THE TOP WRESTLERS
Collin Palmer, jr., St. Edward
Palmer is a Columbia Station resident who`s the younger brother of four-time state champion Lance Palmer. The junior is already halfway to matching Lance`s feat, winning the Division I 112-pound state title as a freshman and taking gold at 125 pounds last season. Palmer is ranked No. 3 in the nation at 135 pounds this season.
Steve Mitcheff, sr., Elyria
Mitcheff placed seventh as a freshman, captured the Division I 103-pound state title as a sophomore and placed fifth last season at 112 pounds. Disappointed with his junior-year performance, Mitcheff exploded for a strong summer tournament run - including a fourth-place finish at the national tournament in Fargo, N.D. Mitcheff is ranked seventh in the nation at 112 pounds and has already committed to Kent State.
Brad Wukie, soph., University School
An Elyrian, Wukie finished as state runner-up at 119 pounds in Division II last season. Wukie`s offseason must have included some serious weight training and a growth spurt as he will wrestle at 135 pounds during his sophomore season - a three-weight-class jump. Wukie could be a favorite for the state final again this season, with Walsh Jesuit senior Chase Skonieczny - who placed third at 130 pounds in Division II last year - being his likely opponent.
Zach Goins, jr., Elyria
Goins was still recovering from a shoulder injury at the start of his sophomore season, but battled back for a fifth-place finish at 140 pounds in the Division I state tournament. Goins will wrestle at 145 pounds during his junior season, and his biggest competitors for the Division I crown should be St. Ignatius sophomore David Habat, who moved up two weight classes from his freshman season, and Westerville North junior Jesse Dong, who finished as state runner-up at the weight last season.
Nick Lawrence, so., Westlake
Lawrence went unbeaten for the bulk of his freshman season, steamrolled his way to the state tournament and placed fifth at 103 pounds. Last year`s top two wrestlers at this weight class - Massillon Perry`s Sam White and St. Edward`s Jamie Clark - have moved up to 112 pounds, and the top-rated wrestler in the state at 103 pounds is Hunter Steiber - a freshman at Division III Monroeville. So Lawrence`s top rival this season should be St. Edward`s Gus Sako.
THE TOP TEAMS
The Eagles have won the last 11 Division I state championships, and were crowned the national champions last season after defeating Blair Academy (N.J.) - their longtime nemesis. St. Edward is led by two-time state champion Collin Palmer, a junior who lives in Columbia Station, and features Avon Lake resident John Cobos, who qualified to state as a freshman but was injured for most of his sophomore season. There are a handful of other area wrestlers that hope to help the Eagles continue their tradition of being the top program in the state.
The Pioneers are stacked this season and could have a shot of being a top-five school in Division I. They are led by three-time state qualifier Steve Mitcheff - who won a state championship during his sophomore season - and state placer Zack Goins, a junior who won a state title in junior high. Elyria also has five returning district qualifiers, all of whom have good shots at making it to Columbus this season.
The Longhorns will be one of the top Division III powers in the area, anchored by two-time state qualifier Colin Dennis, a senior who placed seventh in Division II while a sophomore at Holy Name. The Longhorns also return five district qualifiers including two-time qualifiers Eric Bednash, Josh Malave and Colin McHugh.
The Comets have been one of the top wrestling programs in Lorain County for years, and this season should be no different. Amherst has finished second in the Southwestern Conference and the Division I Southview sectional tournament the past two seasons. The Comets return state qualifier Aaron Winemiller and four district qualifiers to anchor their lineup.
The Clippers have been on the verge of a breakout season for years and this could be the one. They have five returning district qualifers including two-time qualifying brothers Jon and Adam Bill.
THE TOP TOURNAMENTS
IronMan Tournament, Dec. 7-8
The tournament at Walsh Jesuit High is widely regarded as the top high school wrestling tournament in the nation and features St. Edward and Blair Academy from New Jersey - the top two programs in the country for many years. The event features 59 schools from 17 states. Elyria has become a mainstay at the tournament and Elyrian Brad Wukie will participate with his University School team.
Knights of Columbus Tournament, Dec. 7-8
This has become the annual Lorain County kick-off event to the wrestling season. The field will feature six area schools, including host Avon Lake. Wrestling starts at 5:30 p.m. on Friday, resumes Saturday at 11 a.m. and the finals are Saturday night at 6 p.m.
McNulty Memorial Invitational, Dec. 14-15
In its third year, the Elyria Catholic-hosted event is named after the father of former coach John McNulty Jr., who retired after 15 years as the Panthers coach last season due to medical problems. McNulty billed the tournament as one of the best collections of Division III schools in Northeast Ohio. It still will be except for the host Panthers, who were bumped up to Division II by the Ohio High School Athletic Association.
J.B. Firestone Classic, Dec. 22
Black River will host the event for the 44th year. The field will consist of 14 teams, and each weight class will be grouped into an Olympic-style four or five man pools. The top four wrestlers in each weight class will win placements.
