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With nine starters back, Perrysburg is expected to extend its streak of Northern Lakes League wrestling championships to three.
“This team has the capability of being a stronger all-around team than the past two league championship teams,” said Yellow Jackets Sam Cotterman, who guided the team to title in his first two seasons. “Our room will be even more competitive this year. If this team can compete at the intensity needed each day, the end of the season results will be what they want them to be.”
Perrysburg is led by a duo of two-time NLL champs. Senior Ryan Roth, who will wrestle at 145 pounds, has 93 career wins. Junior J.P. Newton won a sectional title and went 35-6 last year.
Southview looks to be the biggest challenger under coach Jeremy Fowler, who enters his second season after guiding the Cougars to a 13-4 dual meet record and NLL runner-up finish.
But Southview finished a distant second and Fowler saw significant losses to graduation.
“We lost some great seniors last season but this team put in an incredible amount of time and effort over the off-season to make up for the graduated seniors,” Fowler said. “We will not only continue to strive toward our ultimate team goals of winning a league title and being represented at the state tournament, but also developing class act student athletes.”
Anthony Wayne coach Ryan Donley said he expects his team to be very competitive from 113 pounds to 170. But he said the team is inexperienced at the other weight classes. The Generals won the title three seasons ago.
“Perrysburg is the team to beat in the NLL but I see our group of kids as being very competitive,” Donley said.
Here's a look at the teams in predicted order of finish based on a coaches' poll:
Perrysburg had a 12-3 dual meet record and is 27-12 overall under Cotterman.
Roth placed eighth at the Division I state tournament. Newton also defended his NLL title last season.
Junior Rocco Caywood, who transferred from Maumee, also is a returning NLL champ. Caywood, who will compete at 182, also was a state qualifier.
Junior Kadin Llewellyn (170) is a two-time sectional champ. He posted a 28-7 record last year.
Senior Alec Herhold (138) took second at the league tournament and won a sectional title.
Freshman Mario Guillen (106) was a state runner-up at the junior high state meet.
“We have some young guys that can come in and make an immediate impact on this team,” Cotterman said. “We have developed more depth than we have had in the past. We have also strengthened our schedule to better prepare us for the end of the season grind.”
But he also lost six talented seniors and will be looking for leadership.
“We will strive for maturity from our four seniors,” Cotterman said. “They are competitive kids who have set the bar higher for their team.”
Southview seeks its first NLL title since 2005-06. Seven starters are back including three seniors.
Junior Tanner Ruiz (106) went 26-14 last year, was an NLL league runner-up, and is a two-time district qualifier
Junior Hunter Topolski (220) also is a district qualifier and posted a 21-14 mark.
Senior Jake Sowders (160) had a 22-14 record. Senior Brendan Mulvaney (152) posted a 24-14 record, was a league runner-up and is a returning district qualifier
Senior Spencer Boyer (20-15 at 113) placed second in the league, while junior Devon Tarschis is back at 138.
But Fowler said the team also does not have much varsity experience. “We have a promising group of 15 underclassmen who continue to improve everyday,” Fowler said.
Maumee, which won back-to-back NLL titles in 2008 and 2009, placed third last season.
Coach Mark Contos, who also led the programs at Southview, Start, and Rogers, said his team is hardworking and has a desire to get better.
Eight starters return, including five that were district qualifiers.
Senior Johnny Arroyo (195) went 27-11 and finished second in the NLL. Senior Nick Grzegorzewski (220) posted a 28-15 record and placed third at the sectional.
Junior Casey Cole (113) took third at the NLL meet and was fourth at sectional.
Sophomores Anthony Arroyo (145) and Austin Sholl (120) also were district qualifiers.
Sophomore Jeff Goatley (138) was a district alternate, while sophomore Cahle Puhl (170) took third in the NLL.
But Contos said many of his wrestlers are inexperienced at the varsity level.
“We will be getting better as our season progresses,” Contos said. “We will become more competitive and more successful and this will help our confidence levels when we get to the end of the season tournaments.”
