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Pre-season Conjecture
September 15th, 2017| Written by: Editor

 

 

September is a rather quiet month as regards high school wrestling, and it gave the editor time to calculate how strong teams might be by the number of returning 2017 state placers.  The calculations did not include "rocket science" or the like.  (They probably could not get a paper airplane off a desk).   As a former wrestler and coach, the editor knows predictions like these are poppycock, rubbish, tripe, balderdash, etc.  But some people like seeing things like this.  And it is September...

The "Power Rating" numbers are determined by adding the 2017 places (1st-6th) on each team and dividing that by the number of returning wrestlers.  This results in the average placement of each returning wrestler.  Then that number is divided by the number of returning wrestlers.  The last number favors teams that have more returning wrestlers, as well as how high the wrestlers placed last season.  More importantly, the results of the last calculation represented what the editor expected.

As this is a sport in which the highest finishers have the lowest number (state champion = 1, runners-up = 2, etc.), the lowest "Power Rating" numbers indicate the stronger teams.

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Division I

Six Division I state champions are expected to return for the 2017-18 season:

Daniel Croy
Brother Martin
Cole Houser
St. Paul's
Jared Thieler
St. Paul's
Nathan Koenig
Jesuit
Matt Salinas
Airline
Perry Ganci
Jesuit

Place 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
School Jesuit Brother Martin St. Paul's Holy Cross Airline Comeaux St. Amant Catholic Sulphur East Ascension
Number of 1st-6th Returners 7 8 5 7 4 4 3 2 1 2
Power Rating 0.39 0.42 0.48 0.53 1.06 1.31 1.44 2.00 2.00 2.25

Four teams stand out from the rest in Division I, as there is only a 0.14 variation between them.  Those teams are Jesuit, Brother Martin, St. Paul's and Holy Cross.  This means the team championship could be a very close race.  The fifth-place team, and the highest Division I public school rating, is Airline at 1.06.

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Jesuit

Power Rating: 0.39
The Blue Jays have two reigning state champions in Nathan Koenig and Perry Ganci, as well as Eli Larriviere who placed first in 2016.  They are joined by Luke Eccles, Paul Treuting and Thomas Arseneaux, each of whom placed third and will be aiming for the finals in 2018.  Sam Dreuil placed fourth and later gained experience when wrestling at the nationals in Fargo this summer.  Ben Dreuil competed in the 2017 state championships, as did Adam Larriviere, giving the Blue Jays nine wrestlers with state championships experience.  Coach Sheridan Moran has a deep roster, however, including six who recorded double-digit wins last season: Tony Serio, Colby Queyrouze, Ben Dreuil, Andrew Fugetta, Darrin Ferrier and Jack Grady.

Brother Martin

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Power Rating: 0.42
Unlike last season, in which the Crusaders entered 12 state tournament novices, the Crusaders will only have to fill five spots with wrestlers yet to compete in the state championships.  Have no fear - Robert Dauterive has plenty from which to choose.

Junior Daniel Croy is the only reigning state champion for the Crusaders, but they also have Luke Cotton, a 2016 state champion and a 2017 runner-up.  Patrick Evans placed in the runner-up position last season, while Lane Boudreaux and Mack Brown placed third.  Noah Roux earned 5th-place honors, as did Paul Elmer.  John Stemke placed 6th.  Jared Gaudet (25-17 in 2016-17) also returns with state championships experience.

Once again, the Crusaders are very deep.  Twenty-two Crusader wrestlers with no state championship experience posted winning records with double-digit wins last season.  They are Connor Hoffman (36-10), Riley Horvath (32-12), Logan Bertot (12-1 with a Ken Cole championship), Alex Duncan (44-9), Justin Leal (31-8), Ross Mayer (22-15), Jackson Tramuta (13-9), Gabe Dauterive (14-10), Vincent Rizzo (21-8), Bailey Stretzinger (21-9), Seth Alfonso (16-8), Fernando Diaz (37-16), Mason Massicot (37-16), Garret LeGendre (32-17), Michael Clapp (19-12), and Brendan Brown (23-11). 

