The Season 2016-17: West Nassau

WEST NASSAU

You can see everything I have on the Warriors in 2016-17 here –>  WEST NASSAU

Win/loss record: 12-11 in dual meets. Please review the attached document for a summary of the Warriors’ performance in IBT events.

Season in a nutshell: This should have been a better season for West Nassau, and would have been had the Warriors had all of their wrestlers eligible to return in 2016-17 actually do so. So there were a lot more new faces than expected in the lineup, as eight of the 11 post-season starters were first-year starters, and a good chunk of those eight (six) were freshmen. With that being the case, the Warriors did struggle early, going 1-4 at North Florida, winning two of five at Yulee and going 1-1 at County. But by season’s end, West Nassau was a middle-of-the-pack team in both big IBTs (20th out of 40 teams at Clay) and small ones (fourth in 1A-District 3), winning eight of its last 10 duals. With all of the returners back (11 with 10+ matches plus a few more right on the doorstep), the Warriors should be much tougher, much earlier in 2017-18.

2016-17 MVP: This was junior 145 William Tharpe‘s team this year, and no question about it. Tharpe had shown himself capable of being the Warriors’ top wrestler in 2016-17 as early as his freshman year, and this year he quickly seized the opportunity, winning his first six matches and 17 of his first 18, with the loss only against an out-of-state wrestler. After accumulating that 17-1 record, Tharpe’s only losses prior to the state tournament came against district or region rivals in the weight class, with four losses against Florida High and two to Clay. Tharpe didn’t win a single tournament title this year, but that surely will change in his senior season. He was second in the District 3 tournament (behind the eventual state runnerup) and third at Region 1 (behind two placers), and was one match from the podium at states, with his loss in the quarters against the eventual state champion, also a senior. He won 41 matches in his junior season, and stands a strong chance to repeat that in his senior one.

2017-18 captain: While Tharpe will continue to provide captain-level leadership next year, we always (unless there’s a one-man team situation) pick a second wrestler for captain honors. I could have gone in a couple of different directions, but elected to go with the most senior returner of the candidates (who also had the toughest weight to go through, by comparisons), and so I’ll look to sophomore Daniel Boylan to work toward a leadership role this year. Boylan wasn’t a full-time starter at the beginning of the season, and that might have cost him a few matches he could have used later on. Boylan took an early loss at districts, but avenged it later on in finishing third in the District 3 tournament, and went 1-2 at the Region 1 tournament at Clay. If he can stay out of a platoon situation, Boylan — who had a solid freshman season a year ago to go with this one — should be an anchor for the upper weights.

Heaton’s Hero: Freshman 120 Harley Bass didn’t see a six-minute match in 2016-17, and a lot of them didn’t go his way. Bass didn’t earn his first win until Army Duals in mid-January, when he picked up a second-period fall after an 0-11 start, with all 11 losses ending via fall. Bass then earned his second win via technical fall at Clay’s Rotary tournament in February. Despite a 2-17 regular-season record, Bass stayed persistent and did his best to help the Warriors at districts, but was 0-2 and a match short of regions. For his persistence in the face of adversity, Harley Bass is the Heaton’s Hero for West Nassau.

Projected returning starters for 2017-18 (with year in school as they’ll be next year): Roy Knight (sophomore, 106, district 4th, 0-2 at regions); Brendan Ferenchik (sophomore, 113, 1 match from regions); Bass (sophomore, 120, 1 match from regions); Bradly Kraai (junior, 126, 1 match from regions); Bradley Hulett (sophomore, 132, district 4th, 0-2 at regions); Tharpe (senior, 145, district runnerup, region 3rd, 1 match from state medal); Zachary Boston (sophomore, 152, 1 match from regions); Breyer Wood (sophomore, 160, district 3rd, 1-2 at regions); Boylan (junior, 195, district 3rd, 1-2 at regions); Tre’Von Gray (senior, 285, 1 match from regions). Also: Justin Curry (junior, 138, did not compete in post-season); William Webb (sophomore, 195, did not compete in post-season); Joshua Raulerson (senior, 285, 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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