The Season 2015-16: First Coast

First Coast

You can see everything I have on the Buccaneers in 2015-16 here –> FIRST COAST

Win/loss record: 4-23 in duals. See attached file for a rundown of the Buccaneers’ tournaments this year.

Season in a nutshell: This was a tough year for First Coast, with its third coach in as many years in Brian Kaminski, who had to bring about more of a nurturing spirit to this year’s group, one of the youngest — in terms of experience — that was out there on the mats this year. Certainly this was true among local 3A teams. An already-tough year got tougher when two kids required medical attention at the Gateway — almost at the same time. The Buccaneers did wrestle in some bigger events that — for this group — were probably too much competition, but to their credit, they got in, they scrapped and gave as much fight as they could. Reminds me of Lee from three years ago — and Lee should be competitive for the Gateway title in 2016-17.

2015-16 MVP: We all sort of hoped against hope that Erik Sirmans was going to be able to wrestle again after his severe elbow injury in the Gateway final at Sandalwood. I think a lot of people knew that it was going to be tough. I confess one of the first things I checked on district morning before heading out on my day was the brackets at Flagler to see if he was competing. It’s too bad that he couldn’t. A three-time Gateway champ, Sirmans worked tirelessly this off-season to get better. I saw him a lot during the spring and summer. He wanted states. I wanted it for him. It wasn’t to be, but the lessons about hard work and determination he gained from the sport will serve him well down the road.

2016-17 captain: With just one post-season victory returning in 2016-17, next year is a year where there is — quite literally — nowhere to go but up for First Coast. Jason Schwartz took some strides as a freshman — third at Gateway, third at 5 Star — and in some ways how his development goes is going to mirror the development of the Buccaneers as a continuing program. First Coast has no lockdown star to go to this coming season. It has had at least two each of the past three seasons since the website began. Schwartz can take a step toward becoming that lockdown star with his offseason work and he’ll be counted on for on-the-mat leadership next season.

Heaton’s Hero: This year was a struggle for a lot of FCHS kids, so I could go in any number of directions here. I’m going to go with the kid that was in the lineup from beginning to end of the year, who didn’t even get his hand raised at all until just before Christmas, didn’t pick up his first contested win until Gateway and had just two contested wins all season, yet kept coming back. Going 5-31, with only two matches going a full six minutes, is a tough experience for anybody, but Jacob Gaskell weathered the storm. I hope he’ll be back; his team will need his persistence next year. Gaskell is the First Coast representative for the Heaton’s Hero award.

Returning starters for 2016-17 (with year in school as they’ll be next year): Schwartz (sophomore, wrestled 106/113 this past year, 1 match from regions); Quentin Jones (junior, wrestled 132/138 this past year, 0-2 at districts); Tyshawn Anderson (sophomore, wrestled 160 this past year, 0-2 at districts); Jacob Gaskell (senior, wrestled 160/170 this past year, 0-2 at districts); Trever Bruce (senior, wrestled 182/195 this past year, 0-2 at districts), plus La’kiyyah Steney (senior, wrestled 106/113 this past year, did not compete in post-season); Tremajae Johnson (sophomore, wrestled 132/138 this past year, did not compete in post-season); Shelton Jackson (junior, wrestled 145 this past year, did not compete in post-season); Hugh McKay (senior, wrestled 285 this past year, did not compete in post-season).

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I covered wrestling for 15 years up north and "retired" in 2011. But as I thought I had in 1992, I couldn't stay away. Started Northeast Florida Matmen in 2013, Northwest Florida Matmen in 2015. New initiative this year is to create a space on my sites where ALL Florida results can be stored, searched, reviewed and used by my readers, with NO COST TO THEM.

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