(EDITOR’S NOTE: Updated to reflect Williams’ correct year in school)
The work continues. 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 fifth team was randomly selected and Ft Walton Beach was the team chosen out of 2A-District 1.
FT WALTON BEACH
You can see everything I have on the Vikings in 2019-20 here –> FT WALTON BEACH
Win/loss record: 6-7 in dual meets. Please review the attached document for a summary of the Vikings’ performance in IBT events.
Season in a nutshell: The Vikings focused primarily on weekend tournaments, mostly, to prepare themselves for the post-season, beginning with a mid-pack finish (6th out of 12 teams) at Florida High’s Cam Brown Classic on December 6-7 and a 14th in the Alabama-based Swede Umbach Invitational (out of 23 teams) on the 13th and 14th before hosting Beast on the Beach, a two-day duals tournament on the 20th and 21st. There, the Vikings were eighth with a 4-5 record. After breaking for the holidays, Ft Walton Beach began January with the 2A-District 1 duals tournament on the 7th, where the Vikings won two preliminary rounds to place second and reach the Region 1 quarters. That weekend, FWB was eighth at the nine-team Southeastern Pools in Alabama. After falling in the quarters to Lincoln, the Vikings rallied with back-to-back runnerup IBT finishes at Smiths Station (ALA) and Wakulla, and then wrapped up the regular season with a mid-pack finish (13th out of 24 teams) at Lake Gibson’s Braves Invitational on February 7-8. Ft Walton Beach then followed up their runnerup district duals effort with another runnerup finish in the traditional district tournament, then jumped into the top five at Region 1, qualifying out four for states (plus two more right on the doorstep). The Vikings were T-28th at states, with one medalist. Ft Walton Beach will graduate four key starters from this year, but could return as many as 10 wrestlers to next year’s team, including one returning state qualifier.
Key returners (15+ matches this past season or post-season experience) for 2020-21 (with year in school as they’ll be next year): Reid Gannon (senior, 13-25 at 106, district runnerup, 1-2 at regions); Brandon Mallin (senior, 35-17 at 120, district runnerup, region runnerup, 1-2 at states); Weston Burbidge (senior, 35-19 at 126, district 4th, 1 match from states); Darius Brundidge (sophomore, 4-21 at 132, district 4th, 0-2 at regions); Max Vosburgh (senior, 2-13 at 132, did not compete in post-season traditionals); Martin Muniz (senior, 12-18 at 138, district 3rd, 0-2 at regions); Malachi Santiago (senior, 31-18 at 145, district runnerup, 2-2 at regions); Caleb Tourgee (senior, 28-12 at 160, district runnerup, 1-2 at regions); Carter Tobik (sophomore, 10-29 at 170, 1 match from regions); Spencer Mackenzie (junior, 23-23 at 285, district 4th, 1-2 at regions).
Graduation losses (15+ matches this past season or post-season experience) from this year’s team: Jean Maldonaldo (34-9 at 152, district champ, 1 match from states); Patrick Adams (34-18 at 182, district champ, region 4th, 0-2 at states); Eddie Alexis (31-17 at 195, district 3rd, region 3rd, 0-2 at states); Kaleb Williams (35-12 at 220, district runnerup, region champ, state 6th).
2019-20 MVP: Senior Kaleb Williams was the Vikings’ lone state medalist, but that was just the end result of a season that had plenty of superlatives to it. After losing his first match, Williams took six in a row to finish second at Cam Brown at 195, then — after missing Swede Umbach — competed the rest of the year at 220, starting with a 7-1 effort at Beast of the Beach. Williams bonus-pointed through district duals and then took a third at Southeastern Pools and runnerup efforts at both Smiths Station and at Wakulla. Williams then wrapped up the regular season with a fifth at Lake Gibson. After taking second at districts, Williams would win his first top-of-the-podium finish at the right time, with the Vikings’ lone region title. Williams then went 3-3 at states, with all of his losses to eventual podium finishers.
2020-21 captain: While Williams will be missed from next year’s team, the clear choice for this slot and a leadership-on-the-mat role is junior Brandon Mallin, the Vikings’ other returning 2020 state qualifier. After thirds at both Cam Brown and Swede Umbach at 120, where Mallin built what would become a 13-2 start to his season, Mallin added a fourth at Southeastern Pools and runnerup finish at Smiths Station. After a surprise loss at Wakulla early, Mallin rebounded to reach the medal round, taking fourth there and was sixth at Lake Gibson, giving him medals at every regular-season tournament. State would be the only tournament where Mallin would not place, after runnerup finishes at both the district and region levels. He’ll be in the podium mix for Kissimmee in 2021 for sure.
Zander Laurin Warrior: On this junior-dominated team, there were not many underclassmen. Freshman Darius Brundidge split time at 132 early in the season, but after Southeastern Pools he became the regular starter. Still, it was a pretty tough inaugural start, as Brundidge had — by the records I have — finished 2-17 as the regular season ended, then lost to a former state qualifier in the first round of districts. Rather than pack it in though, Brundidge picked up two bonus-point wins on the consi side of the bracket to reach the medal round and extend his season by another week, doubling his win total from the regular season. For reaching a new level at the right time, Darius Brundidge is the Zander Laurin Warrior for Ft Walton Beach.
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