Lake Erie League Lake Division will take place Feb. 2 at Maple Heights; Lake Erie League Erie Division will take place Jan. 12 at Bedford; Southwestern Conference will take place Feb. 9 at Avon Lake; Northeast Ohio Conference will take place Feb. 1 and 2 at Garfield Heights; North Coast League will take place Feb. 2 at Lake Catholic; Patriot Athletic Conference will take place Feb. 9 at Brooklyn; West Shore Conference will take place Feb. 9 at Fairview.
Lake Erie League
Admiral King Admirals
COACH: Jim Black, 1st year
ASSISTANTS: Terry King, 1st year; Cliff Dowd, 2nd year
2006-07 RECORD: N/A
RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Michael Daniels, sr.; James Thomas, sr.; John Phillips, sr.; Tom Sigman, sr.; Thomas Edwards, jr.; Eugene Mercado, jr.; Quentin Watson, jr.; Brandon Medina, so.
REMAINDER OF ROSTER: Brandon Peterson, sr.; Bishop Overton, fr.; Orlando Rivera, fr.; Elliot Perez, fr.; Zach Jones, fr.; Telvin Hope, fr.; Richard Anderson, fr.; Amon Willis, fr.; John Rutherford, fr.; Juan Lugo, fr.; A.J. Kriso, fr.; Jeff Pye, jr.; Tyron Riley, so.; Isaac West, so.
TOP LOSSES: None - the Admirals were loaded with underclassmen last season.
OUTLOOK: Black takes over the program after eight years at Midview. He replaces Todd Auvil, who accepted the Southview football head coaching position in the middle of last season. The Admirals have eight returning letterwinners, although the team failed to qualify any wrestlers to districts last season. "We`re going to be a well-balanced team," Black said. "I`m going to be happy just checking out what we have for my first year - seeing what we can build on for the upcoming seasons."
COACH: Billy Kopp, 1st year
ASSISTANTS: Dan Ternes, 38th year; Tom Ternes, 38th year; Pepe Ruiz, 34th year; Jimmy Kudrin, 2nd year; Shawn Petty, 1st year; Brad Ternes, 1st year; John Findley, 30th year; Uland Ralston, 6th year; Orlando Mendoza, 1st year
2006-07 RECORD: 9-1
(2nd place in Erie Division)
RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: David Gyorfi, sr.; Bobby Cruz, jr.; Jose Martinez, sr.; Nick Santana, jr.; Uland Ralston, so.; Zeno Inchaurregui, jr.; Tony Martinez, jr.; Paul Findley, jr.; Josh Parker, sr.; Dustin English, so.; Adrian Marcial, so.
REMAINDER OF ROSTER: Narcisco Inchaurregui, fr.; Tyler Green, so.; Bo Miller, sr.; Anthony Baxter, jr.; Mandell Dean, jr.; Adam Rodriguez, so.; Costas Kocan, so.; Anthony Davila, so.; Jimmy Gyorfi, so.; Aaron Andujar, so.; Marlowe Burton, jr.; Alex Marcial, fr.
TOP LOSSES: Matt Findley (two-time state qualifier); Martin Cruz (state qualifier); Thomas Cruz (two-time district qualifier); Frankie Mercado (two-time district qualifier) and Onaje Arnold (district qualifier).
OUTLOOK: Kopp served as Dan Ternes` assistant the last 14 seasons, and Ternes - who ran the program for 37 years with his brother Tom - is staying on to help with the program he brought to prominence over the past four decades. The Saints have a pair of returning two-time district qualifiers in David Gyorfi and Cruz, and district qualifiers in Jose Martinez and Santana. They will also have Narcisco Inchaurregui, who won a junior high state championship last year at Whittier Middle School.
Northeast Ohio Conference
COACH: Erik Burnett, 11th year
ASSISTANTS: Chris Chidlaw, 5th year; Skip Fair, 5th year; Jack Gillespie, 4th year; Joe Drago, 3rd year; Art McHenry, 3rd year; Scott Burnett, 2nd year
2006-07 RECORD: 15-9, 6-1 Pioneer Conference (2nd place in PC, 4th at Southview sectional, 5th at Mentor district)
RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Kodie Egnor, so.; Steve Mitcheff, sr.; Austin DeChant, sr.; Brandon Perrott, sr.; Dalton McHenry, jr.; Chase Churchill, so.; Zack Goins, jr.; Phillip Egnor, jr.; Mitchell Fadenholz, jr.; Brett Godfrey, jr.; Ryan Nelisse, jr.; Adrian Adams, sr.
