match. When I saw her at Bartram, I was more than a little impressed with her technique. Against middleweight boys, she was at a significant strength disadvantage that most girls at 106/113 and even 120 don’t often have to overcome. She’s going to be a force in the sport, with all of the travel and experience she’s been getting this off-season with Beat the Streets — Northeast Florida. I look forward to the directions she’ll take. Christine Goff is the Heaton’s Hero representative for Buchholz.
Projected returning starters for 2016-17 (with year in school as they’ll be next year): Bryan Perkins (sophomore, wrestled 106 this past year, 0-2 at districts); Andrique Broughton (senior, wrestled 120 this past year, District 1 3rd place, 1 match from 3A states); Moore (senior, wrestled 126/132/138 this past year, District 1 runnerup, Region 1 4th place); Ben Hogan (senior, wrestled 120/126/132/138 this past year, District 1 4th place); Amani Self (sophomore, wrestled 145 this past year, 0-2 at districts); Sullivan (senior, wrestled 152 this past year, District 1 3rd place, 1 match from 3A states); Dylan Lewis (senior, wrestled 182/195 this past year, 0-2 at districts); Aaron Menden (junior, wrestled 195/220 this past year, 1 match from regions); Jose Romero (senior, wrestled 220/285 this past year, 1 match from regions). Also: William Green-Church (sophomore, wrestled 113 this past year, did not compete in post-season); Tracen Ransdell (sophomore, wrestled 138/145 this past year, did not compete in post-season); Goff (wrestled 145/152 this past year, did not compete in post-season).
You can see everything I have on the Lions in 2015-16 here –> LEON
Win/loss record: 1-2 in dual meets, at least based on what I have. We did not get any results from Godby’s Cougar Classic in early February. Please review the attached document for a review of the Lions’ performance in IBT events.
Season in a nutshell: The Lions didn’t travel too often outside of Tallahassee, but still got some excellent competition in for the comparative lack of travel outside the city. Leon was an interesting team to follow, with several kids that excelled at the highest levels and just as many that struggled as varsity wrestlers. Leon did not (at least in the results that I have) finish outside the top 10 in any tournament this season — state included, where the Lions were T-8th — but also did not win any IBTs either, coming closest at districts, with a second-place team effort there. A good chunk of the Lions’ firepower does come back for 2016-17, but there will be several weights that will need to be filled, as Leon never had a competitor that was smaller than 126, and only had a 182 in one competition that I have.
2015-16 MVP: In what should surprise absolutely no one, Arizona State commit Gabe Beyer was the Lions’ MVP, with an unbeaten season this year. In what was north Florida’s strongest weight class, 285, Beyer reigned above everyone else in the field — and that field included state finalists, placers, qualifiers, and region/district champs. He was the only North Florida wrestler to finish the year undefeated. To win districts and regions this year, Beyer needed just 4:43 to fall six different opponents, but he wasn’t all about power (though he certainly had tons of that), showing he could win a tactical battle as well, winning at states through the quarters, semis and final by a combined total of three points. I would have liked to have more time covering Beyer, but we’ll be excited to see what’s next for him. There isn’t a level of success that he doesn’t have the potential to reach.
2016-17 captain: I can only pick one of them (I’m being very consistent about one person for each award), and either of them would serve equally well, but in terms of where each of them stood within north Florida in their respective weight classes, I would say Justin Grant had a slightly better season, and so am going with him as my captain’s pick for Leon next year. Grant only lost to one north Florida wrestler at 152 this year (although Leon’s schedule didn’t give him exposure to 3A kids), and after that loss — sustained in the Capital City final — Grant wouldn’t lose again until he ran into the Julian Ramirez buzzsaw in the state semis. I would have to say that Grant stands as the pre-eminent 152/160 wrestler in all of north Florida, any class, next year. The key may be to see how well he can help lift the inexperienced kids in the Leon lineup. Behind Beyer and the Grant brothers, wrestling at Leon became a big deal these past two years, and hopefully there will be a lot more kids for Justin Grant to help motivate next season.
Heaton’s Hero: Because Leon didn’t compete in Border Wars (the first Northwest team not to do so, that I’ve Season-reviewed), I kept faking myself out about kids having missed an event that they couldn’t have competed in. Given that, the right call for me was somebody that was in the lineup from the very beginning. I had just one win for Chris Crago (again, not having Cougar Classic results makes me have to hedge my bets), since the Lions had only three duals otherwise and there were no forfeits on his calendar. The only time (that I have) where his hand was raised was in Georgia this year, but Crago wrestled in every event but one (I believe not at Wakulla). He did go to regions, as 138, like most District 2 weight classes, was not a full bracket, and his region tournament experience was very short, but he stuck it out. Chris Crago is the Leon representative for the Heaton’s Hero nomination.
Projected returning starters for 2016-17 (with year in school as they’ll be next year): Payton Smith (sophomore, wrestled 126 this past year, District 2 4th place); Crago (junior, wrestled 138/145 this past year, District 2 4th place); Jaquenez Madison (sophomore, wrestled 138/145 this past year, District 2 4th place); Justin Grant (junior, wrestled 152 this past year, District 2 champ, Region 1 champ, 4th at 2A states); Mason Judd (junior, wrestled 160/170 this past year, District 2 4th place); Reynaldo Bourget (senior, wrestled 160/170 this past year, District 2 3rd place); Henry Segura (senior, wrestled 195 this past year, District 2 champ, 1 match from states); Jonathan “JT” Grant (junior, wrestled 220 this past year, District 2 champ, Region 1 champ, 4th at 2A states).
