The Season 2015-16: Milton

Milton

You can see everything I have on the Panthers in 2015-16 here –> MILTON

Win/loss record: Unknown. As you’ll see in the attachment, we had a few gaps with Milton, although Coach Bohannon did his best to get things to me (we have to work on one- or two-day dual/roundrobin events on the Northwest side, plus there are a few coaches that never responded to me at all, all season; we’re working on it). Please review the attached document for a review of the Panthers’ performance in IBT events.

Season in a nutshell: It took a few weeks for the Panthers to gain some success in dual meets, but Milton did pick up two wins on the first day of Beast of the Beach at Ft Walton Beach, with competitive losses to an Alabama team and Bozeman before bowing out on the second day with three duals wrestled that day. From there, though, wins appeared to be a bit more difficult to collect, as I only have two wins (I’m sure there were more than just the one I have at Panhandle Duals, as I saw some teams get 8-10 duals in that weekend). But there was improvement, as a team that the Panthers lost to at Beast of the Beach, Milton defeated at Panhandle. They did struggle in the post-season, but pretty much every starter returns for next season, so I would expect some solid improvements for next year — particularly with the off-season work that is slowly starting to happen there.

2015-16 MVP: While no wrestlers made it to states from the Panther program in 2015-16, one got to the doorstep, falling in the region consi-semis — its version of the “blood round” — as junior heavyweight Hunter Hall lost by fall there to an eventual state semifinalist and placewinner. Hall had a solid season in 2015-16, racking up 36 wins along the way and winning three times on the backside of the region bracket to give himself at least a chance to get to states. Hall was the Panthers’ only district finalist and only 30-plus match winner in 2015-16. He has a solid chance of getting out to states next year — should certainly be in the mix for it, assuming good health through the season — and will be a solid leader for this program.

2016-17 captain: At first, I wasn’t quite sure what kind of season Seth Martin was going to have, as he left Beast of the Beach with a 6-4 record but four of those wins were forfeits. As it turned out, Martin was just off to a slower start, at one point winning six of seven matches — that I have for results — between January 7 and January 22. Martin steadily kept improving throughout the year, losing at districts only to the eventual champion and going 6-4 with a solid Lincoln wrestler to get knocked out of regions after three matches. The steady improvement Martin showed throughout the year is certainly something that will elevate him among his teammates, and as a senior and one of three returning Panther region qualifiers, those teammates will need his leadership.

Heaton’s Hero: Youth and inexperience in an emerging program like the one the Panthers have are variables that are exceptionally difficult to overcome. In the case of Milton freshman Ian Van Gestel, it took quite a while to get a hand raised in a contested match — from the results I have, it wasn’t until January when that happened, and of the 11 wins reported to Track for him, I have eight of those, and just one was by fall. Still, though, Van Gestel was in the lineup from the Panthers’ opening dual against Gulf Breeze, all the way through districts, which was a quick two-and-out, but he never gave up during the course of the year. That’s what I look for in kids first and foremost. Ian Van Gestel is the Milton representative for the Heaton’s Hero nomination.

Projected returning starters for 2016-17 (with year in school as they’ll be next year): Donovan Smith (senior, wrestled 106/113 this past year, 1 match from regions); Van Gestel (sophomore, wrestled 113/120 this past year, 0-2 at districts); Camryn Smith (senior, wrestled 132 this past year, 0-2 at districts); Aiden Sterba (sophomore, wrestled 126/138 this past year, 1 match from regions); Eric Simmons (junior, wrestled 138/145 this past year, District 1 3rd place); Xavier Morgan (senior, wrestled 152/160 this past year, 1 match from regions); Dakota Busbee (sophomore, wrestled 160 this past year, 0-2 at districts); Martin (senior, wrestled 170 this past year, District 1 3rd place); Jovanni Salas (senior, wrestled 182 this past year, 0-2 at districts); Brandon Ortiz (junior, wrestled 195 this past year, 1 match from regions); Connor Saint (junior, wrestled 220 this past year, 1 match from regions); Hall (senior, wrestled 285 this past year, District 1 runnerup, 1 match from 2A states). Also: Marcus Deloach (junior, wrestled 120/126 this past year, did not compete in post-season); Jer’Vaungh Craig (senior, wrestled 138/145 this past year, did not compete in post-season); Jonathan Brantley (senior, wrestled 152/160 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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