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 45th installment for this season, and sixth from 3A-District 1, is Oakleaf.
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 Knights in 2018-19 here –> OAKLEAF
Win/loss record: 7-15 in dual meets. Please review the attached document for a summary of the Knights’ performance in IBT events.
Season in a nutshell: Oakleaf began its regular-season tournament action with a midpack (8th out of 16 teams) finish at Bishop Snyder’s Westside Kiwanis two-day IBT the first weekend of the year. Next up was district rival Buchholz’s Bobcat Holiday Duals, where the Clay County Knights were 3-5 and finished 10th in the two-day duals, just before Christmas. Oakleaf also had two female wrestlers at the inaugural Lady Pirate Classic that same weekend. The Knights were 3-2 and placed fifth at the one-day Tiger Duals, hosted by Columbia, between Christmas and New Year’s, and kicked off 2019 with a solid fifth-place team showing at district/county rival Fleming Island’s Keystone Invitational on the first weekend of January. After going 1-2 at the 3A-District 1 team dual tournament, the Knights made the trek to Tennessee for the Fandetti-Richardson Brawl, competing against mostly TN-based teams and placing 14th in the 19-team roundrobin/IBT format. Oakleaf came back to north Florida for a 10th place team finish at Lincoln’s Trojan Invitational mid-month and finished T-24th at county rival Clay’s Green Cove Springs Rotary. The Knights had representation at the girls’ state tournament, placing T-79th there, and were fifth at the 3A-District 1 traditional tournament, which they hosted. Oakleaf wrapped up the year with a T-24th at 3A-Region 1, with two wrestlers getting to Saturday. Oakleaf could have as many as 12 returning starters in 2019-20 with either post-season or significant regular-season experience, and each of them have at least two more years of eligibility to grow and learn together.
Key returners (15+ matches this past season or post-season experience) for 2019-20 (with year in school as they’ll be next year): Marcus McGee (sophomore, 34-12 at 106, district 3rd, 1-2 at regions); Daniel Crisostomo (sophomore, 6-15 at 113, 0-2 at districts); Avery Miller (junior, 12-18 at 112/113, did not compete in post-season traditionals); Abdiert Escobar (junior, 35-13 at 120, district 3rd, 1 match from states); Chantel Lania (Gilbert) (sophomore, 0-2 at girls’ state); Logan Gilbert (junior, 31-22 at 132, district 4th, 1-2 at regions); Landon Hillman (sophomore, 6-35 at 138, 0-2 at districts); David Parkes (junior, 39-15 at 145, district runnerup, 2-2 at regions); James McClintic (junior, 12-22 at 152, 1-2 at districts); Jaden Bono (sophomore, 2-38 at 160, 0-2 at districts); Gabe Castro (sophomore, 6-31 at 170, 0-2 at districts); Gabe Hecht (junior, 20-15 at 220, did not compete in post-season traditionals).
Graduation losses (15+ matches this past season or post-season experience) from this year’s team: Owen Bronson (27-21 at 126, 1 match from regions); Yawo Yovogan (6-21 at 285, 0-2 at districts).
2018-19 MVP: Rising junior David Parkes was probably Oakleaf’s best wrestler on the roster, from start to finish, although he was in one of the deeper weight classes (145) in the district and region. Parkes was a champion at Kiwanis and won his first seven matches, 15 of his first 16 and 19 of his first 21. Parkes was one of the few Oakleaf wrestlers to place at all at Fandetti-Richardson (4th), and he was one match short of a place finish at Rotary. Parkes was Oakleaf’s only district finalist, with two falls to get there, and he had two bonus-point wins to get to Saturday’s wrestling on the consi side, losing by a single point in sudden victory. Parkes should be a threat to qualify for state, certainly before he graduates if not next year.
2019-20 captain: Another rising junior, Abdiert Escobar (120), advanced the farthest of any Oakleaf wrestler in the post-season tournament series, seeing his season come to an end in the blood round at regions. Escobar won 11 straight matches between Bobcat Holiday Duals and Keystone, where he took second to an eventual state champion. Escobar also placed at Fandetti-Richardson and won three matches by pin to place third at the 3A-District 1 traditional tournament. Escobar was Oakleaf’s lone semifinalist at 3A-Region 1, with two bonus-point wins without giving up a point. Escobar is another wrestler that should be expecting to see time in Kissimmee before he graduates.
Zander Laurin Warrior: There were a couple of kids who might have fit the bill here at this weight, but I’m thinking rising sophomore Jaden Bono fits the bill most closely. He had just two wins in 2018-19, both of them by forfeits (and one of those was at Keystone, and was a medical forfeit). Bono went through a lot of matches, competing in both 170 and later 160, after that first win by forfeit, before the second one (19) and then had another 14 after the second. All but one of his losses was by fall, and the vast majority of those were in the first period. But Bono kept coming back, competing in everything for the Knights. He didn’t miss a single event for Oakleaf, and I admire that persistence, particularly when it paid off so infrequently. For that, Jaden Bono is the Zander Laurin Warrior for Oakleaf.
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