The Season 2016-17: Oakleaf

OAKLEAF

You can see everything I have on the Knights in 2016-17 here –>  OAKLEAF

Win/loss record: 11-9 in dual meets. Please review the attached document for a summary of the Knights’ performance in IBT events.

Season in a nutshell: I only am missing results on Oakleaf from the Camden County (GA) Callout on January 21. That allowed me, in some cases, to “count back” from what was reported at districts to what some of the kids might have done at Camden. If there isn’t a final record listed, what was reported couldn’t possibly match what happened at Camden. The Knights had an interesting season, seeming to find struggles more in the dual format than in IBTs. Oakleaf did win four straight duals in December, and then five in January, with a solid 6-3 performance at Flagler Duals. In IBTs, the Knights had four top-10 finishes, including a solid ninth at Green Cove Springs Rotary, and just outside the top 10 (12th) at Flagler Rotary. The Knights only lose three starters for 2017-18, with most of their firepower returning.

2016-17 MVP: I don’t know why I necessarily thought that Ryan Rosano was a senior, but the fact that he was a junior at 113 this past season is a big asset for the Knights in 2017-18. Rosano roared out to a 23-0 start, with 15 falls during that start, and an IBT win at Westside Kiwanis, plus a roundrobin win at Battle on the Border at Yulee. In counting back Rosano’s season, his first losses would have been at Camden Callout, with his first loss in Florida coming at Flagler Rotary. Rosano was fourth there and third at Clay’s Rotary tournament. I don’t know what happened at Camden, but Rosano didn’t give up a bonus point all season otherwise, including the post-season. Taking out an 8-1 loss to the eventual state finalist, Rosano’s other four losses in the post-season were by a combined total of seven points.

2017-18 captain: Junior 126 Ethan Gustilo started showing the form he would have this past season in the previous off-season of a year ago, getting in a ton of matches and, along with those matches, a ton of confidence as well. Gustilo got out to a 10-0 start (including a Westside Kiwanis tournament victory and outstanding wrestler award). That start would lead to at least a 35+ win season (based on the results I at least have), a medal effort at Clay, a third-place finish at District 1 and a Region 1 tournament that saw Gustilo come up just one match short of states. Gustilo had so much improvement from last year to this, that it will be interesting to see how next year goes. He’s proof of what can be done with simple hard work and effort.

Heaton’s Hero: Junior 220 Od’Juan Whitfield was a first-year starter for the Knights, and like so many inexperienced upper-weight wrestlers, the first year was a struggle. Whitfield did win twice via forfeit in Oakleaf’s first event of the season, but then didn’t collect another forfeit win until the Sandalwood encounter at Flagler Duals six weeks later. There would be another forfeit at Flagler, but then (according to the results I have) there wouldn’t be another forfeit victory until the Middleburg dual in February. Just one match went a full six minutes, and all of the others were losses by fall. Whitfield was in every event that the Knights were scheduled to compete in, and for that persistence in the face of adversity — even after loss after loss — he is the Heaton’s Hero for Oakleaf.

Projected returning starters for 2017-18 (with year in school as they’ll be next year): Cam’Ron Dove (sophomore, 106, district 4th, 0-2 at regions); Rosano (senior, 113, district 3rd, region 4th, 0-2 at states); Brandean Bacolor (senior, 120, 1 match from regions); Gustilo (senior, 126, district 3rd, 1 match from states); Vince Karl (senior, 132, district 4th, 1-2 at regions); Austin McFarlane (junior, 138, 0-2 at districts); Trenton Carroll (junior, 145, 1 match from regions); Isaiah Graham (senior, 160, 1 match from regions); Jason Mitchell (sophomore, 182, 0-2 at districts); Dexter Moore (junior, 195, district 4th, 1-2 at regions); Od’Juan Whitfield (junior, 220, 1 match from regions). Also: Caedru Escoreal (junior, 152, 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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