The Season 16-17: Matanzas

MATANZAS

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

Win/loss record: 15-17 in dual meets. Please review the attached document for a summary of the Pirates’ performance in IBT events.

Season in a nutshell: This was a rebuilding year for Matanzas, and compared to last year this team looked like a team in rebuilding mode, at least at the start. The Pirates fielded seven new starters this year, with varying degrees of success for those fresh faces, with three dual wins at their home event and at Seabreeze in December, four at Flagler Duals (with four of their five losses to 3A teams) and three wins at St Johns River Conference at home. Finishing in the middle of the pack at districts, Matanzas had 10 qualifiers for the Region 1 tournament at Chiles, which doesn’t exactly sound like a rebuilding season. Matanzas also had a T-15th at the girls’ state tournament, with two placers. With just two seniors in next year’s group of returners, a sizable group already, we could see some big movement from the Pirates in 2017-18.

2016-17 MVP: Based upon the roster as it looked at the end of 2016, senior Christopher Mixan was going to be asked to do a lot in terms of leadership for this year’s Pirate team, and if the way Matanzas finished the year is any indicator, consider it mission accomplished. Mixan got out to a 16-1 start, winning 13 matches in a row after an early loss to a district competitor, and had a pretty solid 25-4 record (one of the subsequent three losses by DQ and the other two to 3A opponents) going into the final week of January. From there, Mixan (by the results I have, there were subtle — not huge — discrepancies between what I have and official) did falter some more, with tough losses against 3A competition at Flagler Rotary. He also took one loss at each level of the post-season, but qualified out for states, where he drew the eventual state champ in the opening round.

2017-18 captain: This one’s easy. No one in the area improved more from last year to this year than Lawrence Russo, and I mean no one. Russo went from barely being able to stay in the lineup as a freshman to perhaps Matanzas’ best wrestler in 2016-17. Certainly Russo was its most decorated, as the Pirates’ lone champion at home and top finisher in the Region 1 tournament. He won 12 matches in a row at one point, with another eight-win streak as well. His state draw didn’t do many favors, as he was matched against a 2016 placewinner in the first round. I would be surprised if the rate of improvement continued at this pace, but Russo proved himself capable of it this year, so why not keep it going?

Heaton’s Hero: We didn’t expect to see senior Zach Fisch be the starter at 285 this year, but when the original starter went down with injury, Fisch was called into service. Fisch had just two contested wins, both in January (one at Flagler Duals and one at St Johns River Conference), but was able to qualify out with a fall in the quarters at districts, and then had a second one in the second round of consolations at Chiles, moving him into Saturday. Although none of his matches went a full six minutes (just two went into the third period, in which he was 1-1), Fisch kept on scoring for the Pirates. For that, Zach Fisch is the Heaton’s Hero for Matanzas.

Projected returning starters for 2017-18 (with year in school as they’ll be next year): Ethan Goodman (sophomore, 106, district 3rd, 0-2 at regions); Josh Bower (junior, 113, district 4th, 1 match from states); Stone White (senior, 120, district 3rd, 2-2 at regions); Russo (junior, 126, district champ, region 3rd, 0-2 at states); Noel Alicea (sophomore, 132, district 4th, 1 match from states); Ian Eckert (junior, 138, district 4th, 0-2 at regions); Angelina Bermudez (sophomore, 145, 0-2 at districts); Victor Paci (junior, 160, 1 match from regions); Jakobi Givens (senior, 182, district runnerup, 1-2 at regions); Tyrel Scheltz (junior, 195, district 4th, 0-2 at regions); Christian Zaborowski (junior, 220, district 4th, 0-2 at regions). Also: MaKayla Wilder (junior, 113, did not compete in FHSAA post-season); Caleb Bower (junior, 126, did not compete in post-season); Jackson Mills (junior, 138, did not compete in post-season); Daryin Newsome (junior, 152, did not compete in post-season); Paul Berent (junior, 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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