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.
Today, we’re in the homestretch of a project we started even before the season ended, kicking off the final round of random selections from the 11 districts. Our first team this round, the eighth team in 2A-District 1 and 80th team overall, is Pace.
You can see everything I have on the Patriots in 2019-20 here –> PACE
Win/loss record: 23-4 in dual meets reported to Matmen. Please review the attached document for a summary of the Patriots’ performance in IBT events. All individual records are as compiled by Matmen. NOTE: One additional win was given to each Patriot starter on January 31-February 1 due to a team forfeit victory.
Season in a nutshell: Pace began the season with an appearance at area rival South Walton’s Border Wars VII on December 6-7, taking sixth out of 20 teams in the pool/IBT format. Next was a trip over to Fultondale AL for the Charlie Bruce Duals on December 13-14, in which the Patriots were 5-1 on the weekend. Pace then stayed in duals mode for the two-day Beast of the Beach tournament at district rival Ft Walton Beach on the 20th and 21st, taking fourth out of 24 teams with a 7-2 weekend record. After Christmas, the Patriots hosted their annual one-day IBT on the 28th; no team scores were provided for that event. After the new year holiday, Pace went back to Alabama, this time to Hoover for the two-day Scott Rohrer Memorial on January 3-4. With just three kids, the Patriots were 26th in the team race, but all three had high place finishes. Next was the 2A-District 1 team dual tournament on the 7th, which Pace won for the second time with three dual victories on the night. The Patriots then hosted two rounds of Region 1 dual team competition, reaching the semifinals, on the 16th. Pace then kept wrestling into the weekend, taking second out of 22 teams at area rival Wewahitchka’s Gator Brawl on the 17th and 18th. After a brief break from competition, the Patriots returned with a midweek dual win on the 28th, then went back to Alabama for the two-day Dolphin Duals at Gulf Shores on January 31-February 1, compiling a 5-0 weekend record. Most of the Pace group wrapped up the regular season with a midweek dual win on February 11. Pace finished up with a T-92nd place finish at the girls’ state tournament at Dr Phillips HS in Orlando. The Patriots won their second straight District 1 traditional title, and then placed third out of 30 teams at Chiles for Region 1, with four state qualifiers. At Silver Spurs Arena, Pace had two medalists, including one champion, in placing 11th out of 77 teams in the 2A state field. The Patriots graduated four key seniors, including both of their 2020 state medalists and an additional qualifier, but Pace can call upon as many as 12 significant post-season or regular-season starters, plus has a few others that saw some time during the course of the year.
Key returners (15+ matches this past season) for 2020-21 (with year in school as they’ll be next year): Natalie Lugo (junior, 19-31 at 106, 1-2 at girls’ state, district 3rd, 0-2 at regions); Jacob Hobbs (junior, 24-17 at 113, district 3rd, 1-2 at regions); Atticus Waters (junior, 40-16 at 132, district 3rd, 1 match from states); Seth O’Gara (senior, 31-12 at 138, district runnerup, 1-2 at regions); Camden Friend (senior, 15-11 at 145, district 3rd, 0-2 at regions); Joseph Cortez (senior, 39-9 at 152, district runnerup, region 4th, 1-2 at states); Brody Andrews (senior, 27-17 at 160, district 3rd, 2-2 at regions); Aidan Bryan (junior, 12-15 at 170, district runnerup, 0-2 at regions); Nick Adams (senior, 9-6 at 182, 1 match from regions); Wyatt Dillon (senior, 29-9 at 220, district champ, 1 match from states); Krystopher Collins (senior, 9-16 at 220, did not compete in post-season traditionals); Cameron Goodenow (senior, 43-8 at 285, district champ, 1 match from states).
Graduation losses (15+ matches this past season or post-season experience) from this year’s team: Derrick Lancero (56-6 at 120, district champ, region champ, state 4th); Ethan Billhimer (56-4 at 126, district runnerup, region 3rd, did not compete at states); Michael Burgess (19-16 at 145, did not compete in post-season traditionals); Gabe Jacobs (59-0 at 195, district champ, region champ, state CHAMPION).
2019-20 MVP: It’s very difficult to run the table from first-round match in early December all the way into Saturday night at Kissimmee. It’s also very difficult to turn yourself from a solid 106 to very successful upper-weight wrestler over the course of a high school career, but 2020 Pace graduate Gabe Jacobs did both. After competing for a district rival for his first two seasons, with a state appearance at 2018 at 126, Jacobs transferred to a Kentucky school in 2019, adding a second state appearance there. He returned to the Panhandle for his senior season, enrolling at Pace, and never lost a match for the Patriots. In fact, Jacobs had just six matches that went a full six minutes, and only three of those were against Floridians (just two different wrestlers, both in 2A). He racked up 48 pins this past year, including against a pair of Matmen MVPs, en route to going 8-0 at Border Wars, 6-0 at Fultondale, 9-0 at Beast, 6-0 at Hoover, 8-0 at Wewa and 5-0 at Gulf Shores. After competing for most of the year at 182, Jacobs bumped up a weight for the traditional series, pinning his way through districts and bonus-pointing through regions AND states, with his closest match in Kissimmee a 12-3 major. Only one other wrestler in the north dominated his weight class against Florida competition the way Jacobs dominated his, and only Jacobs escaped the year without a loss. We will get to see him wrestle at the #NextLevel, as he’ll be going back to Kentucky for his collegiate years.
2020-21 captain: With three high-profile seniors moving on this summer, the Patriots will be looking for the next crop of 12th graders to provide the leadership that the Class of 2020 brought to the table. The rising senior that had the most sustained success in the 2019-20 traditional-tournament run was middleweight Joseph Cortez, who quietly put together a state-qualifying run and at one point was 33-4 at the end of the regular season. After placing third at Border Wars, Cortez won 10 matches in a row, with an 8-0 weekend at Beast of the Beach that included seven max-point wins. He had a runnerup showing (loss to an out-of-state wrestler at Pace and the one loss that he took in placing third at Gator Brawl (with an 8-1 weekend record) touched off an 11-match win streak that sustained him to the District 1 final. After falling to a Matmen MVP in the quarters at Chiles, Cortez knocked off three consi-side opponents to get to the medal round, with one of those three a fellow Matmen captain. We expect to see more of the Pace senior group at Kissimmee in March — two of them were state qualifiers in 2019 and a third was a two-time blood-rounder, in addition to Cortez, but his season this year bore particular note because of its finish.
Zander Laurin Warrior: If you were at Gator Brawl, you know why we’re selecting rising junior Aidan Bryan for this honor. Bryan was named as the upper-weight OW at Gator Brawl, not so much for his performance on the mat (he was a solid eighth at 170) but for the sportsmanship he displayed during pool competition on Saturday at Wewahitchka. We would all benefit from that kind of selflessness that he displayed. Bryan became the clear starter at the 170 weight class for the Patriots after making his first appearance at Beast of the Beach, and while he didn’t have starting appearances at Scott Rohrer or Dolphin Duals, let alone full-time starts during the dual team tournament series, his singular act at Gator Brawl made us hope that we’ll see him as a regular starter over the next two seasons. For his selflessness, Aidan Bryan is the Zander Laurin Warrior for Pace.
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