FT WALTON BEACH
You can see everything I have on the Vikings in 2016-17 here –> FT WALTON BEACH
Win/loss record: 7-15 in dual meets. Please review the attached document for a summary of the Vikings’ performance in IBT events.
Season in a nutshell: Ft Walton Beach was a team that I thought would enjoy more success this year; as it turned out, the Vikings just had to delay that success a little bit. I had thought dual meets would be a strength, and they were a source of some issue, as the Vikings had several solid kids but were very inexperienced almost everywhere else. However, it has to be pointed out that Ft Walton Beach was the highest-finishing team out of District 1 at states, finishing tied for 19th. A lot of coaches will tell you that’s what counts. I think it does count for something, particularly when it was three kids that all contributed something to that finish.
2016-17 MVP: The unquestioned leader of the team was senior Joseph Pearson, and it was clear that it was a state podium-or-bust kind of season for Pearson, whose losses along the way in the regular season came against state-finalist level competition. After taking his seventh loss of the year midway through Deep South Bayou Duals, Pearson won 12 of his next 13 matches, and earned a title at Mountain Brook, AL’s invitational event, with a second at the very solid Southeastern Pools Invitational hosted by Alabama power Thompson. That got him ready for his final run through the Florida post-season, in which Pearson racked up district and region titles, with his only loss in the post-season coming against Riverdale champion Cole Schneider, and everybody that faced Schneider this year lost, and usually quickly.
2017-18 captain: A 1-5 start didn’t exactly predict good things would happen for Nick Woodward‘s season, but it wasn’t long after that start that Woodward ripped off 10 victories in a row. He hit something of a mid-season lull in January, due to the competition he was facing, but that competition prepped Woodward for the post-season run, in which he was able to overcome a semifinal loss at districts to finish third and a first-round loss to get out to states, taking fourth at regions. At Kissimmee, despite being a fourth-place region finisher, he was just one match from the medals. That should be a good springboard into 2017-18.
Heaton’s Hero: With new starters coming in at 106 and 113, plus year-over-year growth, junior Colwyn Mason moved up to 120 this year and was a fixture in the lineup. The Vikings’ in-season competition takes FWB all over the South (three trips to Alabama and a trip to Louisiana, as well as Border Wars, Beast and Wakulla Duals). Mason had a stretch where he took 11 losses in a row. Half of his victories were via forfeit, but Mason kept on battling, collecting 42 matches over the course of the year. Success may have been tough to come by, but Mason persevered, and for that, he is the Heaton’s Hero for Ft Walton Beach.
Projected returning starters for 2017-18 (with year in school as they’ll be next year): Britain Mason (sophomore, 106, 0-2 at districts); Sterling Glover (senior, 113, 1 match from regions); Colwyn Mason (senior, 120, 0-2 at districts); Kiko Hamner (sophomore, 126, 0-2 at districts); Carlos Bogan (junior, 145, 1 match from regions); Eddie Alexis (sophomore, 152, 0-2 at districts); Connor Cleveland (senior, 160, district 4th, 1-2 at regions); Woodward (senior, 195, district 3rd, region 4th, 1 match from state medal). Also: Leah Cuebas (sophomore, 106, did not compete in post-season); Corban Ferguson (sophomore, 160, did not compete in post-season); Jeremiah Gudinez (senior, 195, did not compete in post-season).