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Sun-Gazette wrestling preview capsules

December 6, 2012 - Mitch Rupert
CLASS AAA

CENTRAL MOUNTAIN

Head coach: Doug Buckwalter, 19th season (ninth at Central Mountain).

Career record: 268-83-3 (145-26 at Central Mountain).

Assistant coaches: Robbie Weikel, Clyde Glossner, Mike Brown, Steve Krouse, Carl Poff.

League: Big 7.

Last year: 18-3, District 6 Duals champion, PIAA qualifier.

Returning district qualifiers: Keanan Bottorf (2nd, 113); Cole Hanley (3rd, 120); Gavin Caprio (4th, 132); Chad Reese (5th, 145); Blaze Buckwalter (4th, 182); Devin Stacey (6th, 195); Cameron Porter (3rd, 220); Caleb Stover (5th, 285).

Returning regional qualifiers: Keanan Bottorf (0-2, 113); Cole Hanley (2-2, 120); Gavin Caprio (0-2, 132); Blaze Buckwalter (3rd, 182); Cameron Porter (2-2, 220).

Returning state qualifiers: Blaze Buckwalter (0-2, 182).

Preseason state-ranked wrestlers: Blaze Buckwalter (9th, 195).

Roster:

SENIORS -- Nate Bechdel, 220; Ryan Bowmaster, 152; Blaze Buckwalter, 182; Cole Hanley, 138; Zach Rhoton, 220; Devin Stacey, 170; Caleb Stover, 285; Jacob Wat, 132; Hunter Weaver, 145.

JUNIORS -- Chase Andrus, 126; Nickolette Breauchy, 138; Zach Knepp, 145; Darrin Masorti, 138; Nick Miller, 182; Cameron Porter, 220; Chad Reese, 152; Devin Rhinehart, 145.

SOPHOMORES -- Keanan Bottorf, 113; Gavin Caprio, 160; Chris Confer, 106; Bryce Hanley, 220; Dravin King, 120; Loc Long, 182; Kenny Yerger, 285.

Season outlook: For the first time since the 2007 season, the Wildcats don't return a state medal-winner to its lineup. A program which has won six individual state championships since that 2007 season is without a state-title contender in the preseason since before Dylan Alton won his first of three state titles in 2008.

The Wildcats do return a state qualifier in 182-pounder Blaze Buckwalter, but the senior is coming off a third-place finish at regionals and an 0-2 performance in Hershey in his first state tournament. Central Mountain has had a state finalist every year since 2008, including Brian Brill's runner-up finish a year ago. But Brill is now wrestling at Lehigh. Andrew and Dylan Alton, who combined for five state titles, are now in the heart of Penn State's national championship lineup.

Those types of expectations aren't being heaped upon Buckwalter, but head coach Doug Buckwalter said there's no reason the senior shouldn't be able to extend the program's run of consecutive years with a state medalist.

"He works hard. He's a three-sport kid, and he's always competing and training," Doug Buckwalter said. "The biggest thing now is the confidence he gained from last year and believing he belongs. With that, the work ethic and all the time he puts in, it should all come together."

The biggest difference for Doug Buckwalter is he has a room full of relatively inexperienced wrestlers. In years past he's always had a slew of former state qualifiers or state-ranked wrestlers to lead the way. Now his focus is on different points of the season in which he can evaluate where his young wrestlers are and what adjustments need to be made. It starts with the season-opening Top Hat at Williamsport and quarter-pole evaluations at the King of the Mountain and Escape the Rock later in the season before reaching the postseason.

"I think the schedule is set up real nice. The Top Hat gives us some tough competition, but you'll also have matches where you can get some wins under your belt," Buckwalter said. "At the King of the Mountain, the intensity level increases a lot. You have to wrestle well there, but it's a good gauge."

JERSEY SHORE

Head coach: Shawn Weaver, sixth season.

Career record: 57-37.

Assistant coaches: Tony Owens, Nick Lorson, Randy Lorson.

League: Heartland-I.

Last year: 14-7, District 4 Duals champion, PIAA qualifier.

Returning regional qualifiers: Noah Ulmer (0-2, 106).

Returning state qualifiers: None.

Preseason state-ranked wrestlers: None.

Roster:

SENIORS -- Ashton Breon; Kaiden Brungard; Rick Crossen; Zakory Herman; Curtis Welch.

JUNIORS -- Utoafiti Agae-Naipo; Jake Defonzohess; Josh Lorson; Austin White.

SOPHOMORES -- Chris Bashaw; Logan English; Jacob Huling; Dominic Loffredo; Noah Ulmer; Colton Winchester.

Season outlook: The practice room is a little different now for Shawn Weaver. He doesn't walk in anymore and see a senior-laden team like the one he had last year that became the first Jersey Shore team to travel to Hershey for the PIAA Duals tournament.

What he does see is a room with a team whose numbers are up from recent years with more than 30 guys in the room. He sees a team which benefitted from the success of last year's District 4 Duals champion. Past wrestlers have come back to the team after taking a year or two off, and Weaver all of a sudden has a team he's excited about.

"I think success never hurts you. It never seems to push people away from the program," Weaver said. "But now we've got some young kids and kids that have experience and they want to get back (to Hershey). The upper classmen are here to push for that."

The Bulldogs return a number of starters from that team last year, including sophomore Noah Ulmer who finished the season with 20 wins despite being undersized for his 106-pound weight class. Weaver said that although Ulmer would weigh in at about 102 pounds, that came and a time when he was able to eat what he wanted and would often be under 100 pounds after a good workout.

This year Ulmer still probably isn't a full 106-pounder, but he's much closer. Weaver is hoping the added size along with Ulmer's physical abilities will help push him beyond just being a regional qualifier like he was a year ago.

"I think (qualifying for the state tournament) is a possibility. It's never been a talent issue for Noah," Weaver said. "Last year was just a situation where he was outmanned in some matches. He's got a ton of talent. He's got everything it takes to get to Hershey. He's got confidence because he is the same size as the guys he's wrestling. I absolutely have some expectation for him doing very well."

WILLIAMSPORT

Head coach: Joe Eaton, fifth season.

Career record: 30-38.

League: Heartland-I.

Last year: 7-5, District 4 Duals runner-up.

Returning regional qualifiers: Roshaun Cooley (1-2, 106); Steffen Yaskoweak (0-2, 138); Billy Kennedy (0-2, 285).

Returning state qualifiers: None.

Preseason state-ranked wrestlers: Roshaun Cooley (22nd, 106).

Roster:

SENIORS -- Yasser Benamirouche, 138; George Halchin; Darren Holloway, 220; Billy Kennedy, 195; Malik Short; Steffen Yaskoweak, 132.