St. Paul's

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Power Rating - 0.48
The Wolves are only returning five wrestlers who placed in the top-six of last year's state championships, but two of those are state champions.  Cole Houser won his second state championship and Jared Thieler won his first.  Grant Hughes and Brandon Stein each placed third, while Connor Oviedo placed fourth.  Of the team St. Paul's entered at the state championships, the Wolves only lost 2017 state champion Shane Ulfers. 

Of the eight other Wolves who competed in the 2017 state championships, Cole Ulfers (15-20), Evan Ulfers (24-22), Jake Arena (26-20) and Ben Bobrowski (13-13) posted records with double-digit wins.  Of the St. Paul's wrestlers who did not participate in the 2017 state championships, Michael Rader (11-13) and Ben Davidson (17-18), had wins in the double-digits.

Holy Cross

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Power Rating: 0:53
The Tigers lost three state champions and two third-place finishers to graduation.

The highest placing returning Tiger is sophomore Caruso Signorelli, who was the runner-up at 106 lbs. as a third-seeded freshman.  Four other returning Tigers placed higher than they were seeded: Mason Macaluso (unseeded-placed 5th); Brady Butler (seeded 5th-placed 3rd) and Caden Mumme (seeded 8th-finished 4th).  Michael Lundin was seeded and placed third.  Unseeded Logan Hefner went 2-2, scoring the seven points the Tigers needed to defeat Jesuit.

Two seeded Tigers did not match their seeding, which says a lot regarding the quality of the 2016-17 Tiger team.  Spencer Rayes finished one spot below his #3 seed to finish 4th.  He should be a formidable opponent this season, as should Jacob Spahn.  Spahn, who is probably sick of reading this, placed 5th while he was seeded 2nd.  His seeding, however, was based on an 11-6 record which included eight wins and four losses against out-of-state competition.  Spahn was injured in Las Vegas and missed five weeks of competition from mid-December to late January.  Expect Spahn to have a great senior year.

Holy Cross' roster is also very deep.  Available Tigers with double-digits in their "win" columns are: Dylan Lauriano (14-8); Charles Sauerwin, III (18-2); Logan LaCoste (23-17); Colin Clement (31-13), Cameron Doyle (12-19); Brandon Do (11-13); Anthony Sciambre (17-8), Hayden Brodnax (12-12) and Cameron Drummond (16-10).

Airline, Comeaux, St. Amant, Catholic, Sulphur and East Ascension

The remaining top-10 Division I teams may not challenge for team trophies, but nothing stops them from meriting individual accomplishments.  In doing so, several could be deemed "spoilers," who can significantly affect the team championship races.

Airline High School

Jamarcus Gay winning the
St. Michael Warrior Open
Airline has four wrestlers who placed in the top-six in 2017.  Matt Salinas should lead the Vikings as a returning state champion.  Peyton Bass (6th-place), Thomas Barringer (6th-place) and Darryl Evans (4th-place) should not be overlooked.  Weight classes in the 2018 state championships have yet to be determined, but if they stay similar in the heavier weight classes (often the case with older "big" wrestlers), then Evans has a great chance.  At 182 lbs. last year, Evans was the only junior to place.  The other five placers were seniors and thus lost to graduation.

The Vikings suffered a huge loss when Jamarcus Gay, who would be a senior this season, was shot and killed on June 18th while visiting his father.  Gay, 16, started wrestling for Airline as a freshman in 2014 and posted a 6-11 record.  He missed competition in his sophomore year, but made-up for that with a 20-10 record as a junior.  He won the St. Michael "Warrior Open" on November 5th, 2016, defeating the second and first seeds for the championship.  He was the runner-up at the "Riot on the Red" on December 3rd, 2016, and he went 2-2 for the Vikings at the 2017 state championships.

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Comeaux has several wrestlers with the potential to place high in their weight classes.  Dylan Ames should compete well, as should Dyllon Bernard, who placed fourth in 2017.  Hadley Trahan, Brennan Sturm and Shelby Savoie each placed 6th and will look to improve those finishes.  Hunter Broussard needed one more win to reach the medal round, as did Charles Hudson.

