The Season 2016-17: Gainesville


You can see everything I have on the Hurricanes in 2016-17 here –>  GAINESVILLE

Win/loss record: Unknown in dual meets. Please review the attached document for a summary of the Hurricanes’ performance in IBT events.

Season in a nutshell: Gainesville had a mostly-new lineup this year, but the Hurricanes brought a lot of first-year varsity sophomores and juniors to the table as starters, so there were not the physical-maturity issues that can sometimes happen. However, there was a pretty tough stretch of duals between Columbia’s event and Buchholz’s event just before Christmas, in which Gainesville won just one dual. January was a much more hit-and-miss month, partly because there were lineup movements (and partially because we had some missing results that month), and we didn’t get anything from two of the Hurricanes’ events. Sustaining momentum was trickier down the stretch. Graduation losses don’t hurt Gainesville too much, certainly in comparison to the previous year, but this group will have to work together at getting better.

2016-17 MVP: Like the Hurricanes as a group did, sophomore Scotty Tacinelli was at his strongeest at the beginning of the year, winning 14 of his first 15 matches (only a 2-0 loss marring an otherwise perfect start, in the fifth of five home duals on the first weekend. After that start, though, Tacinelli’s competition ratcheted upward significantly, and wins got harder to come by, as he went 3-6 between the Buchholz duals event just before Christmas and the Trojan Invitational in Tallahassee in mid-January. Tacinelli got the ship righted enough to get into the region tournament at Chiles, but found rough going in two losses to District 1 113s. Tacinelli might be the next Hurricane who can get out to Kissimmee, with some additional work.

2017-18 captain: Can Corey Ryan captain? Look, the kid pulled down a perfect on the ACT. Already, he’s a leader. And, he has enough wrestling to to be an effective leader on the mat as well as in the classroom. He shared the Hurricanes’ deepest run in the region tournament, and was one of four returning district runners-up that Gainesville will have coming into 2017-18. He dropped a weight late in the year, after Cities, and won twice on the back side at regions after a reasonable district performance and some decent regular-season wins. How well the Hurricanes do in 2017-18 will be determined by how well their experienced kids — Ryan most definitely included — carry expectations next year.

Heaton’s Hero: Junior Dishant Rami had two falls in his first weekend as a varsity starter for the Hurricanes. Not a bad way to start. However, unless there were wins at West Port or Villages (there may very well have been) there would not be another contested win until districts, when Rami had to win one match just to keep his season going for another week. Rami was able to get that win — with at least 22 losses in between, most if not all of those by fall and go another week. It would have been easy for Rami to pack it in, but he didn’t, and for that, Dishant Rami is the Heaton’s Hero for Gainesville.

Projected returning starters for 2017-18 (with year in school as they’ll be next year): Nathan Fox (senior, 106, district runnerup, 2-2 at regions); Tacinelli (junior, 113, district runnerup, 1-2 at regions); Nicholas Hanson (sophomore, 120, district 4th, 0-2 at regions); Rami (senior, 132, district 4th, 0-2 at regions); Josh Cohn (sophomore, 138, 1 match from regions); Ryan (senior, 160, district runnerup, 2-2 at regions); Justin Harbilas (senior, 170, district 4th, 0-2 at regions); Bronson Carter (junior, 182, district 4th, 0-2 at regions); Donnie Wilburn (senior, 285, district runnerup, 1-2 at regions). Also: Pierre Toney (senior, 182, did not compete in post-season); Alex Anzivino (senior, 220, did not compete in post-season).


Davis Officially Signs With SEU

Davis photo
Fleming Island senior Jason Davis (center) poses with parents Mike and Kim during Friday’s signing ceremony, in which Davis — the 3A state champion for the Golden Eagles at 182 pounds — signed his letter of intent to attend Southeastern University in Lakeland and wrestle for the Fire starting in the 2017-17 season (photo by LaToya Smenda).

