The Season 2015-16: University Christian

University Christian

You can see everything I have on the Christians in 2015-16 here –> UNIVERSITY CHRISTIAN

Win/loss record: 6-13 in dual meets. Please review the attached document for a review of the Christians’ performance in IBT events.

Season in a nutshell: What I said about the Christians to one of their parents back in December still holds, partially. The schedule UC has had the past couple of years hasn’t always helped young Christian wrestlers get needed mat time, but this year only December’s IBT schedule really did that. Most of the Christians that were in the lineup — and they were short-handed in terms of filling weight classes — started the year at Capital City, with January being about duals more. There, the Christians picked up 16 very necessary duals, and I think that’s helped UC start moving back up the ladder in District 4. It’s tough to find a schedule mix that provides mat time for all and elite competition for the stronger couple of kids, but I think next year’s HC — Brian Adkins, the Christians’ third head coach in as many years — will be able to do that. What will be just as critical will be getting more kids out for the sport.

2015-16 MVP: For two years, Daniel Porter worked to improve himself as a wrestler and to be part of a program begun from the ground floor. In the process, Porter made history as Duval Charter’s first (hopefully not only) region champion and state medalist in 2014-15 — and, in so doing, had to contend with being the favorite rather than the underdog this season. His first loss of the year — where he represented UC solo at the King of the Mountains tournament at Towns County GA — was to an eventual Georgia state champ, and when the season came to an end, he had just one loss to a non-state qualifier. Although Porter couldn’t duplicate his 2015 season’s end with another medal, he’s got two more chances at it, and has already worked pretty tirelessly to get back there this off-season.

2016-17 captain: While Porter would — and already has — made a fine captain in his first year at UC, I look to highlight another known returner that continues to make strides. Although football takes up a lot of Derrick Stumph‘s time, with three years of varsity experience already in hand he’ll be a key component for the Christians in 2016-17. Stumph has handled rapid growth since his first season as a 7th-grader, going up from 113 to 152 over the past 3 years. Stumph took third at districts, with only a loss to a former state qualifier in that tournament, and got three matches at the region tournament. With time in the room — and I know how difficult it is to find time in UC’s turbocharged football program — Stumph could be in the mix for states in the future.

Heaton’s Hero: Most of the Christians on this year’s team saw at least a reasonable amount of time on the mats, as far as I’m able to tell. The one new face in the UC lineup was 2015-16 freshman Phillip Wright, who bounced between 120 and 126 for almsot all of the season, as the situation dictated. It was a struggle for Wright, with five of his six wins — according to the results I have — coming via forfeit, with only match all year going a full six minutes. The one contested win I did have for him came during the course of wrestling at Parker Duals. But Wright — like most of his teammates — was in the lineup pretty much every time out from Capital City through districts (in Wright’s case regions) and because he stuck with this new sport in the face of little success, Phillip Wright is the Heaton’s Hero nominee for University Christian.

Projected returning starters for 2016-17 (with year in school as they’ll be next year): Cameron Wiley (sophomore, wrestled 106/113 this past year, District 4 4th place); Porter (junior, wrestled 113 this past year, District 4 champ, Region 1 3rd place); Wright (sophomore, wrestled 120/126 this past year, District 4 4th place); Shane McManus (junior, wrestled 145/152/160 this past year, 1 match from regions); Stumph (sophomore, wrestled 152 this past year, District 4 3rd place); Zachary Oakley (freshman, wrestled 152/160 this past year, District 4 4th place).

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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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