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 46th installment for this season, and fifth from 1A-District 3, is Clay.
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 Blue Devils in 2018-19 here –> CLAY
Win/loss record: 21-6 in dual meets. Please review the attached document for a summary of the Blue Devils’ performance in IBT events.
Season in a nutshell: The Clay team went through growing pains like few Blue Devil teams have faced in recent years, with seven freshmen seeing significant time during the regular and post-season. Clay had midpack tournament finishes at Border Wars VI (11th out of 20 teams) and Captain Archer (ninth out of 19), but started to point toward better days with a 5-3 duals record at the Smoky Mountain Duals in Tennessee just before Christmas. After finishing ninth at the Somerset Scuffle (16 teams) to kick off January, Clay continued a streak of dual wins that started at Smoky Mountain. The Blue Devils won 11 straight duals between Smoky Mountain and the 1A-Region 1 final, during which they repeated as 1A-District 3 dual team tournament champions, won the one-day Billy Saylor Invitational dual tournament at Suwannee, and won quarterfinal and semifinal duals at Region 1. After falling in the region finals, Clay stayed in duals mode a bit longer, going 4-1 (with the loss by criteria) to finish second at Gainesville’s Category V one-day dual tournament. The Blue Devils were seventh in a solid field at their own 37-team two-day IBT, the Green Cove Springs Rotary, and behind one medalist, finished T-43rd at the girls’ state tournament, with their first representation in that event since Matmen began. Clay had eight individual champs in winning its 20th straight district traditional title, and finished fourth at 1A-Region 1 and 21st at states, with one medalist. The Blue Devils could return as many as 16 wrestlers with post-season or significant regular-season experience, and figure to continue to be one of the stronger teams in north Florida.
Key returners (15+ matches this past season or post-season experience) for 2019-20 (with year in school as they’ll be next year): Tazz Hampton (senior, 106, district champ, region champ, state 4th); Maverick Rainwater (sophomore, 16-9 at 106, did not compete in post-season traditionals); Dalton Huckelberry (junior, 12-10 at 113/120, did not compete in post-season traditionals); Josh Kumpf (sophomore, 11-12 at 120, district champ, 1-2 at regions); Luke Davis (senior, 34-15 at 126, district champ, 1 match from states); Cale Hoskinson (junior, 132, district champ, region champ, 1 match short of state medal); Luke Boree (sophomore, 11-17 at 132, did not compete in post-season traditionals); Andrew McGowan (sophomore, 138, district champ, region 4th, 0-2 at states); Madisyn Blackburn (sophomore, 7-4 at 140, 5th at girls’ state); Jered Mosley (sophomore, 21-22 at 152, district champ, 1-2 at regions); Luca Fiannca (sophomore, 10-13 at 170, district 3rd, 2-2 at regions); Jordan Chorman (sophomore, 3-12 at 170, did not compete in post-season traditionals); Almando Martinez (junior, 14-21 at 182, district 3rd, 1-2 at regions); Jordan Bell (senior, 29-17 at 195, district 3rd, 1 match from states); Joe Grelli (senior, 220, district champ, region 4th, 0-2 at states); Derrick Mosley (sophomore, 27-12 at 285, district runnerup, 1 match from states).
Graduation losses (15+ matches this past season or post-season experience) from this year’s team: Justin Byler (35-17 at 113, 1 match from regions); Grant Stanish (145, district champ, region 4th, 0-2 at states); Wil Dorvilus (17-16 at 160, district champ, 2-2 at regions).
2018-19 MVP: Rising senior Tazz Hampton spent his first season with the Blue Devils after coming over from Middleburg, and the result was Clay’s only medal finish at the state tournament. Hampton’s first tournament was Captain Archer, where he placed fifth after losing his first match. Hampton then went on a 16-match win streak that was halted only at the 1A-Region 1 final, where he bumped up to 120 for that event. During that stretch, Hampton was 8-0 at Smoky Mountain Duals and 3-0 at Billy Saylor, with max-point efforts at both. Hampton went on to place fifth at Rotary, after reaching the semifinals (where he lost to the eventual state runnerup). Hampton dominated the scene at both 1A-District 3 and Region 1, with five pins and a tech at those two tournaments, and reached the state semifinals with two more pins, going on to place fourth. Hampton was a huge addition to the Blue Devil lineup and should be projected to medal high at states once again in 2019-20.
2019-20 captain: While Hampton will certainly serve as a Blue Devil captain next year, we look elsewhere for a second wrestler to name, and the resume that rising junior Cale Hoskinson — Clay’s wins leader in 2018-19 — brings to the table will stand him in good stead. Hoskinson spent most of the year a weight up, where he won 12 of 13 matches between Border Wars (where he placed fifth) and Captain Archer (where he was a runnerup). Hoskinson was fourth at Somerset Scuffle, pulled together a 4-1 day at Billy Saylor and won every one of his dual team tournament matches — five of them — with bonus points. Hoskinson won 13 straight matches between Saylor and Category V, then went on to place third at Rotary, with a loss only to the eventual champ. He swept to district and region traditional titles, with five bonus-point wins, and got to Saturday at states. I can easily see Hoskinson pulling down two state medals before his time is done.
Zander Laurin Warrior: Rising sophomore Luca Fiannca experienced many of the growing pains that ninth-grade upper weights often experience in 2018-19, with brutal competition right out of the chute at both Border Wars (where he did win twice) and Captain Archer. After starting the year at 160, Fiannca moved up in the lineup to 170 in mid-January, where he competed in a half-time capacity up until Rotary. Fiannca did place third at districts and won twice at the Region 1 tournament, reaching the Saturday rounds. For battling through the growing pains of being a freshman upperweight and learning how to manage the expectations of being a Clay wrestler, while also being a team player by moving up in weight to help the team, Luca Fiannca is the Zander Laurin Warrior for Clay.
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