REMAINDER OF ROSTER: Tyler Fadenholz, fr.; Kevin Gembka, fr.; Jason Gott, fr.; Jacob Hebble, fr.; Trenton Horton, so.; Nathan Jones, fr.; James Mackert, fr.; Kris Marcum, so.; Max Markus, fr.; Justin Mashrah, so.; Tom Merrell, jr.; Steven Pawlus, jr.; Caleb Shaffer, so.; Mason Smith, fr.; Michael Van Akin, so.; Derrick Webber, fr.; Kenny White, so.; Myles Wright, fr.; David Yonkings, jr.; Doug Yonkings, fr.; Joe Skobel, jr.; Ryan Reynolds, fr.; Corey Loesch, jr.; Ray Allgood, so.; Thomas Finley, jr.; Brian Clifford, so.
TOP LOSSES: Mark Betzel (2006 state alternate), Alex Betzel and Craig Van Akin.
OUTLOOK: Burnett has never shied away from competition, loading the Pioneers` schedule with the toughest tournaments he can find each season. This year, besides competing in the IronMan, Brecksville Holiday and the Mentor Duals, Elyria will be looking forward to its first season as a member of the Northeast Ohio Conference - a league that should immediately become one of the top in the state. "The NOC is going to be ridiculous this year," Burnett said. "Any time you get to wrestle teams like Mayfield, Strongsville and Solon, just to name a few, during your conference season, you know your kids have a chance to be ready for the end-of-season competition." Gott was a junior high state runner-up last season.
North Coast League
Elyria Catholic Panthers
COACH: Kent Horton, 1st year
ASSISTANT: Dan Larocco, 1st year
2006-07 RECORD: 6-1 (6th place in NCL Tournament)
RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Dane Szente, sr.; Danny Accorti, jr.; Trent Szente, jr.; Joe Cavaceci, so.; Mark Mowcomber, jr.; Nate Carson, so.
REMAINDER OF ROSTER: Josh Taylor, fr.; Jeremy Weissinger, so.; Tom O`Malley, jr.; Zach Drews, jr.; Colin McConville, jr.; Sebastian Vittardi, so.; Rick Marshall, fr.; Zach Faxon, fr.; Jeremy Kazee, fr.; Justin Tomlin, fr.
TOP LOSSES: Tim Rankin (2007 state placer, `06 district qualifier) and Jacob Batesole (two-time district qualifier).
OUTLOOK: Horton takes over for longtime coach John McNulty after eight years at Cleveland Central Catholic - one of the Panthers` North Coast League rivals. The Panthers have a pair of two-time district qualifiers in Accorti and Dane Szente - who won a Division III sectional championship last year, placed sixth at the district tournament and placed third in the NCL tournament. The Panthers got a late start this year because of the successs of the football team - 10-12 wrestlers played Elyria Catholic`s squad that advanced to the postseason.
Patriot Athletic Conference
Black River Pirates
COACH: Corey Kline, 5th year
ASSISTANTS: Kenny Goble, 5th year; Ron Pawlus, 4th year; Brian Twining, 3rd year
2006-07 RECORD: 7-0
(1st place in PAC)
RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Calvin Knowlton, so.; Nate Orrick, so.; Tim Sexton, so.; Doug Baughman, jr.; Tylor Hall, jr.; Josh Pfister, jr.; Brian Bush, sr.; Chad Muetzel, sr.
REMAINDER OF ROSTER: Zach Zadella, sr.; Tim White, sr.; Josh Wiseman, jr.; Cory Spooner, jr.; Josh Derrick, jr.; Tory Demarco, so.; Bill Spooner, fr.; Corey Roberts, fr.; Jarrod Pierce, fr.; Justin Packard, fr.; Jacob Norton, fr.; Ben Mey, fr.; Tyler McLean, fr.; Jared McFadden, fr.; Jay Lucas, fr.; Derek Hauff, fr.; Corey Campbell, fr.; Jarrod Axford, fr.
TOP LOSSES: Jesse Campbell (2007 state champion, `06 state runner-up, `05 state qualifier), Corey Pfister (2007 district qualifier, `06 state placer) and Cal Stretar (2006 district qualifier).
OUTLOOK: The Pirates will be led by Pfister, who won 38 matches and placed sixth at state last season. They will also have help in the way of two-time district qualifier Bush and Hall, who qualified to districts last season. Black River has won the PAC championship since the league began two years ago, and most coaches in the league are touting the Pirates as the preseason favorite again. "We`re young," Kline said. "We`ll be starting four freshman and four sophomores this season."
COACH: Brian Behrendt,
ASSISTANT: Fred Long, 1st year
2006-07 RECORD: Ninth place in the PAC
RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Michael Pritt, jr.; Eric Bradley, jr.; Brett Swanger, sr.; Nick Rados, sr.; Adam Thompson, sr.; Brandon Sanders, so.
REMAINDER OF ROSTER: Robert Hunter, so.; Jordan Kaspar, jr.; Steve Chancey, jr.; Adrian Smith, fr.; Zach Thompson, fr.; David Sabol, fr.; Austin Tackett, fr.; Brett Harmon, jr.; Brad Calvert, fr.; Tim Grattan, fr.; Brandon Danchansen, fr.; Sean Harmon, jr.; Danny Wheeler, fr.
