The Season 2016-17: Palatka

PALATKA

You can see everything I have on the Panthers in 2016-17 here –>  PALATKA

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

Season in a nutshell: I don’t have nearly as solid a handle on the Panthers as in previous years, as one of the key components in getting Palatka reported in the past was a Class of ’16 wrestler. We were missing two duals in January (both against Flagler), and then had no individual reports or team reports from Palatka’s final two events of the year, so we introduced a hashtage for records that were reported to the district host (for the state qualifiers, we did “count back” for the missing results, such as that is). Against bigger schools, the Panthers (somewhat predictably) struggled, and Palatka did better against schools against its own size. I have six dual wins through February 1. But Palatka did hold its second-place finish at District 5. There might be one more year of that, with four post-season seniors returning, but an influx of kids is going to be needed to hold second after next year.

2016-17 MVP: Junior Bryan Smith has been Palatka’s most talented wrestler this season, completing a year with 35 wins to his credit. That season began with a 9-1 start, with a loss only to a 2A state placer. Smith had solid performances at both Flagler Duals and was 4-1 in a day’s worth of wrestling at St Johns River Conference. After winning at District 5, Smith’s only loss at regions was to an eventual state placer. He was a few seconds short of a state win, falling in ultimate tiebreaker to a fellow Matmen MVP in the first round, and was a takedown short of a third match. With some off-season time, Smith will be very much in line for a state medal in 2018.

2017-18 captain: Like Smith, fellow junior Ira Dixon got out to a strong start a weight class up from Smith, going 7-1 at 285 to begin the season. Dixon had one loss at Gainesville and just two at Flagler Duals (both, ironically, against 1A opponents). Dixon also only took two losses at St Johns River Conference while still competing a weight up (those against a 3A state qualifier and 2A state placer). I think he must have missed one of Palatka’s final two events, but after making the drop to 220 — whenever that happened — Dixon seemed much more comfortable at the lower weight, with four falls at District 5 and Region 2, going 0-2 at state. He’s got a chance for a medal next year.

Heaton’s Hero: We got our first look at freshman 106 Drevon Wallace in January, a few days before Flagler Duals, and the results we had for Wallace indicated some struggles against the competition Palatka goes up against at Flagler Duals and at St Johns River Conference. I have him winning only against Nease by forfeit at Flagler Duals. After four early losses, he did rally a bit, with a fall and major on the second day at St. John’s River. He did help the Panthers’ cause with wins at both District 5 and Region 2, but he’ll need a lot more experience. Despite struggles, he seemed to have picked up quite a bit by season’s end, and for that Drevon Wallace is the Heaton’s Hero for Palatka.

Projected returning starters for 2017-18 (with year in school as they’ll be next year): Wallace (sophomore, 106, district runnerup, 1-2 at regions); Trevor Davis (sophomore, 113, district runnerup, 2-2 at regions); Jerich Givens (senior, 138, district runnerup, 0-2 at regions); Dale Green (senior, 145, district runnerup, 1-2 at regions); Smith (senior, 195, district champ, region 3rd, 0-2 at states); Dixon (senior, 220, district champ, region 4th, 0-2 at states). Also: Isaiah Beauboeuf (senior, 132, did not compete in post-season); Marquis Hill (junior, 152, did not compete in post-season); Jacob Carreras (sophomore, 182, 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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