The Season 2015-16: Wewahitchka

Wewahitchka

You can see everything I have on the Gators in 2015-16 here –> WEWAHITCHKA

Win/loss record: Based on what I have, 4-9 in dual meets. There are some discrepancies between my records and those presented to FHSAA, above and beyond the missing Cougar Classic results. There might be one other event missing. Please review the attached document for a review of the Gators’ performance in IBT events.

Season in a nutshell: Wewahitchka definitely struggled to start the year, with finishes near the bottom at Border Wars, Timberwolf Challenge, Gulf Breeze and Scott Rohrer Invitationals. But the two-week break (at least according to the schedule I have) between Scott Rohrer and Gator Brawl seemed to really do some good, as the Gators took fourth and most of the Wewa starters seemed to rally as a group. That led to a fourth-place finish at the Brawl, a fifth at 1A-District 1 and a performance that might have been Wewa’s best of the season, 11th place at regions — third best among District 1 teams. There were a couple of seniors in the Gator lineup; most of the Wewa starters not only return, but could be back for a few years.

2015-16 MVP: At one point in 2015-16, Gator freshman Alex Edwards had a sub-.500 record (5-6, according to the results I had for Wewa) and was looking to mostly duplicate the season he had as an eighth-grader and upperweight wrestler (more on the struggles they face shortly). But from there, Edwards seemed to find the right answers to get on the winning path, winning matches against wrestlers he’d lost to earlier in the season. From the Panhandle Duals onward, Edwards was 14-6, winning 10 matches in a row at one point. Edwards didn’t win an IBT title this season, but he was the only Gator to make it to states. Edwards reached the region semis, earning two falls after losing there to take third place and qualify out. It’s still only the start of a long career for Edwards, who is wrestling at a high level (Back in Black) this offseason and should make the state podium before long.

2016-17 captain: Burley Parker got off to a slow start in December, starting the year 1-4 at Border Wars. He won his next five matches, but staying well clear of the .500 mark was tricky business until the Rohrer Invitational and shortly after, when Parker won 10 of 11 matches (at least among the results that I have). Parker then went on to compile 40-plus victories as the season wore on, finishing just a takedown away from a district title, losing two matches by decision, including a one-point loss in the consi quarters on Saturday at regions. As a senior, Parker will be counted on for leadership for the Gators in 2016-17. This young team grew a lot from beginning to end, and how much it will grow in 2016-17 will depend a lot on the seniors, like Parker.

Heaton’s Hero: Being a freshman upperweight wrestler is hard enough. Try doing it as an 8th grader — unless your last name is Meeks, in this state, 8th graders find rough going in the upper weights, particularly at 285. Claeton Horne finished the year with just four competitive wins in 2015-16 after a late start to the year, but he did have his hand raised in one match. That, fortunately, was at home during Wewa’s Gator Brawl, when he had a fall over Bozeman’s Landon Harris in the second-to-last match of the day. Horne might have benefited from a full December, but what would benefit him more would be more offseason work and the stick-to-it-iveness that kept him going through the post-season. Claeton Horne is the Wewahitchka representative for the Heaton’s Hero award.

Projected returning starters for 2016-17 (with year in school as they’ll be next year): Tyler Dubray (freshman, wrestled 106 this past year, District 1 4th place); Johnathan Harvey (sophomore, wrestled 113 this past year, District 1 3rd place); Mathew Laster (freshman, wrestled 120 this past year, 1 match from regions); Dylan Jacobs (sophomore, wrestled 126 this past year, 1 match from regions); Parker (senior, wrestled 145 this past year, District 1 runnerup); Delinger Chance (senior, wrestled 152 this past year, 1 match from regions); Jackson Vines (senior, wrestled 160 this past year, 1 match from regions); Dylan Edwards (sophomore, wrestled 170 this past year, District 1 4th place); Malachi Davenport (junior, wrestled 182 this past year, District 1 4th place); A. Edwards (sophomore, wrestled 195 this past year, District 1 runnerup, Region 1 3rd place); Claeton Horne (freshman, wrestled 285 this past year, 1 match from regions). Also: Blake Lynn (sophomore, wrestled 120 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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