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#TheSeason2019-20: Palatka

Hey guys!

The regular season is over. But the work continues. For you and for us.

We are bringing back, for its sixth year, #TheSeason. We didn’t do these first year, but have ever since. It’s something nobody else does. We compile all season records and write a wrapup for each team.

Our second team was randomly selected and Palatka was the team chosen out of 1A-District 5.

PALATKA

You can see everything I have on the Panthers in 2019-20 here –> PALATKA 

Win/loss record: 10-18 in dual meets. Please review the attached document for a summary of the Panthers’ performance in IBT events.

PALATKA LOGOSeason in a nutshell: The Panthers began the season at Terry Parker, where they were second out of 12 teams on December 6-7. The following weekend, Palatka struggled a bit more, facing three much bigger programs at Buchholz’s one-day Bobcat Holiday Duals, where the Panthers were 1-4 on the 14th. That was also Palatka’s record at the one-day St Johns River Conference duals tournament on the 18th. After breaking for the holidays, Palatka was 2-3 in the duals portion of Fleming Island’s Keystone Memorial tournament on January 3, coming back the next day to finish T-7th in the IBT portion. The Panthers were just short of qualifying for region duals as a team, taking third in the District 5 tournament, which they hosted. After a couple of weeks off, and three midweek dual wins, Palatka then struggled at Seabreeze’s Hollingsworth Duals, going 0-5 on the day on January 25. But the Panthers closed more solidly, taking second at the 1A-District 5 traditional tournament, then finishing T-12th at the Region 2 tournament at Palm Bay. Palatka sent one wrestler to states after qualifying to the region round every wrestler it sent to districts. The Panthers will have up to seven starters returning in 2020-21, graduating three wrestlers with region (two with prior state) experience.

Key returners (15+ matches this past season or post-season experience) for 2020-21 (with year in school as they’ll be next year): Mikade Harvey (sophomore, 28-15 at 106, district champion, 2-2 at regions); Brandon Lewis (junior, 37-17 at 132, district champ, 1 match from states); Delton (DJ) Nealy (senior, 21-13 at 138, district runnerup, 1-2 at regions); Adaris Medina (junior, 17-22 at 145, district 3rd, 0-2 at regions); Brady Weaver (sophomore, 6-25 at 152/160, did not compete in post-season traditionals); Samuel Lafferty (sophomore, 12-25 at 160, district 3rd, 1-2 at regions); Jack Tilton (junior, 22-13, district champ, 1-2 at regions).

Graduation losses (15+ matches this past season or post-season experience) from this year’s team: Ontarriyus Reid (37-14 at 120, district runnerup, 1 match from states); Drevon Wallace (39-16 at 126, district champ, region 4th, 0-2 at states); Marlon Williams (22-13 at 285, district runnerup, 1-2 at regions).

2019-20 MVP: As Palatka’s lone state representative this year, senior Drevon Wallace was the clear choice as team MVP this year. Wallace led the team in wins this season (39) in qualifying for states for the second time. He won at Terry Parker and had a 7-3 tournament (both days) at Keystone, where he placed fifth in the IBT. After an opening-round loss there, Wallace won 18 matches in a row in a streak that extended all the way until the second day at Wakulla, where he finished sixth (placed sixth at Clay as well. Wallace was one of Palatka’s district champs, and was the only Panther to get to the medal round, where he placed fourth.

2020-21 captain: It’s going to be a different team with the senior class gone, and the Panthers will have to look to new leadership. While there’s a couple of candidates in play, the one with the most success thus far on the mat will be current sophomore Brandon Lewis, who had 37 wins this past year for Palatka. Lewis had struggles in the first half of the year, even falling below .500 four different times, but after going 10-10 through January 3, he was 27-7 afterward, with an 11-match win streak in January. Lewis was second at Arlington Optimist, 4-1 at Hollingsworth Duals and Wakulla (where he was third), and won a district title for the Panthers this past year.

Zander Laurin Warrior: It’s not always the easiest thing to be a freshman upper-weight wrestler, particularly one that gets pushed into a starting role and needs to pick up points for a short-handed team, but that was freshman Samuel Lafferty‘s role on the team this year. After a 1-6 start, and up a weight to boot, Lafferty would find some footing, but it wasn’t ever the surest footing, as the contested wins were never frequent in coming, but he did pick up pins at Clay and districts as well as earlier on. For meeting the challenge of upper-weight HS varsity wrestling, Samuel Lafferty is the Zander Laurin Warrior for Palatka.

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