Today Plans

We’ll have a highlight story from West Nassau-Baker County II, which is taking place tonight, plus we’ll be taking possession of the bout sheets from Englewood as of about an hour from now, and we should be able to put together those duals sometime tonight. We’ll leave them up individually so you can see them at least through tomorrow, and then we’ll add them to the link we have for Week 2 duals.

Rankings. Tomorrow? Early Saturday morning? Only The Shadow knows…

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Fernandina Beach Ends 2014 On High Note With Dual Wins

By SHANNON HEATON
Northeast Florida Matmen

JACKSONVILLE – The first half of December was a trying couple of weeks for the Fernandina Beach wrestling team.

New head coach. Lots of new starters. New identity.

And with all of that newness crashing around the Pirate wrestling room, growing pains would, inevitably, ensue, taking the form of a 1-6 start in dual meets.

Wednesday night at Raines’ Douglas White Gymnasium, the Pirates hoped to finish off 2014 on a better note, and did, with a pair of victories over Florida School for the Deaf & Blind (43-27) and the host Vikings (48-24).

“We’re not really where we need to be yet,” Fernandina coach Jay Helm said. “With a lot of young wrestlers, it makes it hard to match up in the room. But coming here, and getting some good matches, helps a lot.”

Fernandina Beach (3-6) took its ease and took in the action of the opening round of the triangular, as Raines (5-5) took down FSDB, 31-30, in a criteria victory on the basis of the most falls (4-2).

Then the Pirates hit the mat with early runs, jumping out to a 28-6 lead over FSDB (0-3) and going up 18-0 and 48-6 over Raines.

Double winners on the night for the Pirates were Jade Welsh (138), Jesse Henn (160), Brad Lucas (195) and Hynson Cole (220).

“We figured out pretty quick at the North Florida Duals (11 days ago) that we had to work harder and we had to learn how to make weight, too,” Helm said. “But we win as a team and lose as a team. The kids are coming together as a group, supporting each other, and in the long run that will pay off.”

The host Vikings stayed at .500 in duals in the midst of a bit of a grueling schedule that saw Raines going against north Florida’s best last weekend at the Capital City Classic and getting some holiday competition this weekend at Lee’s Backyard Bash. Although Raines was giving up five forfeits Wednesday night, there was a reason for it.

“No practice, no wrestle,” Vikings coach Brian Gilbert said of the lack of starters. “These kids have to learn that no matter how athletic you are, you’ve got to learn how to wrestle. You can’t just use athleticism. You have to have technique, doing the stuff you’re drilling in practice, and then put that to use in the match. When we get that, we’ll be all right.”

Joseph Haynes (2 pins at 113), Jaquan English (2 pins at 120/26), Demonta Bell (2 pins at 152) and Qiuan Smith (1 pin at 285) were double winners for the Vikings. In the FSDB dual, Tyrann Baxter (195) came back from a 10-1 deficit to collect a fall there.

As for the Dragons, though they’re searching for their first dual win of 2014-15, they took another step toward forging a new identity of their own although, like Raines was Wednesday night, numbers are a continuing issue.

“Every time we step out on the mat, we’re gaining more experience and gaining continuous improvement,” FSDB coach Travis Homewood said. “But we’ve got more heart than talent right now. We have a sixth-grader, two seventh-graders and an eighth-grader on the varsity, just because we don’t have any other bodies.”

AJ Rice (132) and Wesley Homewood (170/82) were the Dragons’ lone double winners on the night.

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In Progress “Live Tweets” Tonight!

Tonight, we’re going to Raines for the Vikings’ triangular meet hosting Fernandina Beach and Florida School for the Deaf & Blind (Baker County backed out upon news of a Raines student hospitalized with TB, but I have confirmed from Vikings coach Brian Gilbert that this IS still on)…once I get there and get my bearings, the live-tweeting will begin. Probably first tweet will be around 5:45 (@NEFloridaMatmen, if you’re wondering). I will get to catch up the Fernandina-Lee dual I’m missing.

We’ve emailed the other coaches wrestling tonight to send in their results by 4:30 Thursday for inclusion in a roundup story. Fletcher is not hosting Westside tonight. The other events scheduled are at Stanton and Ridgeview. Jackson will be at Stanton; Ridgeview hosts St. Augustine.

We got the dual result from Palatka’s win over Eastside. Our new area teams are coming along slowly but nicely. I know how difficult this is for them. When you’ve had almost nobody (at least outside of Clay County) pay attention to you, or what you do, for three months out of the year, it’s difficult to trust somebody who wants your information. I’m glad to be slowly earning, as might be said down here, y’all’s trust. Now if I can just have those bout sheets from Englewood we just about might have most of our missing stuff licked.

Continuing the never-ending work of record-keeping with hopes and intentions of posting rankings by Friday. Note that in the absence of full information, rankings will only be able to be based on what I have in my possession.

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What You Want

In the last nine days, we’ve seen more than 10,000 page views on the site. I greatly appreciate that. I’m thinking some pre-Christmas rankings would be a good present for your dedication. Got to have some things come in that are missing, though. We’ve got all of the Week 2 duals — that we have — input into record form. Tomorrow night will be the two IBTs and hopefully some missings.

We’ve got coverage plans for Wednesday and Saturday as well…more on that on the day…Nothing yet on the dual kicking off Week 3 tonight, Eastside at Palatka. Hopefully that will be on the work email or Trackwrestling tomorrow, but not yet tonight…

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MNW in Clay All Systems Go

I heard either from Coach Reape or Coach Hill tonight. Monday Night Wrestling got kicked off in Green Cove Springs, with at least four teams in attendance. Gainesville, Fletcher and Orange Park as well as the Blue Devils were represented as full teams. There were three mats, 11 brackets and everyone attending got at least 2 matches. And it started on time, which means it should finish on time! If you went, congratulations on acting on your desire to get better, and if you helped run it, you should get something extra in your stockings in 10 days…

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Needed from Saturday

Here’s what I’m missing from the weekend:

  • Bout sheets from the Englewood Invitational dual tournament. I believe I’ll have these in my possession today and might even be able to post them tonight if I do.

And here’s what is outstanding from prior competitions:

  • Gainesville’s Week 1 results at Weeki Wachee.

We’re only as good as the completeness of the information says we are.

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Week 1 Recordkeeping

Is complete with the exception of Gainesville at the Weeki Wachee Duals. Time to start on Week 2! (Editor’s Note: It WOULD have been, if my power cord hadn’t fried…sigh). But, I should be able to update team rankings and put out some individual ones by the end of the week!

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