It’s incredible, the paths of success this program has taken under Cy Wainwright’s leadership. And he’s only just getting started. Props.
You can see everything I have on the War Eagles in 2015-16 here –> WAKULLA
Win/loss record: 7-2 in dual meets. Please review the attached document for a review of the War Eagles’ performance in IBT events.
Season in a nutshell: There are a lot of teams in north Florida — most of them, actually — that would love to have had Wakulla’s run of top-10 IBT finishes this year. The War Eagles only finished outside the top 10 once this year, and that was at states. Take away a 9th at Border Wars, where a couple of their aces only wrestled on Friday and a couple others were missing from the event in its entirety, and the War Eagles finished third or higher in every IBT they entered between Capital City and regions. That’s a solid, solid run. This program is long-established, steeped in tradition, and should be well-positioned to reload in 2016-17, which they’ll have to do, particularly between 145 and 182, where graduation losses have the most impact.
2015-16 MVP: I know that Larry Smith has high standards for himself — elite wrestlers always do — but looking objectively at his 2015-16 season, he had a fantastic year. He only wrestled the first day at Border Wars, and also took an earlier-than-hoped-for loss at Capital City, but after that second loss, Smith won 12 matches in a row and would only lose again to state finalists during the course of the season. After a midseason loss in the War Eagles’ roundrobin to Lake Highland’s Noah Castillo, Smith ripped off another string of wins, taking 14 in a row. All 14 were bonus-point wins and all but two were maximum bonus, with a fall over eventual 2A state champ Trae-von O’Neal of Gainesville included. I look forward to seeing him have another shot at a high podium finish — possibly the highest podium finish — to close out his Wakulla career.
2016-17 captain: I mentioned earlier in The Season that two wrestlers were uniquely positioned to benefit from the huge amount of heavyweight talent in north Florida. One, FWB’s Joseph Pearson, we already profiled, but the second is Wakulla’s Jacob Marin, who didn’t make an appearance in the lineup until January. But, once he did, he made an immediate impact, proving himself able to go a full six minutes without giving up a bonus point to Leon MVP Gabe Beyer, on three different occasions, with wins over very solid kids during the course of the year. Marin can’t afford to rest easy, not with two solid 285s able to push him right there in his own room, let alone the competition that Wakulla faces whenever it leaves Crawfordville. We could see the evolution of a Beyer-type career unfold with Marin over the next two seasons.
Heaton’s Hero: There were not a lot of kids in the War Eagle lineup that struggled to find wins in 2015-16. My rule on the Heaton’s Hero is that they start and finish the year in the starting lineup, with maybe a one-tournament miss. While he didn’t compete in the post-season, if he had, Brandon Hunter would have moved on to regions without even having to pick up a victory, as there were only three at districts for the 106 weight class. Hunter struggled early, giving up falls in each of his first seven matches. He didn’t get a contested victory until Beast of the Beach was almost over and there wouldn’t be another one for another month, when Wakulla hosted its own round-robin event. Hunter’s season effectively came to an end at Tricounty, but even with a more experienced wrestler dropping down, he kept battling throughout the regular part of the year. Brandon Hunter is the Heaton’s Hero representative for Wakulla.
Returning starters for 2016-17 (with year in school as they’ll be next year): Smith (senior, wrestled 113/120 this past year, District 2 champ, Region 1 runnerup, 3rd at 1A states); Rolin Malik (junior, wrestled 120/126 this past year, District 2 champ, 1 match short of states); Jonathan Hunter (senior, wrestled 126/132 this past year, District 2 runnerup); Max Owen (senior, wrestled 132 this past year, District 2 champ, Region 1 3rd place); Tyler Cordle (junior, wrestled 160 this past year, 1 match from regions); Andrew Annand (sophomore, wrestled 195 this past year, District 2 runnerup, 1 match from states); Marin (junior, wrestled 285 this past year, District 2 champ, Region 1 runnerup, 1 match from state medal). Also: B. Hunter (sophomore, wrestled 106 this past year, did not compete in post-season); Ashlee Dalton (junior, wrestled 106/113 this past year, did not compete in post-season); Micah Lanier (junior, wrestled 138/145 this past year, did not compete in post-season); Noah Breeden (senior, wrestled 138/145 this past year, did not compete in post-season); Marlon Ng (senior, wrestled 285 this past year, did not compete in post-season); Darius Wilkins (sophomore, wrestled 285 this past year, did not compete in post-season).
I’m still not in a place where I can personally cover signings. Yet.
However, I can report them — when I get them. I will publish one photo from each signing — if I receive them. This is a new thing we’ve done/are doing, starting it with Tracy Davis’ recent signing with Southeastern University.
I know of two other signings that have either already taken place or are about to take place. Flagler Palm Coast senior Evyn Insalaco, a two-time placer in 3A for the Bulldogs, has verbally committed to Southeastern, where he’ll join former FPC teammate Zack Branning on the roster, and Middleburg senior Dylan Rossetti, a two-time 2A state qualifier, will be signing on May 6 to attend St. Andrews University in North Carolina and wrestle for the Knights.
I have photos that I’ve been sent on Facebook, one of which I’d like to use on the site for an update on an earlier post. I haven’t received them via email, which is — to my limited cognition, remember that my technological era was two blips hitting a third blip between them on the TV screen — the only way I can get the photo somewhere where I can use the image to send it to WordPress, which so far is about the top end of my web-hosting “capability.”
If you know how I can get around the needing to email the photo issue, please comment away. Pat me on the head, hand me the Ensure and tell me that the kids will call…eventually.