Orlando Sentinel’s All-Area Team

Can be found here. No intersection with our area, just thought you would want to see it.


Dates Needed

The 2017-18 Matmen master schedule is underway. All it needs is your dates. On the main page of both sites.


The Season 2016-17: Ft Walton Beach


You can see everything I have on the Vikings in 2016-17 here –>  FT WALTON BEACH

Win/loss record: 7-15 in dual meets. Please review the attached document for a summary of the Vikings’ performance in IBT events.

Season in a nutshell: Ft Walton Beach was a team that I thought would enjoy more success this year; as it turned out, the Vikings just had to delay that success a little bit. I had thought dual meets would be a strength, and they were a source of some issue, as the Vikings had several solid kids but were very inexperienced almost everywhere else. However, it has to be pointed out that Ft Walton Beach was the highest-finishing team out of District 1 at states, finishing tied for 19th. A lot of coaches will tell you that’s what counts. I think it does count for something, particularly when it was three kids that all contributed something to that finish.

2016-17 MVP: The unquestioned leader of the team was senior Joseph Pearson, and it was clear that it was a state podium-or-bust kind of season for Pearson, whose losses along the way in the regular season came against state-finalist level competition. After taking his seventh loss of the year midway through Deep South Bayou Duals, Pearson won 12 of his next 13 matches, and earned a title at Mountain Brook, AL’s invitational event, with a second at the very solid Southeastern Pools Invitational hosted by Alabama power Thompson. That got him ready for his final run through the Florida post-season, in which Pearson racked up district and region titles, with his only loss in the post-season coming against Riverdale champion Cole Schneider, and everybody that faced Schneider this year lost, and usually quickly.

2017-18 captain: A 1-5 start didn’t exactly predict good things would happen for Nick Woodward‘s season, but it wasn’t long after that start that Woodward ripped off 10 victories in a row. He hit something of a mid-season lull in January, due to the competition he was facing, but that competition prepped Woodward for the post-season run, in which he was able to overcome a semifinal loss at districts to finish third and a first-round loss to get out to states, taking fourth at regions. At Kissimmee, despite being a fourth-place region finisher, he was just one match from the medals. That should be a good springboard into 2017-18.

Heaton’s Hero: With new starters coming in at 106 and 113, plus year-over-year growth, junior Colwyn Mason moved up to 120 this year and was a fixture in the lineup. The Vikings’ in-season competition takes FWB all over the South (three trips to Alabama and a trip to Louisiana, as well as Border Wars, Beast and Wakulla Duals). Mason had a stretch where he took 11 losses in a row. Half of his victories were via forfeit, but Mason kept on battling, collecting 42 matches over the course of the year. Success may have been tough to come by, but Mason persevered, and for that, he is the Heaton’s Hero for Ft Walton Beach.

Projected returning starters for 2017-18 (with year in school as they’ll be next year): Britain Mason (sophomore, 106, 0-2 at districts); Sterling Glover (senior, 113, 1 match from regions); Colwyn Mason (senior, 120, 0-2 at districts); Kiko Hamner (sophomore, 126, 0-2 at districts); Carlos Bogan (junior, 145, 1 match from regions); Eddie Alexis (sophomore, 152, 0-2 at districts); Connor Cleveland (senior, 160, district 4th, 1-2 at regions); Woodward (senior, 195, district 3rd, region 4th, 1 match from state medal). Also: Leah Cuebas (sophomore, 106, did not compete in post-season); Corban Ferguson (sophomore, 160, did not compete in post-season); Jeremiah Gudinez (senior, 195, did not compete in post-season).


Lots Of Updates

On the Offseason and the Clubs page. There need to be a lot more club updates than the ones I’ve already put on today. Check them out! If your club isn’t there, I need either some info or updated info. If your club is there, but it looks like I have season info, I need off-season info.

I have two flyers for the 2017-18 schedule as well. I guess I should go ahead and put those on a new schedule page.

