The Season 2016-17: Fernandina Beach


You can see everything I have on the Pirates in 2016-17 here –>  FERNANDINA BEACH

Win/loss record: 5-22 in dual meets. Please review the attached document for a summary of the Pirates’ performance in IBT events.

Season in a nutshell: A new coach, but a familiar face, at Fernandina Beach this year, and although the Pirates did struggle in the first couple of weeks to find their footing, going 1-13, they would show some improvements, despite the overall record. One thing that impressed me was that the Pirates were largely a one- or two-man team, and that seemed to not be the case, as a couple of new faces showed ability. However, while more starters than in previous years have the opportunity to return, two of the Pirates’ three strongest talents will graduate in May. They will be very difficult to replace. But Fernandina may not necessarily stay on the bottom of the district for long, if the strides it took this year are any indicator.

2016-17 MVP: Senior Joseph Helm was the last unbeaten wrestler in the coverage area to fall, going all the way into districts before sustaining his first loss of the year. I had Helm with a 31-0 record before losing in the finals at Raines for District 3 — I’m seeing that several coaches use a Trackwrestling version that counts byes as wins if the next round is won, and I’m not sure that’s still the case these days — but at any rate, Helm rallied well from a quarterfinal loss at Clay to finish third behind four bonus-point victories, including a blood-round win over a fellow senior that would have been tough for me to take, no matter who lost. Helm didn’t get a good draw at states, drawing the Region 2 runnerup in the first round, a top-five wrestler in the weight class, but gave good fight in the consi first round. Helm’s impossibly tall and has good chops. Hopefully he’ll find a college home.

2017-18 captain: I saw that Nathan Manning didn’t wrestle in the post-season, and I’m thinking that perhaps the injury he sustained at Raines was the main reason for that. Of the returning Pirate wrestlers able to come back next year, Manning was the most capable and consistent presence, showing some good moments during the year. He’s got some leaps he’ll have to make to make himself a state qualifier, but that’s certainly possible for him in his senior year. His key charge will also be to lead a young group that should be more experienced at the start of next year than it was in December of last.

Heaton’s Hero: Freshman Jeremiah Giedrys had just one contested win prior to February, with a lot of losses by fall along the way. Nineteen of them, in fact, just prior to the Westside Duals, and there would be a few more in February. But it was also clear that the grind Giedrys had pushed himself through was starting to pay off, as he had two contested falls in his final two events of the year. I have often said, in this space over the past three years, that I admire this sort of stick-to-it-iveness from younger kids in Giedrys’ position and having his kind of season. So it is the case here. Jeremiah Giedrys is the Heaton’s Hero for Fernandina Beach.

Projected returning starters for 2017-18 (with year in school as they’ll be next year): Camden Smith (sophomore, 120, district 4th, 0-2 at regions); J. Giedrys (sophomore, 126, 1 match from regions); Robbie Elefterion (junior, 220, 1 match from regions). Also: Manning (junior, 182, did not compete in post-season); Uriah Giedrys (junior, 195, did not compete in post-season); Justin Sabia (senior, 220, 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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