The Season 2016-17: Ed White

ED WHITE

You can see everything I have on the Commanders in 2016-17 here –>  ED WHITE

Win/loss record: Unknown in dual meets. Please review the attached document for a summary of the Commanders’ performance in IBT events.

Season in a nutshell: This was a confusing season in which to follow the Commanders. First there was a new coach, then there wasn’t, then the former coach returned late in the preseason. Lots of new faces this year, which we did expect, given how many seniors left the room in May due to graduation. Some of the newcomers struggled, others seemed to take to the sport pretty quickly. There were injuries along the way, one of which took out the Commanders’ top returner from last year, from early January on through season’s end. However, Gateway Conference was the highlight of the year, with two champions crowned. Then only three wrestlers competed at districts, one of whom hadn’t appeared in the lineup since December and another since prior to Gateway. Plus there was a partially-reported home duals event (I knew I needed to be there, but the schedule that day just didn’t allow it). There was one region qualifier, but they didn’t appear at Tallahassee. So it’s hard to tell how things stand going into the summer and fall. Lots of circumstances out there.

2016-17 MVP: As a returning wrestler, junior Justin Stoddard got off to a solid start at 138, 5-0 in December with a tournament win at Optimist. He took a couple of losses to start January, but then added a second tournament victory at Gateway, completing the brother back-to-back started by freshman brother Tyler at 106. Stoddard then went 2-2 at 5 Star and we didn’t see him again. What made him most valuable was that he made the Commanders most visible with his tournament wins, but with three tournament absences (Preudhomme Duals at Fletcher, Commander Duals and then the post-season) as well, Stoddard in a way encapsulated the Ed White season as a whole.

2017-18 captain: I mentioned earlier that a couple of new faces and names seemed to do well with the sport in what may have been their first years out, and certainly their first year on varsity with the Commander team. One of those was Damian Deleston, who got out to a nice start, particularly while he was at 220, which is where he was for most of the season. His performance at Battle of the Border, in particular, was very solid for the Commanders, where he placed second and beat an eventual state qualiifer, losing only to a state qualifier, along the way. He dropped to 195 for 5 Star and had just one match there, and we didn’t see him in the post-season, and with just two wrestlers at 195 for districts, he certainly would have made it out. Hopefully he’ll come back.

Heaton’s Hero: I want to give a shout-out to one of the younger guys who stuck through it all and made appearances throughout the year. Although freshman Marquese Carter did miss out on Optimist, he was with the team from that point forward, mostly taking — from the results I saw — a lot of lumps. But he stayed in the lineup when others were not. He was the only wrestler that had been at Fletcher, Battle of the Border, Gateway, 5 Star and districts. I think that’s a good thing, and I hope he’ll come back out. For his willingness to stay out this year, Marquese Carter is the Heaton’s Hero for Ed White.

Projected returning starters for 2017-18 (with year in school as they’ll be next year): Bruce Harting (junior, 106, district 4th, did not compete at regions); Carter (sophomore, 170, 0-2 at districts), Jordan Wilson (sophomore, 285, 0-2 at districts). Also: Tyler Meade (junior, 106, did not compete in post-season), Tyler Stoddard (sophomore, 106, did not compete in post-season), Isabeau Brathwaite (sophomore, 113, did not compete in FHSAA post-season), Jacob East (senior, 126, did not compete in post-season), J. Stoddard (senior, 138, did not compete in post-season), Niguel Hunt (sophomore, 145, did not compete in post-season), Carl Otero (junior, 152, did not compete in post-season), Max Brathwaite (senior, 182, did not compete in post-season), Elijah Lima (junior, 182, did not compete in post-season), Deleston (junior, 195, 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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