The Season 2015-16: Nease

Nease

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

Win/loss record: 20-13 in dual meets. Please review the attached document for a review of the Panthers’ performance in IBT events.

Season in a nutshell: Nease had had substantial numbers but not a huge amount of team success in the past two seasons. That started to change in 2015-16, as the St Johns County Panthers found themselves in favorite’s roles much more often within its area of competition. Nease had a comparatively-weak performance at Tiger Duals in Lake City just before the Christmas break, winning just once and finishing eighth out of 10 teams, but after that performance the Panthers took 11 of their next 13 duals, with a seven-dual win streak in there, eventually reaching the 20-win mark with Ws over District 4 rivals. IBTs were occasionally a mixed bag, with a solid 11th at regionals probably Nease’s best effort of the group. The Panthers will have a solid number of returners back next year, and with the numbers in the room, should take more steps in 2016-17.

2015-16 MVP: The final season for graduated senior Tristen Lucessi got off to a spectacular start, as Lucessi won his first 19 matches in a row, as he moved mostly between 132 and 138 pounds, taking him through the middle of January before his first loss. Lucessi made a drop to 126 for Clay Rotary, where he medaled but not before sustaining two more losses. Wins he secured there, though, in the consolation bracket proved to be Lucessi’s undoing in the post-season, as he wound up with runnerup finishes in both the District 4 and Region 1 tournaments to wrestlers he’d beaten at Clay. Multiple-time state champion Kyle Norstrem of Brandon won over Lucessi in the quarters, and his season ended a match later. But it was Lucessi, on the mats, who personified the trend that the Panther team took while Lucessi was there.

2016-17 captain: The season that Dylan Martinson had in 2015-16 started being built in the summer of 2015. Martinson worked tirelessly, making dozens of trips to the middle of the city from Ponte Vedra Beach to work on his arsenal. Would it pay off? It wasn’t certain early in the season, as he got out to a 6-5 start with three losses at Tiger Duals. But, from there, Martinson won 14 of his next 15 matches. As the season wore on, he eventually dropped permanently to his tournament weight of 120, pinning his way through districts and reaching the final at regions, where he lost only to the eventual 2A state champion, Columbia’s Chace Curtis. At states, Martinson was the only Nease wrestler to make it to Saturday — and that after a first-round loss. As much as anyone can, Martinson proved the value of hard work over the summer.

Heaton’s Hero: Losing a string of matches can cause anyone to lose heart when it comes to wrestling, because this sport is almost impossibly difficult. For Grayson Suggs, a reasonably decent start to the 2015 season — 9-8 partway through the Army Duals in early January — ground through a few very tough weeks. Other than three forfeit victories, Suggs would wind up losing his next 15 contested matches, 12 of those by fall. With a string like that, it would have been easy for Suggs to pack it in, particularly with so many team wins and teammates doing well. But Suggs kept fighting, won three matches at districts (all by fall) and took third there, extending his season for another week. For sticking with it when he had reason not to, Grayson Suggs is the Heaton’s Hero nominee for Nease.

Projected returning starters for 2016-17 (with year in school as they’ll be next year): Sean Arnold (sophomore, wrestled 106 this past year, District 4 3rd place, 1 match from 2A states); Brenden Teaman (senior, wrestled 113/120 this past year, District 4 3rd place); Martinson (senior, wrestled 120/126/132 this past year, District 1 champ, Region 1 runnerup, 1 match from 2A state medal); Jacob Sorgen (junior, wrestled 126/132 this past year, 1 match from regions); Paxton Threatt (junior, wrestled 138 this past year, 1 match from regions); Dalton Koike (senior, wrestled 145 this past year, District 4 runnerup); Jarrod Case (junior, wrestled 160/170 this past year, District 4 3rd place); Suggs (junior, wrestled 170/182 this past year, District 4 3rd place); Jonathan Walter (senior, wrestled 285 this past year, District 4 4th place). Also: Tyler Saam (junior, wrestled 113/120 this past year, did not compete in post-season); Jeffrey Mantz (junior, wrestled 152 this past year, did not compete in post-season); Derek Alexander (senior, wrestled 160/170 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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