I will be getting some MUCH needed family time starting today and rolling through Saturday night late. Do have a post planned for Sunday, maybe sooner if I get in front of a computer long enough. Heading down to Englewood, home of Lemon Bay HS, which is not more than five minutes from my mother’s home in Rotonda West. Her chain of condos hosts an Olympic-sized pool that, so I understand it, was used in the 70s TV show The Superstars. Coaches and parents should remember that show. Wrestlers, go Google it, or whatever search engine you want to use.
Trivia question! Quick, who was the only wrestler from a Duval County public school to earn a medal at state last year?
OK, I won’t wait that long. It was Wolfson sophomore DeAngeles Harris, whose always-forward, always-attacking style put him on the podium in Class 1A in sixth place at 285 pounds. How much technique did he have? Didn’t matter. How much off-season work has he done? THAT could be a big question going forward. He was one of several strong heavies that we had in the @NEFloridaMatmen coverage area, and maybe in two years could be the best of them all…if he continues to work at it. Wolfson had some of the familiar struggles typical for Duval public teams (new coach, late start, trying to find numbers), and the lack of experience tended to make things an uphill battle for those who did make it out.
Except for Harris, who just waded in with an attack-first mentality. I would not say he was the best Duval public-school heavyweight in 2013-14 (I have to reserve that for Forrest/Westside’s Kahlil Welsh, and I hope Welsh is back for next year). But he was in the conversation, and apparently figured some things out toward the end.
Some discrepancies between what Coach Marabell reported and what I had, at least to some degree, and what he had I changed to. But his record and my record for Harris was right at least. I look forward to seeing what this kid can do in the next two years. Talents like his are EXACTLY why I started this website. Everyone knows what Clay and Fleming and Orange Park can do. Nobody knows enough about the talent hidden in Duval. I’m not even sure the coaches know about the talent hidden in their schools. I know they can guess at it. We just have to help them find it and nurture it, and publicizing the efforts of kids like Harris is a good start.
Providence was a team moving in kind of two directions in 2013-14. On the one hand, the Stallions competed in dual events that were befitting their numbers and experience (both, for some degree, lacking) and on the other Providence also competed in Brandon’s tournament (though, it must be said, only the older Merry and Cobb were registered). I will tell you this — the fact that Cobb competed at Brandon probably contributed, as much as anything else, to his ability to qualify out and make it to Lakeland. The Stallions might not have been as strong in duals as Episcopal and Duval Charter, but they did get a qualifier who won a match at state. And Cobb returns — so he could be a podium threat as a 220 in 2014-15.The Merrys had some decent returns to their season, but after that almost everyone in the lineup had to overcome experience disadvantages. I know Coach Daniels had the right formula, ideally, in scheduling the Brandon tournament in mid-January; now it’s just a matter of kids doing the work of getting conditioned and getting matches. That will help the Stallions more than anything else. Not a lot of sizable discrepancies — T. Merry’s record was the most divergent.
The Eagles were a stronger team in duals than they were in the IBT format, which isn’t necessarily the worst thing except for the fact that there is no post-season duals format in Florida…YET. Episcopal struggled to find its footing in dual events, that all being said, at the start of the season, going 0-7. A win over Stanton got the Eagles going, though, and then Episcopal rattled off seven wins in dual format before falling to a decent FSDB team in its final dual of the season. I had really hoped that Weldon would have more success in his final season after starting the year ranked, but he had to wrestle up for far too long, and the result was that his success was more in the margins. But we saw a nice surprise coming out of Chepenik at 220, who could be a solid heavy in the next couple of seasons. The Eagles are also a young team — more experience will help. Not much in the way of discrepancies, Coach Rickey was very good about getting stats to me. I will always enjoy trips to that school — it is an amazing campus.
So one thing that I really liked about the Duval County Panthers (so as to distinguish them from Ridgeview, which I sometimes call the Clay County Panthers), is that they would wrestle anybody who would have them. They got in 34 duals in this their first full season, and they had a great fan base as well. A lot of promise from this verrrrrrrrry young team, and some of the kids are trying to get in some off-season work this summer. I had hoped that Porter would get out and go to state, but he was a 9-8 loss short. For an 8th grader, that’s still a pretty good run. I did have a few discrepancies between what I had and what the coaches had; some were pretty minor discrepancies and some were quite large. In each case, I changed my record to match what the coaches reported, but you’ll see what I had leading up to the change.
Yes, I’m sorry I took so long to get these done. I am a little interested to see how next season works, when I may have my own place to live (and therefore probably not very easy access to a computer at night), trying to work out and at the same time cover events at night, and have just one boy here, who’ll need my attention as well.
But I digress. I’ll start with Pedro Menendez, which was a very interesting team this past winter. The Falcons started off strongly, I thought, but then seemed to lose several wrestlers about a third of the way through the season. Check the records if you’re not sure. A lot of good kids just didn’t see a lot of time after December (I’m thinking of Bordley, DiGregorio & Worthington, most especially).
Menendez in January was a very different team. And yet, the Falcons got four wrestlers to state, with one — 285-pound graduate Austin Gwin — earning a fifth-place medal in 1A. Not a lot of teams got four out. A lot would have wanted to. Only one of the four state qualifiers (Padgett) returns for this season. We’ll see how it goes.
I will say this — former coach DuFresne’s use of Trackwrestling meant that Menendez’s records were as close to what I had as any other team so far. There were only three discrepancies, and they were all small ones.
Are being created now. I am leaving work early for personals today, but I might be able to draw up some short thoughts on a few, or all, of those tonight. Have been getting requests for updates on when these would be published, which is a good thing.