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 close to halfway complete in our fifth round of random selections from the 11 districts. Our fifth team up this round and the fifth from 1A-District 4, the 51st team overall, is University Christian.
You can see everything I have on the Christians in 2019-20 here –> UNIVERSITY CHRISTIAN
Win/loss record: 4-29 in dual meets reported to Matmen. Please review the attached document for a summary of the Christians’ performance in IBT events. All records were as compiled by Matmen.
Season in a nutshell: A severely short-handed UCS group struggled in duals, but had consistently significant presence in IBTs, thanks to its star power. University Christian started the year with an 0-5 day at region rival Bishop Snyder’s North Florida Duals on December 7. After a midweek dual win on the 10th, commemorating the Christians’ new wrestling mat, UCS next went to the Yulee Duals on December 20-21, finishing 15th overall with a 2-6 weekend record. After Christmas, the Christians next went to Gainesville’s one-day Category V Duals on the 28th, with an 0-5 day and just three wrestlers on hand. UCS didn’t take much time off after New Year’s, going to Fleming Island for the Keystone Memorial two-day tournament on the 3rd and 4th, with an 0-5 duals performance on the first day and a 14th-place showing (out of 20 teams) in the IBT second day. Next up was the 1A-District 4 dual team tournament, which UC hosted, and in which it placed fourth with a 1-2 duals record. From there, the Christians wasted little time road-tripping to Tennessee for the Fandetti-Richardson Invitational, in which they placed 15th out of 26 teams on January 11. University Christian next went to Lincoln’s one-day Trojan Invitational, which this year followed a duals format; UCS was 0-5 on the day. The Christians then made another longish trip on the 25th, this time to Cairo GA for the one-day Syrupmaker Invitational, where they were eighth out of 11 teams. After a midweek dual loss on February 4, UCS wrapped up the regular season by placing 22nd out of 33 teams at the Clay Rotary. The Christians were sixth at the District 4 traditional tournament, and placed 13th out of 30 teams at Region 1 at Wakulla, with two state qualifiers. Both of those qualifiers would make podium, and UCS would finish T-22nd out of 66 teams in the 1A state tournament in Kissimmee. The Christians will graduate one senior this year from this past season’s team, but can call upon as many as four consistent starters with post-season or regular-season experience, plus they had a couple of new kids dip their toes in the varsity lineup at a couple of occasions last year.
Key returners (15+ matches this past season) for 2020-21 (with year in school as they’ll be next year): Jayce Paridon (8th, 51-11 at 106, district runnerup, region runnerup, state 5th); Egan Gustilo (sophomore, 52-8 at 113, district champ, region champ, state 5th); Avery Miller (senior, 7-11 at 126, did not compete in post-season traditionals); Matthew Flores (senior, 8-13 at 160, 1 match from regions).
Graduation losses (15+ matches this past season or post-season experience) from this year’s team: Jackie Dinh (18-12 at 182, district 4th, 1-2 at regions).
2019-20 MVP: Rising sophomore Egan Gustilo had trained for several years with the University Christian coaching staff before it was hired to run things there, so it was a natural fit for him to go to UCS when it relocated there starting this past year. And Gustilo showed no major doses of nervousness in making the jump to varsity competition, winning District 4 and Region 1 titles and making the 1A state podium at 113. Gustilo started the year by winning his first 20 matches, going 5-0 at Bishop Snyder, 8-0 at Yulee (where he max-pointed through the weekend) and 5-0 at Gainesville (again max-pointing through the day). His first loss was against a former club teammate at Keystone, in the first day of duals competition, while he was bumped up a weight, but at his natural 113, he won the IBT title. Gustilo reached the finals at Fandetti-Richardson and Cairo, and was 5-0 at Lincoln. All of that set up his post-season traditional run, in which Gustilo bonus-pointed through the District 4 bracket at 113, then was 4-0 with two bonus-point wins at Region 1. He assured himself of a medal at states with a pair of Friday wins, falling only to the state runnerup and third-place finisher (a region rival). We will see Gustilo in podium contention probably for the rest of his HS career.
2020-21 captain: The Jacksonville area was abuzz about what rising 8th grader Jayce Paridon might do in his 7th-grade year, and Paridon showed them from the jump. Despite giving up size in most if not nearly all of his matches in 2019-20, Paridon rolled up 50+ wins in his first varsity season and took three podium finishes in his first post-season FHSAA tournament series. Paridon was 4-1 at Bishop Snyder; after that loss, he’d win 18 straight matches, with an 8-0 weekend at Yulee, three wins at Gainesville and a 9-1 weekend at Keystone, in which he placed fifth at 106. Paridon took fourth in Tennessee and was 4-1 at Lincoln and 3-1, placing third, at Cairo. Paridon then got to the 106 final at Clay. He would then engage in sustained combat with two other very solid 106s over the next two weeks, reaching the District 4 final and placing third at Region 1 at Wakulla after losing only to the eventual champ in double-overtime. At states, though, Paridon’s extensive national (and international) experience at youth levels helped sustain him in a 4-2 weekend and fifth-place finish, in which he lost only to the eventual champ and third-place finishers, and was the only 1A-Region 1 medalist at Kissimmee at 106.
Zander Laurin Warrior: 2020 graduate Jackie Dinh came over from a public school mainly for the added boost of the high-level Christians football program, and we weren’t sure if we’d see him in UCS singlets this winter. But Dinh was in the lineup at Bishop Snyder on the first Saturday of the year and competed in a majority of the Christians’ events, with a 3-2 tournament at Bishop Snyder and a 4-1 day at Lincoln. After losing his first match at Cairo, Dinh wrestled all the way back to third and qualified out for Region 1. There, he knocked off a district champion in the first round on Friday. Although he ran into much more seasoned competition in the next two rounds, Dinh’s grit and dedication were big for the Christians, and they make him the Zander Laurin Warrior for University Christian.
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