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 ninth team up this round and fourth out of 1A-District 3, the 43rd team overall, is Episcopal.
You can see everything I have on the Eagles in 2019-20 here –> EPISCOPAL
Win/loss record: 16-17 in dual meets reported to Matmen. Please review the attached document for a summary of the Eagles’ performance in IBT events.
Season in a nutshell: After a midweek dual loss opened the season on December 4th, Episcopal traveled to region rival Bishop Snyder for its one-day North Florida Duals on the 7th, taking a 2-3 duals record. After nearly two weeks off the competitive mats, Episcopal next went to district rival Yulee for its two-day Yulee Duals tournament on the 20th and 21st, compiling a 3-4 weekend record. After the holidays, Episcopal hosted its annual Rob Bierbaum Invitational on January 4, winning one of three duals there. Two days later, the Eagles split a pair of duals in placing third in the 1A-District 3 tournament, and the following weekend saw Episcopal compete at city rival Terry Parker’s USMC Duals two-day tournament on the 10th and 11th, where it compiled a 6-2 weekend record and placed fifth as a team. After a midweek duals loss on the 14th, the Trojans then went to Tallahassee for Lincoln’s one-day Trojan Invitational, which also was duals in format for this year. Episcopal was 3-2 and placed fifth in that event. After a midweek dual loss on the 29th, the Eagles then wrapped up the regular season with two Rotary IBTs, placing 25th at the Flagler Rotary on February 1 and finishing 24th at the Clay Rotary on the 7th and 8th. Episcopal finished fifth at the 1A-District 3 traditional tournament, and placed 14th at the Region 1 event at Wakulla, with no state qualifiers. Although the Eagles will lose two post-season starting seniors from this past year’s team, Episcopal can call upon as many as 10 key returners from 2019-20 next year, and the Eagles had a couple more kids that were just short on matches.
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): Scott Busey (sophomore, 20-17 at 106, district runnerup, 1-2 at regions); Cohen Chesser (sophomore, 12-3 at 106/113, did not compete in post-season traditionals); Christian Ryan (junior, 24-9 at 113, district 3rd, 2-2 at regions); Joe Jackson (senior, 30-15 at 120, district runnerup, 1 match from states); Baylor Maurer (sophomore, 10-10 at 120/126, did not compete in post-season traditionals); Ben Helton (sophomore, 17-19 at 126, district 4th, 1-2 at regions); Noah Meyer (senior, 26-15 at 132, district 3rd, 1 match from states); Brennan Doherty (sophomore, 16-16 at 160, district 4th, 1-2 at regions); John Fernandez (sophomore, 17-21 at 170, 1 match from regions); Kent Robinson (sophomore, 7-18 at 182/195, did not compete in post-season traditionals).
Graduation losses (15+ matches this past season or post-season experience) from this year’s team: Robert Jackson (9-14 at 145, 1 match from regions); Reid Hampton (35-11 at 152, district champ, 1 match from states).
2019-20 MVP: Unlike many MVPs that we highlight in this space over the course of spring and summer (but hopefully not fall), 2020 graduate Reid Hampton didn’t dominate a lot of opponents. But very few wrestlers that led their teams have maximized their abilities as much as Hampton had over the past six seasons, going from a part-time varsity starter while still a middle-schooler to a takedown away from a state appearance. Very few worked harder, and it was the values Hampton brought to the table, rather than just the stats, that made him most valuable to the Eagles this year. There were some wins, to be sure; in fact, Hampton won 18 straight matches after a Bierbaum loss to an eventual state placer, with a 6-0 weekend at Parker and a 5-0 day at Lincoln. Hampton was sixth at both Flagler and Clay, and powered through two wins for the Eagles’ lone District 3 individual title. Hampton might not ever wrestle again, but the values gained should sustain him for far longer than a wrestling career.
2020-21 captain: Rising senior Joe Jackson has had a similar progression to his career over the last three seasons that Hampton had, slowly but surely moving up the ladder of success. Jackson got out to a start that saw him win his first six and nine of his first 10; after four straight losses at Yulee and Bierbaum, Jackson then won 12 matches in a row, including a 7-0 weekend at Terry Parker. He had solid tournament appearances at Lincoln and Flagler (3-2 at both) and was 2-2 at Clay. Jackson avenged his first loss of the year with a District 3 semifinal win, falling only to a state placer in the final. He then knocked off a district champ en route to the semis at Wakulla, and it took two state qualifiers — both of them making or have made the state podium — to keep him from states at Region 1. We expect that could be fixed in March 2021.
Zander Laurin Warrior: Rising sophomore John Fernandez had to jump in right from the jump in his freshman season, and it was a pretty decent jump in, as he got out to a 4-1 start, with four max-point wins at 170. He shared some time at 182 as well as at 170 for Yulee Duals, and had a solid first half of the year, with a better than .500 record. Things got tougher down the stretch for Fernandez, though, as he won just three of his last 13 matches (all of those at Lincoln), with losses in his final seven matches. Still, though, Fernandez kept on battling, trying to score points for his team at Flagler, Clay and District 3. For battling through the adversity of being an upperweight freshman, John Fernandez is the Zander Laurin Warrior for Episcopal.
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