The Season 2015-16: Ridgeview

Ridgeview

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

Win/loss record: 6-7 in duals. Please review the attached document for a review of the Panthers’ performance in IBT events.

Season in a nutshell: With its third head coach in as many years, this couldn’t help but be something of a transition year for Ridgeview, but the Panthers got off to a reasonable start, with wins over Palatka, Lee and St. Augustine early on in the season. But winning the duals that they weren’t “favored” to win didn’t happen for Ridgeview, either, as being two consistent weights down all season, against fuller lineups, was a drawback. With some solid competitors, Ridgeview could contend for points in IBTs, but had trouble cracking the top half in bigger events, particularly down the stretch. Simply having a coaching staff in place for more than one season will be a good start in developing program continuity, but the Panthers will have to upgrade some of the competition. That’s already in the works, with Ridgeview’s off-season lifting program already in place and also its talent-laden two-day dual event that is scheduled for December.

2015-16 MVP: Just one Ridgeview wrestler was victorious in an IBT tournament this year. Just one got out to an 11-1 start. That was Daryn Tucker Brown, who was one of three Ridgeview seniors to reach the District 3 finals and one of two to get to the Region 1 finals. Brown, though, led the Panthers in victories this past season and was consistently ranked in the top five wrestlers in his weight class all season. In many ways, Brown was the pivotal wrestler in between the elite Panther stars of the recent past and the future that appears to be building up for the Ridgeview program. Brown had trouble winning a district or region title, but he did qualify out for states, only finding himself eliminated at states by the #2-ranked wrestler in a one-point loss. Brown made tremendous strides in his wrestling from last year to this one

2016-17 captain: After 2016 state qualifier Trevor Belden made his permanent presence in the lineup felt, 132s McKenzie Williams and Nick Robinson needed to move up in the lineup, and each spent significant time at both 138 and 145, depending on the circumstance of the given week, though it was Robinson who had to stay up higher for the final month of the season. There were some struggles associated with wrestling in the larger weight class, but Robinson had to make the sacrifice to fill the spot, and that sacrifice still led him to two district wins, even though his region tournament was over too quickly. Robinson’s senior leadership will be very much needed with a new influx of talent coming into the Panther lineup next year.

Heaton’s Hero: I don’t know where this program will go over the next few years, but what it will look like in 2019 has a lot to do with its seniors this year — the talent that Brown and Trevor Belden brought, the grit of Justin Trinh and Williams, and the stick-to-itiveness of kids like Steven Richardson. Richardson was in the lineup from Day 1, wrestling a couple of times at 160 along the way, and it was unfortunate that the end of his season didn’t go the way the beginning had back on December 2. After a win in mid-January, Richardson went winless the rest of the season, through duals, two regular-season IBTs and both districts and regions, but the senior didn’t quit. That is what will live on for the Panthers, and that’s what made Steven Richardson the Heaton’s Hero for Ridgeview.

Projected returning starters for 2016-17 (with year in school as they’ll be next year): Hunter Click (sophomore, wrestled 106 this past year, District 3 3rd place); Tanner Belden (sophomore, wrestled 126 this past year, District 3 3rd place); Robinson (senior, wrestled 138/145 this past year, District 3 3rd place); John Tiedeman (sophomore, wrestled 160 this past year, 1 match from regions); Thaddeaus Everett (junior, wrestled 182 this past year, 1 match from regions); Brandon Wilkerson (senior, wrestled 220 this past year, District 3 3rd place); Jonathan McDow (senior, wrestled 285 this past year, 1 match from regions).

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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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