St. Amant lost several good wrestlers to graduation, including state champion Sage Nugent and runner-up Brier Babin.  Returning placers are Hunter Hawkins (3rd), Tyree Morris (5th) and Nakie Brown (4th).  Waiting for another chance to place (2017 record in parentheses), and with more wins than losses in the 2016-17 season, are Corey Brownell (20-19), Joseph Cagayao (25-11), Seth Signorelli (13-12), Jestin Dunn (14-9) and Murphy Savoy (18-12).

Catholic returns placers Luke Romano (6th) and runner-up Jacob Fereday (44-7 record).  Fereday has been a finalist in the last two seasons, losing in 2016 to Airline's Christian Walden and in 2017 to Joey Foret of Holy Cross.  The Bears lost six of their state starters to graduation, but should still be strong this season.  Returning state wrestlers who did not place include Hunter Goodson (30-13), Liam Cave (23-15) and Ben Bordelon (17-8).  Coach Tommy Prochaska also has three wrestlers with double-digit wins: Clayton Torres (18-19), Joseph Price (16-15) and Macullen Mire (12-11), as well as a lot of young wrestlers waiting for their turn at a state championship.

Sulphur will be led by 2017 runner-up Dustin Doucet.  The Golden Tornado will also return Blaine Wright (15-13), Hunter Gustin (12-7) and Hunter Johnson (23-15) from their 2017 state line-up.  Members of the Golden Tornado who did not enter the 2017 state championships, yet still recorded double-digits in their "win" columns, are Brantley Borrell (11-16), Jace Dufresne (10-4) and Slade Manlief (10-10).  Coach Jean-Paul Duhon is not lacking for athletes, as he has 44 wrestlers from whom to pick.

East Ascension should return two placers.  Jordan Campbell finished 4th and Trent Mahoney placed 5th.  For most people speaking about East Ascension, the Louisiana Classic comes to mind.  The freshman Mahoney pinned three-time defending state champion Steven Shields in the semifinals.  A little earlier, Jackson DeGruy defeated state champion Cole Clement and made it to the finals.  Mahoney was "on a roll," though, as he scored a fall in 2:57 to win the championship (and the Outstanding Wrestler award).  Shields returned the favor in the finals of the Ken Cole Memorial, and at the state tournament, with Mahoney placing fifth in those events.  No one should underestimate Mahoney this season.  Aside from Mahoney only one other Spartan, junior Jordan Campbell, placed in the event, finishing 4th.

Others to keep an eye on in Division I: Bobby Jicks of Barbe (4th in 2017), Michael Housey of Mandeville (5th in 2017), Gavin Bonilla of Bonnabel (6th in 2017).

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Division II

Division II has six teams that have the possibility of a team championship.  Those six teams are separated by only 0.24 points, so an upset here or there may be the difference for those vying for a team trophy.  The difference between #6 Rayne (0.68) and #7 Carencro (0.94) is 0.26 points.  Based on those numbers, wrestlers from Carencro, North Desoto, Central and Grace King will be striving for individual championships rather than team ones.

Eight Division II state champions are expected to return for the 2017-18 season:

Cooper Simon
Rayne
Blake Mateu
Rummel
Trey Fontenot
Parkway
Trevor Tamburo
Parkway
Dawson Mire
Rummel
Martin Garrett
Shaw
Tyler Carriere
Rayne
Anthony Ingram
Live Oak

Place 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
School Parkway Rummel Live Oak Teurlings Catholic Belle Chasse Rayne Carencro North Desoto Central Grace King
Number of 1st-6th Returners 6 6 4 8 5 5 4 2 1 None
Power Rating 0.44 0.47 0.56 0.58 0.64 0.68 0.94 2.50 6.00 N/A

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Parkway

Power Rating: 0.44
The Panthers will have two returning state champions, Trey Fontenot and Trevor Tamburo, among their top-six returning wrestlers.  Dalton Driggers was a 2017 runner-up, and two other Panthers, Zachary Harper and Darryl Nicholas, each placed third.  Carlton Sanders, who placed 6th, should return for the 2018 state championships.  The Panthers will return five wrestlers who competed in, but did not place in, the 2017 championships, and each had double-digit wins in the 2016-17 season.  Those five consist of sophomores Joshua Keeler (31-16), Kaleb Garcia (35-14) and Peyton Miller (19-34), and juniors Miguel Ensino (14-23) and Brandon Nelson (11-14).

