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 56th installment overall, and our first of two independent teams in 2018-19, is First Baptist Christian.
Each The Season post will have the same content as they’ve had for the past five seasons.
FIRST BAPTIST CHRISTIAN
You can see everything I have on the Crusaders in 2018-19 here –> FIRST BAPTIST CHRISTIAN
Win/loss record: 2-3 in dual meets as reported to Matmen (we were missing one dual contested in the Orlando area). Please review the attached document for a summary of the Crusaders’ performance in IBT events.
Season in a nutshell: As an independent team, First Baptist Christian did not have FHSAA obligations in 2018-19. It started with a trip to Master’s Academy for Battle for the Blacktop on the first weekend of December, where the Crusaders were 14th in that tournament. That was FBCA’s only December event; next up was a road-trip to Fleming Island and the Clay County Fairgrounds for its Keystone Invitational, where First Baptist Christian was 13th out of 18 teams. Next up was an even longer trip, this time over to the Gulf and Wewahitchka’s Gator Brawl, where FBCA pulled together a mid-pack team finish (11th out of 19 teams). As we noted above, we have a missing dual with Master’s Academy that would have been the Crusaders’ dual opener; two days later, they took a short hop down from Palm Coast to Daytona Beach for Seabreeze’s Ray Hollingsworth Duals, where they were 1-4. FBCA closed out its season with another trip to Clay County, this time for Clay’s two-day Rotary IBT, where the Crusaders were 34th out of 37 teams. First Baptist Christian could return as many as 11 starters with at least 15 matches from this past year, to next year’s team.
Key returners (15+ matches this past season) for 2019-20 (with year in school as they’ll be next year): DJ Murray (8th grade, 3-19 at 106/113); Elyjah Gilyard (8th grade, 9-15 at 106/113); Jordan Mills (8th grade, 14-14 at 120); Joel Douglass (8th grade, 2-17 at 120/126); Ethan Gann (freshman, 3-14 at 126/132); Tyson Mills (sophomore, 13-12 at 126/132); Tyler Jimenez (senior, 8-19 at 138/152); Nathan Banks (freshman, 3-13 at 145); Jackson Mills (senior, 16-15 at 152); Trevor Banks (8th grade, 6-12 at 170); Bryce Kruppenbacher (8th grade, 3-12 at 220).
Graduation losses (15+ matches this past season or prior/current post-season experience) from this year’s team: Chris Udell (3-16 at 160); James Griffin (12-9 at 182/195).
2018-19 MVP: May graduate James Griffin got out to a slower start after missing Battle for the Blacktop, going 1-3 at Keystone. But Griffin would rally from there, going 4-3 and placing fourth at Gator Brawl, in a solid weight class, and then was 4-1 at Hollingsworth, with max-point wins in all four of his victories. Griffin then closed out with a solid 3-2 performance at Clay Rotary, reaching the quarterfinals and finishing one match short of a top-six finish — which would have been a massive step for the program as a whole — with both of his losses to eventual state qualifiers and fellow seniors.
2019-20 captain: Rising senior Jackson Mills leads a trio of solid Mills brothers that often provided the majority of wins for the Crusaders at their various events this past season. Mills was 2-2 at Battle for the Blacktop, took four wins at Keystone, four at Gator Brawl and four at Hollingsworth, going 2-2 at Clay Rotary, with 13 pins on the year. With a bigger group eligible to return, Mills will be at the forefront of a team that might be able to challenge competitively against a substantial chunk of north Florida teams in 2019-20.
Zander Laurin Warrior: May graduate Chris Udell never got a chance in his senior season to have his hand raised after a contested match (as far as we know, Master’s Academy dual aside). In the results that we have, Udell didn’t pick up his first victory until Gator Brawl, where he had one win by forfeit, and he added two more forfeit wins at Hollingsworth, but he faithfully made appearances at all five of the Crusaders’ larger tournaments, trying to score points for his team, and for that stick-to-it-iveness, Chris Udell is the Zander Laurin Warrior for First Baptist Christian.
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