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 2A-Region 1 team champion Matanzas.
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.
You can see everything I have on the Pirates in 2017-18 here –> MATANZAS
Win/loss record: 18-8 in dual meets. Please review the attached document for a summary of the Pirates’ performance in IBT events.
Season in a nutshell: We thought the Pirates could have a good season this past winter, but I don’t know if anyone expected — outside the Matanzas room itself — this much good this season. It started with a 5-0 effort at home the first weekend at Matanzas Duals and picked up some more momentum with a runnerup effort in the 2A-District 4 duals. After a couple of near-miss losses, Matanzas closed out the Nutter Duals with a 3-2 record and only lost to Fleming Island at the St Johns River Conference duals tournament. While Matanzas finished 10th at Capital City, dual finishes were clearly ahead of IBT ones, but that would change once the calendar clicked over to 2018. Although there were a couple of double-digit regular-season dual losses, the Pirates would finish second at region duals — falling by just a point in the final — and the IBT finishes skyrocketed, starting with a seventh at Flagler Rotary in late January, a sixth at the girls’ state tournament the first weekend of February, and then wins at both 2A-District 4 and 2A-Region 1, followed up by a top-15 finish at states. Two state qualifiers, including one champion, will not return, but Matanzas has a massive amount of returners coming back, and should be a major player in the area in 2018-19, with potentially a top-five team shot at states.
Key returners (15+ matches this past season or post-season experience) for 2018-19 (with year in school as they’ll be next year): Shaun Culbreth (junior, 39-12 at 106, district champ, region 4th, 1 match from state medal); Ethan Goodman (junior, 28-18 at 113, district runnerup, 2-2 at regions); Riley White (sophomore, 10-8 at 113, 4th at girls’ state meet); Josh Bower (senior, 26-13 at 120, district runnerup, region runnerup, 1-2 at states); MaKayla Wilder (senior, 9-4 at 120, 4th at girls’ state meet); Lawrence Russo (senior, 40-9 at 132, district champ, region runnerup, 1-2 at states); Ian Eckert (senior, 26-16 at 138, district runnerup, region 3rd, 0-2 at states); Griffin Wilder (junior, 14-8 at 138, did not compete at post-season); Angelina Bermudez (junior, 9-6 at 145, 4th at girls’ state meet); Amedeo Pieroni (sophomore, 3-12 at 152, 0-2 at districts); Morgan Morrison (sophomore, 6-6 at 152, 1-2 at girls’ state meet); Sean LeBeau (sophomore, 6-11 at 160, did not compete in post-season); Quenteen Robinson (junior, 5-5 at 160, district runnerup, 1 match short of states); Jon Bradford (senior, 6-18 at 160/170, did not compete in post-season); Sam Russo (sophomore, 17-14 at 170, district runnerup, 1-2 at regions); Tyrel Scheltz (senior, 14-19 at 182, district 4th, 1-2 at regions); Christian Zaborowski (senior, 11-14 at 195, district 3rd, 1-2 at regions); Cecil Bermudez (senior, 19-22 at 285, district runnerup, 1-2 at regions).
Graduation losses from this year’s team: Nick Lipka (16-10 at 120, did not compete in post-season); Stone White (28-13 at 126, district champ, region runnerup, 0-2 at states); Tyrone Jones (48-3 at 145, district champ, region champ, state champion); Logan Wells (17-16 at 220, district 4th, 0-2 at regions).
2017-18 MVP: It was a surprise to see Tyrone Jones in Matanzas colors this year, and Jones didn’t skip much of a beat in coming over from Flagler Palm Coast. With a sizable assist from his new school, Jones did the work necessary to regain eligibility. After a 4-0 start, Jones took two of his three losses at Capital City Classic, finishing fourth there. After Cap City, Jones won 19 straight matches before falling to fellow state champion and former teammate Avery Holder at the #BattleForFlagler. From there, Jones dominated the scene, with five straight IBT titles, first at Flagler Rotary, then Clay Rotary, districts, regions and state, winning 21 matches in a row. Included in that run were 11 pins, a tech fall and two majors — one of those over a defending state champion. It was an incredible run, one that might get him into a college program — hopefully.
2018-19 captain: Junior Lawrence Russo wasn’t going to sneak up on anyone this year after the sensational sophomore year he had in 2016-17. Nevertheless, Russo still pulled a 40-win season together, including 22 of 23 matches between Capital City in the second week of December and the Flagler Rotary toward the end of January. Five of Russo’s nine losses for the season came in February and March, all against fellow state qualifiers (so, too, did the earlier four). Included in those 40 wins were 24 falls over the course of the year, and the two years he’s had with state experience will stand the Pirates in good stead.
Heaton’s Hero: Most of the Pirates, as might be guessed, found a solid amount of successes this past year. Team titles and individual ones would be included on that list. There weren’t a lot of weights where Matanzas consistently struggled as a group, but the one that maybe stands out was 152, where freshman Amedeo Pieroni did have a hard time finding wins this year. Pieroni had just one contested win — according to my records — and that was the first week of the season, at the Matanzas Duals. He had a pair of forfeit victories at St Johns River as well, but other than that it was losses. Pieroni wasn’t in the lineup much after St Johns River, with just a dual against Atlantic and districts in the mix. But he was back for the post-season, and that matters, as he did his best to give the Pirates a chance. For that, Amedeo “AJ” Pieroni is the Heaton’s Hero for Matanzas.
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