The Season 2016-17: Orange Park

ORANGE PARK

You can see everything I have on the Raiders in 2016-17 here –>  ORANGE PARK

Win/loss record: 19-11 in dual meets. Please review the attached document for a summary of the Raiders’ performance in IBT events.

Season in a nutshell: The Raiders enjoyed some solid successes this year, finishing in the top half of every IBT/roundrobin in which they competed, except for one, and also showed some ability in dual meets after an early slow start. That slow start, 0-3 in Orange Park’s first three duals at North Florida Duals, gave way to six wins in a row, a streak that the Raiders would match down the stretch of the season. Between St Johns River Conference and Parker Duals, Orange Park would win 11 of 14 duals, taking second at Parker and fourth at St Johns. The Raiders were the top Florida team at Episcopal’s Rob Bierbaum Invitational, finishing second there, and finished in the middle of the pack at Lincoln and in the top half at Clay’s Rotary, despite fielding significantly short-handed sides. The Raiders returned to the top of the heap at districts and finished in the top quarter of the field in the Region 1 field at Chiles, with a top-30 effort at 2A states. While there are some big big guns (134 season wins by my count) leaving due to graduation, the Raiders have four district champions returning, 10 post-season starters and a lot of solid depth. With off-season work, group could be tough to topple in its district come November.

2016-17 MVP: Senior 170 Nartorian Lee made himself one of the state’s best in the weight class this year, jumping out to a 13-0 start to the season and, later on, ripping off 29 wins in a row that took him from the Ridgeview Rumble in mid-December all the way to Clay’s Rotary final in early February. Lee won a Westside Kiwanis IBT title in December, and after a loss to another team MVP at the Ridgeview Rumble, only had two out-of-state losses sustained at the KSA Pre-Holiday Invitational dual tournament just before Christmas. He was a Bierbaum, Lincoln and St Johns River Conference champion, rolling to two bonus-point wins to take his second District 3 title. At Chiles for regions, Lee had just a one-point loss en route to taking third there, and then won three matches in succession at states to get to Saturday night, where he came up just a takedown short.

2017-18 captain: I could go in a couple of directions here, but being in the lineup for the entirety of the season, and the way his season ended, leads me to select junior 182 Reed Danielson for the gig. After a slow start marred by an injury, Danielson started to hit his stride in mid-January at St Johns River, where he took one loss to an eventual state champion. After that, Danielson won six in a row and 13 of 14 matches, with 11 of those 13 victories coming by fall. Danielson survived one of the tougher brackets at District 3, a bracket that saw three wrestlers (one a Matmen MVP for his team, the other a captain for his) from the district make it to state. Danielson had wins over both at the district level, and was able to keep the momentum going through regions, reaching the final there. He had a quick exit at states, but should be a strong candidate for a state medal in March of 2018.

Heaton’s Hero: Bless their hearts, but all kinds of scorekeepers had trouble with sophomore 145 Abraham Sunworbah‘s last name this past year. He started his season at Westside Kiwanis, and competed at 145 in December, but moved up to 152 for the Bierbaum Invitational in January and then moved up a second time, to 160, for the St Johns River Conference meet, staying there for the Parker Duals as well. After making 145 again for a single dual appearance to start the year in February, Sunworbah went back to 160 for Clay’s Rotary and then came back down to 145 for District 3, where a win in the consi semis allowed Sunworbah to extend his season by another week. At regions, Sunworbah was a takedown short in his first elimination match, but his willingness to move around in the lineup to help the team made Abraham Sunworbah the Heaton’s Hero for Orange Park.

Projected returning starters for 2017-18 (with year in school as they’ll be next year): Cameron Broughton (sophomore, 106, district champ, 1 match from states); Frank Sawyer (senior, 113, district champ, 1-2 at regions); Dean Ganci (junior, 120, district runnerup, 1-2 at regions); Robert McGlynn (junior, 132, district runnerup, 0-2 at regions); Abraham Sunworbah (junior, 145, district 4th, 0-2 at regions); Jacob Campbell (sophomore, 152, district champ, 1-2 at regions); Devin Morgenstern (junior, 160, 1 match from regions); Danielson (senior, 182, district champ, region runnerup, 0-2 at states); Noah St. Vilus (sophomore, 195, district runnerup, 1-2 at regions); Jordan Cooper (sophomore, 285, 1 match from regions). Also: Jacoby Mealer (sophomore, 106, did not compete in post-season); Diego Soto (sophomore, 126, did not compete in post-season); Nic Thompson (junior, 126, did not compete in post-season); Noah Rivera (senior, 152, did not compete in post-season); Nathaniel Guthrie (senior, 160, did not compete in post-season); Anthony Stigler (junior, 195, did not compete in post-season); Ben Elliot (junior, 195, 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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