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 a third of the way into Round 7 of random selections from the 11 districts (three of those districts will be completed this round). Our fourth team this round and seventh team from 2A-District 3, the 72nd team overall, is Ponte Vedra.
You can see everything I have on the Sharks in 2019-20 here –> PONTE VEDRA
Win/loss record: 12-15 in dual meets reported to Matmen. Please review the attached document for a summary of the Sharks’ performance in IBT events. All individual records are as compiled by Matmen.
Season in a nutshell: Ponte Vedra kicked off the season by traveling to district rival Terry Parker’s two-day IBT, the Arlington Optimist Invitational, on December 6-7, taking first out of 12 teams in the tournament. Ponte Vedra’s girls team also staged a dual against Terry Parker’s girls during that same tournament. After a midweek dual loss on the 11th, the Sharks made the trip to region rival Chiles for the two-day Capital City Classic IBT on the 13th-14th, placing 20th out of 28 teams in that event. Ponte Vedra sent a sizable contingent down I-95 to Matanzas’ one-day Lady Pirate Classic on the 21st; the Sharks competed along with 26 other teams that had entries in the event. No team scores were kept there. After the holidays, Ponte Vedra began competition with s trip to nearby Creekside for the St Johns County Championships, a one-day roundorobin on January 4 where no team scores were kept. The Sharks would then go back to Terry Parker on the 7th for the 2A-District 3 dual team tournament, going 2-2 in duals on the night and placing third in the event. They had 11 days off from formal competition before going back to Tallahassee on the 18th, this time to Lincoln’s one-day Trojan Invitational, which this year was duals in format. The Sharks were 2-3 on the day and placed fourth in the eight-team event. Next up was a midweek duals tournament at region rival Orange Park’s one-day event on the 22nd, where Ponte Vedra was 1-4 on the night in a competition where the Sharks introduced several new wrestlers to the varsity. That weekend, on the 24th-25th, the Sharks went back to Terry Parker for the Parker Duals, compiling a 6-3 weekend record (in which they won their last five after a 1-3 start). After a midweek dual loss on the 30th, Ponte Vedra went to Flagler Palm Coast’s two-day Flagler Rotary IBT on the 31st and February 1, placing 26th out of 33 teams in that tournament. PVHS then took another midweek dual loss again on the 5th and competed in an IBT on the weekend, this time going to Clay’s two-day Rotary on the 7th-8th, where it finished T-27th out of 33 teams. Most of the Sharks wrapped up the regular season with a midweek dual win on the 13th; the Lady Sharks’ contingent went to Dr Phillips for girls’ state, placing T-51st out of 117 teams. Ponte Vedra finished third at the District 3 traditional tournament, then placed T-13th at Chiles for Region 1, with three state qualifiers. At Silver Spurs Arena in Kissimmee, the Sharks were T-59th out of 77 teams in the 2A state field. Ponte Vedra graduated five key seniors, including two of its three state qualifiers, from the 2019-20 team, but can call upon as many as 19 key post-season or significant regular-season starters; the Sharks had a couple more in the returning group that saw double-digit start numbers as well.
Key returners (15+ matches this past season) for 2020-21 (with year in school as they’ll be next year): Gia Lemon (senior, 12-16 at 100/106, 0-2 at girls’ state); Aiden Taylor (sophomore, 6-15 at 106, district 4th, 0-2 at regions); Julian Villegas (junior, 13-18 at 113, district 4th, 0-2 at regions); James Richie (senior, 6-10 at 113/120, did not compete in post-season traditionals); Olivia Richie (sophomore, 8-9 at 113/122, 1-2 at girls’ state); Michael Stephens (junior, 12-16 at 120, district champ, 0-2 at regions); Josie Sagasser (sophomore, 5-6 at 134, 3-2 at girls’ state); Andrew Hissam (sophomore, 6-16 at 132/138, did not compete in post-season traditionals); Luke Babin (senior, 5-19 at 145, 1 match from regions); John Whitley (senior, 10-16 at 145/152, did not compete in post-season traditionals); Cyrus Ferraro (senior, 4-15 at 152, 0-2 at districts); Joseph Skinner (senior, 12-12 at 152/160, did not compete in post-season traditionals); Rett Maritato (senior, 41-18 at 170, district 3rd, region 4th, 0-2 at states); Grace Lin (senior, 4-4 at 172, 1-2 at girls’ state); Zachary Underwood (senior, 5-12 at 182, 0-2 at districts); Luke Calamari (junior, 6-12 at 182, did not compete in post-season traditionals); Eric Ressler (sophomore, 7-17 at 195/220, did not compete in post-season traditionals); Xavier Agatep (sophomore, 3-12 at 220, 1 match from regions); Christopher Stewart (sophomore, 4-14 at 285, 1 match from regions).