Napoleon enters its second season in the league after finishing seventh last year.
Wildcats coach Jason Seiler has a 158-74 career record in 10 seasons.
“This is probably the most excitement I have had about a team in the last several years,” Seiler said. “Our numbers are up, but more importantly we have a group of kids that are showing up with a good attitude and working hard every day.”
He said he will look to seniors Logan Funchion (182) and Logan Mahlman (145) to set the tone at dual meets and provide a solid foundation.
“We are very young, which can lead to some early season frustration, but if the work ethic continues to be what it has been we can have some success,” Seiler said. “We have some good young talent, and many kids with varsity experience.”
Others starters include Seth Beard (113), Jacob Pedraza (120), Brandon McDowell (126), Bry Brackman (132), Seth Gerken (220), and Austin Ramsey (285).
“We will have some good competition for varsity spots in our upper weights and a couple of our better wrestlers will have a tough time making the starting line up,” Seiler said. “Our No. 1 goal is to have every one of our kids improve throughout the season.”
Anthony Wayne won the NLL in 2009-10 season under coach Ryan Donley, who enters his seventh season.
The Generals have five seniors and seven returning starters.
Vince Schneider (113), a junior, is on pace to break the school’s all-time record for wins. He is 64-22, a two-time NLL champion, and a team captain.
Senior Christian Yates (120) has a career record of 74-23. Yates has two league titles under his belt and is a team captain.
The other tri-captain is senior Spencer King, who will compete at 138.
“We have a great group of kids that like to work hard,” Donley said.
“The passion is there and the future looks bright. Our freshman class is the best we've had in years. Our veteran guys will have to assume leadership roles as our lineup will be comprised of mostly underclassmen.
Mark Nagel enters his second season at the helm at Springfield, which was a force in the league for many years.
Nagel, a former Delta two-time state runner-up, has just 17 wrestlers. His team went .500 in dual meets and finished fourth at the league tournament last season.
He has just one senior but he believes the program is on the verge of another upswing.
“Our numbers are starting to go back up, and we have a solid middle school program,” Nagel said.
Five starters are back, led by junior Kamal Smith. The heavyweight is off to a 9-0 start.
Junior Ross Lonsway (195) was a Division I district qualifier and NLL champ. He has an 8-0 record thus far.
Sophomores Nathan Dusseau (113) and Brandon Grohnke (120) started as freshmen. Junior Jacob Obregon also is back and will compete at 152.
But a lack of numbers prevents Nagel from being able to fill out a whole lineup with gaps at 160 and 170.
“We have a young group,” Nagel said. “They are working hard to get there. We're seeing steady improvement.”
Bowling Green has solid upper weights with a lot of experience, according to coach Andrew Webb.
But the Bobcats have low team numbers that leave a few open weight classes.
“We will have to overcome that,” Webb said.
He has eight returning starters and two seniors back.
Senior Devin Allen (220) and junior TJ Jacobs (195) are returning district qualifiers.
Also back are senior Anthony Gutierrez (182) and juniors Alex Gutierrez (160), Timo Anderson (285), Caleb Matheny (145), and Dallas Duron (113).
“We have a solid group of seniors and juniors that will provide leadership,” Webb said.
At Northview, Rada Eltatawy takes over the program after serving as an assistant there along with stops at Whitmer and Central Catholic.
Five seniors are part of a group of 14 wrestlers including returning starters Josh Parrish, Jack Pawelczyk, Mahdi Joloudi, Austin Snook, Matt Hosler, and Scott Harrison.
Senior Jacob Connors (138) is off to a 7-0 start. Harrison, a senior at 220, is 7-1. Parrish, also a senior, is 7-1 at 152.
Pawelczyk (145, 5-2) and Snook (285, 5-2) also are seniors.
Eltatawy said he has solid wrestlers that are great on their feet and are in excellent physical condition.
But he said he also has a young team.
“Our goal is to compete with the best teams in northwest Ohio,” Eltatawy said.