The Season 2015-16: West Nassau

West Nassau

You can see everything I have on the Warriors in 2015-16 here –> WEST NASSAU

Win/loss record: 12-7 in duals. Please review the attached document for a review of the Warriors’ performance in IBT events.

Season in a nutshell: This is a team that’s on the move. I wasn’t sure last year, but they were so very young last year. Still young this year — as evidenced by the number of sophomores in the lineup — but the sophomores clearly had made a great deal of progress, finishing well above the .500 mark in duals (including an in-season, albeit not at County, dual win against Nassau rival Yulee), plus solid IBT finishes at Bierbaum, 5 Star and District 3, plus a top-half effort at regions. Most of this year’s starter group will be returning next year, and a further upgrade of the schedule (the Warriors did go to Clay Rotary as a group this year, plus appeared at Westside Kiwanis, to test their mettle against the big boys of the are) is probably the next thing this group needs in order to stay on the path of getting better. County should be interesting next year.

2015-16 MVP: For the second time in as many years, Jake Blount emerged out of a strong weight class to qualify out for the 1A state tournament for the Warriors; this year, though, Blount was the only West Nassau representative in Kissimmee. Blount hit the extremes in early December, sweeping to a 5-0 start at North Florida Duals but then going 0-2 with a very tough draw at Westside Kiwanis. In January, Blount really hit his stride, wining 13 matches in a row (19 out of 20) to go into February. He did have some injury bugs catch him in the postseason, losing that way in the third-place match at regions (after finishng second at District 3), and then again in the quarterfinals at states, that second ID loss coming off him pinning the then-#4 in the state in the opening round. I’m quite sure that Blount will eventually be on the podium in 1A; it might even be as soon as next year.

2016-17 captain: It wasn’t exactly like William Tharpe got off to a bad start at 126. He was 8-4 (according to the results I had) through Backyard Bash, with four losses to kids who either had qualified already or would qualify for states. But, as the story around Callahan goes, Tharpe came back to practice having completed a mini-growth spurt. Good bye, 126. Hello, 138. Tharpe put the hammer down right away, winning 12 of his next 13 matches (the only loss? To a 2015 state qualifier). Tharpe wound up finishing second at districts and then reached the region semis before finishing just one match short of the 1A state tournament. This is a kid I’m going to have my eye on over the next two years. Might be too early to say he could have the career of a Michael Dudzinski, earning a state medal along the way (more off-season work would help his cause), but along with Blount he’s going to be a solid leader among the rising juniors.

Heaton’s Hero: I don’t know how many matches Dallas Mumford would have won this year; we’ll never know, because Mumford sustained a season-ending injury at Backyard Bash just before Christmas and we didn’t get to see him again. Ordinarily, kids with 6-2 records, and five falls to boot, don’t normally see the Heaton’s Hero category, but it was the role that Mumford played for the Warriors after the injury that earned him the nomination — he kept coming out and being a focal point for his team, although one from an inspirational standpoint. In talking with Coach Avery, I learned how much his continued presence in the practice room and at meets meant to his teammates, and I look forward to seeing him back on the mats for his sophomore year. For this year, though, Dallas Mumford is the Heaton’s Hero for West Nassau.

Projected returning starters for 2016-17 (with year in school as they’ll be next year): Blount (junior, wrestled 113 this past year, District 3 runnerup, Region 1 4th place); Jacob Hulbert (sophomore, wrestled 120 this past year, District 3 4th place); Tharpe (junior, wrestled 126/138 this past year, District 3 runnerup, 1 match from 1A states); Levi Mumford (junior, wrestled 145/152 this past year, 1 match from regions); Chance Terrell (junior, wrestled 160 this past year, District 3 3rd place); Daniel Boylan (junior, wrestled 182/195 this past year, District 3 3rd place); Blake Hodges (senior, wrestled 220/285 this past year, District 3 3rd place). Also: D. Mumford (sophomore, wrestled 106 this past year, did not compete in post-season due to injury); Enoch Sipes (sophomore, wrestled 126/132/138 this past year, did not compete in post-season); Bryce Burnsed (senior, wrestled 182/195 this past year, did not compete in post-season); Jobe Hannan (sophomore, wrestled 195 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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