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#TheSeason2018-19: Keystone Heights

Welcome back to our annual series of season wrap-up posts, which we cleverly titled as “The Season (2018-19),” because we’re creative like that. Your donation dollars at work, folks.

Teams are being selected on a random basis. Our second installment out of 1A-District 5, and 13th overall, is Keystone Heights, which was a full-fledged FHSAA squad this past year.

Each The Season post will have the same content as they’ve had for the past five seasons.

KEYSTONE HEIGHTS

KHS new

You can see everything I have on the Indians in 2018-19 here –>  KEYSTONE HEIGHTS

Win/loss record: 3-27 in dual meets. Please review the attached document for a summary of the Indians’ performance in IBT events.

Season in a nutshell: After competing and finishing 16th at the Westside Kiwanis the first weekend, Keystone Heights were off for a couple of weeks until Buchholz’s Bobcat Holiday Duals just before Christmas. With only a few weights covered, dual success was tough to find there. In fact, there would not be any team contested wins until the Parker Duals in late January. In between times, the Indians met eight opponents at the USMC Duals, also hosted by Terry Parker, in mid-January, plus a couple of midweek duals along the way. At Parker Duals, the Indians finally got that contested win with a dual victory over Paxon and added a second at regular season’s end with a dual win over Bradford. For all that, though, Keystone had enough starters who’d gotten enough bruises in duals to score a third-place team finish at the District 5 traditional tournament, with one wrestler reaching the second day at the Region 2 tournament. All seven Indian wrestlers that competed in the post-season this past year have eligibility to return next year.

Key returners (15+ matches this past season or post-season experience) for 2019-20 (with year in school as they’ll be next year): Jason Bowden (freshman, 21-14 at 106, district runnerup, 1-2 at regions); Isabella Hanna (senior, 10-19 at 126, 2-2 at girls’ state meet, district 4th, did not compete at regions); Sam Ulsch (freshman, 8-10 at 132, 1 match short of regions); Dylan Page (sophomore, 18-17 at 145, district runnerup, 0-2 at regions); Caleb Crawford (sophomore, 18-17 at 152, district runnerup, 0-2 at regions); Steven Reinhart (freshman, 5-21 at 170, district runnerup, 0-2 at regions); Gabe Adams (junior, 9-13 at 195, district runnerup, 0-2 at regions).

Graduation losses (15+ matches this past season or post-season experience) from this year’s team: None.

2018-19 MVP: Eighth-grader Jason Bowden came in and made a decent impact at 106 for the Indians, as the only Keystone Heights competitor to make it to the second day of a very difficult region tournament. There were some valleys to go along with the peaks, which included win streaks of five and six along the way, with the five-match win streak at Bobcat Holiday Dualss and the six-match streak starting at Parker Duals and continuing into the district tournament. Bowden will still have some work to do into his high school years, but a 21-win eighth-grade season at the varsity level is a pretty solid start.

2019-20 captain: I don’t lightly choose junior Isabella Hanna to be a captain for the Indians next year (she is, by my reckoning, the first female wrestler to earn a captaincy in this space). Hanna (126) is the lone senior coming back to a team that needs to fill out its lineup and continues to need to work steadily toward getting better. The Indians need seniors, and Hanna fills the bill on that front, but she also was a capable competitor this past season, going 2-2 at girls’ state (after seeing the top seed in the very first round). Joining the FHSAA was a big step for the Indians. Having a wrestler like Hanna, who competed in both the girls’ state meet and the FHSAA post-season series, is a big deal.

Heaton’s Hero: After competing the first weekend at Westside Kiwanis, we didn’t see eighth-grader Samuel Ulsch (132) again until mid-January. Losing six weeks to the regular season is a big chunk of season, particularly so for a middle-schooler. Ulsch did pick up contested wins once he came back to the lineup, but he was the only wrestler in the district who wound up not being able to move on to the region tournament. Nevertheless, despite being an eighth-grader trying to compete in what’s essentially a middleweight, Ulsch took a shot at it, and that’s what makes Samuel Ulsch the Heaton’s Hero for Keystone Heights.

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