The Season 2016-17: Ponte Vedra

PONTE VEDRA

You can see everything I have on the Sharks in 2016-17 here –>  PONTE VEDRA

Win/loss record: 10-12 in dual meets. Please review the attached document for a summary of the Sharks’ performance in IBT events.

Season in a nutshell: Ponte Vedra’s state-final run in football may have, in part, contributed to the Sharks’ missing out on being able to fill several weights this season, a fact that made winning duals difficult. Giving up five weights between 152/160 and heavyweight puts a team in a solid hole, particularly against full teams. But after a slow start — 2-5 through January 11 — the Sharks were a little bit better than .500 after that. Just getting some success is the biggest key. Ponte Vedra closed the gap against teams it wrestled earlier in the year, and while the Sharks aren’t yet ready to make a lot of noise in the region, they are improving, and that is better than what we saw over the last couple of years.

2016-17 MVP: Sophomore Gavin Riccobono has shown the most improvement from last year to this one. Riccobono won matches he was supposed to win this year and, with a few exceptions, was competitive in the matches he wasn’t expected to win, finishing the year at 25-7. He had Ponte Vedra’s top districts finish and advanced the furthest at regions, getting four matches and out to Saturday’s round. Riccobono’s progress, if copied by his classmates, would really serve as a springboard to the Sharks program.

2017-18 captain: We lost track of Evan Merry for a while there when Providence dropped wrestling after the 2014-15 season. But, after a year away, Merry re-emerged at Ponte Vedra this year, and he was a valuable addition to the middle of the Sharks’ lineup, as he could compete equally effectively at either 152 or 160. After a nice start to the year, with some good wins in the group, he did fade a bit toward the end (4-6 in the final 10 matches), but he’s been around for a good while now and should get better next year.

Heaton’s Hero: Bryan Reed didn’t follow the typical pattern of the Hero recipient, as Reed was 6-4 and had five pins at one point. However, as the season wore on, Reed did fade a bit himself down the stretch, although his schedule had him paired up against some wrestlers early. Nevertheless, Reed stayed in the lineup despite going 3-10 down the stretch, and made it out to regions as well. I’m sure he’ll be better for sticking it out through the entire season. Bryan Reed is the Heaton’s Hero for Ponte Vedra.

Projected returning starters for 2017-18 (with year in school as they’ll be next year): Riccobono (junior, 106, district runnerup, 2-2 at regions); Preston Turner (junior, 113, 1 match from regions); Reed (junior, 120, district 4th, 0-2 at regions); Jonathan Soffer (junior, 126, 1 match from regions); Ethan Baur (sophomore, 145, district 4th, 0-2 at regions); Merry (senior, 152, district 4th, 1-2 at regions). Also: Troy Maritato (junior, 145, did not compete in post-season); Matt Weiland (senior, 220, 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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