Graduation losses (15+ matches this past season or post-season experience) from this year’s team: Stephen Kowitski (13-21 at 126, district 3rd, 1-2 at regions); Jackson Shewey (20-13 at 132, district runnerup, did not compete at regions); Alex De Almeida (31-8 at 138, district champ, region 3rd, 1-2 at states); Ethan Baur (21-7 at 160, district 3rd, region 3rd, 0-2 at states); Harlan Nikolov (17-14 at 195, district runnerup, 1-2 at regions).
2019-20 MVP: 2020 graduate Ethan Baur broke through to the state tournament this year after a consistently solid career that combined talent with work ethic and didn’t drop after a turnover in head coaches. Competing exclusively at 160 this year, Baur didn’t get a full start until January, with just one dual match in December. He was 3-1 at district duals, with his only loss by one point against the eventual state runnerup and a fellow MVP. That loss touched off a nine-match win streak, in which Baur was 5-0 at Trojan Duals, that was snapped only by a rematch with the eventual state runnerup. As the traditional tournament series began, Baur took an upset loss in his first match, but rallied back for two wins to take third. It was the same story at Region 1 at Chiles; after an opening-round loss, he rallied through the consi side of the bracket, powering past opponent after opponent to place third, with two Saturday sudden-victory wins in the blood and medal rounds, respectively, to make the show.
2020-21 captain: The team leader in wins by a good margin, rising senior Rett Maritato is the Sharks’ only returning state qualifier. Maritato competed almost exclusively at 170 and placed in both of his first three tournaments, with a win at Optimist and sixth at Capital City in December. He followed those up with a third — behind two Matmen MVPs — at County, and had three pins (with his only loss to another MVP) at district duals. Maritato was 4-1 at Trojan and 3-1 at Orange Park, with a very solid 8-1 weekend at Parker. Maritato struggled some at Flagler, but had a better tournament at Clay, going 3-2 (with both of his losses to just one wrestler). He had three bonus-point wins (only loss to another MVP) to advance third out of District 3 and then reached the Region 1 semis, eventually qualifying fourth with losses to two MVPs. It was a quick Friday at states, but the initial experience could be enough to put him into the mix to podium in 2021.
Zander Laurin Warrior: We had already done Ponte Vedra’s #TheSeason recap when Zander passed away last summer, so there has yet to be a first Sharks wrestler to receive the nomination. Until tonight. In consultation and conjunction with the head coach, I am naming 2020 graduate Alex De Almeida as the first Zander Laurin Warrior for Ponte Vedra. De Almeida had an MVP-level season in his own right in 2019-20 while competing at 138; after an early loss that followed an Optimist title, De Almeida won 17 matches in a row in a streak that began in early January and continued until the final day of that month, with a County title, six max-point wins at Parker Duals, and four pins at district duals. It took a multiple-time state champion to break up that streak. De Almeida was one-match short of placing at Clay, but two weeks later he was one of two Ponte Vedra district champs. After dropping his opening match at Chiles for region 1, he won five in a row on the back to wrestle all the way back to third place. At states, De Almeida scored the Sharks’ team points, with a major decision in the first round of consis. His work ethic since joining the team has been everything one would hope for in Ponte Vedra’s Warrior nominees, and for everything he’s done this season, Alex De Almeida is the Zander Laurin Warrior for Ponte Vedra.
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