Three more wrestlers will comprise a full team for Parkway, and they have several who can fill those spots with winning records and double-digit wins.  They include Kaden Nelson (21-13), Andrew Tamburo (24-8), Dakota Dean (18-8) and Nicholas Dean (25-11).

Rummel

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Power Rating: 0.47
New coach Mark Bogart will have two returning state champions on his team.  Blake Mateau will be seeking his third Division II state championship (and his third consecutive Louisiana Classic title).  An advantage of having Mateu is that he can compete and win in several weight classes.  This allows him to be moved around if needed to knock-off important members of the other Division II team contenders.  Dawson Mire is the other returning state champion, and Chris Montalbano was a runner-up in 2017.  The other returning Raiders who placed in the top-six are Dylan Hezeau (3rd), Andreas Denapolis (4th) and Isaac Suarez (6th).  Somewhere in the mix will be freshman Jacob Ramirez, who is likely to be a Raider starter.  Four other Raiders, Jack Graham, Alex Konnerup, Peyton Kosplich and Brendan Henley, gained state tournament experience last season.

A potential problem for the Raiders is a lack of depth.  Last year's roster included 27 wrestlers.  Four were lost to graduation and another moved, leaving the Raiders with only eight non-starters to push the limits of the 14 starters.    More will come as Coach Bogart recruits.

The Raiders have a legitimate shot at the 2018 Division II team title.  To win it, though, they need to be injury-free, and they cannot afford many mistakes.

Live Oak

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Power Rating: O.56
Live Oak only has four wrestlers who placed in the 2017 state championships, but one, Anthony Ingram, went home a state champion, and two others, freshmen Jordan Chenevert and Camdyn Ingram, were runners-up.  Another freshman last season was Clayton Hill, who placed fourth.  Returning non-placers should be Seth Hooper, Jacob Johnson, Tyler Braun, Austin Cook and Gabriel Philpot.

Coach Chris Collier may find filling the remaining spots difficult.  Bailey Hebert (17-10) and Dayton Bourque (15-7) are the only wrestlers on last season's roster who had double-digit wins and winning overall records.

If not this season, the Eagles will be formidable in the nest three years.  (Aye, "nest" was a typo for "next," but in a very liberal sense, it works.)

Teurlings Catholic

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Power Rating: 0.58
The four-time defending Division II champions lost five seniors to graduation, including George Femmer, their sole 2017 state champion.  The Rebels' returning placers should be Colten Sonnier and Charles Travasos, who bother placed 3rd.  Joseph Houston and Mile Santiago placed 4th, Matthew Carrier placed 5th and Brett Schneider, Kross Guillory and Braydon Domigue each placed 6th.  Only Blake McKee did not place among the 2017 starters.  He fell one win less than he needed for a placement match, and that was only a three-point loss, 10-7.

For a full roster at the state championships Coach Kent Masson needs to fill five spots.  Austin Pratt (25-20), Charles Lewis (15-13) and Noah Garza (17-14) had double-digit winning records, and the Rebels have plenty of younger wrestlers to fill the available lower weight classes.  Given a couple of championships from last year's placers could mean another team trophy.

Belle Chasse

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Power Rating: 0.64
The Cardinals have five returning wrestlers from last season's state championships, and they lost five to graduation.  Their best finish in 2017 was by Hayden Hess, who made it to the finals but lost to Rummel's Dawson Mire.  Their other returning placers are Bryson Falcon, who placed 4th, and Francisco Castro, Anthony Berlinghoff and Bryce Fisher, who each placed 5th.  

Gavin Merchant (13-12) and Davion Turner (21-16) had the best records of returning wrestlers who did not participate in the 2017 state championships, and Coach Michael Cronin has a slew of younger wrestlers to fill any team vacancies.  Perhaps not this season, but in the following two seasons the Cardinals should be contending for a Division II Brother Melchior trophy.

Rayne

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Power Rating: 0.68
Graduation took three state championships starters, including Torin Benoit, who placed 3rd, and Charles Solomon, who placed 5th.   Rayne will be led by seniors and returning state champions Cooper Simon and Tyler Carriere, and junior Morgan Manuel who placed 3rd.  Two other starters, Sean Thevenet and Trevor Young, placed 6th.  Returning non-placers include seniors Anthony Guillory and Jordan McCrory, junior Christian Svendsen, and sophomores William Billings, Dylan Istre and Miles Doucet.

