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The Season 2017-18: Interlachen

Welcome back to our annual series of season wrap-up posts, which we cleverly titled as “The Season (20xx-xx).” Your donation dollars at work, folks.

This year, we’re not following a rotation scheme. We’re keeping it a bit more random this go-round. Using a highly scientific line of inquiry for the first change, our next installment in the series is Interlachen, our second team out of 1A-Region 2.

Each The Season post will have the same content as they’ve had for the past four seasons. At the request of a reader last season, we will note the accomplishments of each team’s senior class that will be moving on to new goals in May or June.

INTERLACHEN

You can see everything I have on the Rams in 2017-18 here –>  INTERLACHEN

Win/loss record: 1-23 in dual meets (up through the TD Talbott Legion tournament at Villages, in which the Rams combined with Leesburg in order to compete more fully). Please review the attached document for a summary of the Rams’ performance in IBT events.

Season in a nutshell: Interlachen’s first competition of the season was in the inaugural 1A-District 5 duals tournament, where the Rams’ short-handed team resulted in a pair of dual losses but several individual wins. That short-handed team (just five wrestlers) meant, from a team standpoint, eight dual losses at Buchholz’s Bobcat Holiday Duals, but the Rams again won several individual matches in all but two of those. After Bobcat, however, Interlachen only ever had at most two wrestlers competing. Still, though, the Rams had a dual win (of sorts, a forfeit win secured at Gainesville’s Category V Duals). There would not be any others, though, although the Rams lost by just one point to Keystone Heights and just six to Leesburg in a quad meet on February 3. With only two wrestlers in January onward, IBT performances were difficult, as Interlachen was seventh at the Commander Invitational, fourth at 1A-District 5, and 21st at 1A-Region 2, with one state qualifier. Of the two that finished the season, just one will return, though perhaps the others that wrestled at Buchholz — if not seniors — may come back also.

Key returners (15+ matches this past season or post-season experience) for 2018-19 (with year in school as they’ll be next year): Elijah Miller (senior, 9-16 at 126, district runnerup, 0-2 at regions).

Graduation losses (15+ matches this past season or post-season experience) from this year’s team: Cade Mason (25-14 at 138, district champ, region 4th, 0-2 at states).

2017-18 MVP: Cade Mason has been a four-year starter for Interlachen and has been the Rams’ linchpin to its prior successes, but had not been able to get past the region tournament in his previous three attempts. Although Mason did occasionally have struggles with some of his stronger competition this season, he won every match that he should have won, and that is a solid mental hurdle to overcome. Toward the end of the season, Mason won 10 of 11 matches, starting just after the Commander Invitational at Ed White and running through districts, with the only loss coming at Talbott. Mason won the District 5 title, losing only at the region level to a pair of top-six state-ranked wrestlers. His fall over Villages in the consi semis secured his spot at states at long last, and Mason nearly got third, falling by a 10-9 decision. It was a quick day at states on Friday, but Mason achieved what few kids do — being among the final 16 kids in the draw.

2018-19 captain & Heaton’s Hero: Elijah Miller was a first-year wrestler out this year, and normally first-year kids are going to struggle — particularly in smaller rooms like Interlachen’s. Prior to January, Miller had just one contested victory, but the wins started to come in when the experience picked up, and the result was a runnerup finish at districts. Miller then went 10-8 in the first round at the Region 2 tournament, but then had to injury-default out of the consolation rounds. Next year, Miller will be the linchpin, perhaps to build a new Rams program. He made it through the entirety of the season, so for that, he will be the team captain and Heaton’s Hero for Interlachen.

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