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.
We have begun our second round of random selections from the 11 districts (in round 3, we’ll include independents in the mix). Our 12th team overall was randomly selected and Baker Cty was the team chosen out of 1A-District 2.
You can see everything I have on the Wildcats in 2019-20 here –> BAKER CTY
Win/loss record: 9-15 in dual meets reported to Matmen. Please review the attached document for a summary of the Wildcats’ performance in IBT events.
Season in a nutshell: Baker County began the season with a short hop over to Ridgeview for its two-day Panther Prowl duals tournament on December 6-7, with a 2-5 dual record. After a weekend away, the Wildcats next went to former district rival Yulee for its two-day Yulee Duals, with a 2-6 record there. Baker Cty was 3-2 at Gainesville’s Category 5 one-day duals tournament on the 28th, and had a chance to contend for the team title there (the Wildcats were 3rd). While the team did not compete in the FHSAA dual team tournament series, its next event was back at Yulee, this time for the Joe Bees Memorial Battle of the Border, where the Wildcats were eighth out of 16 teams in the two-day IBT. After a Friday night dual win on the 17th, Baker then kept up its winning ways with a title at the Westside Roundrobin on the 18th. After a couple of midweek dual dates, Baker Cty wrapped up its regular season with a 26th-place finish at the Clay Rotary. The Wildcats were fifth out of seven teams at the 1A-District 2 tournament and placed 17th at Region 1 at the end of February. Baker County does have four (potentially five) senior starters with key experience that will be graduating, but the Wildcats could have back nine (or perhaps 10) starters/key contributors from this past year’s team next year, seven of them with region-tournament experience. Additionally, there may be another five wrestlers that could be back that had 10 appearances in the lineup.
Key returners (15+ matches this past season or post-season experience) for 2020-21 (with year in school as they’ll be next year): Thomas Torres (sophomore, 3-23 at 113, district 4th, 0-2 at regions); Shane Bullard (junior, 18-14 at 120, district 3rd, 1-2 at regions); Dylen Goldsmith (sophomore, 15-23 at 138, district 4th, 0-2 at regions); Ethan Collins (senior, 7-12 at 152, did not compete in post-season traditionals); Clayton Dennison (junior, 18-13 at 160, district 4th, 2-2 at regions); Caleb Smith (sophomore, 2-8 at 170, 1 match from regions); Toby Kinghorn (junior, 25-10 at 182, district 4th, 2-2 at regions); Conner South (senior, 19-13 at 195, district 4th, 1-2 at regions); Garrett Cain (senior, 15-11 at 220, district 4th, 0-2 at regions). Potentially returning (year in school not noted on report): Pierce Kirkland (22-9 at 195/220, did not compete in post-season traditionals).
Graduation losses (15+ matches this past season or post-season experience) from this year’s team: David Jackson (19-11 at 126, district 4th, 2-2 at regions); Juan Torres (9-15 at 132, 1 match from regions); Branden Bradley (7-8 at 152, district 4th, 0-2 at regions); Jaqrez Elliott (25-8 at 285, district runnerup, 1-2 at regions).
2019-20 MVP: Senior 285 Jaqrez Elliott had to contend with several quality heavies around the area during the course of the year — including a not-bad one in the Wildcats’ own room — and still tied for the team leadership in wins (at least as calculated by us), with 25. Elliott was 3-1 in a part-time (Saturday) role at Panther Prowl, then went 8-0 at Yulee Duals. After a loss in his first match at Joe Bees Memorial, Elliott won 10 of his next 11, placing third there and at Westside Roundrobin. Elliott was 2-2 at Clay and was the only Baker Cty wrestler to reach the District 2 final, knocking off an eventual state qualifier along the way. He then went 7-3 in the Region 1 quarterfinals with another state qualifier, but then fell in double-overtime at the end of Friday’s wrestling.
2020-21 captain: Sophomore Toby Kinghorn started the year at 195, dropping to 182 for Yulee Duals and staying there going forward, matching Elliott’s 25-win total for the season. Kinghorn was a model of consistency for the season for the Wildcats, continuing to just plug forward. 4-3 at Panther Prowl, 5-3 at Yulee Duals, 3-2 at Category 5/Joe Bees Memorial and Clay Rotary. Those kinds of steady, unspectacular performances will be just the kind of thing that Kinghorn — and the Wildcats — will be able to build upon in 2020-21. Kinghorn had two eventual state qualifiers in his district bracket, placing fourth, and was one of just three Baker wrestlers that got to the second day at Wakulla for Region 1.
Zander Laurin Warrior: Freshman Thomas Torres (113) had a very tough go in his first varsity season, with all of his losses by bonus points and very few occasions to have his hand raised. Torres got two forfeit wins in December (once at Panther Prowl and the other at Yulee Duals), and just one more victory in January, with a victory by fall at Westside Roundrobin. Still, in a season where a lot of kids would have packed it in, Torres stuck it out until the end, even earning advancement points for the Wildcats at districts and reaching the region tournament. For his perseverance in the face of significant adversity, Thomas Torres is the Zander Laurin Warrior for Baker Cty.
JOIN us on Facebook at North Florida Matmen (you can also friend me on my personal page) or on Twitter at @NorthFLAMatmen.
The school year has come to a conclusion in Georgia. But our work has not. Check out the latest on our affiliated site at http://sgamatmen.wordpress.com
Please support our independent journalism!