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#TheSeason2019-20: Fleming Island

Hey guys!

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 nearly halfway through Round 7 of random selections from the 11 districts (three of those districts will be completed this round). Our fifth team this round and seventh team from 3A-District 1, the 73rd team overall, is Fleming Island.

FLEMING ISLAND

You can see everything I have on the Golden Eagles in 2019-20 here –>  FLEMING ISLAND

Win/loss record: 26-2 in dual meets reported to Matmen. Please review the attached document for a summary of the Golden Eagles’ performance in IBT events. All individual records are as compiled by Matmen.

FLEMING ISLAND LOGO  Season in a nutshell: Inarguably the north’s strongest team the past four seasons, Fleming Island began 2019-20 in its traditional season-opener, traveling to Osceola for the two-day Danny Byron, which had three simultaneous IBTs going on each day (second-day IBTs are flighted based upon first-day performance). The Golden Eagles then made the long trip south to Homestead for the two-day South Dade Duals (which teams in the Buccaneers’ district also use as a FHSAA Region 4 qualifier) on December 13-14, going 9-1 on the weekend. Fleming Island got one more event in prior to Christmas, sweeping the St Johns River Conference duals tournament with a 5-0 record at Matanzas on the 18th. After Christmas, the Golden Eagles traveled to their traditional late-December spot on the schedule, going back to Osceola for the two-day Knockout Christmas Classic IBT on the 27th and 28th, where they finished 11th out of 40 teams. How tough is that tournament? Fleming Island would finish no lower than third at any IBT for the rest of the season. After the new year holiday, the Golden Eagles would jump right back into competition, hosting its annual Keystone Memorial 20-team tournament on January 3-4. Fleming Island was 5-0 in duals on the first day and won the IBT on the second. The next three weeks were largely devoted to FHSAA dual team tournament competition, with two wins at Oakleaf for the 3A-District 1 title, the Golden Eagles’ third in a row, on the 8th. Fleming Island then hosted the first two rounds of Region 1 duals and won both of those of the 16th, to qualify for the dual state tournament. The Golden Eagles then traveled to St Cloud for the two-day Milton-Winter IBT, winning that 25-team event on the 18th. At dual states at Osceola, Fleming Island three-peated as Region 1 champion on the first day (the Golden Eagles are one of just two two area teams to get to the first day all three years dual states have been held, and the only one to make it to Saturday all three times as Region 1 champs), but fell in the state semifinals — effectively the state-title dual match, as it turned out — to South Dade. After a midweek dual win for Senior Night on the 29th, Fleming Island traveled to former district rival Flagler Palm Coast’s two-day Flagler Rotary IBT on January 31st and February 1st, taking second out of 33 teams. The Golden Eagles then stayed in Rotary form the following weekend, winning the 33-team Clay Rotary on the 7th and 8th. Fleming Island then closed out the regular season with an #UncivilWar dual win. The Golden Eagles then won their fifth straight District 1 traditional title, and added a fifth straight Region 1 title while hosting, sending 12 wrestlers to states. At Silver Spurs Arena in Kissimmee, the Golden Eagles placed third out of 67 teams in the 3A field, with seven medalists, including one champion. Fleming Island has graduated eight seniors from this year’s team, including six of those medalists, but the Golden Eagles can call upon 10 key post-season/significant regular-season starters in 2020-21, with a few others that saw spot duty this past year plus a deep room in reserve.

Key returners (15+ matches this past season) for 2020-21 (with year in school as they’ll be next year): Hunter Herrington (senior, 38-8 at 113, district champ, region champ, state 3rd); Riley Holton (senior, 44-15 at 126, district champ, region 3rd, 1 match from state medal); Liam McKenzie (sophomore, 9-10 at 126, did not compete in post-season traditionals); Isaac Padgett (junior, 39-21 at 132, district champ, region runnerup, 0-2 at states); Dalton Baysinger (senior, 11-5 at 138/145, did not compete in post-season traditionals); Jhoel Robinson (sophomore, 22-8 at 160, did not compete in post-season traditionals); Gavin Smith (senior, 50-14 at 170, district champ, region 3rd, 1 match from state medal); Hunter Williams (junior, 16-6 at 170/182, did not compete in post-season traditionals); Josh Sandoval (junior, 17-2 at 182, did not compete in post-season traditionals); Raul Gonzalez (senior, 47-16 at 285, district runnerup, 2-2 at regions).

