The Season 2016-17: Westside

WESTSIDE

You can see everything I have on the Wolverines in 2016-17 here –>  WESTSIDE

Win/loss record: 12-5 in dual meets. Please review the attached document for a summary of the Wolverines’ performance in IBT events.

Season in a nutshell: Westside had another solid season this past year, with a few more matches than in years past, and that certainly benefited the Wolverine wrestlers, many of whom made substantial gains from the previous season. Westside was right in the mix for top honors at North Florida Duals, and won the Army Duals two-day dual tournament at Terry Parker in mid-January. The Wolverines had solid finishes in IBT tournaments as well, with a top-six at Westside Kiwanis, third at Gateway, fourth at 5 Star and runnerup finish in their eight-team roundrobin event in February. Westside took a solid third at District 3 and just missed the top 10 at Region 1. The Wolverines do lose three critical starters going into next year, and need more of a lower-weight presence next year, but their upper weights look to be pretty solid.

2016-17 MVP: The heavyweight spot in the Wolverine lineup has been rock-solid for the past five or six years, and this year was no different, as senior Tariq Hookfin was rock solid for Westside. Hookfin won his first 13 matches, including a first at Westside Kiwanis, and his only loss prior to regions was to an out-of-state wrestler at the Ridgeview Rumble just before the holiday break. Hookfin won his first Gateway Conference title in January, adding a 5 Star victory the following weekend and Westside Duals title the weekend after that. Hookfin also won his first district title at Raines (his second IBT win of the season there), and it took only a loss to the top-ranked and eventual state champion — in overtime — to stop Hookfin at Clay. At states, Hookfin was a Saturday qualifier, going 2-2 in the tournament, but came up just one match short of the podium, losing by decision to Lake Highland in the blood round.

2017-18 captain: I really could go in one of two directions here, and it would be no slight to the other to pick out junior 182 Calvin Altman as a Wolverine captain next year (I’m certain both wrestlers will be). Altman started somewhat slowly in December, with a 5-4 recrod through Westside Kiwanis, but then won 15 of his next 18 matches. Altman was fourth at Gateway and then had a solid runnerup effort at 5 Star, really putting things together at Westside Duals, where he won his first in-season title, following that up with a second at District 3, where he needed just 1:04 to take the bracket. Altman then reached the Region 1 semis, where only a takedown was the difference in a loss there, and then was knocked out in the region’s blood round. He’s transformed his game over the last two years and should be a very solid senior for the Wolverines.

Heaton’s Hero: Sophomore first-year starter Jakius Hunt (195) found rough footing in competing with the varsity, but didn’t let that deter him, as he competed in every event for the Wolverines. While half of his wins came by forfeit, he was able to contribute in almost every event toward his team’s overall score, except for 5 Star. The competition did get tougher for Hunt, who was 2-9 after his one Gateway consi-round victory, but he didn’t quit despite the adversity. With off-season work, he should improve, and with the effort he put in this season, Jakius Hunt is the Heaton’s Hero for Westside High School.

Projected returning starters for 2017-18 (with year in school as they’ll be next year): Jeremey Hedden (sophomore, 126, 0-2 at districts); Angelo Philpot (sophomore, 132, district 3rd, 1-2 at regions); Matthew Gathright (senior, 160, district 4th, 0-2 at regions); John Jones (senior, 170, district champ, 1 match from states); Altman (senior, 182, district champ, 1 match from states); Jakius Hunt (junior, 195, 1 match from regions); Anthony Chirino (sophomore, 220, 0-2 at districts). Also: Demarcus Wilson (junior, 106, did not compete in post-season); Braxton Henry (sophomore, 120, did not compete in post-season); Tyree Smith (junior, 126, did not compete in post-season); Travon Mincey (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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