The Season 2015-16: Oakleaf

Oakleaf

You can see everything I have on the Knights in 2015-16 here –> OAKLEAF

Win/loss record: 14-6 in dual meets. Please review the attached file above for a review of the Knights’ tournament performances.

Season in a nutshell: There were times during the season that the Clay County Knights would mount top-10 efforts at a given event (North Florida Duals, Bear Duals) and other ones where they would struggle to be considered among the area’s top half (Tiger Duals, Flagler Rotary). That’s to be expected for a group with a new head coach and having lost eight seniors from the previous season. There always seemed to be two or three weights missing from the lineup, and in 3A, that’s very difficult to overcome, but Oakleaf never left a battle and still able to maintain cruising speed. Their group’s overall intensity (particularly in January and February) never wavered, even when overmatched. If they can continue to fill their lineup and build their program this way, the building blocks are in place.

2015-16 MVP: Ryan Rosano was a pretty big 113 when he competed at that weight in December. He was a monstrous 106 when he dropped down to that weight for January and February. Rosano never won an individual title this season, but nevertheless he had stretches of very, very solid wrestling. After his loss in the third-place match at 113 at Westside Kiwanis — keep in mind that’s only the third event on Oakleaf’s schedule, in the second weekend of the regular season — Rosano would go on to lose only once in his next 23 matches, and that was to 1A state finalist Ethan Pickren of Arnold, the eventual Flagler Rotary champion, where Rosano took third. I can’t imagine him at 113 for next year after seeing him at the Matmen fundraiser five weeks ago; but wherever he is — and I hope he’s found a Disney team, or will do so soon if he hasn’t — he’s going to be one of the Knights’ most solid wrestlers.

2016-17 captain: For a time, junior Luke Karl was one of the last unbeaten wrestlers in the coverage area, going into late January before sustaining his first loss. He was not at Westside Kiwanis in December (my guess is testing), but otherwise he was a lock, scoring maximum points in each of his 14 appearances leading up to the Bear Duals. 152 was pretty solid at that event, though, and there were tough kids even when there were wins to be had. After a 15-0 start, Karl had — by my reckoning — a 12-9 finish, but there were state champs and placers on that list of losses. Karl knows how close he was after bowing out on Saturday at regions — dropping a close decision to an opponent he’d beaten twice before. He’s definitely in the mix for states as a senior, and will be a solid on-the-mat leader in Oakleaf’s room.

Heaton’s Hero: I particularly like to hear about first-year seniors coming out for the sport. I learned that Anthony Quinones was one such senior when I made the trek to the plantation for the Knights’ home dual with Ridgeview, in which Quinones’ fall proved crucial in clinching a team win. Quinones made 170 early, at Westside Kiwanis, but then spent most of the season at 182 — up until Flagler Rotary, when he again went down to 170. We would have loved to see him two prior seasons, but we’ll — and I know the Knights’ coaching staff did — appreciate him for his one year. Always a wrestler, Anthony. You’re the Heaton’s Hero representative for Oakleaf…si vis pacem…

Returning starters for 2016-17 (with year in school as they’ll be next year): Rosano (junior, wrestled 106/113 this past season, District 1 runnerup, Region 1 runnerup); Kyle Tairovski-Romeu (sophomore, wrestled 106/113 this past season, 1 match from regions); Vince Karl (junior, wrestled 120 this past season, District 1 4th place); Ethan Gustilo (junior, wrestled 126/132 this past season, 1 match from regions); Trenton Carroll (sophomore, wrestled 132/138 this past season, 0-2 at districts); L. Karl (senior, wrestled 152 this past season, District 1 runnerup); Isaiah Graham (junior, wrestled 160 this past season, 1 match from regions); David Thompson (senior, wrestled 182/195/220 this past season, District 1 4th place); Jesse Jennette (senior, wrestled 285 this past season, 0-2 at districts). Also: Austin Gibson (junior, wrestled 170 this past season, 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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