Welcome back to our annual series of season wrap-up posts, which we cleverly titled as “The Season (2017-18).” Your donation dollars at work, folks.
This year, we’re not following a rotation scheme. We’re keeping it a bit more random this go-round. Using a highly scientific line of inquiry (our future Lady Matmen is making the random selections going forward), our next installment in the series is Marianna, our seventh team out of 1A-District 1.
Each The Season post will have the same content as they’ve had for the past four seasons. At the request of a reader last season, we will note the accomplishments of each team’s senior class that will be moving on to new goals this summer.
You can see everything I have on the Bulldogs in 2017-18 here –> MARIANNA
Win/loss record: 8-10 in dual meets. Please review the attached document for a summary of the Bulldogs’ performance in IBT events.
Season in a nutshell: Marianna began the season a hair outside of a midpack finish at Border Wars, finishing 15th out of 23 teams at the South Walton-hosted two-day roundrobin/IBT event. Week 2 saw the Bulldogs in a similar finish at Capital City Classic in Tallahassee, taking 16th out of 25 teams. The Bulldogs would rally in the dual format, however, sweeping four district opponents in the inaugural 1A-District 1 duals tournament to move on to the region level. Next up was Ft Walton Beach’s Beast of the Beach, where Marianna was 3-5 to take 11th place overall. The Bulldogs opened 2018 with a trip to the Scott Rohrer Memorial in Alabama, finishing 21st there in a 26-team roundrobin event. Marianna then fell to Florida High in the 1A-Region 1 quarterfinals on January 11, but rallied for a midpack finish at Lincoln’s Trojan Invitational on January 14 (10th out of 17 teams). Marianna then would finish in the top half at district rival Wewahitchka’s Gator Brawl on January 19-20 (8th out of 20 teams), and the illness-plagued Bulldogs would go 1-4 in the first day of competition at the North Bay Haven Bash on January 26. Marianna would come back for a midpack finish at the Clay Rotary on February 2-3 (18th out of 33 teams), and would post solid finishes in the post-season, with a third in the 1A-District 1 traditional tournament and an eighth at Region 1, scoring a very nice T-17th at states behind a third-place finisher. Marianna will lose that multiple-time placer, and another 2018 state qualifier, to graduation, but most of its depth in the starting lineup will return, so it should be another solid season for the Bulldogs in 2018-19.
Key returners (15+ matches this past season or post-season experience) for 2018-19 (with year in school as they’ll be next year): Joshua Myers (sophomore, 11-9 at 106, did not compete in post-season); Neal Smith (senior, 34-21 at 113, district champ, 1-2 at regions); Dustin Arnold (junior, 6-26 at 120, 1 match from regions); Chris Calhoun (junior, 8-28 at 126, 0-2 at districts); Trenton Faust (senior, 11-32 at 132, district 3rd, 1-2 at regions); Jacob Crenshaw (sophomore, 0-16 at 138, 1 match from regions); Hunter Suggs (junior, 4-11 at 138, did not compete in post-season); John Maddox (junior, 34-24 at 152, district runnerup, 1 match from states); Christian Cossan (sophomore, 8-31 at 160, 1 match from regions); Jared Kyle (sophomore, 0-16 at 160/170, did not compete in post-season); Corey Davis (junior, 34-26 at 170, district 3rd, 1 match from states); Jonah Mercer (senior, 19-24 at 182, district 3rd, 0-2 at regions); Noah Johnson (senior, 5-13 at 220, district 4th, 0-2 at regions); Jason Rudd (junior, 11-14 at 285, district 3rd, 2-2 at regions).
Graduation losses from this year’s team (15+ matches this past season or post-season experience): Ethan Ellis (25-15 at 145, district 4th, region 4th, 1-2 at states); Dillon Melvin (17-19 at 160, did not compete in post-season); Cole Maddox (55-3 at 195, district champ, region runnerup, state 3rd);
2017-18 MVP: Cole Maddox made this selection the obvious choice for Marianna this past year, with his near-perfect run through the regular season, a District 1 championship, a Region 1 runnerup position and second state medal, parlaying all of that into a signing with NCAA Division I Campbell University beginning in the 2018-19 academic year. Maddox rolled through 47 matches without a loss, 40 of those via fall, en route to titles at Border Wars (7-0, 5 pins), Capital City Classic (4-0, 3 pins), Scott Rohrer Memorial (6-0, 5 pins), Trojan Invitational (4-0, 4 pins) and Gator Brawl (8-0, 8 first-period pins), plus unbeaten appearances in non-IBT events as well. His only losses on the season were to wrestlers who finished above him on the state podium, and even in the post-season Maddox picked up seven pins, with at least one in every round of competition (districts, regions & state). He did the work, after his freshman year, to put himself in this position, and if a wrestler ever embodied the phrase “hard work pays off,” Cole Maddox does.
2018-19 captain: Neal Smith had had his stretch of difficulties earlier in his career, so the way his post-season went down was a big improvement. After tough early matches at Border Wars and Capital City, in which Smith was 4-6 through the first two weeks, he would go on to win 11 matches in a row at 1A-District 1 and at Beast of the Beach, then, after the Trojan Invitational, won seven matches in a row at Gator Brawl, placing second at that tournament. After good tuneups at both North Bay Haven Bash and the Clay Rotary, Smith was well-positioned for a good tournament run in the post-season, and 2:04 later within the 1A-District 1 traditional tournament, he was the district champion, pinning his way through the field with three first-period falls. Smith then took a win at Region 1 as well, adding to Marianna’s eighth-place team finish. He’s known successes and some hardships, and that should be a good attribute to bring in 2018-19.
Heaton’s Hero: Freshman 160 Christian Cossan got thrown in against some pretty tough competition right from the jump in December, facing off against a defending state champion in his very first high school match. His only victory at Border Wars was a forfeit win, and he didn’t pick up a contested win until Beast of the Beach, but after dropping six in a row at Scott Rohrer, the Region 1 duals quarterfinal and at Trojan Invitational, Cossan started to figure some things out, with four pins at Gator Brawl, his best event of the season. He did add to Marianna’s team score at the 1A-District 1 traditional tournament as well, with a win by fall in the consis, but lost by just one point in the district tournament’s version of the blood round. For persevering in the face of much adversity this season, Christian Cossan is the Heaton’s Hero for Marianna.
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