The Season 2016-17: Columbia

COLUMBIA

You can see everything I have on the Tigers in 2016-17 here –>  COLUMBIA

Win/loss record: 7-10 in dual meets. Please review the attached document for a summary of the Tigers’ performance in IBT events.

Season in a nutshell: With a few exceptions around the middle of the lineup, the lineup that Columbia fielded at the start of the season didn’t have much resemblance to the one that entered the post-season representing the Tigers. A good chunk of that was due to injury, but some of the disappearances couldn’t be directly tied to injury-default losses, either. At the same time, there were some mid-season add-ons that proved themselves solidly capable of holding down varsity spots and wrestling Columbia’s always-tough schedule. So while, from a duals standpoint, the Tigers might have been a little weaker as the season wore on (the increasingly-tough competition had a lot to do with that too), Columbia’s IBT version proved itself to be consistent throughout the year. The Tigers are loaded with returners, though, so if they would commit to off-season work, 2017-18 might be a big improvement year for the group as a whole.

2016-17 MVP: After coming off a state-champion season in his sophomore year, Chace Curtis was bound to experience some disappointment from a pre-podium exit this year, but he still had a very fine season (although officially he had more wins than I show), with just one loss at Border Wars prior to the Cradle Cancer tournament at Jensen Beach, where he took third. An injury sustained at George Jenkins’ IBT kept Curtis out of Clay’s Rotary tournament, but he was back in time for the post-season, rolling to both district and region titles. At states, Curtis lost in the quarters to the eventual runnerup, and rallied quickly enough to make it to Saturday, but then lost by fall to a 2016 state placer in the blood round. Curtis will have one more year to return to the top in 2018, however.

2017-18 captain: I could have gone in one of two different directions on this one, but am going to recognize the role injury played in keeping Matt Ross from amassing quite a full season’s worth of matches, and also that he was the only other Tiger besides Curtis to get out to states. Ross started the year 0-4 after a really nice freshman year, but righted the ship, winning 12 of his next 15 (although missing the Tiger Duals). Injury at George Jenkins, also, kept Ross out of Clay’s Rotary tournament, but he was still able to finish second at districts and then reach the Region 1 semifinals at Chiles. Ross had a solid consi-semi win to punch his ticket for states. Again, he had more wins as reported officially than what I had, but the resume he generated speaks plainly in his favor.

Heaton’s Hero: Most lesser-experienced wrestlers start their season by piling up the wins, and then tail off as the season ratchets up the intensity level in later January and February. Not so for Mitchell Gregory, who was 5-15 at one point through the first day of Milton-Winter Duals in mid-January. On Day 2, though, it seemed like a switch flipped, as he had three falls in back-to-back-to-back succession, going on to qualify out of districts as the third-place finisher and finishing the season 8-8 after that 5-15 start (by the results I have). For finding the key that, ultimately, was able to extend his season another week, Mitchell Gregory is the Heaton’s Hero for Columbia.

Projected returning starters for 2017-18 (with year in school as they’ll be next year): Martin Lee (sophomore, 113, district 3rd, 2-2 at regions); Ian McGuigan (sophomore, 120, district 3rd, 2-2 at regions); Curtis (senior, 126, district champ, region champ, 1 match from state medal); Ross (junior, 132, district runnerup, region 4th, 0-2 at states); Daniel Mann (senior, 138, district champ, 1 match from state); Matthew Arango (junior, 145, district 3rd, 1-2 at regions); Gregory (senior, 152, district 3rd, 0-2 at regions); Preston O’Quinn (sophomore, 160, district 3rd, 0-2 at regions); Chad Sapp (junior, 170, district 3rd, 1-2 at regions); David Thompson (sophomore, 182, district 3rd, 1-2 at regions). Also: Adrienne Britt (sophomore, 106, did not compete in post-season); Alex McGuigan (sophomore, 126, did not compete in post-season); Matt Raulerson (senior, 145, did not compete in post-season); Zion James (senior, 160, did not compete in post-season); Connor Davidson (sophomore, 182, 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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