Coaches Trevor Carriere and Patrick Manuel only have one returning wrestler, Collin Thibodeaux, with a winning record in double-digits (10-5), but the Wolves have plenty of others to fill the three places remaining from the 2017 state championships.

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Carencro

Carencro had two finalists in 2017, brothers Taylor and Billy Clay.  Should either of them win in 2018, they could be spoilers as far as the team championship goes.  

North Desoto

North Desoto's Richard Mack, III, who will only be a sophomore, may be North Desoto's best chance for a title, placing 5th in 2017.  Another freshman, Christopher Norris, also placed 5th for the Griffins.

Central

Central only has one returning wrestler from the 2017 state championships, Braydon Williams, who placed 6th.

Grace King

While they have no returning placers, and lost nine wrestlers to graduation, Grace King has seven returners with state tournament experience.  Junior Christian Levet may represent the Irish's best bet in 2018, but they only have 16 returning wrestlers to fill 14 weight classes.  That figure will change with the addition of new wrestlers this season, but it will be hard for the Irish to be contenders this season.

Others to keep an eye on in Division II: Martin Garrett of Shaw will be a returning state champion, and Eduardo Garcia a returning runner-up for the Eagles.  Lawson Turner, Dane Harter and Lance Robinson of St. Michael should fare well in 2018, as should Benton's Jordan Myles and Haydon Shankle.  Northwood's Terrell Ford was unseeded yet placed 5th in the state championships.  Sam Houston returners include Christian Sacthell (3rd), Kanyn Barton (4th) and Nicholas Breaud (6th).

Division III

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Winning the Division III team championship might come down to which school can enter a 14-person roster.  In 2016 and 2017, De la Salle won with 13 wrestlers.  Brusly, who placed second to the Cavaliers in those years, only had 10 in 2016 and 12 in 2017.  St. Louis had 12 in 2017.

Eight Division III state champions are expected to return for the 2017-18 season:

Alex Yokubaitis
St. Louis
Jourdan Theall
North Vermillion
Sam Pitts
Ouachita Christian
Gavin Christ
Basile
Robert Christman
St. Louis
Brandon Turner
South Plaquemines
Eric Hamrick
De la Salle
Jeremiah Jones
De la Salle

Place 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
School De la Salle Ouachita Christian St. Louis Brusly Basile North Vermillion John Curtis Lakeside Hannan Kaplan
Number of 1st-6th Returners 8 6 8 6 5 4 5 4 3 2
Power Rating 0.31 0.39 0.45 0.50 0.76 0.81 0.84 1.06 1.89 2.50

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De la Salle

Power Rating: 0.31
In 2016 The Cavaliers won a Division III team championship, staving off Brusly who finished second by 25.5 points.  The Cavaliers had no individual state champions that year.  In 2017 the Cavaliers won the team title again, and had three individual titlists in Conrad Wyre, Eric Hamrick and Jeremiah James, and outscored runner-up Brusly by 20 points.  It will take a full and talented team to keep the Cavaliers from scoring a "hat trick."

The Cavaliers will have eight returning placers from in the 2017 team.  State champions Eric Hamrick and James, as well as runners-up Jeffrey Hefner and Ryan Hamrick, are returning.  Jamar Brown and Alex Ormond placed third in 2017, and Grant Gebo and Charlie Carr each placed 4th.  They lost Raekwon Thomas, Conrad Wyre and Sean Barbarin due to graduation, a trio that included a state champion (Wyre), a state runner-up (Thomas) and a 4th-place finisher (Barbarin).  Coach Rod Cusachs has two others with state experience, Andrew Young and Bryce Langford, and thus has just four spots open.  His remaining roster from 2017 consists of eight wrestlers with a combined record of 22-9.  Jamiran Jones had the only winning record at 5-0, but to earn a spot on the roster he would have to beat his brother Jeremiah or, less likely, drop to 220 and beat Eric Hamrick.  Both scenarios are very unlikely.