There is, really, no off-season.


The Season 2016-17: Interlachen


You can see everything I have on the Rams in 2016-17 here –>  INTERLACHEN

Win/loss record: 2-27 in dual meets. Please review the attached document for a summary of the Rams’ performance in IBT events.

Season in a nutshell: With at most six wrestlers ever appearing in the varsity lineup, dual meets were always going to be a difficult proposition for Interlachen. Also, with most of last year’s star power in the Hastings boys having graduated, we sort of wondered how things might be for the Rams this year. Well, they had a couple of solid performances during the course of the year, but the numbers issue continues. One upside is that only one wrestler that saw any time this year will graduate. But the numbers issue, continues.

2016-17 MVP: One of the reasons that there was success to be found in the Interlachen season was the emergence of first-year transfer starter Corey Adkins, who won his first 13 matches for the Rams and didn’t take a loss until the second week of January. Adkins made finals at the Ed Kilpatrick Classic and had solid performances in the two larger duals tournaments at Belleview and Crystal River. Adkins was Interlachen’s lone finalist representative in the District 5 finals, and while he didn’t make an appearance at Region 2 — I think he would have had a solid shot at Saturday at least — a states appearance in 2017-18 is by no means a long shot.

2017-18 captain: As it turned out at districts, although there were a couple of kids with better resumes than Cade Mason‘s in the Rams’ lineup, but it was Mason that was the only Interlachen wrestler to hit the mats at Region 2, where he got three matches on Friday, with a win by fall in consi round 1. Although Mason had some struggles this year, notably at the middleweight-loaded Diamondback Duals, he did go 4-0 at Crystal River’s duals event, and rallied from a first-round loss to take third at districts. Next year will be Mason’s senior year, and along with Adkins, a lot of leadership will be needed.

Heaton’s Hero: We didn’t see Dalton Cady at districts — it’s possible that among his two losses at Crystal River was a loss by injury-default — but before that Cady was a regular fixture in the Interlachen lineup in the freshman season, wrestling near the middle of the weight classes. That can be tricky for new freshmen, who are at experience and strength disadvantages compared to older opponents, but Cady kept battling throughout the regular season, and for that, Dalton Cady is the Heaton’s Hero for Interlachen.

Projected returning starters for 2017-18 (with year in school as they’ll be next year): Mason (senior, 138, district 3rd, 1-2 at regions); Adkins (senior, 195, district runnerup, did not compete at regions). Also: Cady (sophomore, 132, did not compete in post-season); Julian Rivera (junior, 182, did not compete in post-season).


The Season 2016-17: Episcopal


You can see everything I have on the Eagles in 2016-17 here –>  EPISCOPAL

Win/loss record: 1-14 in dual meets. Please review the attached document for a summary of the Eagles’ performance in IBT events.

Season in a nutshell: In December, we saw the Eagles with three starters in their lineup, and a third of their duals were wrestled with those three, with predictable results. The lineup was augmented substantially in January, with the return of one key starter and a few new ones, most of them freshmen, and so at Viper Duals the Eagles were somewhat competitive in a duals environment, even though their inexperience still led to mostly losses. But Episcopal’s firepower at a couple of weights and solid depth at two others helped during the Eagle post-season tournament run, when it finished in the top 10 at Clay for Region 1 and tied for 25th at states this year. Can’t stress this enough — the coaches at Episcopal know how to win. They just need a full team next.

2016-17 MVP: There’s never been any question of how talented freshman Kyle Hopkins is on the wrestling mat. This year, after a late start that didn’t see him in the lineup until Viper Duals in mid-January, Hopkins’ focus got to the level where his talent was, and the result was a tournament run in which he won districts, reached the Region 1 final and then got to the state semis, knocking off one of the state’s top-ranked wrestlers in the weight class, not once but twice, en route to taking third place. Hopkins showed himself very capable of taking direction, of learning from losses, and keeping his head even in really tight situations. As much as we saw this year, it’s hard to remember that Hopkins is still only a freshman. As the wise old philosopher once said, in a paraphrase, he’s only just getting started on showing us — and most importantly himself — what he can do on the mats.

