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 on the downward slope of the fourth round of random selections from the 11 districts, plus our independent teams. Our eighth team up this round and fourth out of 1A-District 4, the 42nd team overall, is Ridgeview.
You can see everything I have on the Panthers in 2019-20 here –> RIDGEVIEW
Win/loss record: 11-25 in dual meets reported to Matmen. Please review the attached document for a summary of the Panthers’ performance in IBT events.
Season in a nutshell: Ridgeview made a point of emphasis in scheduling events with lots of mat time for just a few wrestlers, as a team both loaded with experience and very young at the same time attempted to mesh purposes. The Panthers opened by hosting their own two-day duals tournament on December 6-7, the Panther Prowl, in which Ridgeview was 4-3 and placed fifth as a group. Next was the first of three out-of-state trips, first to the Panthers’ traditional spot of Auburn AL for the Swede Umbach Invitational on the 13th-14th, in which Ridgeview placed 15th out of 23 teams. The Panthers next went to north Georgia for Coahulla Creek’s Clash at the Creek duals tournament on the 20th and 21st, with a short-handed group coming away empty-handed in eight duals. After the holidays, Ridgeview then went back to Alabama, this time for the the Scott Rohrer Memorial at Hoover, on January 3-4, where the Panthers were 21st out of 29 teams. After a two-week break, Ridgeview next went to new region rival Wewahitchka for the two-day Gator Brawl on the 17th-18th, where the Panthers were 10th out of 22 teams. From there, they focused on duals events until the traditional post-season, with a 1-4 performance at the Orange Park Duals, a one-day midweek event on the 22nd, and a 5-4 weekend at Parker Duals on the 24th and 25th. Ridgeview kicked off February with a trip to former district rival Englewood and its inaugural Rams Classic on the 7th, with a 1-4 night, and then wrapped the regular season with a midweek split of duals in Tallahassee on the 13th. The Panthers took third in the 1A-District 4 traditional tournament, and placed 11th out of 30 teams at Region 1 at Wakulla, with one state qualifier. At the Silver Spurs Arena in Kissimmee, Ridgeview finished 24th at 1A state, with one medalist. The Panthers had three seniors that finished the season and went on to graduate, but Ridgeview can call upon as many as eight key returners in 2020-21, plus it had a few other kids that made early appearances where they fell short of a 15-match level.
Note: Records are as compiled by Matmen.
Key returners (15+ matches this past season) for 2020-21 (with year in school as they’ll be next year): Blake Pu (sophomore, 38-12 at 106, district 4th, 1 match from states); Kaiden Tibbetts (sophomore, 23-19 at 113, did not compete in post-season traditionals); Robby Morris (sophomore, 14-21 at 120, district 4th, 1-2 at regions); Matthew Rodriquez (senior, 66-1 at 126, district champ, region champ, state runnerup); Ian Finnorn (sophomore, 23-17 at 138, district 3rd, 1-2 at regions); Dylan Brown (sophomore, 3-18 at 152, 1 match from regions); Desmond Stokes (junior, 9-8 at 220, did not compete in post-season traditionals); Keegan Powell (sophomore, 12-32 at 285, 1 match from regions).
Graduation losses (15+ matches this past season or post-season experience) from this year’s team: Shawn Tahir (27-28 at 132, district runnerup, 1-2 at regions); Gabe Guzman (49-9 at 145, district champ, 1 match from states); Spencer Robertson (29-20 at 182, district 3rd, 1-2 at regions).
2019-20 MVP: Another year of consistent dominance for rising senior Matthew Rodriquez, who got to Saturday night at Silver Spurs for the second consecutive season, this time in 1A and at 126. Although his travel in the off-season of 2019 was a bit more targeted than previous, it was still pretty extensive, and Rodriquez — who’s already committed to Lehigh –used it all to best advantage, pulling together pin streaks of 11 and 10 matches in the first half of the year. He pinned his way through the Swede Umbach 126 weight class and had max-point efforts at both Panther Prowl and Clash on the Creek, without having to go a full six minutes until bracketed competition in the top flight at Scott Rohrer. Rodriquez bonus-pointed through that tournament and also through Gator Brawl, and didn’t have any matches that didn’t result in a bonus point until Parker Duals. Rodriquez max-pointed through the District 4 tournament and bonus-pointed through Region 1 in getting to states for the fourth time. He didn’t give up a point at Silver Spurs until the final. There, there were moments where he was close to scoring big against his opponent, but it just didn’t quite happen. We’re expecting one more shot at the big prize in March, and Rodriquez projects to be the Jacksonville and immediately-surrounding area’s top wrestler, in any weight class, for 2020-21.
2020-21 captain: We saw some off-season work from then-rising freshman Blake Pu, and it paid some dividends, as Pu put together a very nice 38-win freshman season for the Panthers, holding down the lower-weight bookend at every tournament but two for Ridgeview. Now a rising sophomore, Pu was 5-2 at Panther Prowl, with his two losses to eventual state qualifiers, and was 3-3 at Swede Umbach. After missing the next two tournaments, Pu returned for Gator Brawl, dropped from 113 down to 106. He was 7-3 and placed sixth there, with that loss in the place round touching off a 19-match win streak, in which Pu max-pointed to a 5-0 night at Orange Park, max-pointed again for a 9-0 weekend at Parker and was 5-0 at Englewood. Pu lost to two state qualifiers in placing fourth at District 4, and it took state qualifiers — one of them an eventual placer — to knock him off at Region 1. We should see him at states very soon, perhaps as soon as next March.
Zander Laurin Warrior: We got the sense from the Panthers’ coaching staff that it would have loved to go to battle with about four or five more Spencer Robertsons, evenly spaced out in weight classes where the Panthers struggled to have a consistent presence in the lineup. A senior new to the sport this past year, Robertson joined the team in time to go to Coahulla Creek, where he was 4-4. After a 4-2 tournament at Hoover, Robertson dropped down to 182 for Gator Brawl, where he was 6-2 and placed fourth. After three early losses, Robertson rallied to compile a 5-4 weekend at Parker Duals, and had three max-point wins at Rams Classic. He had two pins in the District 4 tournament to place third, losing only to an eventual state qualifier, and fell in the quarters at Region 1 to another state qualifier. For showing the heart of a wrestler throughout his time with the Panthers, Spencer Robertson is the Zander Laurin Warrior for Ridgeview.
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