TOP LOSSES: Anthony Parrotta (Case Western tourney placer).
OUTLOOK: The Cardinals got a boost this season with the addition of a wrestling room, which they had been without for the past 12 years. The Cardinals, who had to practice in the Brookside cafeteria, coverted the old weight room in the football stadium field house into their workout room - cleaning it, painting it and laying down the mats. "We now have a home," Behrendt said. Ironically, the Cardinals lost their original wrestling room when the school turned it into the current weightlifting room.
COACH: Jim Pycraft, 2nd year
ASSISTANTS: Matt Bernath, 1st year
RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Jordan Smith, sr.; Chris Rybarcyk, sr.; Cody Pruitt, sr.; Casey Gawen, so.; Nick Ricciardi, so.; Anthony Chizmadia, so.; Alex Ross, sr.
REMAINDER OF ROSTER: Matthew Metzger, so.; Kurt Foster, fr.; James Gerken, fr.; Chris Perkins, fr.; Tommy Buchanan, fr.
TOP LOSSES: Blake Friedt (district qualifier) and Adam Hyer (`06 district qualifier).
OUTLOOK: The Wildcats are looking for strong tournament showings with seven returning starters from last season. Gawen, Ross and Chizmadia all had winning records last season. Pycraft is a longtime coach of the Keystone middle school program, and is the father of Jim Jr. - a three-time state placer for Keystone - and John - who won the Division I 152-pound state title in 2006 at Elyria. The coach has worked closely with the Burnett family and helped found the All-American Wrestling facility in Grafton.
COACH: John Sedlick, 36th year
ASSISTANT: Mitch Camp,
2006-07 RECORD: 10-6
(2nd place in the PAC)
RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Josh Fralick, sr.; Brandon Rinehart, so.; Ben Bogan, so.; Austin Smith, so.; Matt Rammage, jr.; Mark Bennett, sr.
REMAINDER OF ROSTER: Scott Provosnik, fr.; Justin Bockmore, fr.; Will Hall, so.; Kevin Butler, so.; Jaron Antill, fr.; Aaron Martin, fr.; Joe Rosemark, fr.; Justin Schram, so.; Josh Roberts, so.; Connor Stanley, fr.; Tom Gronsky, so.
TOP LOSSES: Dan Bogan
(two-time state qualifier), Larry Serfozo (two-time district qualifier), Josh Bliem (district qualifier), Pat Hughes (district qualifier) and Tyler Abbey (2006 district qualifier).
OUTLOOK: The Dukes return six starters from last season, including district qualifier Rammage. Sedlick knows he lost several talented wrestlers from last season, but said the whole conference is pretty much in the same boat and the Dukes could still figure into it at season`s end. Wellington, which was notable for having not one, but two female wrestlers on the team last season, is without a girl in the lineup this year.
COACH: Tom McCardle,
2006-07 RECORD: 14-8
(6th place in PAC)
RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Jon Bill, sr.; Adam Bill, jr.; Edwin Diaz, so.; David Cooper, so.; Ben Cline, sr.
REMAINDER OF ROSTER: N/A
TOP LOSS: Matt Guggenbiller (`05 district qualifier).
OUTLOOK: Clearview has all five of its district qualifiers back from last season. The Bills are two-time district qualifiers and the younger brothers of Jon Bill, a former state runner-up for the Clippers.
COACH: Jeff Tullos, 3rd year
2006-07 RECORD: N/A
RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: N/A
REMAINDER OF ROSTER: N/A
TOP LOSSES: Jimmy Hase (district qualifier).
Lutheran West Longhorns
COACH: David Ressler,
ASSISTANTS: Andy Morales, 10th year; Don Vondruska, 10th year; D.J. Vondruska, 4th year; Harry Dennis, 2nd year; Jeff Vasiloff, 1st year
2006-07 RECORD: 9-12, 4-2 PAC (3rd in PAC tournament, 1st in Stripes Division, 3rd at Brooklyn sectional)
RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Colin Dennis, sr.; Josh Malave, sr.; Eric Bednash, sr.; Colin McHugh, sr.; Mike Davis, sr.; Jose Soto, jr.; C.D. Schneider, jr.; Ian Prah, sr.
REMAINDER OF ROSTER: Travis Beastrom, sr.; Mike Chambers, sr.; John Shoemaker, sr.; Brad Watson, fr.; Steve Flury, fr.; Jared Shoemaker, fr.; Ian Kroyer, fr.
TOP LOSS: Mark Gonska
(two-time district qualifier).
OUTLOOK: The Longhorns are led by Dennis, a North Ridgeville resident, who was a Division II state placer as a sophomore at Holy Name and qualified to state last year with Lutheran West in Division III. The Longhorns also have a district placer in Malave, two-time district qualifiers in Bednash and McHugh and district qualifiers in Davis and Prah. Lutheran West, which suffered a blow when sophomore Matt Fuseck tore his ACL during the football season and will miss the entire year, will start nine seniors and and should be a force in the PAC and in Division III.
