The Season 2015-16: Palatka

Palatka

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

Win/loss record: 17-17 in duals. Please review the attached document for a review of the Panthers’ performance in IBT events.

Season in a nutshell: Well, one thing is for certain. The Panthers were absolutely fearless in their scheduling for 2016-17. Travel to then-#1 Flagler Palm Coast for a dual on the road? Sure. See strong 2A and 3A teams at The Flagler Duals? Absolutely. Take some lumps at the St Johns River Conference duals, Flagler and Clay Rotary IBTs? Bring it on. Palatka saw it all in 2016-17 and kept battling, going .500 in duals (they won 17, it’s not all that easy a thing to do with the schedule the Panthers had). However, the payoff was still a bit mixed. Palatka did finish second in District 5, but with all other teams besides the Panthers and district champion Crystal River fielding partial teams…that might have been an expected result. The best thing for Palatka is that they have all but two wrestlers on their starting lineup returning for next year, and could make a solid push for a District 5 title.

2015-16 MVP: Dean Lowe is one of those kids I’m going to miss. Even before Palatka became an area team, Lowe was trying to bring the Panthers into the coverage area, emailing me, making sure I had everything. And he was a sophomore. Lowe proved he was more than a quality PR machine. He could bring it on the mats too, with a team-high (according to my numbers) 27 wins this past season, with a District 5 runnerup effort and deep run into the region tournament. He beat two kids with more victories than he had this year, falling out of the tournament just one match short of state. I would have liked to see Lowe get to states, but he was absolutely Palatka’s most valuable wrestler this past season.

2016-17 captain: To lead effectively, one must be willing to serve first. Bryan Smith proved himself capable of serving wherever he was needed in the Panthers’ lineup, splitting time between 220 and 285 early on, then making the drop to 195 two weeks before districts, at Clay Rotary. Smith was clearly undersized for 220 and 285, but he still found quite a bit of success, with 22 of his 26 wins coming at either 220 or 285. As it actually turned out, Smith finished the year, as a 195, 4-8, but that was as tough a part of the season as you can get. He was in the lineup for every date of the season. Lead? Serve. That’s Bryan Smith this past year.

Heaton’s Hero: Continuing the plug-and-play theme from the captain’s side, I like the Hero a great deal when he or she is willing to move around to get actual matches. Consider Jamar Danzler‘s season. I have 43 matches for Danzler, and most of them didn’t go his way. Here’s the intriguing thing, though. There’s only two forfeit victories. So many kids have a number of forfeits to their plus side. I don’t normally see a 43-match season with just two forfeits. If it meant bumping to 160, Danzler did it. If it meant 170, Danzler did it. He could have probably had double the number of wins with a usual forfeit number. Instead, he wrestled almost everyone he could. That’s why Jamar Danzler is the Heaton’s Hero representative for Palatka.

Projected returning starters for 2016-17 (with year in school as they’ll be next year): Andrew Leary (sophomore, wrestled 106 this past year, District 5 runnerup); Marcellus Metson (junior, wrestled 113/120 this past year, District 5 runnerup); Isaiah Beauboeuf (junior, wrestled 126/132/138 this past year, District 5 3rd place); Austin Beauboeuf (sophomore, wrestled 132/138 this past year, District 5 runnerup; Branden Lee (sophomore, wrestled 145 this past year, District 5 4th place); Danzler (senior, wrestled 152/160/170 this past year); Jason Gullet (senior, wrestled 170/182 this past year, District 5 3rd place); Kedrick Davis (junior, wrestled 182/195 this past year, District 5 3rd place); Smith (junior, wrestled 195/220/285 this past year, District 5 4th place). Also: Dale Green (junior, wrestled 132/138 this past year, did not compete in post-season); Ira Dixon (junior, wrestled 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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