The wrestling season has begun. Here are previews of wrestling teams in the Suburban Life Media coverage area.
DOWNERS GROVE NORTH
Coach: Christopher McGrath
2016-17 record: 18-6
Outlook: Nate Cummings, at 113 pounds, was sixth in the state last season and 152-pounder Gavin Barton was a national qualifier this summer. Jim Flavin, at 215 pounds, was a sectional qualifier last year. Brad Rosen at 120 and Ethan Smith at heavyweight are both returning all-conference wrestlers from a Trojans' team that graduated nine senior starters.
"We will take our lumps early in the season," McGrath said, "but be very tough in the second half when our new guys get the experience they need."
DOWNERS GROVE SOUTH
Coach: Sean Lovelace.
2016-17 record: 17-7
Outlook: The Mustangs return much of the team that won their third straight West Suburban Gold title, plus a group that won the freshman and JV titles. Senior Sergio Villalobos (195 pounds, 38-6) last year took third in the state at 195 last year. Seniors Jacob Holous 170/182, 30-12) and junior Matt Straus (113/120, 33-15) are also returning sectional qualifiers. Other top returners include junior Dylan Knoch (132, 24-17) and junior Tyler Bachara (152/160, 18-18). David Lee, Girgis Abd and Kuba Diggory are other seniors back.
Coach: Kevin Carlson
2016-17 record: 25-3
Outlook: The Rams come off a record-breaking year, finishing 23rd in the state, and are currently ranked 17th. Sophomore Reese Martin (120 pounds, 38-6 last year), senior Cole Martin (160, 31-8) and junior Jesus Lopez (220, 26-14) are all returning sectional qualifiers, Martin and Lopez conference champions. Also returning are junior Alex Posada (145, 30-8) and senior Nick Guthrie (132, 28-13). Others to watch include freshman Jimmy Espinoza (106), junior Tyler Salvino (126), sophomore Emiliano Garcia (138), junior Jake Netchin (170), junior Ben Pham (195) and junior James McNicholas (285).
Coach: Derrick Crenshaw
2016-17 record: 14-10
Outlook: The Raiders graduated nine seniors and return just three starters from the team that too third in conference and second at regionals.
Senior Adam Haushahn (220 pounds) is a returning Class 2A state qualifier and regional champion.
Coach: Nick Posegay
Outlook: A senior-deep lineup provides plenty of optimism. Catron Frazier (113) went 37-7 last yer and is a returning state qualifier. Four-year varsity starter Peyton Nimsakont (145 pounds, 28-11) will join returning sectional qualifiers Aaron Castellanos (132, 37-11) and Connor Skryd (220, 15-9). Other returning starters include Will Vesevick (138, 27-11), Danny Hasso (152, 13-17) and Jakub Maciorowski (195, 15-12).
"This year's group has plenty of varsity experience and they should push each other toward a very business-like approach to their work," Posegay said.
Coach: Jason Hayes.
2016-17 record: 13-8
Outlook: Junior Luke Skokna (160 pounds, 38-9 last year) and senior Caleb Lagestee (170, 30-14) lead a group of eight returning starters. Others back include senior Liam Drury (145, 27-20), senior Adam Jaber (170, 11-6), senior Lonnell Smith Jr. (182, 12-12), junior John Antonelli (152, 17-17), junior Jack McCarthy (145, 26-18) and sophomore Ron Kruse (132, 19-20).
IC CATHOLIC PREP
Coach: Kevin Sliva
2016-2017 record: 10-16
Outlook: Sliva, previously an assistant coach, takes over a Knights' program coming off its highest conference finish in school history and has the most-ever wrestlers out. Senior Joe Bianchini, now at 138 pounds, went 38-1 last year and won ICCP's first state wrestling championship. He's a three-time state qualiifer and Illinois National Team member. Senior Victor Vargas (195/220) went 36-12 last year and finished sixth in the state. Sophomore Joe Scott (170) and junior David Vargas (220/285) are returning sectional qualifiers. Freshman Kyle Franklin (160/170) finished fourth in IKWF State last year.
