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 30th installment for this season, and third from 1A-District 1, is Rutherford.
Each The Season post will have the same content as they’ve had for the past five seasons.
You can see everything I have on the Rams in 2018-19 here –> RUTHERFORD
Win/loss record: 3-15 in dual meets. Please review the attached document for a summary of the Rams’ performance in IBT events.
Season in a nutshell: Rutherford was one of the last teams to begin competition, with district dual team competition on December 20 the Rams’ season-opener, where they were 1-2. Next up was county and district rival North Bay Haven’s two-day Bash dual tournament, where a short-handed Rutherford team was 0-10. Round-robin tournaments seemed to afford the Rams some more opportunities to showcase their solid individuals, as Rutherford was 9th at the 13-team Panhandle Championship, hosted by Mosley the second weekend of January, and 10th of 19 teams at Wewahitchka’s Gator Brawl on the third weekend. The Rams tied for 15th at Wakulla’s one-day IBT to kick off February and closed out the regular season with two dual wins (nearly a third as well), going 2-3 at Bay County on Valentine’s Day. Rutherford had better showings in the post-season thanks to its strong individuals, with a fifth at the District 1 traditional tournament, 17th (out of 29 teams) at Region 1, and T-42nd at states, with two qualifiers. One of those two can return next year, along with five other wrestlers who had post-season or significant regular-season experience this past season. The Rams will need to work on numbers in order to compete more capably in duals format, but they have a few solid individuals who will keep them scoring well in IBTs and roundrobins.
Key returners (15+ matches this past season or post-season experience) for 2019-20 (with year in school as they’ll be next year): Jacob Latham (sophomore, 9-12 at 113, 1 match at regions); Colin Dutton (junior, 20-19 at 120, district 4th, 1-2 at regions); Hayden Stanemiller (junior, 3-21 at 138, did not compete in post-season traditionals); Zack Duncan (junior, 6-16 at 160, district 4th, 0-2 at regions); Xavier Stillgess (junior, 20-13 at 195, district champ, region 4th, 1 match from state medal); Elton Rumph (junior, 33-11 at 220, district champ, 2-2 at regions).
Graduation losses (15+ matches this past season or post-season experience) from this year’s team: Keivontie Logan (29-9 at 152, district champ, region runnerup, 0-2 at states); Ethan Elliot (13-13 at 170, did not compete in post-season traditionals).
2018-19 MVP: Recently-graduated Keivontie Logan has been the Rams’ stalwart performer for the past three seasons, and reached the state tournament this year in his final year of eligibility. He had a nine-match win streak during the course of the year, which started in his final match at Panhandle and concluded in the finals at Gator Brawl, where he was second. Logan was a first-team all-Bay County competitor, with five bonus-point wins, following that up with a district title and region runnerup finish, during which he built a 12-match win streak. Logan lost to the eventual state runnerup, 5-2, in the first round at states and had another close match on the other side.
2019-20 captain: We didn’t see rising junior Xavier Stillgess until Panhandle in the second week of January, but he only missed two events in so doing. Stillgess got off to a slow start, going 5-9, but he rallied quickly from there, winning 10 matches in a row between Wakulla (where he placed fifth), Bay County (five max-point wins, including three pins) and districts, where he took the second of Rutherford’s three titles. Stillgess took an early loss at regions, but battled all the way back to the third-place match. At states, Stillgess bagged two victories, falling in the blood round, but he’ll have two more chances to fix that before he’s done.
Zander Laurin Warrior: I’m always leery of recognizing someone here who didn’t compete in the post-season, but at the same time I’m not always privy to injury info late in the season. Rising junior Hayden Stanemiller only had his hand raised three times this season, all of them via forfeits, and 18 of his 21 losses ended by fall. But despite the adversity, Stanemiller kept coming back once he entered the lineup at Bash, with appearances at Panhandle, Wakulla and Bay County. That determination to come back, in the face of much adversity in terms of wins and losses, makes Hayden Stanemiller the Zander Laurin Warrior for Rutherford.
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