JUNIORS -- Dustin Heiser, 138; Raymond Ingalis, 132; Christapher Tawney, 285; Shawn Watkins, 152.

SOPHOMORES -- Roshaun Cooley, 106; Cody Hamilton; Jaiden Shannon, 145; Matthew Sherman, 120; Gregory Stewart, 160.

FRESHMEN -- Lynn Kyle, 106.

Season outlook: Williamsport head coach Joe Eaton had been looking toward last year as the Millionaires' year to really establish the program's resurgence. He knew he was going to have a very talented senior class, and they nearly proved him right, finishing second in the District 4 duals tournament to Jersey Shore.

But now Eaton is left with the task of filling in the holes left by graduated point-scorers like T.J. Tressler, Alec Emick, Leroy Harman and Howard Hinds. Only Billy Kennedy, Roshaun Cooley and Steffen Yaskoweak return as wrestlers who logged a significant amount of varsity mat time a year ago.

Yaskoweak, Cooley and Kennedy each qualified for the regional tournament a year ago, but won just one bout between them.

Cooley, though, established himself as one of the district's top lightweights, and even though he went 1-2 at the regional tournament, has earned himself the No. 22 spot in the state's preseason rankings at 106 pounds in Class AAA. Cooley is quick and strong and has a knack for getting in the right position on the mat and is the Millionaires' best hope at their first state medalist since Mac Rohaly and Matt Mapes in 1995.

CLASS AA

BUCKTAIL

Section: West.

Head coach: Bruce Ransom, 14th season.

Career record: 74-117.

Assistant coaches: Scott Bair.

League: None.

Last year: 6-5.

Returning district qualifiers: Aaron Cohick (0-2, 106); Demetri Probst (3rd, 132).

Returning regional qualifiers: Demetri Probst (4th, 132).

Returning state qualifiers: None.

Preseason state-ranked wrestlers: Demetri Probst (9th, 138).

Roster:

SENIORS -- Danny Flack, 120; Aaron Cohick, 113; Mike Adams, 113; Brian Long, 145/152; Matt Horton, 160/170.

JUNIORS -- Tiffany Helgran, 126; Brad Kile, 138; Colton Calhoun, 160/170; Dalton Louey, 182; Tony Saltsman, 220.

SOPHOMORES -- Blake Gavlock, 106; Kevin Probst, 126; John Probst, 132; Demetri Probst, 145/152.

FRESHMEN -- Shawn Lovett, 120.

Season outlook: Head coach Bruce Ransom was sitting around the wrestling room following practice one day a little more than a week ago talking with assistant coach Scott Bair, and the two came to quite the realization about this Bucks team. It's in the hands of a sophomore.

Believe it or not, Demetri Probst is the most decorated Bucktail wrestler ever. He became just the second regional qualifier from Bucktail since the school moved into District 4, and is the first Bucks wrestler to place at the regional tournament. He finished third, losing by just one point on a late reversal to Wyoming Area's Andrew Schutz.

Ransom said after last year's regional tournament that Probst was someone you could build a team around, and that's exactly what he and Bair have done. Probst has taken hold of the reins of the team becoming a leader in the room, pushing his teammates to be better.

"Honest to God, he's the type of kid that every coach dreams of having in the mat room," Ransom said. "Everything he accomplished last year reflects on his work ethic. He's been wrestling in that environment since he was 8 or 9 at PJWs and MAWAs. He elevated his level beyond what anyone could have expected."

Probst was one of three Bucktail wrestlers to qualify for the district tournament last year, but he was the only one to win a match. Ransom said it was partially because his teammates weren't used to wrestling on such a stage. So with that in mind, Ransom entered the Bucks in the King of the Mountain later this month at Central Mountain High School.

Part of the thinking was it could help expose a wrestler like Probst to the level of competition he'll eventually face in the postseason. The other part of the thinking was to get some of his up-and-coming wrestlers like Aaron Cohick (15-6 a year ago) to a big stage so they'll be ready for the postseason.

"When we were able to schedule that, we definitely had Demetri in mind. But we also had Aaron and (Kevin Probst) in mind, because they had some pretty solid credentials last year," Ransom said. "That type of environment will only make them better. Aaron was a little overwhelmed when he went to the district tournament. To get that exposure this early in the season, we're very much in favor of that."

CANTON

Section: West.

Head coach: Lyle Wesneski, first season.

Career record: N/A.

Assistant coaches: Curt Route, Kevin Route, Matt Rockwell, Brock Waughen, Derek Leiby, Devon Leiby, Chris Landis, Eric Shedden, Lance Shedden, Dylan Dillian, Ron Bardo.

League: Nothern Tier League.

Last year: 11-9, District 4 Duals qualifier.

Returning district qualifiers: Darren Killian (0-2, 132); Jacob Butcher (0-2, 145); Garrett Wesneski (4th, 182); Connor Route (4th, 195).

Returning regional qualifiers: Garret Wesneski (1-2, 182); Connor Route (1-2, 195).

Returning state qualifiers: None.

Preseason state-ranked wrestlers: Daniel Killian (20th, 120 -- won't compete because of injury); Garrett Wesneski (9th, 182); Connor Route (14th, 195).

Roster:

Season outlook: Lyle Wesneski is already off to a rough start in his first year as head coach at Canton. He lost junior two-time regional qualifier Daniel Killian for the season following a car accident. And regional qualifier Garrett Wesneski is going to start the season late after a knee injury during football season.

But other than that, everything in Canton is fine.

"I told the kids the other night, the thing I'm pleased about the most is their work ethic," Wesneski said. "Work ethic will take you wherever you want to go. We have some talented kids and we have some with inexperience. But they've really bought in to what we're trying to do. They're paying attention to the details, and most importantly they're working hard. I'm hoping good things will come out of it."

He's got a solid base of talent to work around, though, starting with Garrett Wesneski and Connor Route. Wesneski exploded on to the District 4 scene a year ago winning 31 matches in a 182-pound weight class where he was the only non-senior at the regional tournament.

Like Wesneski, Route was a District 4 fourth-place finisher and regional qualifier as a sophomore. Route won 30 matches at 195 pounds a year ago, and is ranked 14th in the state to start the season by PAPowerwrestling.com. Wesneski is ranked ninth.

"They're leaders," Wesneski said of the two. "I think they both are more lead by example guys. They're not the rah-rah, jump around type guys. They're blue collar-type kids. They go to work and do what you ask them to do. Other kids see that and feed off that."

Wesneski is coming off knee surgery in the first week of October and was hoping to be cleared to wrestle last week. He won't compete at this weekend's Darren Klingerman Invitational at Bloomsburg, but Lyle Wesneski is pointing to the Christmas break as a time his 182-pounder might be able to be back in the lineup full time.

