The Season 2015-16: St. Augustine

St. Augustine

You can see everything I have on the Yellow Jackets in 2015-16 here –> ST AUGUSTINE

Win/loss record: 11-24 in dual meets. Please review the attached document for a review of the Yellow Jackets’ performance in IBT events.

Season in a nutshell: This year’s schedule for St. Augustine was exactly what the Yellow Jackets needed in this year in a continuing time of transition. Continuing to make their schedule tougher is the right answer going forward, as we saw some sparks from some young wrestlers that had struggled considerably at the start. The schedule’s getting stronger. The room is picking up the pace. It just needs more kids to continue to keep coming out, and staying out, as the program takes the hard road back toward strength.

2015-16 MVP: It’s very difficult for a senior to stay at 106 pounds for the entirety of their high school careers, and for a while there, I thought that Kristopher Smith looked too massive to stay down. Smith had dramatically transformed himself over the past three years; in the process of that transformation, Smith made himself into an incredibly strong 106. Smith only gave up bonus points twice all season, once against the Northeast’s best 113 in the very first match of the season and not again until St Johns River Conference. Smith went from also-ran to 2A powerhouse over the past couple of seasons, qualifying out for states twice. He was the hardest worker on and off the mat, and that hard work was its own reward, as Smith will continue wrestling in college.

2016-17 captain: Two years ago, Nick Thomson found struggles as a freshman and might have been a Heaton’s Hero had I been tracking them for each team back then. Since then, he’s been around strong leaders and quality senior leadership each of the past three seasons. It’s Thomson’s time to be that senior leadership for the Yellow Jacket group next season. Thomson found a solid amount of success (28 wins) this past year and is SAHS’ top returning finisher from the District 4 tournament. Where the Yellow Jackets go from here this next season may be shown in Thomson’s individual effort as a senior.

Heaton’s Hero: Gabe Wentworth started the year at 160 pounds with his first match at Keystone. He wouldn’t be there again until Flagler Duals, and then not again after that, competing for most of the year a weight class up, always a tough thing for a lesser-experienced varsity starter. Added that the weight up was 170, which might have been the deepest weight in north Florida this past year. Wentworth didn’t see a ton of success in 2015-16, with seven of his 11 victories — according to the results I have — coming via forfeit. But there were four falls, as well, and Wentworth was moved up to allow maximum flexibility for the Yellow Jackets in the middle weights of 145 to 160, and St. Augustine needed all of that flexibility. Because Wentworth did what was best for the team, he is the Heaton’s Hero representative for St. Augustine.

Projected returning starters for 2016-17 (with year in school as they’ll be next year): Thomson (senior, wrestled 138 this past year, District 4 3rd place); Marcus Petersen (junior, wrestled 132/145 this past year, 1 match from regions); Tracey Beshara (junior, wrestled 152 this past year, District 4 4th place); Jacob Linden (senior, wrestled 145 or 160 this past year, 1 match from regions); Wentworth (junior, wrestled 170 this past year, 1 match from regions); Robert Zuzu (sophomore, wrestled 195 this past year, District 4 4th place); Michael Bragalone (junior, wrestled 220/295 this past year, 1 match from regions). Also: Julian Maldonado (junior, wrestled 126 this past year, did not compete in the post-season); Malik Hicks (senior, wrestled 132 this past year, did not compete in the post-season); Max Schmidt (junior, wrestled 145 this past year, did not compete in the post-season); Christian Rios-Candelaria (junior, wrestled 152/160 this past year, did not compete in the post-season); Jeremiah Guard (sophomore, wrestled 182 this past year, did not compete in the post-season); Bryce Bannister (sophomore, wrestled 182/195 this past year, did not compete in the post-season); Robert Spencer (sophomore, wrestled 285 this past year, did not compete in the 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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