COACH: Craig Enos, 23rd year
ASSISTANT: Wayne Walker,
2006-07 RECORD: 2-6
(8th place in the PAC)
RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Nick Chmura, sr.; Andy Miller, sr.
REMAINDER OF ROSTER: Benjy Partin, sr.; Dalton Rimbert, sr.; Colin Styer, so.; Michael Palmer, so.; Tyler Pigot, fr.; Matthew Gerhardinger, fr.; Jason Freas, fr.; Erickson Andrews, fr.
TOP LOSSES: Michael Enos
(three-time district qualifier).
OUTLOOK: Last season, Oberlin began the year with just six wrestlers and lost Miller midway through the year to a broken arm. Enos will be able to fill 10 of the 14 starting weights this season, and will have Miller and Chmura to lead the way. Miller went
15-7 and placed in both of the tournaments he wrestled in before his injury, and Chmura was the 171-pound PAC champion, the sectional runner-up and finished with 29 wins and four tournament placements.
COACH: Bill Walker, 16th year
ASSISTANTS: Brian Cesear,
2nd year; Benny Matos, 4th year; Mark Ambosio, 4th year; Steve Cruz, 3rd year
2006-07 RECORD: 6-1 (2nd place in SWC; 2nd at Southview sectional tournament)
RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Ryan Cruz, jr.; Ben Kildow, sr.; Josh Meade, sr.; Brandon Morgan, jr.; Ramon Castenada, jr.; Alex Basinski, so.; Aaron Winemiller, sr.; Justin Stump, sr.; Cody Wenrich, jr.; T.J. Harrah, jr.
REMAINDER OF ROSTER: Matt Zvosec, Stephen Lynch, Stevan Kotevski.
TOP LOSSES: Dom Jones (2007 state qualifier, `06 district qualifier), Jon Warford (2007 state qualifier, `06 district qualifier), Ed Cotton (two-time district qualifier) and Jason Loushin (`06 district qualifier).
OUTLOOK: The Comets should once again challenge for the SWC championship - they`ve finished as runner-up the past two seasons - and once again their chief rival will be defending champion Brecksville. Amherst will be led by state qualifier Winemiller, and will also have four district qualifiers - Meade, Morgan, Wenrich and Kildow, who wrestled in the districts during the 2005-06 season. The program continues to thrive under the strong work ethic of Walker, who said the team`s goal this season is to improve every day. Kotevski is a foreign exchange student from Macedonia.
Avon Lake Shoremen
COACH: Ken Weaver, 21st year
ASSISTANTS: Kevin Atkins,
5th year; Don Griswold, 1st year; Matt Hogan, 1st year
2006-07 RECORD: 11-2, 5-2 (3rd place in SWC)
RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Kevin Brunner, so.; Blake Jardonek, sr.; Andrew Tarter, sr.; Danny Urbin, sr.; Mark Tomanek, sr.; Ben Kovach, sr.; Patrick Flesher, jr.; Michael Troncoso, so.
REMAINDER OF ROSTER: Travis Anderson, jr.; Chris Schmotzer, sr.; Chaning Rhodes, sr.; Mitchell Otts, jr.; Jake Janicek, so.; Jeremy George, sr.; Jared Carpenter, jr.; Ryan Wilcox, jr.; Austin Detzel, so.; Andy Otts, so.; Nate Berner, sr.; John Hrdlicka, so.; Collin Conroy, so.; Evan Potts, fr.; Yilun Cai, fr.; Austin Spenzer, fr.; Bryan Wedell, jr.; Geoff Mauer, sr.; Chase Chernoch, sr.; Colin McCann, fr.; Matt Dentura, fr.; Cory Frank, sr.; Craig Goodwin, so.; Zach Wooton, fr.
TOP LOSSES: Britt Phillips
(two-time district qualifier), Glen Longwell (two-time district qualifier) and Brian Driscoll (district qualifier).
OUTLOOK: The Shoremen have a pair of district qualifiers returning in Jardonek and Tomanek - who has been to districts twice and won an SWC championship last year - and six other returning letterwinners. Hogan wrestled at Avon Lake and Griswold is the defensive coordinator for Keystone`s football team. Brunner, Urbin and Kovach all had 20-win seasons last year.
COACH: Mike Rice, 2nd year
ASSISTANTS: Brian Mehmed, 12th year; Nick Ranallo, 3rd year; Paul Burger, 1st year
2006-07 RECORD: 3-4 (T-5th place in SWC)
RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Nolan Grame, so.; Chris Yutzy, sr.; Aaron Gulan, jr.; Larry Tischler, jr.; Joe Abujaradeh, jr.; Steve Church, jr.; Kyle Finneran, jr.; Phil Bassani, sr.
REMAINDER OF ROSTER: Rory Walter, fr.; Jacob Jazwa, fr.; Kevin Dieterich, fr.; Andrew Schuschu, jr.; Brad Church, fr.; Eddie Holecko, so.; Scott Magnani, jr.