"We're shooting for the middle of December when we have dual meets with Montoursville, North Penn and Wellsboro before Christmas," Lyle Wesneski said. "We're hoping to work him in a litle bit before the Bob Rohm right around Christmas. But if he's not ready, then he's not ready. March is more important."

HUGHESVILLE

Section: East-Central.

Head coach: Steve Budman, ninth season.

Career record: 119-40.

Assistant coaches: Woody Fry, Greg Sullivan.

League: Heartland-II.

Last year: 13-7, District 4 Duals qualifier.

Returning district qualifiers: Kyle Barnes (1st, 145); Matt Herr (1-2, 152).

Returning regional qualifiers: Kyle Barnes (1st, 145).

Returning state qualifiers: Kyle Barnes (2nd, 145).

Preseason state-ranked wrestlers: Kyle Barnes (1st, 152).

Roster:

SENIORS -- Eric Hiller, 138; Kyle Barnes, 145.

JUNIORS -- Matt Heinrich, 126; Matt Herr, 152; Robert White, 170; Jacoby Foresman, 220.

SOPHOMORES -- Aaron Frisch, 113; Devin Stahlnecker, 120; Houston Bryant, 126; Bryce Gavitt, 126; Dalton Brant, 132; Ethan Swartz, 132; Colten Kepner, 145; Nick Gorg, 145; Tommy Hicklin, 152; Dakota Nixon, 152; Josh Temple, 152; Jacob Stutzman, 182.

FRESHMEN -- Jake Snyder, 106; Trevor Sones, 113; Zach Fry, 120.

Season outlook: In the two years since his return to Hughesville as the head wrestling coach, Steve Budman has never really had to worry about who was going to produce results for him in the upper weights. Veteran point-scorers like Ethan Showers, Brad Poust and Derek Earnest always made the trip from 160 to 285 pounds a rough trip for opponents.

Now, Budman is having to deal with the struggle of finding people to fill those weight classes. A team which was one of the most balanced in the district last year is now looking for early-season answers in its lineup.

"There was a blessing and a curse to that last year. They were good wrestlers from 82-285, but in the practice room they were monsters," Budman said. "They were tough to deal with in the practice room. They go and go and go and try to beat each other up every day. The curse to it is all the young guys couldn't handle that, so they quit, and I couldn't get them back out. We have six big guys walking the hallways that can help us, but it's much more fun to go home after school than to listen to me."

Keep an eye on the 145-160-pound weight classes for the Spartans this year. Returning state runner-up Kyle Barnes returns and is planning again on wrestling at 145 pounds. Dakota Nixon and Matt Herr will battle all year for those spots and form a pretty good trio of wrestlers opponents are going to have to worry about.

Herr is a returning district qualifier, and Nixon finished fourth at the East-Central Sectional in a 138-pound weight class which may have been as competitive and balanced as any weight in the district.

"We're going to have a really good elimination at 52," Budman said. "Matt Herr and Dakota Nixon are two very good wrestlers. I really like the lineup."

LEWISBURG

Section: South.

Head coach: Jim Snyder, 18th season.

Career record: 200-155.

Assistant coaches: Mike Brown, Jason Wenrich, Chad Gessner, Greg Hummel, Brian Orndorf, Shawn Crebs, Eddie Magrys, J.J. Mitchell.

League: Heartland-II.

Last year: 14-8, District 4 Duals qualifier.

Returning district qualifiers: Max Reed (2-2, 152); Brandon Smith (2nd, 195).

Returning regional qualifiers: Brandon Smith (2nd, 195).

Returning state qualifiers: Brandon Smith (5th, 195).

Preseason state-ranked wrestlers: Brian Friery (14th, 106); Brandon Smith (2nd, 220).

Roster:

SENIORS -- Thomas Abbott, 170/182; Storm Brown, 170/182; Steven Gingher, 145/152; Kyle Santorine, 285; Brandon Smith, 220; Jeff Steele, 113/120.

JUNIORS -- Nicholas Berstein, 160/170; Jamison Bond, 195; Andrew Fritchman, 138; Raymond Mauer, 138/145; Drew Strosser, 170/182; Dante Taylor, 120/126; Aaron VanSickle, 152/160.

SOPHOMORES -- Logan Aikey, 145; Cyrus Perez, 132; Max Reed, 152/160; Jeff Rupert, 145/152; Jon Ward, 195.

FRESHMEN -- Brian Friery, 106/113; Jordan Gessner, 106/113.

Season outlook: Jim Snyder was as honest as could be a year ago when he wasn't expecting too much from Lewisburg's wrestling season. Sure, he knew he had some talented individuals, but he was dealing with a relatively young and inexperienced team. So when the Green Dragons won 14 matches a year ago, Snyder called it a "pleasant surprise".

"We surprised some people," Snyder said. "Everything kind of fell in place. I'd love to have a season like that again and it definitely can happen. We have some nice balance. At points we have very young kids to the spot. How we develop and save bonus points will translate to how many we win."

The Green Dragons clearly have the hammer needed to lead a young team with returning state placewinner Brandon Smith. But Lewisburg also sports an up-and-coming threat in 285-pounder Kyle Santorine and sophomore middle weight Max Reed.

On top of that, Lewisburg has added freshmen Brian Friery and Jordan Gessner, both of which have had success in youth tournaments.

"They're probably as good of young lightweights as I've had since I've been here," Snyder said. "Brian is a year-round wrestler. He's always some place in the summer, either at Benton or Mat Town, and he's going places all the time. Jordan keeps his strength up working on a farm. I love having farmer's kids. They're strong, and it's different than weight strong, and it might be better."

Santorine had a 17-win season last year which was cut short by a knee injury. The senior is also coming off a strong football season for a Lewisburg team which qualified for the District 4 playoffs.

"He had success last year and was really putting it together, then he blew his knee out against Milton," Snyder said. "He was sitting around and he started seeing guys he competed with go to districts, regionals and states, and he said, 'If I'm healthy, it could be me.' He had a nice football season and played both ways and he has confidence as an athlete now."

LOYALSOCK

Section: West.

Head coach: Ben Hepburn, 28th season.

Assistant coaches: Kevin Werner, Dan Bower.

League: Heartland-II.

Last year: 0-14.

Returning district qualifiers: Mario Henriquez (0-2, 138); Cody McCracken (6th, 220).

Returning regional qualifiers: None.

Returning state qualifiers: None.

Preseason state-ranked wrestlers: None.

Roster:

SENIORS -- Mario Henriquez, 132; Tyler Eubanks, 138; Giacomo DiNicola, 145; Mike Dougherty, 160; Aaron Dabback, 170; Aaron Hepburn, 182; Cody McCracken, 220.

