WRESTLING PREVIEW: Teams get new direction with coach changes

By Jordan Kroeger, SunCoast Sports
This is the year of the new wrestling coach in the area.
Three schools have new head men this season, including Mike Schyck at Lemon Bay, Jerry Silva at North Port and Graham Marshall at Port Charlotte.
Schyck was handed a talented group of wrestlers by former coach Gary Jonseck, who stepped down after five seasons. Albert Werden, who finished fifth at states last season, is one of those wrestlers.
There’s also a “different aura” in the wrestling room, according to Schyck, which he believes will propel the team to new heights. Silva was an assistant at Riverview last year, but was recently brought in to replace Mark Kemble, who stepped down after 12 seasons.
There’s an interesting dichotomy among the Bobcats this season, with a few experienced wrestlers as well as some first-year wrestlers. The young ones will have to grow up fast as North Port moves on from last year’s Class 3A state champion Dacoda Flenard, who graduated.
Marshall came over from Port Charlotte Middle School to coach the Pirates. It’s a very young wrestling room that could have some growing pains this season, but Winston Buckley is still in the fold. Buckley won a district title last season and will look to medal at states in 2017.
There isn’t a new coach at the Imagine School but there is still some turnover. Star-wrestler Lucas Willis is no longer in the fold after being ruled ineligible late last season and the Sharks are full of young wrestlers. Senior Kyle Garoutte is back, though, and could medal at states.
The only school in the area with stability is Charlotte. The Tarpons no longer have the Rubenacker brothers — Bryan and Ryan — but they return the rest of their roster, including three former state qualifiers: Dalton Mills, Matt Gjerde and Anthony Cavanaugh

CHARLOTTE

COACH: Evan Robinson (13th season)
LAST SEASON: District champions, tied sixth at regionals, three state qualifiers
DISTRICT: 2A-10; Teams: Braden River, Charlotte, Palmetto, Port Charlotte, Sebring, Venice
KEY WRESTLERS LOST: Bryan Rubenacker, Ryan Rubenacker
KEY RETURNERS: Dalton Mills (Sr., 195), Matt Gjerde (Sr., 132), Anthony Cavanaugh (Jr., 152)
KEY NEWCOMERS: N/A
OUTLOOK: The Tarpons bring back three former state qualifiers this season and are once again full of talent. Coach Robinson is tempering expectations early, but the potential is there to win another district crown, fight for a region title and possibly place in the top-10 at state.

IMAGINE SCHOOL

COACH: Rob McCabe (3rd season)
LAST SEASON: Fifth at districts, one regional qualifier
DISTRICT: 1A-12; Teams: Clewiston, Dunbar, Evangelical Christian School, Imagine School, Immokalee, LaBelle, Lely, Lemon Bay, Moore Haven, Oasis, Southwest Florida Christian Academy
KEY WRESTLERS LOST: Lucas Willis, Hunter White
KEY RETURNERS: Kyle Garoutte (Sr., 120), Sammy Osbourne (Jr., 132), Jacob Wilmoth (Jr., 160), Quinn White (8th grade, 126)
KEY NEWCOMERS: Gannon Wertz (7th grade, 106), Kalen Pierce (Sr., 285)
OUTLOOK: The Imagine School has a young team once again and lacks experience, but should still be tough to beat. Senior Kyle Garoutte has the potential to win a district and region title and could grab a state medal as well. The Sharks will fill 10 of their 14 weight classes and have the potential to place top-3 in the district.

LEMON BAY

COACH: Mike Schyck (1st season)
LAST SEASON: Four state qualifiers, seventh at regionals, third at districts
DISTRICT: 1A-12; Teams: Clewiston, Dunbar, Evangelical Christian School, Imagine School, Immokalee, LaBelle, Lely, Lemon Bay, Moore Haven, Oasis, Southwest Florida Christian Academy
KEY PLAYERS LOST: N/A
KEY RETURNERS: Albert Werden (Jr., 120) Mike Morales (Jr., heavyweight), Jared Dilley (Sr., 138), Brad Fusion (Sr., 126), Kyle Shaw (Jr., 145)
KEY NEWCOMERS: Marc Powers (Jr., 170, from North Port), Justin Heyward (Fr., 152)
OUTLOOK: The Manta Rays are led by first-year coach Mike Schyck, who replaced Gary Jonseck in the offseason. The core of the team returns from last season, including Albert Werden, who placed fifth at state. The sky is the limit for Lemon Bay.

NORTH PORT

COACH: Jerry Silva (1st season)
LAST SEASON: one state champion, two regional champions, second at regionals, district champs
DISTRICT: 3A-8; Teams: Countryside, Lakewood Ranch, Manatee, North Port, Palm Harbor University, Pinellas Park, Riverview, Saint Petersburg, Sarasota, Seminole
KEY PLAYERS LOST: Dacoda Flenard, Cody Henson, Devin Gouviea
KEY RETURNERS: Joe McDonald (Sr., 160), John Cruz (Sr., 152), Braydon McLellen (Sr., 120).
KEY NEWCOMERS: Tyler Eastes (Fr., 126), Tavis Bell (So., 132)
OUTLOOK: Silva recently took over the reigns of the Bobcats, replacing Mark Kemble, who stepped down after 12 seasons. Last year’s state champion Dacoda Flenard has graduated but North Port brings back three seniors who should all compete for a shot at a state title.

PORT CHARLOTTE

COACH: Graham Marshall (1st season)
LAST SEASON: Sixth at districts, five regional qualifiers
DISTRICT: 2A-10; Teams: Braden River, Charlotte, Palmetto, Port Charlotte, Sebring, Venice
KEY WRESTLERS LOST: Raheem Poteat
KEY RETURNERS: Winston Buckley (Sr., 182), Gavin Spencer (195)
KEY NEWCOMERS: Keaton Robinson (So., 160), Nick Bianconi (Fr., 150)
OUTLOOK: Graham Marshall has come over from Port Charlotte Middle School to coach the Pirates. It’s a bit of a rebuilding year for the Pirates, with more than half the roster made up of underclassman. There’s only one senior on the team and that’s Winston Buckley, who won a district title a year ago and has the potential to qualify for state.

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