The Season 2015-16: Middleburg


You can see everything I have on the Broncos in 2015-16 here –> MIDDLEBURG

Win/loss record: 16-9 in dual meets. Please review the attached document for a review of the Broncos’ performance in IBT events.

Season in a nutshell: Middleburg went into every dual meet in 2015-16 short-handed by three weights (138/145/285) and between injuries, late arrivals and late developing kids, didn’t always happen to have that 11 in hand all at the same time. Still, the Broncos won 16 dual meets during the course of the year. There was one IBT where Middleburg struggled, due mainly to testing conflicts, but otherwise the Broncos were a consistent presence in the top third at Wakulla, Flagler Rotary and Clay Rotary. But few outside the Bronco room would have predicted both district and region titles — the latter coming in a mad scramble amoung six teams that were separated by just a dozen points. As a team, Middleburg could not hold that momentum going into states, as previous region champions in 2A-Region 1 had also experienced — what that demonstrates is how even the competition truly is in that region. The Broncos are going to need lots of numbers, between being short-handed already plus a bevy of seniors moving on, but the returners that are back are very solid.

2015-16 MVP: It took a kid with a heckuva resume to defeat Jonathan Shoen this past year. All four that did it were state placers and two wound up winning states in either 1A or 2A. In the meantime, Shoen used his signature cradle to put together an exceptional season at 170 pounds for the Broncos, winning the first 16 matches of his season. Shoen did sustain two losses at the Wakulla Challenge, in what had to be one of the deepest weight classes in a very solid field, but after that event’s conclusion, Shoen didn’t lose again until the state finals on Saturday, with titles at Flagler Rotary, Clay Rotary, districts and regions — the last one where he avenged an earlier loss. Shoen led a very solid senior class at Middleburg that was multi-faceted in its talent, and as one of the state’s 84 finalists, he was certainly among the state’s elite as well.

2016-17 captain: I think I could go in one of four directions here, but I’m going to go with the best combination of resume and experience, and that leads me to tab Kurt Jackson for the position. Jackson’s one of those kids who is so close to figuring out how good he might be, and his opponents won’t be happy when that happens. Jackson missed out on North Florida Duals, but once he did join the lineup, he won 13 of his first 14 matches and ripped off another 10-match win streak during the second half of St Johns River Conference and the first part of the Wakulla CHallenge. As it turned out, Jackson was a runnerup — in a near-50/50 matchup — at districts and came back to take fourth at regions after an early loss. It can sometimes take some time for upper-weight underclassmen just to overcome strength disadvantages. Jackson seemed to have that covered this year, against most kids, and now just has to put all the pieces together, which often happens with experience.

Heaton’s Hero: Caleb King was a natural 126 and in at least his ideal world, he might have spent the entirety of the season there, but there was a pretty solid, college-bound senior already at that weight, and so — in order to help out the team — King spent most of the year at 132. Early on in the season, he had some success there, getting over the .500 mark just before St Johns River Conference in Matanzas. But the stretch run put its toll on King, who was 5-15 — according to what I have and reported in the attachment above — in the second half of the year. As it turned out, King did not wrestle in the post-season, but for starting and finishing the regular season in the lineup and moving up when the Broncos needed him — and they needed everybody they could get — Caleb King is the Heaton’s Hero for Middleburg.

Projected returning starters for 2016-17 (with year in school as they’ll be next year): Briar Jackson (sophomore, wrestled 113 this past year, District 3 champ, Region 1 3rd place); Austin Benton (junior, wrestled 120 this past year, District 3 3rd place); Storm Mercado (sophomore, wrestled 132 this past year, District 3 4th place); Cody Eastwood (senior, wrestled 152 this past year, District 3 runnerup); Robbie Riesenbeck (junior, wrestled 160 this past year, 1 match from regions); Bryan Heflin (junior, wrestled 182 this past year, District 3 runnerup, 1 match from 2A states); K. Jackson (junior, wrestled 195 this past year, District 3 runnerup, Region 1 4th place). Also: King (junior, wrestled 126/132 this past year, did not compete in post-season).


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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