JUNIORS -- Drake Rohn, 120; Levi Vogal, 152.

SOPHOMORES -- Adam Malek, 113; Cullen Harrell, 120; Zack Shuman, 138; Harri Maroni, 145.

FRESHMEN -- Alex Vogel, 106; Emanuel Finnerty, 126.

Season outlook: The Lancers are coming off a difficult season in which it failed to win a dual meet in a season in which it was ravaged by injuries. But there's reasons for long-time head coach Ben Hepburn to be excited about this Loyalsock team.

It looks like Loyalsock will be able to fill 12 of the 14 weight classes this year. He returns two district qualifiers, including Cody McCracken who was a win away from a spot in the regional tournament.

"Last year was a very frustrating year for us," Hepburn said in an email. "Throughout the year we had four broken wrists, a knee operation and many other injuries. But we really feel that we can turn some things around this year, barring any major injuries."

The Lancers have had just one state medalist since 2006 (Alec Eggerton's seventh-place finish in 2010), and while that goal may be lofty for this group, it may not be too far-fetched. McCracken finished with 25 wins a year ago and lost just 4-2 to Southern Columbia's Jake Becker, the eventual regional fourth-place finisher.

"Cody McCracken is still a little banged up from football and waiting to get back in full stride," Hepburn said. "Overall we have a good group of wrestlers that are working hard. With a little luck, and if we are able to keep kids healthy, we should have a much better season than last."

Senior Mario Henriquez is coming off a district-qualifying season, and fellow senior Giacomo DiNicola is a former district qualifier. There are seven seniors in Hepburn's projected lineup.

"We will be looking to our seniors to do well. Mario, Tyler (Eubanks) and Giacomo in the middle weights look good and are working hard," Hepburn said. "Aaron Hepburn has put some extra time in over the summer and is wrestling well."

MILTON

Section: South.

Head coach: Mike Snyder, third season

Career record: 18-18 (at Milton).

Assistant coaches: Mike heller, Josh Anspach, Collin Nagy, Steve Greenly, Ammon Swisher.

League: Heartland-I.

Last year: 9-9, District 4 Duals qualifier.

Returning district qualifiers: Zack Bennett (0-2, 126); Taylor Porter (6th, 145); Ryan Preisch (1st, 152); Ryan Solomon (1st, 195)

Returning regional qualifiers: Ryan Preisch (2nd, 152); Ryan Solomon (1st, 195).

Returning state qualifiers: Ryan Preisch (1-2, 152); Ryan Solomon (1st, 195).

Preseason state-ranked wrestlers: Taylor Porter (15th, 152); Ryan Preisch (9th, 160); Ryan Solomon (1st, 195).

Roster:

SENIORS -- Jared Fogelman, 182; James Jones, 138; Tyler Lewis, 220/285; Taylor Porter, 152; Ryan Solomon, 195.

JUNIORS -- Chance Kerstetter, 120; Taylor Houtz, 132; Ryan Preisch, 160.

SOPHOMORES -- Collin Arndt, 145; Zack Bennett, 138; Glen Pfleegor, 126.

FRESHMEN -- Michael Boyd, 106; Gage Heller, 182; Brandon Stokes, 170; Hunter Snyder, 132.

Season outlook: Mike Snyder didn't mince words. This may be the toughest of his three seasons so far at Milton. It's a young team, but a team definitely worth keeping an eye on.

He's still not quite sure just how many of the 14 classes he's going to be able to fill on a nightly basis so he geared his schedule toward helping his wrestlers prepare for the postseason. The Black Panthers are wrestling just 10 dual meets this year and have entered four individual tournaments, including the Beast of the East in Delaware and the Hurricane Classic in Bethlehem less than a week apart later this month.

"When you're wrestling 15 or 20 duals and you only have 10 weights filled, it's tough and mentally draining on the kids who go through that," Snyder said. "We felt we needed to do what's best for the program until we're where we can put a solid dual-meet team out there every year. And we're not far off of that at all."

Instead he's got a schedule geared toward finding the best competition possible for defending state champion Ryan Solomon and returning state qualifier Ryan Preisch. Solomon recently committed to wrestle at the University of Pittsburgh next year, and Preisch is coming off a disappointing finish to his first state-qualifying season.

Preisch is fueling his junior season with a run last year which was cut just one win short of a spot on the PIAA podium. Preisch's career already includes 61 wins and a District 4 championship. But after entering the state tournament with just two losses, he went 1-2 in Hershey before being eliminated.

"He had a fantastic year last year and definitely didn't achieve his goals at the end of the season," Snyder said. "He remembers that feeling and it's not something he wants to feel this year. He did everything necessary in the offseason to succeed and he's hungry heading into this year."

Solomon is in the opposite position of having already achieved his goal of winning a PIAA championship. But he's clearly not satisfied with just one. He became just the third wrestler in school history to capture a state title, but the previous two -- Charles Heller and Bob Crawford -- each won multiple state titles.

Solomon enters the season as the No. 33 recruit in the country and the No. 3-ranked 195-pounder in the country.

"I think the fact that he understands that he's the one with the bull's-eye on his back now will drive him," Snyder said. "He gets everyone's best effort when they step on the mat with him. His first two and a half weeks have been phenomenal. His intensity has picked up. He's raised his level from last year. That might be hard for some people to understand, but his work ethic is better and his confidence is better."

MONTGOMERY

Section: West.

Head coach: Jeff Deisher, 29th season (22 at Montgomery).

Assistant coaches: Kyle Mowery, Patrick Sparks, Kenny Harer, Jim Chamberlain.

League: Heartland-III.

Last year: 13-10.

Returning district qualifiers: Kobe Galentine (1-2, 106); Kyle Drick (0-2, 113); Nick Buckle (0-2, 120); Isaiah Bobotas (4th, 145).

Returning regional qualifiers: Isaiah Bobotas (1-2, 145).

Returning state qualifiers: None.

Preseason state-ranked wrestlers: Isaiah Bobotas (13th, 152).

Roster:

SENIORS -- Matt Goetz, Ben Minier, Chris Thomas.

JUNIORS -- Tyler Betz, Isaiah Bobotas, Marcus Bogden, Nich Buckle, Kyle Drick.

SOPHOMORES -- Kobe Galentine, Thomas Goetz, Bryant Johnson, Austin Rupert, Zach Shadle, Dylan Smith.

Season outlook: The one thing that's been a constant in Jeff Deisher's 20-plus years at Montgomery has been the ability to fill a lineup. It's how the head coach has managed to put together winning seasons without lineups full of superstars. Deisher said that might be a challenge for the Red Raiders this year, but he's got some talent in the lineup that's exciting as the season starts.

