The Season 2015-16: Lincoln

Lincoln

You can see everything I have on the Trojans in 2015-16 here –> LINCOLN

Win/loss record: 9-0 in duals. Please review the attached file above for a review of the Trojans’ tournament performances.

Season in a nutshell: In a few ways, this season was something of a transition year for the Trojans, who came away with an undefeated season in duals — just nine, but most of those nine were very grueling challenges — to assert leadership once again in the Tallahassee area, and Lincoln won another district title under coach Mike Crowder’s leadership, but a wild region-title race left that hardware just eluding the grasp of his wrestlers. What will be key for Lincoln next year will be how strong its middles will get this off-season. The bookends look to be very solid once again, but 126 through 160, in particular, appear to offer opportunities for growth in 2016-17.

2015-16 MVP: Only two state finalists figured out a way to defeat Jaycie Rudd this past season. Those were Sarasota’s Jarred Hardinger (3A at 170), who falled Rudd in Tampa after Rudd had made the drop down to 160 but wrestled up to face Hardinger, and Palmetto Ridge’s Joey Nadotti in the 2A state final. Otherwise, the 2015-16 season was largely an exhibition of Rudd’s dominance, with 38 wins — 31 of those coming by fall, and 21 of those verified by fall in a minute or less — and titles at both the district and region levels. Rudd did miss a chance to add a couple of regular-season tournament wins at Border Wars and Capital City, but didn’t miss a beat from there, with wins at the Timberwolf Challenge, the Seminole Wrestling Classic and the Trojan Invitational. He absolutely controlled the 160-pound weight class in North Florida this past season, and his lockdown presence in the Trojans’ lineup will be missed.

2016-17 captain: Quick question — who was the last wrestler to defeat 2A state champion Trae-von O’Neal of Gainesville? That would be Lincoln sophomore Michael Crowder, who handed O’Neal his only post-season loss in the District 2 final, winning by a 3-2 count. Crowder went on to regions and lost in the quarters, but rallied to get to Saturday afternoon, where he was stopped just one match short of states. Next year’s team is going to need its experienced leadership, what with so many starting seniors on this past year’s team moving on due to graduation. Crowder is also the only returner with a district title to his credit. Those things are going to come in handy for a much-younger Trojan team in 2016-17.

Heaton’s Hero: One of the key attributes of a Heaton’s Hero is being willing to go wherever in the lineup one is needed. For Eli Crum, that meanst 138 for Border Wars, 132 for the rest of December and a good chunk of January, back to 138 for Jesuit’s 6-Way duals event, back down to 132 for Clay Rotary and Tri-County, and then back up to 138 for the post-season series, which saw a win at districts and a six-minute match for the final one of his season at regions. Crum was 4-18 at one point, but was nearly at a .500 clip in his final 16 matches. For doing everything he could, throughout the season, to hold down a varsity spot for the Trojans, Eli Crum is the Heaton’s Hero representative for Lincoln.

Returning starters for 2016-17 (with year in school as they’ll be next year): Mark Munroe (sophomore, wrestled 106 this past year, District 2 runnerup); Crowder (junior, wrestled 113 this past year, District 2 champion, 1 match from 2A states); Tyree Young (senior, wrestled 120 this past year, District 2 runnerup); Scott Prine (senior, wrestled 132 this past year, District 2 4th place); Crum (sophomore, wrestled 138 this past year, District 2 3rd place); Justin Lopeman (senior, wrestled 170 this past year, District 2 runnerup); Jared Newhall (junior, wrestled 170/195 this past year, District 2 runnerup); Thomas Moss (senior, wrestled 285 this past year, District 2 4th place, 1 match from 2A states). Also: Braxton Winder (sophomore, wrestled 138 this past year, did not compete in post-season); Selah Craft, sophomore, wrestled 152 this past year, did not compete in post-season); Jeremy Burke (senior, wrestled 152 this past year, did not compete in post-season); Gus Altenburg (junior, wrestled 182/195 this past year, did not compete in post-season); Josh Martin (senior, wrestled 220 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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