Ouachita Christian

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Power Rating: 0.39
Anomaly Alert - Ouachita Christian Academy is the only school that does not adhere to the editor's expectations.

The Eagles are not going to win the Division III team championship - that cannot be done with only six wrestlers, even if all six win titles. 

The returning Eagles, all of whom placed in the 2017 state championships, together have an average placement of 2.33, resulting in an 0.39 "Power Rating."  Only Live Oak has a better average placement at 2.25, but those Eagles only have five returning placers, resulting in a 0.56 "Power Rating"

Returning will be Sam Pitts, who won the first state championship for the Eagles at 120 lbs.  Three Eagles were runners-up: Michael Gordy at 132 lbs., Matthew Matherne at 145 lbs. and Matthew Webre 152 lbs.  Connor Costello placed 3rd at 160 lbs. and Cole Ringle placed 4th at 138 pounds.  All but Gordy are seniors, and the Eagles may be the most damaging "spoilers" of the tournament.

St. Louis

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Power Rating: 0.45
St. Louis, which placed third in 2017, returns state champions in Alex Yokubaitis (106 lbs.) and Robert Christman (138 lbs.).  Also returning should be 3rd-place winner Adam Verrett (145 lbs.), 4th-place winner Cameron Witherwax (113 lbs.) and 5th-place winners in Noah Berryhill (132 lbs.), Joseph Vincent (152 lbs.), William Gage (160 lbs.) and Kyle Guidry (220 lbs.).  Other returning state starters in 2017 were Nick Sullivan and Noah Comeaux.

Coach Terry Gage might, depending upon how much the Saints weigh, find six state novices to complete a 14-man team.  He has two wrestlers with wins in the double digits - Blake Granger (10-6) and John Patrick (11-15).  Other wrestlers who may compete in Bossier City next February are Brenon Nash, Noah Comeaux, Stephen Taylor, Jackson Gerber, Cooper Gregory, Edward Meaux and Chandler Cormier.

Brusly

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Power Rating: 0.50
The Panthers lost all three of their state champions in 2017 as Austin Franklin, Owen Mabile and Richard Hunter graduated.  Returning placers include David Kent (2nd at 106), Caleb Balcuns (2nd at 126 lbs.), Brandon Young (2nd at 220 lbs. - though it should be noted that Young won a title in 2016), Hunter Richey (3rd at 120 lbs.), Ethan Cascio (3rd at 132 lbs.), and Matthew Anderson (6th at 138 lbs.)  Other returning state starters ware Shane Dearman, Devin Eschette and Matthew Ganaway. 

According to the 2016-17 TrackWrestling page, they only have seven others who can fill those five openings to enter 14: Austin Horton, Landon Babin, Kaden Gillikin, Javen Thompson, Hunter Dix and Kevin DeLoch.  Those seven have a combined record of 26-49, but should get plenty of experience during the season to earn a spot on the state championships roster.

Basile, North Vermillion, John Curtis, Lakeside, Hannan and Kaplan:

Basile only entered 10 wrestlers in 2017, and six placed, but Brennan Langley, a 2016 state champion and a runner-up last year, was lost to graduation.  The biggest threat from the Bearcats will be Gavin Christ, a junior seeking his third Division II finals.  Sophomore Isaac Cortez is also a threat - just a non-consistent one.  Master Cortez can whip a state contender or lose to someone of whom nobody has ever heard.

North Vermillion returns 2017 state champion and OW winner Jourdan Theall and third-place winner Drake Griffin.

John Curtis will be bolstered by Colton Kendrick (3rd at 106 lbs.), Brendon Wilcox (4th at 132 lbs.), Joha Anderson (3rd at 170 Lbs.) and Eric Bumgarden (4th at 285 lbs.) and Logan McIver (4th at 152 lbs.).

Lakeside returns junior D.J. Harvey, who was a runner-up at 285 lbs. in 2017

Hannan needs another year to be competitive.  Five will have to rely on the 2017-2018 season, but 15 of them have two years left.

Kaplan returns a runner-up in Adam Gaspard, a state champion in 2017, Trae Case, two 5th-place wrestlers in Trae Case at 170 lbs. (and a runner-up in 2016) and Austin Stelly, who placed 4th in 2016 and 5th last season at 195 lbs.

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