The Red Raiders return two of the most exciting lightweights in he district in Kobe Galentine and Kyle Drick. Both wrestlers qualified for the District 4 tournament, with Galentine coming in as a West Section champion as a freshman. Drick wrestled up a weight class in the postseason after wrestling at 106 pounds all year and still managed a third-place finish at sectionals. The two combined for a 56-16 record a year ago.

"They were huge for us with the year they had," Deisher said. "They both wrestled well and came on strong. And they both stayed with wrestling pretty much year round."

It'll be tough to ask those two for more than what they gave the Red Raiders a year ago, but with the loss of John Goetz to graduation, Montgomery will have to find a way to make up for 18 regular-season falls. The two will have some help with that, though.

The Red Raiders have added transfer Isaiah Bobotas from Muncy to the roster. Bobotas is a junior coming off a year in which he finished fourth at the District 4 tournament and won a match at the regional tournament. Bobotas finished his season with 36 wins a year after winning 23 as a freshman at Muncy.

"He's a good, tough kid," Deisher said. "He really helps in the top part of the lineup where we didn't have a lot of experience."

Even though Deisher is dealing with a younger lineup than he's used to, he's got some veteran presence in his lineup he thinks will help bring along his younger talent.

"It's almost like having a bunch of little assistant coaches in the room," Deisher said.

MONTOURSVILLE

Section: West.

Head coach: Jamie Yonkin, seventh season.

Assistant coaches: Matt Yonkin, Dan Wright, Paul Finicle.

League: Heartland-II.

Last year: 8-12.

Returning district qualifiers: Garrett Evans (6th, 160); Ethan Jones (0-2, 170).

Returning regional qualifiers: None.

Returning state qualifiers: None.

Preseason state-ranked wrestlers: None.

Roster:

SENIORS -- Dalton Reiman, 126/132; Jake Stanford, 132/138; Nathan Fontaine, 182; John Katzmeier, 182; Levi Albert, 138; Kenny Kepner, 160; Garrett Evans, 170.

JUNIORS -- Sawyer Bressler, 138; Connor Bassett, 195; Lucas Shaheen, 195; J.J. Schriner, 170/182; Ethan Jones, 182; B.J. Keller, 152/160; Dante Fiamingo, 182.

SOPHOMORES -- Triston Choate, 160/170; Bryce O'Connor, 145/152; Cortland Stahl, 113/120; Tristan Bailey, 182; Mike Signor, 220/285; Kyle Lynch, 145/152.

FRESHMEN -- Ben Cerney, 220; Jacob Strassner, 113; Garrett Hoffman, 145/152; Michael Forney, 138/145; Keith Batkowski, 126; Logan McKeg, 132/138.

Season outlook: In his return to being a head coach at Montoursville, Jamie Yonkin doesn't want to use terms like young or rebuilding. He likes this year's team and its wrestlers too much to put that kind of stigmata on them as the season starts.

"We have kids that have wrestled before," Yonkin said. "We don't have the Luke Freys or the David Batkowskis, but we have a bunch of good kids, nice kids who are hard-working kids. You can only work with what you're given, and when you get kids that come in the room and don't argue and complain, you can't ask for more than that."

Yonkin has a senior class full of wrestlers who have spent the better parts of their careers in the Warriors' starting lineup. One of them, Garrett Evans, took a monumental step in his career last year with a nice postseason run.

Evans, a potential all-state defensive end on the football team, entered the District 4 tournament with just a 14-10 record and a West Section championship. He left the tournament just a win short of qualifying for regionals for the first time in his career. Two of his losses at districts came to eventual state qualifiers Ty Walter of Mifflinburg and Meyrick Lamb of Mount Carmel.

"When he beat (Canton's) Ben Pepper in the semis at sectionals, it let him know he can be that good," Yonkin said. "You look back at where he started as a freshman and where he's at right now ... He had a great sectional tournament and he wrestled tough. When he puts it together, he wrestles well."

The Warriors do have a Batkowski on the roster, even after two-time state placewinner David graduated and is now wrestling at Penn State. Freshman Keith Batkowski placed in the top five at the PJW state championships each of the last two years, including a fifth-place finish at 117 pounds this spring.

"My brother (Matt Yonkin) and I joked that it took us a little while with David to figure out how to work with him and understand him," Yonkin said. "Keith is made of the same mold. I think we're ahead of the 8-ball with him. He's a Batkowski. He's tough. It's like having David all over again."

MUNCY

Section: East-Central.

Head coach: Denny Harer, eighth season.

Career record: 124-45.

Assistant coaches:

League: Heartland-III.

Last year: 11-6, District 4 Duals qualifier.

Returning district qualifiers: Jacob Dgien (0-2, 106); Troy Hembury (1st, 170); Skylar Ebner (6th, 182).

Returning regional qualifiers: Troy Hembury (1st, 170).

Returning state qualifiers: Troy Hembury (4th, 170).

Preseason state-ranked wrestlers: Angelo Barberio (15th, 106); Troy Hembury (3rd, 182); Skylar Ebner (15th, 195).

Roster:

SENIORS -- Jake Colburn; Ty Day; Skylar Ebner; Troy Hembury; Mike Pega; James Phillips.

JUNIORS -- Alex Krah; T.J. Moyle; Jeff White.

SOPHOMORES -- Andy Aguilar; Jacob Dgien; Nick Roberts.

FRESHMEN -- Angelo Barberio; Abien Berry; Cam Good; Junior Ramos.

Season outlook: Troy Hembury has already ascended to rarefied air in the Muncy wrestling program. The senior enters this season as one of just three two-time state placewinners in school history. Hembury won his second state medal with a fourth-place finish a year ago at 170 pounds. He joins Aaron Fry and Larry Lauchle as the only other two-time state placewinners in school history.

With one more state medal this year, he'll become the first three-time state placewinner in school history, but the Columbia-bound Hembury wants more than just a medal, he's looking to give the Indians their third state champion in as many years.

"He puts a lot of time and work in, and I think he feels the pressure to win it since his brother did," Muncy head coach Denny Harer said. "For him it just has to be one day at a time and one task at a time. Just enjoy it and let the season unfold."

After improving by one spot in his second trip to the state tournament, Hembury said he needed to get bigger and stronger in order to compete for a state championship. It was evident he did after rushing for more than 1,200 yards and 18 touchdowns for the Indians' football team this fall.

"He's gotten a lot stronger," Harer said. "He got big."

The Indians return a veteran senior class to help Hembury carry the lineup. Skylar Ebner returns after falling just one win short of a regional qualifying spot. Jake Colburn is finally into a comfortable weight class and is poised for his best varsity season. Mike Pega also returns to the team after taking a year off.

