The Season 2015-16: Matanzas


You can see everything I have on the Pirates in 2015-16 here –> MATANZAS

2015-16 record: 26-9 in dual meets. I didn’t post their performance at Winter Springs’ duals event on January 23 in the “Week 8 Duals” tab, but I may fix that before all final steps are taken on the site to move the 2015-16 season to the “History” tab. Please review the attachment for a review of the Pirates’ performance in IBT events.

Season in a nutshell: If there was a “Big Three” in the Northeast area of wrestling (and there was), the Pirates were clearly the consistent #4 team all season long, with dual-tournament titles in their own one-day event to start the season and also at Creekside Duals. The Rotary IBT grind of late January/early February can chew up some teams and the Pirates took some hits at both of those also, but otherwise had a stellar IBT season, taking fourth at Capital City and finishing just a few bonus points out of a Region 1 title in 2A. And, for the most part, the Pirates did this without having a 170 all season long and having a 220 only in limited appearances. A very strong senior class drove this team in 2015-16, and it will be sorely missed, as the Pirates have heavy graduation losses to overcome. All told, 274 match wins from six different 2016 seniors have left the program, with five of those kids qualifying for states, and (at least) four of them going on to military service in the Marine Corps. I will miss watching them.

2015-16 MVP: I could have gone (see above) in a couple of different directions on this one, but Maverick Dennis was — with very rare exceptions — a source of locked-down big points for the Pirates all season at 182, where he was one of the region’s most highly-ranked competitors. Dennis won his first 10 matches, with a loss to one of central Florida’s top 3A 182s snapping that streak, and then won 18 more in a row before the St Johns River Conference duals event. All of Dennis’ losses in his final season came against eventual state qualifiers, with all but two of them to placers like himself. Dennis won district and region titles for the Pirates — was Matanzas’ only region champ, and overcame a one-point state quarterfinal loss with two wins in the consis to earn his state medal, knocking off the #2-ranked wrestler in the “blood round” to take his podium spot.

2016-17 captain: I would imagine a lot of this is due to football — I seem to remember him making a late appearance in 2014-15 as well — but Christopher Mixan‘s joining of the lineup helped shore up one missing weight class midway through the year. If Mixan can be in the lineup all season, so much the better for the Pirates, who will need his leadership and track record of success, as he is the only returning district champ for Matanzas in 2016-17. Mixan also got to Saturday at regions, with only a pair of one-point losses knocking him out of the tournament, and he should be a states candidate next year. That candidacy would only be bolstered by a full season’s worth of matches.

Heaton’s Hero: I only have results for MaKayla Wilder in one tournament this year. It’s tough to have to wait until nearly the end of the season to prove yourself, but the Pirate freshman had to do just that, making her one varsity appearance (again, that I have) at the girls’ state tournament. Wilder put on an impressive performance nonetheless in Osceola, reaching the 108-pound final where she lost by fall to one of Florida’s most-accomplished female wrestlers in any weight class. Wilder has three more tries to win that state title, and I have no doubt it will happen. For the patience she had to show, MaKayla Wilder is the Heaton’s Hero representative for Matanzas.

Projected returning starters for 2016-17 (with year in school as they’ll be next season): Josh Bower (sophomore, wrestled 106 this past year, District 4 4th place); Stone White (junior, wrestled 120 this past year, District 4 3rd place); Lawrence Russo (sophomore, wrestled 126/132 this past year, District 4 runnerup); Ian Eckert (sophomore, wrestled 132/145 this past year, 1 match from regions); Mixan (senior, wrestled 160 this past year, District 4 champ); Paul Berent (sophomore, wrestled 182/220 this past year, District 4 3rd place); Daniel Leonard (junior, wrestled 285 this past year, District 4 3rd place). Also: Demetrus Miller (sophomore, wrestled 145 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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