The Season 2015-16: Atlantic Coast

Atlantic Coast

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

Win/loss record: I’m thinking the Stingrays were 3-21 in duals, but I don’t have match by match results on the last two against Lee and Mandarin to confirm it. Please review the attached file above for a review of the Stingrays’ tournament performances.

Season in a nutshell: In duals format, the Stingrays struggled to find wins this past season, with 170 and 182 left open all season, plus usually at least two lighter weights often left open. Winning duals with 10 wrestlers can be difficult, even harder when the experience and quality levels are a mixed bag. From 195 through 285, Atlantic Coast was pretty dynamite. But inexperience was the watchword at a lot of others. However, IBT events were a little friendlier, as the star power could shine all the brighter. However, the Stingrays were only in two IBT events — both inside Jacksonville — during the course of the year. ACHS did have two state qualifiers, their first at least during the existence of the website, and one returning — which is a new and welcome development.

2015-16 MVP: Most of the wrestlers in the coverage area would be thrilled with the resume that DeAngeles Harris put together in his four years in Duval County, with three at Wolfson and then over at AC for his senior season, with two district titles, two region titles and three state medals. Very few can boast that resume. Harris came through the Gateway Conference at a time where it was unbelievably loaded with solid heavies (case in point: a 2015 state qualifier took third at Gateway this year), and I know that was a bracket that Harris very much wanted to win. Every time he went out on the mat, it was must-see action because you never knew what was going to happen. I can think of several times I can recall seeing him launch kids who were pretty good. He showed in the 3A state series that he had the fitness to go six minutes with the state’s best and win, pushing the top-ranked 3A heavyweight in the closest match that guy got all tournament. I hope he’ll go to college and wrestle. Once you’ve seen him wrestle, he’s not easily forgotten, and won’t be by me.

2016-17 captain: Narek Stepanyan did everything he could to improve himself during the off-season, and the results paid off in 2015-16. Stepanyan was undefeated until the Raines 5 Star event, where he took a close loss against 1A state placer Cam Brown of Florida High in the finals. Stepanyan was the Stingrays’ lone Gateway champion, and put together a solid post-season — with a runnerup showing at districts, fourth at regions, and getting to within one match of a state medal, beating some really tough kids along the way. His work ethic has been pretty focused over the course of the past year, and that focus and willingness to sacrifice would be skills that would help his teammates enjoy some successes of their own in the future.

Heaton’s Hero: A year ago, Marco Hunter was a little undersized at 106, but as there are no other weight classes lighter, he had to grin and bear it. This year, Hunter started the year at 113 and looked a bit light — then spent most of the year at 120, wrestling usually against stronger lightweight kids across the way, whether they were at 113 or at 120. Hunter did have a contested win early in the year, at Neptune Duals, but couldn’t come up with another one until 5 Star, but he kept battling against some solid competition. For his protective efforts this season and willingness to hang in against much bigger competition, Hunter is the Atlantic Coast representative for the Yeaton’s Hero nomination.

Returning starters for 2016-17 (with year in school as they’ll be next year): Hunter (junior, wrestled 113/120 this past year, 0-2 at districts); Austin Penrod (junior, wrestled 113/120 this past year, 0-2 at districts); Christian Knight-Banker (junior, wrestled 126 this past year, 0-2 at districts); Tywaine Rocheburn (senior, wrestled 145 this past year, 1 match from regions); Seth Stratton (sophomore, wrestled 152 this past year, 0-2 at districts); Uriah Ford (junior, wrestled 160 this past year, 0-2 at districts); Stepanyan (senior, wrestled 195 this past year, District 1 runnerup, Region 1 4th place, 1 match from state medal); Kurk Jackson (senior, wrestled 220 this past year, District 1 3rd place). Also: Zion Bradley (sophomore, wrestled 106 this past year, did not compete in post-season); Darius Idlebird (junior, wrestled 195/220/285 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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