"We have huge expectations for the seniors," Harer said. "Jake won a lot of matches for us wrestling bigger kids, so we have high hopes for him. Skylar is ready to take the next step and he's training to do that."

Muncy also adds freshman Angelo Barberio to the roster, someone who Harer is already excited to see compete. Barberio is a former PJW state placewinner.

"He's adapted to varsity wrestling pretty quickly," Harer said. "I haven't been this excited in a while about a freshman."

NORTH PENN

Section: West.

Head coach: Craig Pequignot, third season.

Career record: 20-20.

Assistant coaches: Rob MInnich, Eric Pequignot, Jake Myers.

League: Northern Tier League.

Last year: 9-10.

Returning district qualifiers: Jaycob Myers (1-2, 113); Ben Minnich (0-2, 170); Nathan Kriner (2nd, 285).

Returning regional qualifiers: Nathan Kriner (0-2, 285).

Returning state qualifiers: None.

Preseason state-ranked wrestlers: Nathan Kriner (7th, 285).

Roster:

SENIORS -- Lucas Groover, 138; Nick Roupp, 145; Ben Minnich, 170; Nathan Kriner, 285.

JUNIORS -- Devin Remley, 132; Kyler Virasith, 138; C.J. Sargent, 145; Andrew Nades, 152.

SOPHOMORES -- Jaycob Myers, 120; Connor Bickhart, 145; Josh Undercoffler, 145; Jordan Adams, 160; Zach Kriner, 220/285.

FRESHMEN -- Sean Giles, 106; Sean Kshir, 120; Charlie Andrews, 126; Brad Pequignot, 132; Stephen Bohnert, 145.

Season outlook: North Penn's Nathan Kriner enjoyed a breakthrough junior season last year when he found himself in the District 4 final against eventual state champion Nazar Mironenko of Mifflinburg, and now the senior has the confidence to go with his talent, according to head coach Craig Pequignot. A just a year removed from Nathan Stettler becoming the school's first-ever state qualifier, Kriner has seen the path necessary to take that next step to Hershey.

"You can tell he's much more confident this year," Pequignot said. "I think he knew what he was capable. He's wrestled in big matches and big tournaments in the past, but it's just not the same magnitude. It's real important he knows he can wrestle with the best in the district."

With Stettler becoming the young program's first state qualifier, Pequignot wanted as many wrestlers in his program exposed to the atmosphere in Hershey as possible. So he took many of his junior high wrestlers along to he Giant Center to understand what varsity wrestling is all about at its pinnacle.

"A lot of these kids didn't know what high school wrestling was all about, so they got to see Nathan Stettler make his run for states and hopefully that gave them some motivation," Pequignot said. "They loved it. It was good for them to see that someone from their school was there. It shows them that they have a chance."

Pequignot called this year's North Penn team the "most solid that we've had". The Panthers return three district qualifiers in Jaycob Myers, Ben Minnich and Kriner. Also, senior Lucas Groover is a former district qualifier.

Pequignot is trying to help sophomore Zach Kriner drop to 220 pounds to give the Panthers a strong 1-2 punch with his brother Nathan. Zach is a former PJW state placewinner.

"We have about five solid kids joining us from junior high and we're excited about all of them," Pequignot said. "Zach is obviously the one that's had the most success, but they're all capable of getting to that PJW state tournament."

SOUTH WILLIAMSPORT

Section: West.

Head coach: Chris Molino, 14th season.

Career record: 103-134.

Assistant coaches: Eric Gerber, Shane Day, Erick Fortin, Doug Gipe.

League: Heartland-III.

Last year: 5-8.

Returning district qualifiers: Griffin Molino (0-2, 106); Andrew Gipe (4th, 120); Nate Jones (0-2, 126); Justin Knee (1-2, 160); Marco Estrella (0-2, 285).

Returning regional qualifiers: Andrew Gipe (0-2, 120).

Returning state qualifiers: None.

Preseason state-ranked wrestlers: Andrew Gipe (16th, 132);

Roster:

SENIORS -- Kile Banzhof, 138/145; Marco Estrella, 285; Andrew Gipe, 126; Joaquin Gonsalves, 170-182; Justin Knee, 160/170; Heath Newcomer, 152/160; Ryan Orgitano, 195/220; Brock Steppe, 152/160; Brandon Stonge, 220; Colt Young, 160.

JUNIORS -- Christian Cioffi, 120/132/138; Tyler Jenkins, 182/195; Curtis Liddic, 152; Nick Mistretta, 132/138; Ryan Seagrave, 138/145.

SOPHOMORES -- Rocco Bausinger, 152/160; Zachary Jean, 132/138; Nate Jones, 126/132; Zach Lyons, 106; Zach Manning, 132; Logan Mix, 132/138; Griffin Molino, 113/120; Johnny Peters, 152/160; Gino Pulizzi, 132/138; Tyler Webb-Verbeski, 120/126.

Season outlook: Chris Molino just isn't quite used to his wrestling room being so crowded. The South Williamsport head coach is used to having maybe 15 kids on his varsity wrestling roster and struggling to fill all 14 weight classes.

It's not the case this year. He's got about 25 wrestlers in the room each day and is quickly becoming excited about a team which just missed out on a spot in the District 4 Duals a year ago.

"It's a deep team," Molino said. "I may have the largest team I've ever had. We were fortunate to get some of the football players and hopefully that's a good sign for the school that we can keep getting some of those guys."

Molino sports pretty strong sophomore and senior classes. Nate Jones and Griffin Molino are returning district qualifiers from the sophomore class. Marco Estrella, Andrew Gipe and Justin Knee are all seniors who qualified for the district tournament a year ago as juniors, with Gipe reaching his third consecutive regional tournament.

Gipe enters his senior season with an 80-25 career record and is a three-time regional qualifier. He's never won fewer than 23 matches in a season, and last year was the first time he didn't win at least one match at the regional tournament. He's looking to become South Williamsport's first state placewinner since Eric Caschera in 2006.

Gipe has always been in one the most loaded weight classes in each of his three years when the postseason rolls around. Of the nine wrestlers who have moved on to states ahead of him in his weight classes the last three years, six have won medals, and three have placed in the top three in the state.

"The thing about it is, he does what he has to do in order to be able to get to Hershey other than the result," Molino said. "He made some mistakes at regionals last year and it cost him. If he cuts down on the mistakes, he gives himself and opportunity to go. I couldn't be prouder of him."

SUGAR VALLEY RURAL CHARTER

Section: West.

Head coach: Steve Heverly, second season.

Career record: 3-10.

Assistant coaches: J.T. Bitner, Seth Ripey.