"We'll be deeper than last season," Sliva said. "We have much more experience in the lineup, and more wrestlers who trained in the offseason.
Coach: Griff Powell
2016-17 record: 11-8
Outlook: The Lions, who graduated three state place winners, return sectional finalists in sophomore Jimmy Ruston (29-17) and senior Domenic Campo (9-10). Other returning wrestlers include sophomore Trevor Hillard (9-9), senior Bobby Montesano (4-9), senior Reno Sarussi (7-13), senior Anthony Cappa (4-8), senior Jared Gellner (2-6), sophomore Declan Gallagher (2-3), senior Wes Beeler (3-5).
Coach: Barry Castrogiovanni
2016-17 record: 21-8
Outlook: The Mustangs return one starter – senior Oscar Miranda (22-8 last year) from a team that set a school record for wins. Filling out the lineup are sophomore Adrian Guzman, sophomore Jonathan Lopez, junior Alex Velasco, junior Jose Jabobo, junior Giovanni Garcia, senior Kevin Del Toro Romo, junior Ceasar Solis, junior Robert Ochoa, sophomore Arturo Acevedo, sophomore Devin Rogers, sophomore Colin Ruiz, senior Brian Sosa and senior Bryan Marquez.
"This will be the biggest rebuilding season that we've had in 21 years since I've been at Morton," Castrogiovanni said. "Some of our wrestlers will take their lumps but the future looks bright."
Coach: Denis Laughlin
2016-17 record: 10-9.
Outlook: Sophomore 145-pounder Alex Carrillo, 28-9 last year and a returning state qualifier, leads seven returning starters for the Roadrunners. Senior Gavin Smith (285 pounds, 23-8) was a win away from state last year, as was junior Louie Stec (220, 26-10), also Stec is injured and his return is uncertain.
Also back is senior Jack Faine (126, 17-8), sophomore Elijah Pesek (160, 10-11), sophomore Robert Gurley (170, 15-15) and junior Stan Suter (182, 11-14).
Coach: Dan Page
2016-2017 record: 11-12
Outlook: Junior Danny Skold, currently ranked in Class 2A, is one to watch for the Spartans. St. Francis returns regional champions in junior Ben Bougadis (126) and senior Vince D'Orazio (132) and a regional runner-up in junior Colin James (152). Freshman Michael D'Orazio (113) is another top St. Francis wrestler.
"We are looking to turn heads," said second-year coach Page. "The goal is to win regionals, but we have five kids who have gread roads down to state."
WHEATON WARRENVILLE SOUTH
Coach: Matthew Janosek
Outlook: The Tigers return 10 starters and four others with varsity experience, with a big group of seniors to lead. Hunter Edwards (28-12) and Ramiro Ferrer (21-12) are returning sectional qualifiers. Nate Dalan (28-8) was a sectional alternate. Others to watch include David Dorr, Micah Burgess, Preston Berry, Peyton Berry and Max Wilson.
"We will continue to work hard as a team and focus on getting better each week," Janosek said.
Coach: Justin Swider
2016-17 record: 4-20
Outlook: The Warriors' program is growing, going from a handful of wrestlers three years ago to 14 last year and now 25 this year.
Seniors Derek Johanik (220 pounds, 26-9 last year), Connor Scanlan (160, 21-16), sophomore Noah Szajkovics (126, 11-16), senior Graham Wall (285, 12-22) are all returning sectional qualifiers, as is junior Rylen Hershey (132 pounds). Freshme to watch are Jonathon Vanderbilt (106) and Alex Ventimilla (113).
"The program is on the rise," Swider said.
Coach: Michael DiNovo
2016-2017: Sixth in West Suburban Silver.
Outlook: The Dukes will be young, but program-wide the numbers are up the last three years. Junior Antonio Gutierrez, 26-12 last year, is a third-year starter. Senior Ryan Costello (19-19 last year) and senior Anthony Costello (19-19) also return. Key newcomers include senior Jake Smallwood (160), senior Sam Cozzi (145), junior Zach Armstrong (170), junior Jason Lewis (145), sophomore Grant Scaro (132), sophomore Josh Mathiason (285) and freshman Alex Gutierrez (106).