TOP LOSSES: Dustin Kilgore (2006 state champion, `07 state runner-up, `05 state qualifier), Chris Payne (district placer) and Ryan Grame (district qualifier).
OUTLOOK: The Braves haven`t even had a match and they suffered a huge blow as they`ve lost junior Mike Tischler - a state alternate last season - for the season due to a torn ACL. They do return a ton of talent, however, led by Yutzy - a sectional runner-up who just missed a state berth last season. Grame, Gulan and Abujaradeh are also returning district qualfiers.
North Olmsted Eagles
COACH: Matt Dalgleish, 9th year
ASSISTANTS: John Dalgleish, 9th year; Kerry McWoodson, 3rd year; Jimmy Fowler, 1st year; Mike Bracken, 1st year
2006-07 RECORD: 1-7
(7th place in the SWC)
RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Alex Feador, sr.; Chris Kelly, so.; Jake Rhinehelder, so.; Tyler Brake, so.; Kameron Arif, so.; Nick Gessner, jr.; Will Sedgemer, jr.
REMAINDER OF ROSTER: Josh Bozen, fr.; Sheldon Stuckart, fr.; Tyler Davison, fr.; Gabe Wiles, fr.
TOP LOSSES: Andy McNamara (2006 state placer, `07 district qualifier) and Pat Pizzuli (two-time district qualifier).
OUTLOOK: Fowler and Dalgleish wrestled for Buckeye High, and Fowler went on to wrestle at Ohio University. Fowler placed third at state while at Buckeye. Bracken joins the varsity staff after coaching the middle school program. Pizzuli, who is now a member of the U.S. Marines, has a younger brother who wrestles at St. Edward.
Olmsted Falls Bulldogs
COACH: Bill McGrain, 23rd year
ASSISTANTS: Sean Pellerite, 13th year; Chris Oden, 5th year; Bryce Burkhard, 2nd year
2006-07 RECORD: 10-5
(3rd place in SWC)
RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Jerry Knapp, sr.; Mike Varga, sr.; Brad Slater, sr.; Zach Laird, jr.; David Schuetz, sr.; Joe Hough, jr.; Cody Dieckman, sr.; Chaz McGrain, so.; Cody Smith, jr.; Shane Gareau, so.; Brandon Terry, jr.; Jordan Wood, jr.; Chris Danko, sr.; Cliff Hickerson, jr.
REMAINDER OF ROSTER: Todd Schanz, sr.; Nick Stenger, sr.; Jeff Bland, jr.; Adam Broski, so.; Joe Goff, so.; Mark Mills, so.; Alex Robertson, so.; Nick Andler, fr.; Adam Bingelli, fr.; Allan Bingelli, fr.; Sam Bodjak, fr.; Garrett Early, fr.; Shane Fagan, fr.; Ryan Keenan, fr.; Anthony Latta, fr.; Salti Mansour, fr.; P.J. Mueller, fr.; Jerimiah Roig, fr.; Zach Sanford, fr.
TOP LOSSES: Aaron Schecter (2007 state placer, `06 district qualifier, `05 district qualifier); Tom Hough (2007 state qualifier, `06 district qualifier); Dan Mirtich (two-time district qualifier); Kenny Theriot (district qualifier) and Cory Castro (district qualifier).
OUTLOOK: The Bulldogs will be led by two-time district qualifier Brad Slater, and district qualifiers Mike Varga, Jerry Knapp and Zach Laird. The Bulldogs are the two-time defending Division II sectional champions, but that run could be threatened this season as Olmsted Falls has been pushed into the Division I pool and will compete at Southview`s sectional, where St. Edward has ruled the roost the past few years. The Bulldogs had a preview event last weekend with Lakewood and Cuyahoga Falls, and Olmsted Falls wrestlers won 38 of the 55 matches.
COACH: Mike Antonyzyn, 22nd year
ASSISTANTS: Terry Kennedy, 12th year; Jed Failor, 3rd year; Angelo Mango, 1st year
2006-07 RECORD: 11-7, 2-5 SWC
RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Nick Lawrence, so.; Connor Dempsey, so.; Devin Henry, sr.; Ryan Smugala, jr.; Sean Escolas, jr.; Adam Salem, sr.; Naseem Merhi, sr.
REMAINDER OF ROSTER: N/A
TOP LOSSES: Jeff Green
(two-time state placer) and Ben Carrocio (two-time district qualifier).
OUTLOOK: Lawrence placed fifth at 103 pounds in the Division I state tournament, was the district runner-up and sectional champion during his freshman season. Henry and Smugala are returning district qualfiers - Smugala placed sixth in the districts. Merhi was unbeaten last season at 6-0 before suffering a season-ending injury.
