2021-22 WRESTLING PREVIEW: Team-by-team capsules,
Last season’s record: 10-7
Key returners: Preston Ostrowski, Jr.; Aiden Manalastas, Jr.; Luke Sacchetti, Jr.; Cameron Haynie, Jr.; Diego Taraquini, Jr.; Ashlee Rice, Sr.
Key newcomers: Jayden Kinard, Aiden Manalastas, Landon Barr, Lucas Haynie.
Season outlook: Head coach Kyle Barr is entering his second year at Central and will lead a squad that lost their four top point scorers from last season. Ashlee Rice, who signed on Wednesday to wrestle next season at Texas Women’s University, will be one of the returning wrestlers that will try to make up for the loss of state champion Avery Krippner and state runner-up Zac Redecker.
Last season’s record: 4-14
Key Returners: Zach Recker, Sr.; Josh Wayland, Jr.; Kolby McCoy, Sr.; Mariana Perez, So.; Hayden Hilderbrand, Sr.; Will Hequembourg, Sr.
Key newcomers: Hamdi Akin, Sr.
Season outlook: Denmark is returning 14 of their 16 underclassmen wrestlers from last season and added Hamdi Akin, a senior from New York. Head Coach Ty Brown will look to help his young team improve from last season. They’ve added 30 new wrestlers this year and the team returns multiple state qualifiers from last season. Josh Wayland finished fourth in state last season and will look to improve on that and help Denmark improve on their fifth-place finish in the region and push to qualify for state duals.
Key newcomers: Gavin Wilson, Jr.; Britton Daniel, Jr.; Miller Allen, So.; Alex Day, So.
Season outlook: In East Forsyth’s first season on the mat, head coach Rob Tomlinson will look to lay a foundation for the program. Tomlinson said the Broncos plan on having about 20 athletes compete in their inaugural season. Tomlinson has plenty of experience as a wrestling coach in both Connecticut and Georgia and will use that to help build the program in its first season.
Last season’s record: 14-3
Key returners: Thomas Dossett, Sr.; Dylan Lobdell, Jr.; Mason McClung, Sr.; Ethan Kidd, Sr.; Drew Wentworth, Jr.
Key newcomers: Max Sciro, Fr.
Season outlook: Lambert returns two state runners-up in Thomas Dossett and Dylan Lobdell, as well as Mason McClung, who finished fourth. Drew Wentworth is back after this past season ended early for him due to an injury. Freshman Max Sciro has been very successful in youth tournaments. The rest of head coach Kevin Contardi’s team may not have the accolades, but they have plenty of experience. Camren May, Sri Dhanabalan, Avaneesh Subramaniam, Bryce Middleton and Elijah Castillo should all be starters for the Longhorns.
Last season’s record: 16-8
Key returners: Recce Meyers, Michael Gryder, Jr.; Isaac Hall, Jr.; Reece Davis, Christopher Henderson, Jr.; William Verdirame, Bentley Wheeler, Sr.; Cale Bissell, Sr.; Cody Scroggins, Tristan Graham, Sr.; Colin Miller, Jr.; Eli Edwards, Sr.; Dylan Lyerly, Sr.
Key newcomers: Arcadian Eaton, Kai Saturno, Hayden Boudreaux, Jackson Coulter, Colin Kelley, Ivan Mercado, Xavier Hernandez.
Season outlook: The Raiders return some elite wrestlers from last year’s team that finished in the top eight at the Class 7A duals, including 2021 state champion Bentley Wheeler and 2020 state champion Dylan Lyerly, who missed last season with an injury. Tristan Graham, a state runner-up last season, and Cale Bissell, who finished fourth at state, will look to improve on last season’s finishes. Head coach Travis Jarrard will lead an experienced team that finished third in both the region duals and the traditional region tournament.
Season outlook: Pinecrest Academy head coach Jay Jenkins will guide a Paladins group that is in a rebuilding phase. They have seven wrestlers, and only Brayden Wilson has wrestled at the varsity level before. Jenkins will focus on growing the wrestlers he has and growing the program this season.
Season record: 10-8
Key returners: Mikey Meersman, So.; Owen Wardle, Jr.; Andrew Meersman, Jr.; Connor Case, Sr.; Cole Williams, Jr.
Key newcomers: Hayden McPhail, Fr.; Chase Edwards, Fr.; Cole Turner, Fr.
Season outlook: South will be led by their two state qualifiers from last season in Cole Williams and Andrew Meersman. Williams finished fifth in the 182-pound weight class last season and was the team’s only state placer. Head coach Josh Stephen is hoping the team will be able to improve this season, as this should be a deep team that includes plenty of returners and fresh faces.
Last year’s record: 23-3
Key returners: Reed Walker, So.; Noah Danforth, So.; Noah Amick, Sr.; Tony Tanory, Sr.; Jay Helstone, Sr.
Key newcomers: N/A
Season outlook: Coming off a season that produced two individual state champions, a runner-up finish at the Class 7A state duals, and a sweep in both Region 6-7A duals and traditionals, head coach Evan Goff knows they Wolverines losing some big pieces. However, this is a deep team that is looking to be right back at the top of the region. Reed Walker and Noah Danforth both finished as runners-up at state last season and will lead a group of 75 wrestlers that includes three other state qualifiers in Noah Amick, Tony Tanory, and Jay Helstone. This is a very deep team that has a lot of experienced wrestlers to go along with plenty of athletes that are newer to the sport. Making up the loss of two state champions is never easy, but Goff feels his team is ready to embrace the challenge.