2017-18 captain: This has been Reid Hampton‘s third year in seeing time in a varsity role, and you can’t overlook that kind of experience, particularly on a team that, next year, will not have a returning senior for the first time in a while. Hampton had a quiet sort of season in the background of the star power of Hopkins and 2017 graduate Christian Rickey, but I could see him starting to trust his instincts and his technique a bit more this year. It took a while, all the way up until Clay’s Rotary tournament, but the quick falls started going away and the one-sided wins started increasing. Some strength work, and Hampton could be somebody to watch next year.

Heaton’s Hero: We did not see a lot of Cooper Helton this year, but of the next wave of Eagle wrestlers that will join Hopkins and Hampton as sophomore returners in 2017-18, we saw the most of Helton, who got his first looks at the varsity at Bierbaum and was one of the three Episcopal middles that saw time at Viper Duals in mid-January, where he got his only contested victory of the season. Helton later went on to make it out of districts, getting a tough draw at Region 1. He was inexperienced this year, but a steady diet of off-season work would help get him better, and it was good to see him and his fellow freshmen join the lineup in January. Cooper Helton is the Heaton’s Hero for Episcopal.

Projected returning starters for 2017-18 (with year in school as they’ll be next year): Hopkins (sophomore, 113, district champ, region runnerup, state 3rd); Hampton (sophomore, 126, district runnerup, 1-2 at regions); Cooper Helton (sophomore, 132, district 3rd, 0-2 at regions); Nial Murphy (sophomore, 160, 0-2 at districts); Freddy Dollison (junior, 220, 1 match from regions). Also: Robert Jackson (sophomore, 138, did not compete in post-season); Kaiman Clark (freshman, 145, did not compete in post-season).


The Season 2016-17: Raines


You can see everything I have on the Vikings in 2016-17 here –>  RAINES

Win/loss record: 3-17 in dual meets. Please review the attached document for a summary of the Vikings’ performance in IBT events.

Season in a nutshell: Five kids. Two Gateway Conference champions. Four region qualifiers, one of them a state qualifier. It’s hard to do much better as a small, urban, under-resourced program than what Raines did with its group of five kids this year. Dual meet results were never really the point, what with nine weights going unfilled all season. The point was about getting those five kids ready for the post-season, and four of them did have pretty deep runs in that post-season. The point is also getting those five kids ready for manhood, and that’s always the bigger win. Raines loses just one senior from this year’s team, and the hope here is — as it always is, particularly for the Vikings, given what they’ve got and who they’ve got coaching — for more numbers and more young men wanting to get ready for something more for themselves.

2016-17 MVP: Looking objectively, a lot of kids would take a season that included a district runnerup finish, a state qualification, and a win at the state tournament. A lot of kids don’t have the same standards set for themselves that Jaquan English has set for himself. At either 126 or 132, English was among the area’s best, but he wants to remove the word “among” from the equation. English did have a 16-match win streak that started in round 2 of the 1A Championships dual tournament at Clay and didn’t end until Clay’s Rotary tournament, and had another run where he won 16 of 17 matches, with the only loss at Somerset Scuffle.

2017-18 captain: While English will provide plenty of leadership, it will be difficult to overlook the role that Alonzo Davis could very well play on the Raines team of 2017-18 as well. Davis was a very pleasant surprise, holding down a middle-of-the-lineup roster spot. He got out to a 10-0 start and was 20-4 (by my backwards counting based on final records) after Somerset Scuffle, which is a pretty nice half of a season. As the competition level increased from that point forward, things got more difficult, but he wound up just being one takedown away from wrestling for a state berth. All in all, a very solid year.

