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 done with Round 7 of random selections from the 11 districts (three of those districts will be completed this round). Our ninth team this round is Columbia, the seventh team in 2A-District 2 and 77th team overall.
You can see everything I have on the Tigers in 2019-20 here –> COLUMBIA
Win/loss record: 22-4 in dual meets reported to Matmen. Please review the attached document for a summary of the Bulldogs’ performance in IBT events. We were missing one dual that Columbia counted as a win at Tiger Duals over a mixed group of kids competing in the varsity level. All individual records are as compiled by Matmen.
Season in a nutshell: Columbia began the season in tournament mode for the first three weekends of the season. First up was a trip to South Walton for Border Wars VII, a tournament with pools in first-day action and IBTs in the second, and the Tigers were seventh out of 20 teams on December 6-7. Next was a visit to district rival Chiles for the Capital City Classic two-day IBT on the 13th and 14th, where Columbia was seventh out of 28 teams. The Tigers then went to Valdosta’s two-day Allstate Wildcat Invitational on the 20th-21st, placing 11th out of 25 teams. After the holidays, Columbia had its first duals of the season, hosting the two-day Tiger Duals in Lake City, in which the hots were 8-0 and won the title on January 3-4. Next up was another hosting gig with the 2A-District 2 dual team tournament on the 10th, in which Columbia was 2-1 and placed third. The Tigers then traveled to Wewahitchka for the two-day Gator Brawl roundrobin on the 17th-18th, in which they placed third out of 22 teams in the field. Columbia went back to duals the following weekend, going to Citrus’ two-day Hermann Cup on the 24th-25th, compiling a 7-1 weekend record. The Tigers then jumped into IBTs for the next two weekends, taking ninth out of 33 teams at the Flagler Rotary at Flagler Palm Coast on January 31-February 1. They then made their longest regular-season trip of the year, going to Lakeland for Lake Gibson’s two-day Braves Invitational and placing sixth out of 24 teams there on February 7-8. Sandwiched in between those two IBT wins was a midweek dual win on the 5th; Columbia then completed the regular season with a midweek dual loss on the 12th and a 4-1 day at Villages’ one-day T.D. Talbott Legion duals tournament on the 15th. The Tigers won their first district title in recent memory with a win in the District 2 traditional tournament, and placed fourth out of 32 teams at Chiles for Region 1, sending five wrestlers to states. At Silver Spurs Arena, Columbia finished T-32nd out of 77 teams in the 2A state field. The Tigers did graduate five key starters from this year’s team, but Columbia can call upon as many as nine key post-season or significant regular-season starters. It also had a few returning kids that had at least 10 matches in two or more appearances.
Key returners (15+ matches this past season) for 2020-21 (with year in school as they’ll be next year): Brett Millard (senior, 53-19 at 106, district 3rd, region 3rd, 1-2 at states); Jayden Thomas (sophomore, 12-19 at 120, district 4th, 0-2 at regions); Cooper Mote (sophomore, 24-22 at 126, district runnerup, 0-2 at regions); Alexander Ulloa (sophomore, 1-14 at 132, did not compete in post-season traditionals); Thomas Greene (junior, 40-15 at 145, district 3rd, 1-2 at regions); Obie Smith (senior, 52-12 at 152, district champ, region runnerup, 1-2 at states); Jesse Bragdon (junior, 10-13 at 160/170/182, did not compete in post-season traditionals); Joseph Rice (junior, 39-22 at 170, district champ, 1 match from states); Jaycob Jones (junior, 40-13 at 285, district runnerup, region 3rd, 0-2 at states).
Graduation losses (15+ matches this past season or post-season experience) from this year’s team: Ian McGuigan (55-11 at 132, district runnerup, region runnerup, 1-2 at states); Alex McGuigan (62-13 at 138, district champ, region champ, 1 match from state medal); Daveyon Brown (28-12 at 145, did not compete in post-season traditionals); Preston O’Quinn (44-20 at 160, district runnerup, 1-2 at regions); Jesse Braden (13-17 at 220, 1 match from regions).
