The Season 2016-17: Bartram Trail

BARTRAM TRAIL

You can see everything I have on the Bears in 2016-17 here –>  BARTRAM TRAIL

Win/loss record: 27-6 in dual meets. Please review the attached document for a summary of the Bears’ performance in IBT events.

Season in a nutshell: We had nearly full results for the Bears, but were missing three duals where we had final scores but not match by match. We were able to “count back” in some cases to those missing duals, but not in others. As for the season itself, the pieces came oh-so-close to fully clicking into place for the Bears, after runnerup finishes on back-to-back Saturdays at one-day dual events in December. Bartram struggled toward the end of the month, going 2-3 against some stronger competition at Buchholz’s holiday duals event, but that made the Bears a bit more prepared for what would come down the road. That, in turn, led to more wins (14 in a row over an 11-day stretch), with a first-place finish at Commander Duals in mid-month and a runnerup finish only to Fleming Island at the St Johns River Conference. It was Bartram’s goal to take top honors in 2A-District 4, and the Bears came up just short, adding a sixth-place finish at the Region 1 tournament in Tallahassee the following weekend. Bartram will lose two post-season seniors, but otherwise everyone else has the opportunity to return in 2017-18.

2016-17 MVP: Senior 138 Matt Pickett rolled out to a 14-0 start in his final year for the Bears, with three wins a weight up and all against solid wrestlers during that stretch. After a loss at Buchholz, Pickett would take seven more, then a loss against a solid 3A wrestler, after which he would rip through another 12 wins in a row. It wasn’t until Flagler Rotary that Pickett would take a loss against a 2A wrestler and not until the last event of the regular season that Pickett would fall against a local 2A competitor — a captain for another team, as it turned out. Pickett won a pair of first-period falls to roll to the District 4 title for the Bears, and then took third at the Region 1 tournament, falling only to that same opponent in the semis. Pickett would be one of three Bartram wrestlers to go 1-2 at states, with a fall over a Brandon wrestler in consi round 1.

2017-18 captain: With two returning starters posting nearly identical post-season resumes, and a couple of captain options that would be strong picks and will be strong leaders in their own rights, I went with seniority. Junior 220 Kolton McDaniel was expected to be one of the area’s strongest competitors at that weight right from the beginning, and he showed it, winning 12 of his first 13 matches (the one loss in overtime). After a second loss to a 1A state placer, McDaniel then won eight more in a row before falling to a 3A state qualifier. He wouldn’t take a loss against a 2A wrestler until the St Johns River Conference meet, but rallied from that, dominating the District 4 tournament and reaching the Region 1 finals, where a wild match against the eventual third-place finisher didn’t go McDaniel’s way. He was 1-2 at states, with a takedown’s difference keeping him from Saturday. McDaniel should continue to be an anchor for the Bears’ upperweight portion of the lineup next year.

Heaton’s Hero: There weren’t a lot of Bartram starters that struggled beyond an odd match or couple of matches here and there this year, and it was looking for a while like first-year full-time varsity starter Jerry Gomer — who had a couple of nice wins in December — would have a season that would surpass expectations. But as the season wore on, the competition continued to ratchet up the pressure, and wins got harder to find, as Gomer had three non-forfeits (according to the results I do have) after the Buchholz event. But Gomer did pick up two wins at Clay’s Rotary event, stayed in the lineup and kept battling all the way into districts. For the persistence he continued to show even as negative results continued to mount, Jerry Gomer is the Heaton’s Hero for Bartram Trail.

Projected returning starters for 2017-18 (with year in school as they’ll be next year): Nicholas Vugman (junior, 113, district runnerup, region runnerup, 1-2 at states); Gomer (junior, 120, 1 match from regions); Joseph Governara (junior, 126, 1 match from regions); James Mueller (senior, 132, district runnerup, 1-2 at regions); Christian Crews (senior, 145, district 3rd, 1-2 at regions); William King (senior, 160, district runnerup, 1-2 at regions); Caleb Sutherland (senior, 170, district 3rd, 1-2 at regions); Jacob Bennett (senior, 182, district 4th, 0-2 at regions); Brooks Harp (senior, 195, district runnerup, 1 match from states); McDaniel (senior, 220, district champ, region runnerup, 1-2 at states); Justin Thompson (senior, 285, district champ, 1 match from states). Also: Blake Swor (senior, 106, did not compete in post-season); Ralph Hamilton (sophomore, 145, did not compete in post-season); Reece Lindsay (senior, 170, did not compete in post-season); Carter Copeland (senior, 182, did not compete in post-season); Chris Kwarteng (junior, 182, did not compete in post-season); Justin Gartner (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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