The Season 2015-16: Bishop Kenny

Bishop Kenny

You can see everything I have on the Crusaders in 2015-16 here –> BISHOP KENNY

2015-16 record: 16-5 in dual meets. Please review the attachment for a review of the Crusaders’ performance in IBT events.

Season in a nutshell: For three years, the Crusaders have used an underdog role as motivation, to their advantage, winning District 4 titles in succession. But with an area top-10 ranking in hand during the course of the previous year, it’s a role that might not fit for much longer. Kenny had a solid start in duals (11-2 in December) and IBTs in January (wins at Episcopal and Yulee), balanced with appearances in tougher events in both dual and IBT formats. December is usually a mix-and-match period for the Crusader coaches, with the full lineup usually coming together in January. Increased off-season work has kept the Crusaders on top of the District 4 heap, but what might allow them to take more steps on a region-wide level would be some tweaks in the schedule (another tough IBT or duals event, in particular). That’s tough to do with younger kids. Those younger kids are battle-tested now, though, and not so young anymore.

2015-16 MVP: Compared to 2014-15, there was not a great number of seniors in the Crusader lineup this year, but Kyle Black was one of two that was a consistent presence. Black started the year at 152 pounds, dropping all the way down to 126 by Clay Rotary. Black got off to a strong start (12-1 in December), but did hit a bit of a snag in early January — including his only bonus-point loss of the season — that derailed some of his early momentum. But Black got more comfortable with the lighter weight, even dropping it once more, and the wins came back, as he pinned his way through District 4 and beat a former area #1 en route to reaching the Region 1 finals at 126. Although states did not end the way he would have hoped, Black proved that it’s possible to get a later start with the sport and, through hard work, transform that late start into a states appearance after finishing just one takedown short of the tournament a year earlier.

2016-17 captain: There were a couple of directions on this one, as there were a couple of solid candidates, but I’m going to go with two-time state qualifier Jack Delaney, who picked up the Crusaders’ lone state win this past year. In both of the past two seasons, Delaney has been a consistent model of quality for the Crusaders, with wins against state-level competition in the regular season. Delaney is Bishop Kenny’s only returning district champion (although the Crusaders do have several returning finalists, please see below), reaching the semis of Region 1 with two quick falls. Only losses to eventual state placers — with one of them the first loss by fall since December — derailed Delaney. Want to see where Bishop Kenny is going? Take a look at what Delaney is doing.

Heaton’s Hero: Joey Cusick began the season like so many inexperienced freshmen in middleweight starting roles often do, where they’re facing a steady diet of experienced juniors and seniors. Cusick struggled early, going 2-11 up until the Bierbaum Invitational in mid-January. From there, though, Cusick was 10-8 the rest of the way — based on the results I have — with a third-place showing at districts and a win at the region tournament in late February. Cusick picks up the award, though, particularly for taking that momentum shift at season’s end and augmenting it with a full summer’s worth of off-season work, as he had a solid performance at Disney Duals at the developmental level. For that persistent effort in working to get better, Joey Cusick is the Heaton’s Hero nominee for Bishop Kenny.

Projected returning starters for 2016-17 (with year in school as they’ll be next season): Delaney (junior, wrestled 106/113 this past year, District 4 champ, Region 1 4th place); Garrett Tirado (junior, wrestled 113/120 this past year, District 4 runnerup); Andrew Slade (sophomore, wrestled 132/138 this past year, District 4 runnerup, 1 match from 1A states); Sid Madison (senior, wrestled 138/145 this past year, District 4 runnerup); Cusick (sophomore, wrestled 145/152 this past year, District 4 3rd place); Jacob Williams (junior, wrestled 152/160 this past year, District 4 4th place); Paxton Driscoll (senior, wrestled 182/195 this past year, District 4 3rd place); Addison Glisson (senior, wrestled 195 this past year, District 4 runnerup); John Alexander (junior, wrestled 220 this past year, 1 match from regions); Josiah McCallum (junior, wrestled 285 this past year, District 4 runnerup, 1 match from 1A states). Not sure about the following starters due to years in school not published: Reid Venner (wrestled 120/126 this past year, District 4 runnerup); Nick Beenen (wrestled 160/170 this past year, District 4 runnerup). Also: Reilly Gentges (sophomore, wrestled 106 this past year, did not compete in post-season); Ryan Bell (sophomore, wrestled 120/126 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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