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 are well into our third round of random selections from the 11 districts, plus our independent teams. And our first independent team chosen, Union, is our 28th team overall.
You can see everything I have on the Tigers in 2019-20 here –> UNION
Win/loss record: 14-26 in dual meets reported to Matmen. Please review the attached document for a summary of the Bears’ performance in IBT events.
Season in a nutshell: This was the inaugural competition season for the Tigers. Union began the season just before the Christmas holiday, competing at the Yulee Duals, where the Tigers were 4-5 on December 20-21. Union then was 3-2 at Gainesville’s Category 5 Duals on the 28th. The Tigers started January with a trip to Fleming Island’s Keystone Memorial tournament, with a 1-4 record in the duals competition on the 3rd and a 17th-place finish in the IBT competition on the 4th. After nearly two weeks off the mat, the Tigers next competed in a midweek dual on the 17th before traveling to Citrus for the one-day Ed Kilpatrick, Union’s last IBT of the year, on the 18th. There, the Tigers were 18th out of 19 teams. The following week, Union was 1-4 at the Orange Park Duals on the 22nd, but then won a midweek dual on the 24th. Next on the docket was Belleview’s Diamondback Duals on February 7-8, where Union was 3-5 on the weekend. After a midweek dual loss on the 11th, the Tigers concluded their season with a 2-3 performance at the TD Talbott Legion Duals tournament at Villages on the 15th. While Union will lose three seniors to graduation, the Tigers can call upon, next season, as many as 12 starters or regular performers that had at least 15 matches in the lineup this past year.
Key returners (15+ matches this past season) for 2020-21 (with year in school as they’ll be next year): Kale Waters (sophomore, 19-14 at 106/113); Christian Simmons (sophomore, 20-14 at 106/113); Ian Halfacre (sophomore, 9-22 at 126); Ethan Shea (sophomore, 15-22 at 132); James Rogers (junior, 7-29 at 132/138); Danny Thornton (sophomore, 15-25 at 145); Johnny Benefield (sophomore, 8-13 at 152/160); Brandon Mecusker (senior, 14-23 at 152/160); Jayce Puni (sophomore, 6-13 at 152/160); Colin Hadlock (sophomore, 3-14 at 160/170); Carson Rogers (sophomore, 15-26 at 170); Daegan Gainey (sophomore, 13-15 at 220/285).
Graduation losses (15+ matches this past season or post-season experience) from this year’s team: Jonathan Maldonaldo (11-6 at 106/113); Allan McClellon (14-13 at 182/195); Davalier Blocker (20-24 at 220).
2019-20 MVP: Senior Davalier Blocker was one of his team’s co-leaders in victories this past year and competed in every single tournament the Tigers had. After a slow start — which, given the newness of the program, might be completely understandable — in which Blocker was 8-16, he closed with a 12-7 finish, going 5-3 at Diamondback Duals and had a 3-1 day at Villages.
2020-21 captain: Junior Brandon Mecusker will be the lone senior returner from this past year’s team, and showed some flashes of solid wrestling over the course of the year. Aside from Diamondback Duals, Mecusker made appearances at every tournament in which the Tigers competed, going 3-2 at Category 5 and 4-4 at Keystone.
Zander Laurin Warrior: It’s a tough situation for any inexperienced wrestler that’s competing as part of a first-year program — almost everything at every level is a new experience, but despite facing adversity in every event this year, sophomore James Rogers persevered throughout, with all of his contested matches ending in a loss by fall, at either 132 or 138. For attempting to score points for his team (Rogers did have seven wins by forfeit) without missing a beat, James Rogers is the Zander Laurin Warrior for Union.
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