West Shore Conference
COACH: Joe Mauser, 3rd year
ASSISTANTS: Mark Porter, 9th year; Collin Henderson, 1st year
2006-07 RECORD: Tied for third place in WSC
RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Alex Tabar, jr.; Nick DiFrancisco, jr.; Nate Russian, so.; Jake Saladonis, so.; Matt Mylechraine, sr.; Duke Long, so.; Kevin Riesendorf, jr.
REMAINDER OF ROSTER: Jim Barker, fr.; Cole Ramsey, fr.; Ayoub Karresh, fr.; Hayden Buckley, fr.; Tyler Lewis, fr.; Jake Disch, so.; Tim DiFrancisco, fr.; Joe Cornelius, so.; Matt Kiessling, jr.; Noah Pesinger, jr.; Zach Ogden, sr.
TOP LOSSES: Lee Schoch (district qualifier), Max Saladonis (`05 district qualifier) and Bryan Wimmer (district alternate).
OUTLOOK: The Eagles return seven starters from last season, but lost their lone district qualifier in Schoch to graduation. But Mauser is thinking ahead - way ahead - as he started a youth wrestling program at the school that bloomed to 40 kids from grades K-6. The program takes place at the school on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, and should help build the sport in the city.
COACH: Merle Dusek, 5th year
ASSISTANTS: Luke Keifer; John Higgs
2006-07 RECORD: 13-11 (6th place in WSC)
RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Nick Nelson, sr.; Kyle Nickel, jr.; Jack Prudence, sr.
REMAINDER OF ROSTER: Max Kramer, sr.; Zach LaCure, jr.; Mark Seifert, jr.; Kyle Sharp, jr.; Harlon Page, so.; Nick Dorsey, fr.; Tyler Giese, fr.; Dan Rehor, fr.; Jake Kenrick, fr.; Roberto Moreno, fr.
TOP LOSSES: Mosa Shafik (district qualifier) and Sam Stan (district qualifier).
OUTLOOK: Nelson is the lone returning district qualifier for the Rockets, Prudence is a returning
20-match winner and Nickel, who missed last season with a broken arm, went 28-15 during his freshman season. "We may have low numbers, but what we have will battle for six minutes," Dusek said.
COACH: Rock Farlow, 1st year
2006-07 RECORD: Eighth place in WSC
RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: N/A
REMAINDER OF ROSTER: N/A
TOP LOSSES: Josh Walbom (district qualifier) and Ryan Kaya (district qualifier).
OUTLOOK: Farlow, who also coaches the Falcon football team, takes over for Edgar Colon, who only coached one season.
COACH: Don Caramell, 1st year
ASSISTANTS: Shawn Bristow, 2nd year; Bob Maygar, 1st year; Joe Arthur, 5th year; Seth Houston, 1st year
2006-07 RECORD: Fourth place in the WSC
RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Chris Gerhart, jr.; Mitchell Eppich, so.; Zak Carreras, so.; Brandon Dean, jr.; Jordan Smith, sr.; Kevin Patrick, so.; Paige Gusky, so.; Tom Lemons, so.; Jeff Miller, so.; Kyle Sykes, jr.
REMAINDER OF ROSTER: Sean Pincura, sr.; Adam Davis, fr.; Gerrod Blevins, fr.; Josh Ayers, fr.; Nick Cicone, so.; Tyler Gusky, fr.; Nick House, fr.; Dan Pierce, sr.; Richard Popowski, fr.; Jayq Schmidt, so.; Chris Stefek, sr.; Joel Szczepanski, sr.; Jared Wise, jr.; Dylan Farr, fr.; Josh Carr, so.; Chris Wade, so.; Ethan Pickering, fr.; Nate Smith, jr.
TOP LOSSES: Greg Johnson
(two-time district qualifier) and Josh Arthur (district qualifier).
OUTLOOK: Don Caramell takes over the Middie program after serving as an assistant coach last season, and all the coaches on the staff with the exception of Arthur are former collegiate wrestlers. Bristow won a Division I state championship in 1996 for Avon Lake. The Middies lost their only two district qualifiers to graduation, but Gerhart, Carreras and Jordan Smith are all returning West Shore Conference champions. The Middies boast a young lineup and with the experience the underclassmen will get this season they could be a county powerhouse the next couple of years.
North Ridgeville Rangers
COACH: Ed Haller, 16th year
ASSISTANTS: Joe Deluca, 15th year; Joel Melvin, 9th year; Josh Bement, 4th year; Joe Myers, 2nd year; Jeff Wolf, 2nd year; Matt Hyer, 1st year; Mitch Heffron, 1st year
2006-07 RECORD: 13-5, 5-2 (T-2nd place in WSC)
RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Rex Rozar, jr.; John Whipkey, so.; Steven Lopez, so.; Mike Mendez, jr.; James Mees, jr.; Matt Phillips, sr.; Derek Lozano, jr.; Shane Friend, jr.; Mike Wilson, sr.; Jack Moytka, sr.; Greg Byrd, sr.