Heaton’s Hero: It’s hard to think of a wrestler with 20+ wins in Heaton’s Hero territory, but I look at the resume of kids that wrestled against Jevonte Hagan this year and it’s pretty considerable. State finalists. State qualifiers. NHSCA All-Americans. It’s a very deep, very competitive resume. And Hagan persevered through it, knocking out 45 matches this year. He was the only Raines wrestler with less than a .500 record, but given the competition list, it would have been difficult to pull out many more wins — and yet, Hagan earned a couple of revenge wins against competitors to whom he’d previously lost. Jevonte Hagan is the Heaton’s Hero for Raines.

Projected returning starters for 2017-18 (with year in school as they’ll be next year): English (senior, 126, district runnerup, region 4th, 1-2 at states); Davis (senior, 152, district 3rd, 2-2 at regions); Hagan (senior, 220, district runnerup, 1-2 at regions); Jamon Goodwine (sophomore, 285, district 3rd, 2-2 at regions).


The Season 2016-17: North Florida Christian


You can see everything I have on the Eagles in 2016-17 here –>  NORTH FLORIDA CHRISTIAN

Win/loss record: Unknown in dual meets (from a team standpoint only; we extrapolated individual records at the Gulf Coast Slam from the records provided to the 1A-District 2 host). Please review the attached document for a summary of the Eagles’ performance in IBT events.

Season in a nutshell: Given how the season wound up for the Eagles, I can only wonder what the missed matches at Seminole Wrestling Classic, Capital City and Beast of the Beach would have done for the small cadre of NFCS kids. But the Eagles didn’t take to the mats until January and yet enjoyed a fair amount of success nonetheless. Dual-meet events weren’t ever going to be an NFC forte, with just five wrestlers on the roster and only senior Jonathan Wainwright in every event. But in tournaments, they could shine a bit more, as the Eagles were tied for 11th at regions (31 teams in the field) and finished in the top half of the Class 1A state field. Next season will be interesting, though, as 60% of the roster graduates in May.

2016-17 MVP: I learned that from Coach Wainwright that, for a while, David Lunn didn’t intend to come back to the mats for his senior season after a solid football year in the fall. But Lunn did return, starting with the Flagler Duals. His involvement was pretty low key early on — half an event’s worth of duals at Flagler and just one match (based on the records provided at District 2) at Gulf Coast, but he cranked things up from there, placing at Clay’s Rotary tournament and then going 9-0 at the North Bay Haven Bash. He lost his first match at districts, but came back to place third, not losing again until the region finals. At states, Lunn made the semifinals, going on to place fourth. So that’s four podium appearances in a little over a month. Not a bad way to close out a senior year that, almost, didn’t happen.

2017-18 captain: By default, to some extent, this position goes to multi-year returning starter Landon Kelly. Kelly was the last of the Eagles to make an appearance in the lineup, coming out for the North Bay Haven Bash in the final weekend. He did have one win by fall at districts, which was enough to get Kelly — who had a bit of a growth spurt from last year to this, going from 106 to 132 — into regions. Assuming that the program continues full-steam into the 2017-18 season, Kelly has the most returning experience in that program.

Heaton’s Hero: You don’t see a lot of first-year varsity seniors come out for teams of this size, but that was Landon Albritton this year. Early on (that is to say, through the first couple of weeks) Albritton enjoyed a little bit of success, winning four matches in a row between the end of Battle on the Border and the beginning of Flagler Duals, and going 8-6. But things went sideways a bit as the season wore on, as Albritton went 7-16 the rest of the way. Nevertheless, he persevered, staying on the team through the end, even getting to regions at Clay. It was a two-match exit there, but he could have just as easily stayed home. That determination makes Landon Albritton the Heaton’s Hero for North Florida Christian.

Projected returning starters for 2017-18 (with year in school as they’ll be next year): Harrison Green (8th, 106, district 4th, 0-2 at regions); Kelly (junior, 132, district 4th, 0-2 at regions).