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. We have just one more team to recap in the final round of random selections from the 11 districts. Our seventh team this round, the eighth/final team in 2A-District 2 and 86th team overall, is Leon.
You can see everything I have on the Lions in 2019-20 here –> LEON
Win/loss record: 5-8 in dual meets reported to Matmen. Please review the attached document for a summary of the Braves’ performance in IBT events. All individual records are as compiled by Matmen.
Season in a nutshell: Leon began the season on the first weekend of December, the 6th-7th, at crosstown rival Florida High’s Cam Brown Seminole Classic, placing T-10th out of 12 teams. The Lions stayed in town the following weekend, the 13th-14th, at the two-day Capital City Classic IBT, placing 27th out of 28 teams. That would be it for December competition; after the holidays, the Lions’ first event was the 2A-District 2 dual team tournament at Columbia on January 10. The Lions were 0-2 in duals. Next up was another tournament in town, this time Lincoln’s one-day duals tournament, the Trojan Invitational, on the 18th. The Lions were 2-3 and placed fifth in the eight-team event. Leon then went over the state line on January 25, competing at Cairo GA’s Syrupmaker Invitational, where the Lions were fourth out of 11 teams. Leon then went to area rival Wakulla’s two-day IBT on January 31-February 1, placing 16th out of 20 teams. The Lions then competed in crosstown rival Chiles’ one-day Timberwolf Duals on February 8th, with a 3-2 record and third-place finish out of 12 teams. Leon then wrapped up the regular season with a midweek dual loss. The Lions were seventh at the District 2 traditional tournament, and placed T-26th out of 32 teams at Chiles for Region 1, with one state qualifier. At Silver Spurs Arena, the Lions were T-62nd out of 77 teams in the 2A state field. The Lions lost just one post-season starting senior to graduation. Leon can call upon as many as five post-season starters, plus a couple of others that have had occasional starts, in 2020-21.
Key returners (15+ matches this past season) for 2020-21 (with year in school as they’ll be next year): Alex Crago (senior, 6-19 at 113, 1 match from regions); Nolan Zirgibel (junior, 22-6 at 126, district champ, region 4th, 0-2 at states); Hudson Large (senior, 6-15 at 138, 0-2 at districts); Tyson Meyer (sophomore, 3-5 at 160, 0-2 at districts); Josh Seabrooks (senior, 12-11 at 220, district runnerup, 1-2 at regions).
Graduation losses (15+ matches this past season or post-season experience) from this year’s team: Ethan Eudy (20-14 at 152, district 3rd, 0-2 at regions; injured).
2019-20 MVP: Rising junior Nolan Zirgibel was the clear leader on the mats for the Lions, competing for most of the season at 126, with occasional 132 appearances. He was third at Cam Brown with a 3-1 record, but then had a month between appearances. He had two pins at district duals and won the Syrupmaker title at 126. He reached the final at Wakulla, where he lost to a 1A state placer, and max-pointed through Timberwolf Duals (5-0 with three pins). Zirgibel pinned through the District 2 traditional tournament and reached the semis at Region 1, falling by a single point in the semis to the region champ, former placer and multiple-time qualifier; in the blood round, Zirgibel advanced out by a single point. His tournament at states was too short, but with two more opportunities, we should see him on the state podium before his career ends.
2020-21 captain: While Zirgibel will be a captain on the mats next year and the year after that, we pick a second wrestler in this space, and rising senior Josh Seabrooks will fit the bill. Seabrooks got a late start, with just one match in December, but was a regular in the lineup the rest of the way, competing for most of the year at 195 but moving up for the traditional tournament series. While he had a tough outing at Lincoln, losing all of his contested matches, he had a much better tournament at Cairo, reaching the final before falling to a multiple-time Georgia state qualifier. Seabrooks was 4-1 with three pins at Chiles for Timberwolf Duals and reached the District 2 final. Region 1 was a tough out, as he fell to a state qualifier in the quarters and to a multiple-time Saturday competitor in the consis, but he made the state field in 2019, and we think he’ll make another run in late February.
Zander Laurin Warrior: It’s been a tough run of seasons for Leon as a team since the middle 2010s, and for those wrestlers who’ve held things together in the meantime, there’s not been a lot of team or even individual success, although the state runs of Seabrooks and Zirgibel show some flashes. 2020 graduate Ethan Eudy wasn’t the only senior to leave the group via graduation, but he was the only one who was a multiple-year starter; in fact, Eudy was a four-year starter for the Lions. He competed in every event for Leon this past season. After a five-match losing streak between Cap City, district duals and Trojan, Eudy reached the 145 final at Syrupmaker and placed sixth at Wakulla, plus he had a 4-1 record at Timberwolf Duals, and won three of four matches, falling only to the eventual champion at the District 2 meet. Eudy was injured after his first match at Region 1, but it’s the consistency he showed after four years of starting for the Lions that made Ethan Eudy the Zander Laurin Warrior for Leon.
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