#TheSeason2018-19: Godby

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 third installment out of 1A-District 2, and 26th overall, is Godby.

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

GODBY

GODBY LOGO

You can see everything I have on the Cougars in 2018-19 here –> GODBY

Win/loss record: 9-25 in dual meets. Please review the attached document for a summary of the Cougars’ performance in IBT events.

Season in a nutshell: I wasn’t sure how things might go for not-new-to-coaching but new-to-Godby head coach Jonathan Wainwright, and in one sense I was right in that numbers as a whole were an issue all season. But in another sense there were some real successes, even if they were small, and individual, ones, that the Cougars were able to achieve during the season. Godby was 2-3 at Citrus’ one-day Storm Surge dual tournament on the first Saturday of the season, then took 19th a little closer to home at crosstown rival Chiles’ Capital City Classic. Things were tough for the short-handed Cougars at Beast of the Beach, as Godby went 1-7 on the weekend, taking 6th in the Best of the Rest bracket. Brutally tough competition at Fleming Island’s Keystone Invitational was a difficult way for Godby to begin January, finishing 18th there. The Cougars were 2-3 at Billy Saylor, closing out the days with two wins, and took 15th at Lincoln’s Trojan Invitational in mid-January. Godby also struggled with a lack of numbers at Belleview’s Diamondback Duals, with one dual win in seven. Things went better against similarly-situated teams at Gainesville’s Category V Duals, where Godby was fifth with a 3-2 one-day tournament. The Cougars were fourth at the very-competitive 1A-District 2 tournament, with a midpack finish at 1A-Region 1 (16th out of 29 teams), advancing one wrestler to states. Seven wrestlers with region experience can return in 2019-20, but the Cougars will have to continue to work on turning wrestlers out next season.

Key returners (15+ matches this past season or post-season experience) for 2019-20 (with year in school as they’ll be next year): Jeremy Hector (junior, 23-30 at 106, district runnerup, 1-2 at regions); Nigel Brown (senior, 29-19 at 132, district runnerup, 2-2 at regions); Thomas Branson (senior, 10-38 at 145, district 4th, 0-2 at regions); Madison Melton (senior, 10-18 at 152, district 4th, 0-2 at regions); Julian Green (senior, 12-14 at 182, district 3rd, 0-2 at regions); Robert Harrell (junior, 15-31 at 195, district 3rd, 0-2 at regions); Joshua Yarbrough (senior, 285, district runnerup, 1 match from states).

Graduation losses (15+ matches this past season or post-season experience) from this year’s team: Ja’Tyren Walker (16-8 at 220, district champ, region runnerup, 0-2 at states).

2018-19 MVP: Soon-to-graduate Ja’Tyren Walker…we just didn’t get a whole lot of season from him, but down the stretch he proved to be Godby’s most capable wrestler once again this year. After taking a Georgia state champ into the third period in the semis at Cap City, Walker didn’t come back to the lineup until Diamondback Duals in late January. He was 2-2 at Clay Rotary, two weeks later, and that was it until the post-season. There, Walker won Godby’s lone district title and reached the final at regions, where he wound up losing by one point. Both of Walker’s losses at states also were close, a combined total of four points each.

2019-20 captain: Junior heavyweight Joshua Yarbrough was a reliable presence in the Godby lineup throughout the season, with a 10-match win streak between Beast of the Beach and Keystone to wrap 2018 and begin 2019. Yarbrough placed at Cap City (sixth) and Keystone (fourth), taking the eventual state runnerup to overtime in the district final. Yarbrough was 3-2 at regions, with three pins, with a pair of losses to Jacksonville-area heavies that he’ll see next year en route to a possible state run.

Heaton’s Hero: I’m going to give props to a first-year junior, because you don’t see all that many of them. Thomas Branson (145) had a lot of struggles this past season, taking 38 losses — all of them by fall. Not one match that he wrestled went a full six minutes, and it wasn’t until the second day of Keystone that he recorded his first victory by pin. The second of those was at Category V a month later, and there weren’t any victories during the post-season run. But Branson kept coming back, filling in a LOT at 152 and even at 160 this past year. Didn’t miss a tournament. That’s what makes Thomas Branson the Heaton’s Hero for Godby.

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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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