REMAINDER OF ROSTER: David Evans, so.; Matt Zepp, fr.; Nick Hart, fr.; Brandon Mundell, fr.; Matt Smith, so.; Mike Mees, fr.; John Flesher, so.; Vince Rodriguez, so.
TOP LOSS: Josh Counts (district qualifier)
OUTLOOK: The Rangers are led by district qualifiers Shane Friend and Greg Byrd - who both have good shots at a state tournament berth this season. Melvin, who ran the Rangers middle school program for years, will now be a varsity assistant, while two former Rangers heavyweights will be helping the program - Wolf, who was a two-time district qualfiers, and Hyer, who was a Pioneer Conference champion. With all the former standout heavyweights in the coaching ranks, it`s no surprise Haller lists the Rangers` strength as the upper end of the lineup.
COACH: Tony Budka, 3rd year
ASSISTANTS: Edgar Colon; Bob Werley; Aaron Budka
2006-07 RECORD: 9-12 (5th place in WSC)
RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Kris Horton, sr.; Derrick Dillon, sr.; Ryan Shupe, sr.; Travis Johnson, sr.; Tim Hermann, sr.
REMAINDER OF ROSTER: Alex West, fr.; Anthony Budka, fr.
TOP LOSSES: Charlie Scaff (district qualifier)
OUTLOOK: Dillon and Horton both qualified to the district tournament last season, and Hermann and Shupe were district qualifiers in 2006. Budka is a Vermilion grad who coached for 11 years at Clearview as both an assistant and head coach, then became the Sailors` assistant for three years before taking over the program two seasons ago.
Open Door Patriots
COACH: John Kolesar, 3rd year
2006-07 RECORD: 0-4
RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Cody Peacock, jr.; Tony D`Abato, sr.
REMAINDER OF ROSTER: Ben Clark, so.
TOP LOSSES: None
OUTLOOK: The Patriots have a pool of 71 boys to field a wrestling team and basketball team during the winter season. Even with a limited amount of wrestlers, Open Door touts a district qualifier - Peacock, who advanced to the Division III districts in 2006. Kolesar - a 1992 Elyria High grad - wrestled four years for the Pioneers.
St. Edward Eagles
COACH: Greg Urbas, 18th year
ASSISTANTS: Dave Holian, 30th year; John Heffernan, 16th year; Frank Jayne, 16th year; Jeff Leonard, 16th year
2006-07 RECORD: 20-0 (Division I sectional, district and state champions)
RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Collin Palmer (Columbia Station), jr.; John Cobos (Avon Lake), jr.; Casey Finnegan (Westlake), jr.
REMAINDER OF ROSTER: Ryan Biggs (North Olmsted), sr.; Tom Lisy (Bay Village), sr.; Scott Luke (Westlake), sr.; Mike Morgan (North Olmsted) sr.; Vince Pizzuli (North Olmsted), sr.; Nathan Rychlik (North Olmsted), sr.; Alex Scheidel (Bay Village), sr.; Matt Smith (Olmsted Falls), jr.; Rich Barberic (Avon), so.; Chris Cvetic (Avon), so.; Tyler Erker (Avon Lake), so.; Jordan Palmer (Columbia Station), so.; Matt Riley (Lorain), so.; Anthony Salupo (Westlake), so.; Erich Scheidel (Bay Village), so.; Oliver Shea (Westlake), so.; Matt Tusick (Bay Village) so.; Brandon Delorge (Avon), fr.; Tom Kilbane (Avon) fr.; Sean Robinson (North Olmsted), fr.
TOP LOSSES: Sean Nemec (state champion), Chris Honeycutt (state champion), Shawn Harris (state placer), Scott Elliott (state placer), Dan Gonsor (state placer), Ben Kuhar (state placer), Ben Rios (state placer).
OUTLOOK: St. Edward puts together one of the most grueling schedules of any high school wrestling program in the nation, and it has paid off with 11 straight Division I state championships and 23 overall. Palmer will be trying to win his third state title in as many years, and will have many great wrestlers around him to help the Eagles keep their run alive. Senior Brian Roddy also won a state championship last season, sophomores Jamie Clark and Nick Sulzer both finished as state runners-up and four other returnees have qualified to state.
University School Preppers
COACH: Sean Grosz, 4th year
2006-07 RECORD: 10-6 (Lake Catholic sectional champions, 3rd at Firestone district, 9th at state)
RETURNING LETTERWINNER: Brad Wukie, so.
REMAINDER OF ROSTER: Ryan Wukie, fr.
TOP LOSSES: Travis Erdman (state alternate), Victor Kondray (district qualifier), Landon Polakof (district qualifier).
OUTLOOK: The Wukies hail from Elyria and are the lone area representatives on the Division II powerhouse program. Brad went 38-7 last season, picking up sectional and district championships before finishing as the 119-pound state runner-up. Ryan is not expected to be in the starting lineup during his freshman season. The Preppers will also be aided by 103-pound state runner-up James Inghram, 160-pound state placer Nick Mills and 125-pound district placer Harrison Hightower.