Graduation losses (15+ matches this past season or post-season experience) from this year’s team: Ryan Hobson (42-25 at 120, district champ, region 3rd, 0-2 at states); Dalton Williams (41-5 at 138, district champ, region champ, state 4th); Gannon Janssen (62-8 at 145, district champ, region champ, state 6th); Tanner Hill (54-12 at 152, district champ, region runnerup, state 5th); Luke Chop (61-9 at 160, district champ, region champ, state 3rd); Nick Janssen (30-13 at 182, district runnerup, region 4th, 1-2 at states); Jeffrey Lascano (54-10 at 195, district champ, region champ, state 6th); Chad Nix (63-1 at 220, district champ, region champ, state CHAMPION).

2019-20 MVP: He was the Jacksonville area’s wrestler of the year and maybe only a couple of other wrestlers anywhere in 3A were on the same level of domination of their weight class as 2020 graduate Chad Nix was at 220 this past season. After placing third each of the past two seasons (last year at 195 for the Golden Eagles), Nix was on a mission for the top step. He won his first 24 matches in the season, with all but three ending with maximum points for the Golden Eagles. He pinned a Georgia 7A state placer in 18 seconds for a title at Danny Byron, and was 8-0, all wins by bonus, at District 16. In his four matches at St Johns, Nix won each with max points, and he was Fleming Island’s only finalist at Knockout after four earlier wins — one of them over a 1A finalist and another over a 2A placer — before falling in the finals to a fellow nationally-ranked 220 from Georgia. That would be all for losses in the season, as Nix won 39 straight from Keystone onward to states. That included 220 titles at Keystone, Milton-Winter, Flagler (where he knocked off a fellow state champ in the final) and Clay, plus District 1 and Region 1 titles. Nix finished the season with 39 pins and 55 bonus-point wins, max-pointing through both District 1 and Region 1. He only allowed one point scored upon him at states, holding both of his Saturday opponents scoreless to win states. We’ll see him at the #NextLevel for Campbell, where’ll he be competing at 285 for the Camels in the 2020-21 academic year.

2020-21 captain: This was probably the category that I had to chew on the hardest over the last couple of days. I turned over four different guys in my head; at various points either in their career or this past season. There’s grit. Strength. Fearlessness. And all have the skill that any one of them would be captains on a lot of the teams in the north in 2020-21. In the end, it’s the way that rising senior Hunter Herrington closed out 2019-20 that led me to give him the nod in this space. Injury limited his effectiveness in the first two weeks of December, but he bonus-pointed through the St Johns River field. In January, Herrington was 7-1 and placed third at Keystone; his lone loss led to an eight-match win streak that came to an end in the Flagler semis, where Herrington would go on to place third. He then reached the finals at Clay, where he fell to the eventual 2A state champ at 113. He then won 11 of his last 12 matches, bonus-pointing through District 1 and adding a Region 1 title. At states, Herrington was 4-1, with three bonus-point wins and his only loss in the semis to the eventual champion. Saturday night is a very real possibility in his senior season.

Zander Laurin Warrior: When I think of this category, I think of the wrestler that’s transformed jimself (mentally and emotionally as much as physically) the most in his time at Fleming Island, and in my mind no one’s done more on that front than 2020 graduate Jeffrey Lascano. This past season, “Hawkeye” dropped to 195, where he competed consistently, after being at 220 as a junior and moving between 220 and 285 earlier in his career. He was 5-2 at Danny Byron (where his losses were to the eventual 3A finalists) and 8-2 at South Dade (losses to a finalist and a placer). That second loss touched off a 30-match win streak that extended from South Dade in mid-December to the end of January, where it took a 1A state champ to knock him off in a pigtail round at Flagler. In the meantime, Lascano won all-conference first-team honors with a 5-0 night at Matanzas, won Keystone with an 8-0 weekend, and added a title at St Cloud. After a fifth at Flagler and runnerup at Clay — where he lost only to a Matmen MVP — Lascano won both District 1 and Region 1 titles and got to the semis before dropping his final three matches by a combined total of four points to place sixth. He will get to compete in the greatest state for wrestling anywhere (his and my opinion at least), as he’ll wrestle for Iowa Lakes CC, as a few of his earlier teammates have. For making himself by force of will into a collegiate wrestler, “Hawkeye” Lascano is the Zander Laurin Warrior for Fleming Island.

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