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. Our 29th team overall and third team out of 2A-District 3 is Englewood.
You can see everything I have on the Rams in 2019-20 here –> ENGLEWOOD
Win/loss record: 23-15 in dual meets reported to Matmen. Please review the attached document for a summary of the Rams’ performance in IBT events.
Season in a nutshell: Englewood had two tournaments the first week, starting out at region (and former district) rival Orange Park’s Raider 8-Way on December 4, finishing 3-2 as a team. That weekend, at current district rival Terry Parker’s Arlington Optimist Invitational, the Rams were fifth out of 12 teams. They went to Oakleaf for the Friday Knight Lights on December 13, finishing 4-1 and placing fifth in that eight-team duals tournament. After the holidays, Englewood kicked off competition with the 2A-District 3 dual team tournament on January 7, splitting a pair of duals and effectively placing fourth as a team. Next was another trip to Parker, its third of the season, for the USMC Duals, in which the Rams were 5-3 for the weekend and placed fourth in the event. After splitting a pair of midweek duals on the 22nd, Englewood went back to Parker for the Parker Duals on the 24th and 25th. This time, the Rams were 3-5, but they’d rally to take fourth out of 15 teams at the Gateway Conference meet at Fletcher on January 31-February 1. Both of Englewood’s remaining two events were at home, with the team going 4-1 at the Rams Classic on February 7. The Rams then swept a midweek quad meet to wrap up the regular season on the 12th. Englewood was sixth at the 2A-District 3 meet and placed 25th at Region 1, with no state qualifiers. While the Rams will lose three senior wrestlers to graduation in the next few weeks, Englewood can call upon, next season, as many as 11 key starters that had either 15+ regular-season starts or post-season appearances this past year.
Key returners (15+ matches this past season) for 2020-21 (with year in school as they’ll be next year): Calvin Williams (sophomore, 25-15 at 106, did not compete in post-season traditionals); Raequan Staples (senior, 30-13 at 113, district 3rd, 1-2 at regions); Lynden North (junior, 40-5 at 132, district champ, did not compete at regions); Gary Perez (junior, 9-18 at 145, did not compete in post-season traditionals); Isiah Borrero (senior, 4-15 at 145, did not compete in post-season traditionals); Rasean Rayam (sophomore, 13-31 at 152, district 4th, 0-2 at regions); Sam Howard (senior, 34-10 at 160, district 4th, 0-2 at regions); Darryl Sam (senior, 25-18 at 182, district runnerup, 2-2 at regions); Melvin Wiggins (sophomore, 22-18 at 220, district 4th, 0-2 at regions); Isiah Musca (senior, 15-9 at 285, did not compete in post-season traditionals); Neil Gutierrez (junior, 12-3 at 285, did not compete in post-seaon traditionals).
Graduation losses (15+ matches this past season or post-season experience) from this year’s team: Hunter Padgett (13-27 at 126, 1 match from regions); Jordan Mitchell (31-13 at 170, 1 match from regions); Justin Mendez (31-11 at 195, did not compete in post-season traditionals).
2019-20 MVP: Sophomore Lynden North was both a Gateway and district champion for the Rams, reaching the 40-win mark with the season he had. After a semifinal loss at Arlington Optimist, North won 18 straight matches, going 5-0 at Friday Knight Lights and 8-0 at USMC Duals. While he had a tougher slate of competition at Parker Duals, where he was 5-3 on the weekend, North sustained his last losses of the season at that event, winning his final 15 matches of the year, with conference and district titles in tow. He didn’t compete at the Region 1 tournament, but we will certainly expect him not only to get to states next year, but to possibly podium before he graduates as well.
2020-21 captain: While North will certainly be a captain for the Rams this coming season, we look for another wrestler to fill this space, and junior Sam Howard has certainly — over the past two seasons — built enough resume to fit the bill. After losing his first match of the year, Howard won his next eight and 17 of the next 18, with a max-point day at Friday Knight Lights and a max-point weekend at USMC Duals. Howard was 7-1 at Parker Duals and was fourth at Gateway, losing to just one wrestler at 160. Howard won his last six regular-season matches and avenged his Gateway losses at districts, with losses to two state qualifiers in that tournament (one of them the state runnerup). Howard could be in the mix to get to Kissimmee in 2020-21.
Zander Laurin Warrior: Senior Hunter Padgett was a four-year starter for the Rams, and in light of that position as a starter all four seasons, I for one had really hoped he’d break through to the region tournament this season. But, as each of the previous three seasons had, it was the end of the road in the district tournament for Padgett, who finished his career with 47 victories as a four-year starter. His most successful season was his first, where he was 16-10 as a freshman 113, and also the one season where he didn’t compete at districts. But rather than sit at home and play video games, Padgett kept trying to represent the Rams to the best of his ability, and a lot of kids wouldn’t mind being four-year varsity starters. For continuing to keep giving wrestling a try year after year, Hunter Padgett is the Zander Laurin Warrior for Englewood.
#StetzerStrong: I almost make it a point not to include coaches in these recaps, but perhaps the truest hero in the Englewood lineup might have been the man writing it out prior to duals, as Rams HC Joe Stetzer has been battling leukemia since just before Christmas. While it always is the case that no news is good news with regard to his condition, Stetzer was in attendance for the Rams Classic, where the theme for the team was #StetzerStrong. While the postseason close wasn’t all the Rams had hoped for, Englewood did win six of its final seven duals. We’re all #StetzerStrong when it comes to his recovery, which we hope will be as full as possible later on this year.
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