2019-20 MVP: One had the better post-season finish in a weight class that wasn’t quite as loaded, but could claim the title as the north’s best in 2A; the other was named as the Jacksonville area’s best, in any classification, at another weight class. The inability to easily distinguish the resumes — let alone four years of an area expert’s inability to be fully sure which one was which off the mat — leads us to, on a one-time basis, name co-MVPs for Columbia, with 2020 graduates Ian and Alex McGuigan sharing that honor. Ian was named as the Jacksonville newspaper’s top 132 after a 55-win senior season that saw him start the year at 126, where he was second at Border Wars, third at Capital City, 7-0 with all max-point wins at Tiger Duals, third at Gator Brawl, 7-1 at Citrus (only loss in double-OT), a Braves Invite runnerup and Flagler champion. He lost to the same wrestler at both districts and regions in taking second at both and was 2-2 at states (losses to champion and 4th). Alex took top northern honors in 2A at 138 as a District 2 and Region 1 champion, with third-team all-Jacksonville area honors in a loaded class. He led the team in wins (62), with a third at Capital City, a fourth at Valdosta, 7 bonus-point wins in an unbeaten weekend at Tiger Duals, a 6-0 weekend at Citrus, a sixth at Flagler, fifth at Lake Gibson, a 4-1 day at Villages and a Gator Brawl title. At states, Alex was Columbia’s only other second-day wrestler besides Ian. And, for the better part of two years, Ian and Alex have been linchpins of leadership, and we will see them both at the #NextLevel.
2020-21 captain: Will the athletic ability that rising senior Obie Smith demonstrated as early as middle school result in a 2A state medal in March? Smith reached the state tournament this past season in his junior year, with 52 wins to his credit. He was 5-2 and reached the final at Border Wars, taking a second runnerup effort after a 4-1 tournament at Capital City. Smith struggled some after a initial good start at Valdosta, going 2-2 at 152 in that event, but then won 17 matches in a row, which was good enough to push him to the Gator Brawl final. He was 7-0 with all recorded max-point wins, and finished second after a 7-1 weekend at Wewahitchka. Smith then pinned his way through six wins at Citrus, with a 6-1 weekend there, and was 3-2 and placed fourth at Lake Gibson. He max-pointed through Villages’ day to a 5-0 tournament record and pinned his way to a District 2 title, taking his fourth runnerup finish at Region 1 after two pins and a decision prior to final. Both of his losses at states were to wrestlers who fell on Saturday morning in the blood round, and he should certainly be in that mix to contend for a podium spot at Silver Spurs at the conclusion of the coming year.
Zander Laurin Warrior: Rising senior Brett Millard has not had to cut weight in three years as a Tiger varsity competitor at 106. That’s a problem some might want to have, but giving up size has been an issue for three years for Millard, who hasn’t weighed in above 104 in his career yet. Despite being undermatched from a size perspective, Millard was 6-2 and placed fifth at Border Wars, then had a 4-2 tournament and placed fourth at Capital City. He had a tougher time at Border Wars, but bounced back with an unbeaten weekend at Tiger Duals (7 recorded max-point wins) to take OW lower-weight honors in that event. After a loss at district duals, Millard won 10 straight matches to get him to the final pool round at Gator Brawl, where he had a 9-1 tournament and placed third. That loss touched off a 9-0 run, in which Millard was 8-0 with seven max-point wins at Citrus. He was 4-3 and placed sixth at Lake Gibson, and wrapped the regular season with four bonus-point wins at Villages. He lost to the same wrestler in both District 2 and Region 1 events, and didn’t lose to anyone else, with four bonus-point wins en route to taking third in both in qualifying out. At states, his two losses were to placers, falling to the eventual fifth- and sixth-place medalists. For continuing to make size a non-issue in wrestling, Brett Millard is the Zander Laurin Warrior for Columbia.
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