Last year: 3-10

Returning district qualifiers: None.

Returning regional qualifiers: None.

Returning state qualifiers: None.

Preseason state-ranked wrestlers: None.

Roster:

SENIORS -- Jeremy Wallizer, 126; Derek Wallizer, 132; Jacob Snook, 152; Brodie Taylor, 195; Hunter Raudabaugh, 220.

JUNIORS -- Toby Stover, 145; James Boone, 170; Tyler Bilby, 182.

SOPHOMORES -- Blaise Collins, 285.

FRESHMEN -- Tristan Johnson, 106.

Season outlook: Sugar Valley head coach Steve Heverly approaches the wrestling season a little differently than the rest of the coaches throughout District 4. While most coaches are discussing goals of state medals and postseason dual-meet appearances, Heverly's expectations for the small Loganton school are tempered in comparison.

"I tell the kids every day, all I can ask is to get 110 percent out of them win, lose or draw," Heverly said. "If I see they are achieving some minor improvements, that's a success. We have some kids I expect more from, but as far as new kids coming out, as long as I see improvement, I'm happy."

The Phoenix took another step in the development of its program a year ago when Aaron Fischer piled up 18 wins and finished second at the East-Central Sectional at 120 pounds to move on to the District 4 tournament. It was something Heverly said his wrestlers needed to see was possible from a school which entered nine wrestlers into the sectional tournament with a combined 80-93 record.

"I don't really think they even thought it was possible," Heverly said of Fischer qualifying for districts."For the kids, it was an eye-opener to see it was possible. The kids don't see success too much. When they saw it, it gave them some kind of confidence."

Sugar Valley does return 1995-pounder Brodie Taylor who was 18-7 for the Phoenix a year ago. Sophomore 285-pounder Blaise Collins was an overtime takedown away from a spot in the consolation final an an opportunity to wrestle for a spot in the district tournament.

So while Heverly may not be working with the copious amounts of talent as other District 4 schools, he's starting at a good point just five years into the program starting up again.

"Everyone wants to develop a small school into some kind of dream season," Heverly said. "If I can get two people to districts, that's all I'm asking. I'm not asking for an undefeated season."

SULLIVAN COUNTY

Section: East.

Head coach: Bob Hembury, third season.

Career record: 24-16.

League: Heartland-III.

Last year: 11-9, District 4 Duals qualifier.

Returning district qualifiers: Shawn Nitcznski (4th, 113); Tanner McCarty (1-2, 170).

Returning regional qualifiers: Shawn Nitcznski (did not compete because of injury).

Returning state qualifiers: None.

Preseason state-ranked wrestlers: Shawn Nitcznski (12th, 120).

Roster:

SENIORS -- Allen McBride.

JUNIORS -- Matt Dailey, Colton Fry, David Little, Tanner McCarty, Shawn Nitcznski, Nate Ritinski, Christian Rogan, Luke Thomas, Logan Wiles.

SOPHOMORES -- Josh Bowling, Josh Gavitt, James Heinrich.

FRESHMEN -- Dylan Ammerman.

Season outlook: The Griffins still have one of the most exciting lightweights in District 4 in former state qualifier Shawn Nitcznski. The junior finished fourth in the district a year ago in an absolutely loaded 113-pound weight class which produced two state medalists (Benton's Matt Welliver and Mifflinburg's David Sheesley). The regional field added an eventual state finalist (Meyers' Vito Pasone).

Nitcznski is also coming off a rough ending to his year when he broke his ankle in the third-place match at the District 4 tournament and wasn't able to compete at the regional tournament. The junior enters the season with a 64-6 record with five of his six career losses coming in two postseason runs.

While Nitcznski has garnered much of the attention for the Griffins in the last two years, Sullivan County also returns 29-match winner Tanner McCarty who also qualified for the District 4 tournament a year ago. Junior 285-pounder Nate Ritinski returns after a 17-win season which included a fourth-place finish at the East-Central Sectional.

WARRIOR RUN

Section: Warrior Run.

Head coach: Wayne Smythe, 42nd season (41 at Warrior Run).

Career record: 491-287-8.

Assistant coaches: Jeremy Betz, Randy Watts, Garth Watson, Scott White, Mark Reasner.

League: Heartland-II.

Last year: 23-4, District 4 Duals semifinalist.

Returning district qualifiers: Tyler Hornberger (1-2, 106); Nick Rohm (1-2, 160); Garrett Moser (2-2, 170); Daniel Breech (2-2, 182); Austin Fiedler (2-2, 285).

Returning regional qualifiers: None.

Returning state qualifiers: None.

Preseason state-ranked wrestlers: Garrett Moser (16th, 170); Daniel Breech (19th, 182); Austin Fiedler (13th, 285).

Roster:

SENIORS -- Tony Byers, 170-195; Austin Fiedler, 285; Brandon Giannantonio, 126-138; Doug McCarty, 138/145; Garrett Moser, 170-195; Brandon Reichner, 152/160; Nick Rohm, 160/170.

JUNIORS -- Daniel Breech, 170-195; Elias George, 145-160; Matthew Kilgus, 220-285; Brian LeBarron, 120-132; Jon LeBarron, 120-132; Dominic Lincalis, 170/182; Hunte Stroup, 170-195; Masen Wagner, 152/160.

SOPHOMORES -- Brett Boush, 152/160; Tyler Hornberger, 113-126; Eric Hunt, 106-120; Connor Pelletier, 126-138; Jake Perrin, 182-195; Andy Walker, 138/145.

FRESHMEN -- Joey Hanford, 132/138; Luis Huerta, 152/160; Zackery LeBarron, 106/113.

Season outlook: Warrior Run enters the season with at least two state-ranked wrestlers for the first time since the 2009-2010 season when Tyler Hain and Elias Biddle were coming off of state-medal-winning seasons. Garrett Moser begins this season ranked 16th at 170 pounds, Daniel Breech is ranked 19th at 182, and Austin Fiedler is ranked 13th at 285 pounds by papowerwrestling.com.

All three were district qualifiers a year ago for the Defenders, and are three of the five returning district qualifiers on the roster for Wayne Smythe. All three were also just one win short of the placing matches at the district tournament a year ago. And along with the emergence of Nick Rohm, the Defenders have built a strength in the upper weights it hasn't had in some time.

"There is a fair amount of experienced wrestlers returning and they will be counted on to provide the leadership that is necessary," Smythe said in an email. "As coaches, we are very encouraged by their effort, attitude and willingness to learn at this point in the season."

