#TheSeason2018-19: Flagler Palm Coast

Welcome back to our annual series of season wrap-up posts, which we cleverly titled as “The Season (2018-19),” because we’re creative like that. Your donation dollars at work, folks.

Teams are being selected on a random basis. Our 24th installment for this season, and third from 3A-District 1, is Flagler Palm Coast.

Each The Season post will have the same content as they’ve had for the past five seasons.

FLAGLER PALM COAST

FLAGLER PALM COAST LOGO

You can see everything I have on the Bulldogs in 2018-19 here –> FLAGLER PALM COAST 

Win/loss record: 8-13 in dual meets. Please review the attached document for a summary of the Bulldogs’ performance in IBT events.

Season in a nutshell: The Bulldogs had their first tournament experience of the season with Bayside’s Barbara Pill Memorial, in which FPC was 1-3 in duals competition and finished midpack in the IBT portion (10th out of 19 teams). Next up was Hagerty’s Johnny Rouse Invitational, also with dual (1-2) and IBT (T-5th out of 16 teams) components. That was December for Flagler, which returned with a solid third-place second-day finish at district rival Fleming Island’s Keystone Invitational on the first weekend of January. FPC was 2-2 at 3A-District 1 team dual competition and finished 2-3 in the one-day Showdown at O-Town duals tournament, hosted by Oviedo, mid-month. Other than a pair of midweek duals, that was it for January for FPC, which closed out its season with three February IBTs, with a midpack (13th out of 25 teams) at its own Flagler Rotary on the 1st-2nd, a third at Five Star Conference (a nine-team one-day IBT) and a top-third (10th out of 30 teams) at the John Raich Memorial to wrap up the regular season. Flagler finished fourth at the 3A-District 1 traditional tournament, qualifying four wrestlers for the region tournament. There, the Bulldogs finished midpack one more time (18th out of 37 teams). Flagler can return 16 wrestlers with post-season or significant regular-season varsity experience to its 2019-20 team, plus a couple of kids that were right on the cusp of our 15-match threshold, and most of those kids can come back for three more seasons, so expect the progress to continue.

Key returners (15+ matches this past season or post-season experience) for 2019-20 (with year in school as they’ll be next year): Logan Johnson (sophomore, 24-22 at 106, 0-2 at districts); Joseph Rizzo (senior, 30-20 at 113, district runnerup, 1 match from states); Evan St Pierre (junior, 24-20 at 120, district 4th, 1-2 at regions); Brendan Buckles (sophomore, 11-27 at 126, 0-2 at districts); Andrew Dance (senior, 34-10 at 132, district 3rd, did not compete at regions); Felipe Costa (sophomore, 1-15 at 132, did not compete in post-season traditionals); Blane DeFord (sophomore, 31-19 at 138, district runnerup, 1 match from states); Timothy King (sophomore, 21-22 at 145, 0-2 at districts); Gerrick Schwartz (sophomore, 10-23 at 152, 1 match from regions); Marcelo Gonzalez (sophomore, 12-25 at 160, 0-2 at districts); Preston Cremeans (senior, 11-8 at 160, did not compete in post-season traditionals); Nathaniel Gasparini (sophomore, 1-4 at 170, 0-2 at districts); Jayden Austin (senior, 12-18 at 182, 1 match from regions); Cayden Keltner (sophomore, 5-14 at 195, 1 match from regions); Seth Davis (sophomore, 3-18 at 195/220, did not compete in post-season traditionals); AJ Cinelli (senior, 39-8 at 285, 1 match from regions).

Graduation losses (15+ matches this past season or post-season experience) from this year’s team: None.

2018-19 MVP: I’m going to leave aside what looked like a disastrous district tournament for him, and name the Bulldogs’ best regular-season wrestler, heavyweight Anthony (AJ) Cinelli, as the team MVP. Cinelli led the team in victories, with a title win at Barbara Pill, a runnerup finish at Johnny Rouse (loss by one point), and a 14-match win streak that started at Keystone and didn’t end until the Flagler finals. Cinelli took third at Five Star, with another one-point loss to the same wrestler as at Johnny Rouse, and then closed out the regular season with a title effort at John Raich. Both of his losses in the district tournament were by one point, and both were double-overtime or longer.

2019-20 captain: I had two or three directions in which I could go, in addition to Cinelli, but I couldn’t turn away from the post-season run that junior Joseph Rizzo had. Rizzo seemed to be angling for 106 at one point, dropping down to it for Keystone and for Flagler Rotary, but was at 113 for Five Star and each point afterward. With 17 losses going into the post-season traditional tournament series, Rizzo pushed his way through into the district final, and reached the Region 1 semifinals on his home mats, losing there to the eventual champ, and coming up just a takedown short of the state tournament. Rizzo has made a lot of progress over his three years, and will be a key leadership part of next season for the Bulldogs.

Heaton’s Hero: Sometimes we’ll ask for coach input on this one, and we got it in this case, and as such I can go along with it, when looking at the season as a whole. Freshman Timothy King was all over the middle part of the lineup for the Bulldogs this year. In both Barbara Pill and Johnny Rouse, he was at 138 AND 145 during the course of the duals portion. After being 138 for Keystone, King was at both 138 and 145 for districts, then back at 138 for Showdown at O-Town, then down to 132 for Flagler Rotary (which was new), back up to 145 for Five Star, back down to 132 for John Raich, and then back up to 145 for the post-season. That willingness to fill in wherever is what makes Timothy King the Heaton’s Hero for Flagler Palm Coast.

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I covered wrestling for 15 years up north and "retired" in both 1992 and again in 2011. But I couldn't stay away. Started Northeast Florida Matmen in 2013, Northwest Florida Matmen in 2015. We combined those sites into North Florida Matmen in the summer of 2018. And, we've started South Georgia Matmen in November of 2018. Our work is never paywalled, our content is searchable for all time. We're here because the kids keep lacing 'em up, so we'll keep writing 'em up.

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