The Season 2016-17: Buchholz

BUCHHOLZ

You can see everything I have on the Bobcats in 2016-17 here –>  BUCHHOLZ

Win/loss record: 20-6 in dual meets. Please review the attached document for a summary of the Bobcats’ performance in IBT events.

Season in a nutshell: With one notable exception in 2016-17, this was in all respects a solidly-successful season for Buchholz. The Bobcasts opened with a 6-2 record at Weeki Wachee and had a one-point loss mar what was otherwise a perfect day at home and fourth-place effort in a very strong home duals field just before Christmas. Buchholz also fared well in IBTs throughout the year, with a third at Westside Kiwanis on the second weekend of December, top-10 efforts at Tournament of Champions in early January and at George Jenkins’ IBT in late January, plus a solid 13th in the 40-team Rotary tournament hosted by Clay in February. Buchholz did take three losses at St. Cloud’s Milton-Winter Duals, but those all came against top-five teams in their respective regions. The Bobcats additionally rolled to yet another city title in January as well. Districts, however, were the lone blemish on the Buchholz resume, as they saw it, taking fifth at 3A-District 1. Still, though, Buchholz tied for 10th at Region 1 and was one point short of tying for a top-20 states finish. The Bobcats will return 10 post-season starters and another four wrestlers with key mat experience, so that is a good base to work from in 2017-18. Just two out of that group of 14 will be seniors.

2016-17 MVP: Senior 132 Gant Moore closed out his high school career with something not many wrestlers are able to achieve — a 50+-win season, along with a fourth-place state medal. He won 16 of his first 17 matches (including streaks of six and 10 wins, with the only loss against a multiple-time state qualifier at a weight class up). Moore won a Westside Kiwanis title, lost to a state champion from Lake Highland in finishing second at Lyman, and finished third at Tournament of Champions (falling only to an eventual 3A state champ in the semis). He had a 34-4 record when he dropped to 132 for George Jenkins’ IBT, where he would stay for the rest of the season, taking third there as well. He would finish the season with 61 matches even while not competing at Clay’s Rotary, with the Bobcats’ lone title at District 1 and a third-place effort at Region 1 (his one loss came in the quarters, by one point, to an eventual non-state qualifier). Moore lost to the eventual state runnerup in the quarters at Kissimmee, taking three wins on the back to reach the third-place match, where a very solid career drew to a close.

2017-18 captain: Sophomore 106 Bryan Perkins would not quite reach the 60-match mark that his older teammate did, but he got incredibly close along the way and probably would have gone over 60 had he competed at the Bobcat Duals. Perkins would place in just about every larger event in which he did compete, though, with a third at Westside Kiwanis, eighth at Lyman, fifth at Tournament of Champions, eighth at George Jenkins and coming up just one match short of placing at Clay’s Rotary. After taking third at District 1, Perkins would make it to the show thanks to his solid close at regions, as he reached the semifinals and then avenged his district loss with a victory in the third-place match. There are a lot of juniors that will be in the mix for the Bobcats over the next year or two, and Perkins will have an opportunity to get a couple of his classmates on the journey to states with him.

Heaton’s Hero: It wasn’t until his 16th match of the season — contested during his team’s home duals tournament — that sophomore 113 Hunter Griffin picked up his first contested victory, and yet Griffin was 8-8 at that point, as several early forfeits in his favor helped his team. But his enthusiasm for his own improvement, as well as his teammates’ successes, didn’t go unnoticed, even as his competition intensified. Griffin would go on to get four more contested victories (all of them by fall), with three of those coming at the Milton-Winter Duals in St. Cloud and the fourth in the regular-season finale for the Bobcats. Griffin would go 0-2 at District 1, and only three of his 22 losses would be considered close (two 1-point losses and the third by four), but nevertheless, Hunter Griffin exhibited all the qualities of a Heaton’s Hero for Buchholz.

Projected returning starters for 2017-18 (with year in school as they’ll be next year): Perkins (junior, 106, district 3rd, region 3rd, 1 match from state medal); Griffin (junior, 113, 1 match from regions); William Green-Church (junior, 120, 1 match from regions); DeAngelo Fletcher (junior, 126, 1 match from regions); Michael Rollins (junior, 138, 1 match from regions); Tracen Ransdell (junior, 145, district 4th, 0-2 at regions); Jordan Mobley (senior, 152, district 4th, 1 match from states); Armando Acosta (sophomore, 182, district 4th, 2-2 at regions); Nevan Burney (sophomore, 195, 0-2 at districts); Aaron Menden (senior, 285, 0-2 at districts). Also: Brandon Thomas (sophomore, 126, did not compete in post-season); William Kverneland (sophomore, 126, did not compete in post-season); Kevin Smith (junior, 145, did not compete in post-season); Seth Verdote (sophomore, 170, 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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