The Defenders have a truly balanced lineup, especially when you consider the strength of their lightweights with Tyler Hornberger and Eric Hunt. Hunt was beaten out for his 106-pound spot a year ago in the postseason and wrestled at 113 pounds despite not being a full 106 pounds. He finished fourth at the East-Central Sectional, but is a very dangerous wrestler. Hornberger was a district qualifier and an East-Central Sectional champion at 106 pounds.

"This year's team members are for the most part fairly distributed between the various weight classes, which should help produce a reasonably balanced team.," Smythe said. "It is important that we continue to work hard and maintain the strong attitude shown so far. With a team effort we can be a very competitive team in a strong District 4."

Also, keep an eye on Smythe and his pursuit of his 500th career win. He needs just nine dual-meet victories to reach the 500 mark. He would become just the fifth coach in PIAA history to win 500 matches, and he would be the third active District 4 coach with 500 wins, joining Danville's Ron Kanaskie and Towanda's Bill Sexton.

WELLSBORO

Section: North.

Head coach: Rick Mihalik, seventh season.

Assistant coaches: Scott Ingerick.

League: Nothern Tier League.

Last year: 4-11.

Returning district qualifiers: Chad Daugherty (1-2, 195).

Returning regional qualifiers: None.

Returning state qualifiers: None.

Preseason state-ranked wrestlers: None.

Roster:

SENIORS -- Adam Cleveland, Chad Daugherty, Austin Dunham, Eli Kennedy, Josh Kennedy.

JUNIORS -- Tyle Chamberlain, Trevin Hughes, Nate Ingerick, Nate Logan, Brandon Owlett.

SOPHOMORES -- Jack Chambers.

FRESHMEN -- Tyler Evans, Owen Covert.

Season outlook: Wellsboro head coach Rick Mihalik is already expecting more than what he got from his Green Hornets wrestling team a year ago. Wellsboro's Chad Daugherty was the team's lone district qualifier last year after winning a North Section championship at 195 pounds.

But Mihalik is already expecting more this year.

"From what I see so far in practice, I'd be very disappointed if I don't three people through districts, and possibly a couple more," Mihalik said. "We're a small team, but we have kids with experience who have stepped up. If we stay injury free it could happen."

Mihalik is relying on his veteran wrestlers like Daugherty to help bring along a young Green Hornets team. Daugherty, along with former 20-win wrestlers Nathaniel Ingerick and Brandon Owlett have become assistant coaches in the practice room to help a team full of new wrestlers understand what it takes to wrestle on the varsity level.

"You have to rely on them," Mihalik said. "Coaches can't spend that much time with each individual starting technique at square one. I tell my guys who have wrestled that if you see someone doing it wrong, stop and show them the right way so they don't form bad habits."

There's excitement around this Wellsboro team because of the potential to field a full team this year. Of course, after a rash of injuries a year ago, Mihalik prefaces all his excitement with the phrase, "as long as we stay healthy".

"I know that Daugherty and Ingerick and Owlett are working hard," Mihalik said. "They've been doing camps in the summer, and Adam Cleveland, who was basically a .500 wrestler last year, he's a guy that's going to step up and overachieve from what he has in the past."

WILLIAMSON

Section: North.

Head coach: Mark Everett.

Assistant coaches: Jesse Simcox, Kevin Mowery, Chris Collum.

League: Northern Tier League.

Last year: 11-5, District 4 Duals qualifier.

Returning district qualifiers: Tyrus Hamblin (1st, 106); Logan Everett (2nd, 120); Billy Barnes (2nd, 126); Trevor McWhorter (2-2, 132); R.C. Hunter (1-2, 160); Mark Brennan (0-2, 182).

Returning regional qualifiers: Tyrus Hamblin (3rd, 106); Logan Everett (2nd, 120); Billy Barnes (4th, 126).

Returning state qualifiers: Tyrus Hamblin (0-2, 106); Logan Everett (5th, 120).

Preseason state-ranked wrestlers: Tyrus Hamblin (12th, 113); Logan Everett (4th, 126); Billy Barnes (8th, 138);

Roster:

SENIORS -- Dylan Cleveland, Logan Everett, Garrett Heffner, Darryl hoffman, Rexford Hunter, Mitchell Porter, Anthony Saxbury, Josh Shumack.

JUNIORS -- Dylan Abbey, Dakota Bolt, Mark Brennan, Herman Briggs, Connor Brown, Kyle Colegrove, Gage Draime, Tyrus Hamblin, Trevor McWhorter, Tyler Merrill, Zackary Ordway, Michael Presto.

SOPHOMORES -- Marcus Applebee, Billy Barnes, Brendon Bell, James Burns, Carl Gorg, Austin Moore, Derek Taylor, Kirah Thompson.

FRESHMEN -- Collin Brown, Connor Calaman, Hunter Hilfiger, Roger Neal, Caleb Robbins, Jarod Sheive.

Season outlook: There was a common notion when District 4 wrestling fans discussed the Williamson wrestling season toward the end of last season. Opponents knew they had to watch out for the Warriors' strength in the lightweights, but they were susceptible in the heavier weights.

In the months since Williamson had a pair of state qualifiers, head coach Mark Everett and his wrestlers have placed an added emphasis on developing a more balanced lineup. The Warriors already sport three of the most dangerous wrestlers in the district with Logan Everett, Tyrus Hamblin and Billy Barnes. But Mark Everett is looking to build a complete team, one which is capable of competing with district front-runners Mifflinburg, Central Columbia and Benton.

"I sat my heavier kids down and said if you want to do what they're doing, you have to put in the time and effort and work that they do," Mark Everett said. "They really bought into that. I hope it helps them. They're by no means where the other kids are, but they definitely worked very hard to increase where they were and build off it. I got four or five kids from 60 on up that put in a lot of work."

Williamson already had a strong base in the upper weights with district qualifiers R.C. Hunter (160) and Mark Brennan (182). Couple more experienced and improved upper weights along with 19-match winner Trevor McWhorter, tough lightweight Carl Gorg, and 19-match winner Michael Presto, and there's potential for this Williamson team to be even tougher than last year's.

"We do what we've got to do to win. Tournament-team wise we have a nice team," Everett said. "We're doing everything we can."

Billy Barnes may be the District 4 wrestler most ready to explode on a statewide scale. The sophomore is ranked eighth in the state at 138 pounds. He won a district championship at 126 pounds last year with a convincing 5-0 win over Line Mountain state qualifier Mason Zimmerman. But Barnes suffered two losses by a point at regionals, including a 3-2 setback to Zimmerman in the third-place match to miss out on a spot at the state tournament.

"During districts he looked unstoppable. He didn't wrestle badly at regionals, it's just that fine line where you have to believe in yourself," Everett said. "He has an unbelievable amount of talent. The sky's the limit for him. He's the only one who can hold himself back. He can do anything he wants to."

 
 

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