The Season 2016-17: Bradford

BRADFORD

You can see everything I have on the Tornadoes in 2016-17 here –>  BRADFORD

Win/loss record: 14-13 in dual meets. Please review the attached document for a summary of the Tornadoes’ performance in IBT events.

Season in a nutshell: Bradford was a program that was a little all over the place. The last team in the Northeast coverage area to start competition (first match on December 13), the Tornadoes had too many unfilled weight classes to defeat the stronger teams, but Bradford could make most duals interesting with the power of some of the kids that were in its lineup. After a 1-5 start in duals, the Tornadoes then won five of their next six, then bookended a six-dual win streak with a pair of three-losses mini-streaks. IBTs were also a little tricky because of numbers, but the Tornadoes did put enough together to overcome five other teams at District 4 and finish third. Three of the Tornadoes’ top six wrestlers (five of which wrestled in the post-season) will be graduating, including their top upper weight and their two most consistent middles, but some decent ability also returns. With more spots filled, things could continue to look up for Bradford in 2017-18.

2016-17 MVP: Bradford being away from a major population center allows any solid Tornado wrestler to escape some notice, but every 220 in 1A-Region 1 knew who senior Eddie McCormick was after McCormick ripped off 20 victories in a row mid-season this year. He had a decent start, with a third-place finish at Battle on the Border at Yulee, but that tournament was just the start of McCormick’s run of success, as he went from 7-3 to 27-3, failing to score maximum points in just one of those 20 matches (and that was a win by tech fall). McCormick followed up that streak with a medal finish at Clay’s Rotary tournament, taking fourth place there> He had two second-period pins in taking the District 4 crown, and reached the semis at Region 1, having to come back for a rematch of his District 4 final with a state berth on the line. McCormick went 0-2 at states, but both of those losses came against eventual placewinners, with his first-round loss against the state champ.

2017-18 captain: Just one returner in 2017-18 for the Tornadoes will have a district title and a win at regions under his belt, and that will be junior 170 Jesse Burch, whom we didn’t see until January this season. Burch tried his luck at a couple of different weights, going up as high as 195 during the course of the year, but he still put together a solid season, winning seven of eight matches at one point. After bouncing up to 182, Burch came back to 170 for the post-season, needing barely more than two full periods to win the District 4 title and winning with another quick fall in the first round of regions. From there, things went kind of sideways, as Burch didn’t get to Saturday, but he stands to be one of Bradford’s most experienced wrestlers going into November.

Heaton’s Hero: Sophomore 126 Aaron Blazs had a win by fall in his first scheduled event of the season for Bradford, that falling on December 13. There would not be another contested victory in Blazs’ win column for another month, but nevertheless he continued to keep on battling, picking up a few solid wins in the middle of January. Blazs wasn’t in the lineup for the Tornadoes’ appearance at Parker Duals at the end of that month or for Clay’s Rotary tournament, but he did return for the post-season, with one 20-second fall sufficient enough to extend his season for an additional week, as that pin did get him qualified for regions. With some off-season work and a full year next year, he should improve, but coming back after some tough losses makes Aaron Blazs the Heaton’s Hero for Bradford.

Projected returning starters for 2017-18 (with year in school as they’ll be next year): Brian Foster (sophomore, 120, district 3rd, did not compete at regions); Blazs (sophomore, 126, district 4th, 0-2 at regions); Logan Montemurro (senior, 160, 1 match from regions); Burch (senior, 170, district runnerup, 1-2 at regions). Also: Thomas LeVasseur (junior, 120, did not compete in post-season); Tyler Lussier (sophomore, 132, did not compete in post-season); Jacob Hake (senior, 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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