The Season 2016-17: Fleming Island

FLEMING ISLAND

You can see everything I have on the Golden Eagles in 2016-17 here –>  FLEMING ISLAND

Win/loss record: 17-0 in dual meets. Please review the attached document for a summary of the Golden Eagles’ performance in IBT events.

Season in a nutshell: What can one say that has not already been said in stories throughout the season? The area’s strongest team this season, Fleming Island experienced a great deal of success to pay off that strength in 2016-17. The Golden Eagles were 5-0 to win the Bobcat Duals holiday tournament at Buchholz just before Christmas, and dominated the St Johns River Conference meet in Matanzas on the third weekend of January, during which they held five SJRC opponents to less than 10 points. For the season, Fleming was 17-0 in duals. In IBTs, the Golden Eagles finished no lower than fifth in any one given meet this year, and that was the first one, with four tournament wins in January and February with a full lineup in tow. Fleming Island was fourth at Knockout, fourth at Lake Mary’s Tournament of Champions (with a short-handed lineup), first at Osceola, third at Flagler Rotary and won the Green Cove Springs Rotary. The Golden Eagles left no doubt in both the District 1 and Region 1 tournaments, sweeping to titles there, and finished second at states after taking 11 to Kissimmee. While many teams would not recover well from losing three state qualifiers (including a champion) to graduation, Fleming Island returns eleven post-season starters in 2017-18, eight of those with state experience a year ago, with four of those eight podium finishers. And, they’ll have a lot of depth back as well, with a wave of freshmen coming in this year.

2016-17 MVP: Senior 182 Jason Davis was just on First Coast News last night as a finalist for that media organization’s Athlete of the Year. We are not surprised by that accolade. Davis had just two losses in his run to the 3A state championship at 182, and both of those came to — arguably — the state’s best senior in any weight class this year, and a multiple-time state champion. Davis didn’t make his first appearance until Lyman in the third week of December, and ripped through three falls and a tech before losing in the finals. He then won eight in a row through Knockout and Tournament of Champions (not appearing at Buchholz), with a second loss in the finals at the Lake Mary event, by the same score to the same wrestler. That was it. Davis won his final 36 matches of the season, 23 of those by fall and all but one of his remaining regular-season wins were bonus-point wins. Davis pinned his way through the District 1 tournament, with three bonus-point wins and a shutout decision at Region 1. He proved he could win the close ones at Kissimmee, with three decisions in the quarters, semis and final in succession to take the championship. Perhaps the biggest surprise in all of this was that Davis dropped a weight from where he had previously competed in his junior year.

2017-18 captain: I really went back-and-forth on this one. Both candidates will be key leaders next year, but as I can take only one, I will go with junior 152 Paul Detwiler. Detwiler won his first eight matches in 2016-17, taking first at Clash of the Titans at University-Orange City on the first weekend of the season, leading the charge of a fairly short-handed FIHS side. Detwiler finished second to a multiple-time state champ in the Lyman finals two weekends later, and took two losses to the same wrestler at Knockout, finishing fourth (his lowest tournament finish of the season) there. Another multiple-time state champ gave Detwiler his fourth loss of the year at Lake Mary, but after that Detwiler would bag 27 wins in a row, 18 of those by fall, with tournament wins at Flagler, Clay, District 1 and Region 1 along the way. Detwiler pinned his way through districts and had two falls and two techs at regions. At states, another multiple-time champion knocked him out of the championship side of the bracket in the semis, but Detwiler came back to place third, finishing off a 50+-win season.

Heaton’s Hero: On a lot of teams with the typical schedule those teams might wrestle, a freshman middleweight competitor like Luke Chop might, with the talent Chop brought to the table, put together a 25-win season. But this being Fleming Island and the Golden Eagles wrestling the schedule that they do, Chop had to pay some dues just to hang around the .500 line (if it’s any consolation, Davis was 19-15 through districts as a freshman, at a middle-weight class himself). Chop was probably a more natural 138, getting his first varsity action at that weight at the Buchholz event just before Christmas, but bumped up to 145 for the two-day duals/IBT Osceola tournament in mid-January, staying there for the remainder of the year. I thought he did OK, going 4-2 at St Johns River (including four straight wins), with a 2-2 showing at Flagler Rotary. At Clay’s Rotary tournament, his exit was quick, but he lost to two solid kids by a combined total of six points. Chop was the only post-season starter not to make the region tournament, but of the next wave of upcoming freshmen in Fleming’s lineup, he was the only one to get the chance to try. Luke Chop is the Heaton’s Hero for Fleming Island.

Projected returning starters for 2017-18 (with year in school as they’ll be next year): Briar Jackson (junior, 106, district champ, region champ, state 3rd); Albie Snedaker (senior, 113, district champ, region champ, 1-2 at states); DeAndre Demus (junior, 120, district runnerup, region runnerup, 1-2 at states); Jacob Sandoval (senior, 126, district runnerup, region 4th, 1-2 at states); Trace Insalaco (junior, 132, district 3rd, region 4th, 0-2 at states); Vince Hauser (junior, 138, district runnerup, 2-2 at regions); Chop (sophomore, 145, 1 match from regions); Detwiler (senior, 152, district champ, region champ, state 3rd); Jalyn Robinson (senior, 170, district runnerup, 1 match from states); Ryan Smenda (senior, 195, district champ, region runnerup, state 5th); Jose Concepcion (senior, 285, district runnerup, region 3rd, state 6th). Also: Joseph Donato (sophomore, 106, did not compete in post-season); Tyler Williams (sophomore, 132, did not compete in post-season); Seamus Wade (senior, 152, did not compete in post-season); Ian Kincaid (junior, 160, did not compete in post-season); Anthony Breeden (junior, 170, did not compete in post-season); Bennett Corey (sophomore, 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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