The Season 2016-17: Fletcher


You can see everything I have on the Senators in 2016-17 here –>  FLETCHER

Win/loss record: 24-7 in dual meets. Please review the attached document for a summary of the Senators’ performance in IBT events.

Season in a nutshell: After losing their grip on the city for two seasons, the Senators returned to the top of the Jacksonville heap this past season, with a solid 24-7 duals record that included wins in nine of their first 10 duals (and six in a row, which included a win in their own SGT Marcus Preudhomme Duals event in December) and andother stretch where Fletcher won 13 of 14 duals (including 10 in a row). The Senators were fifth at the Buchholz holiday event and third at Flagler Duals, but that was all preliminary to the big event of their season, as Fletcher won five individual titles in reclaiming the Gateway Conference crown. The Senators had solid tournament efforts at Flagler Rotary (T-10th, top third of the field) and three weeks later at districts, finishing third after too many subpar post-season efforts. Fletcher added a T-10th at the Region 1 event, and had a solid T-21st at 3A states. However, a sizable cadre of seniors built this spectacular season, and they will be difficult to replace. Just five 2016-17 post-season starters will return next year, but the Senators did — as they usually do — have a lot of contributing depth, much of which will have to step up a lot come November.

2016-17 MVP: Even with a bit less post-season accomplishment, it would have been hard to overlook the senior season, his only season as a Senator, that Narek Stepanyan put together in 2016-17. Although Stepanyan had been with many of the Senators in the off-season with Beach Rats Wrestling Club, 2016-17 was his first chance to defend the island, and he ripped off 27 straight wins (by the results I have, and I am not missing any varsity ones to my knowledge) to start the year, collecting 20 pins during that win streak, winning his second Gateway title and taking home a Flagler Rotary bracket as well. Although Stepanyan never would win a district championship in his three-year high school career, he did come back after finishing second in District 1 to win the Region 1 title, avenging that district loss in so doing. In his second appearance in the 3A state meet, Stepanyan had three decisive victories (two with bonus points) to get to Saturday night, where he lost to a two-time state champ.

2017-18 captain: With so many seniors leaving the program after this year, next year’s Senators crew will have a very different look, and of the returning seniors, not many of them will have had the experience of a full season’s worth of matches in a single year. That isn’t the case for junior 126 James Knox, who spent his first year with Fletcher this past season after wrestling for Mandarin in his first two years. Knox had a pretty nice run in his junior year, picking up nearly 30 wins and finishing second in the Gateway tournament in mid-January. Knox has been a regular in off-season work already this spring, and he — like his teammates — will have to show the ability to collect a few unexpected victories in order to put himself in contention for states in March 2018.

Heaton’s Hero: Undersized at 285, sophomore Stanley Hollenbach wrestled almost all of his matches there, with just one at a more natural 220. That helped the Senators, who didn’t have a naturally-sized heavy this year. And Hollenbach had a solid start, winning seven matches in a row and 11 of 12 midway through the year, in a string that began just before Flagler Duals and carried on through Gateway. He did lose five matches in a row after that, and took a loss in the District 1 semis, but rallied for a pair of pins after that, becoming the only post-season starter that returns next year to have advanced out to the Region 1 tournament. While he did go 0-2 in that event, coming up just a takedown short of a third match, Hollenbach’s effort at district after manning a key spot for the Senators made him the Heaton’s Hero for Fletcher.

Projected returning starters for 2017-18 (with year in school as they’ll be next year): James Knox (senior, 126, 1 match from regions); Douglas Tappin (junior, 132, 1 match from regions); Donovan Tompkins (senior, 152, 0-2 at districts); Mathew Rigor (sophomore, 182, 0-2 at districts); Stanley Hollenbach (junior, 285, district 3rd, 0-2 at regions). Also: Bradley Lonergan (sophomore, 113, did not compete in post-season); Colton Lawrence (senior, 120, did not compete in post-season); Ivante White (junior, 132, did not compete in post-season); Tyson Petrie (sophomore, 138, did not compete in post-season); Dawson Reed (senior, 145, did not compete in post-season); Stone Rockhill (sophomore, 152, did not compete in post-season); Tanner Wood (sophomore, 170, did not compete in post-season); Carlo Grasso (senior, 182, did not compete in post-season); Joshua Bosco (sophomore, 195, did not compete in post-season).


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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