The 2011-12 season was a banner year for coach Steve Paratto and the Mustangs.
Grand Valley won the Eastern Ohio Wrestling League championship, contended for a sectional title, qualified a number of young men to the district meet and had three representatives make the trip to Columbus for the state meet.
The goal for Paratto and his 10 returning lettermen is to sustain that level of success.
“The seniors and juniors need to set the tone for all the new guys,” Paratto said. “We have a large freshman class that needs to figure out early that hard work and serious commitment is expected.
After participating in the state tournament last year, senior Sean Szitas (152) and junior Glenn Zaller will aim for repeat performances. Seniors Travis Pelles (138) and Heath Martin (126) and junior Luke Baldwin (160) are shooting to join them.
That group will be expected to set the example for the remainder of the Mustangs.
“Two returning qualifiers and several returning district qualifiers should provide great leadership to the young guys. There is not much practice time before the first tournament so we need to get to work early. There’s no time to mess around.”
Other returning letterwinners include senior Jake Wilcom (285), juniors Jason Takacs (220), Erin Bragg (285) and Jack Scott (220) and sophomore Justin Lamar (285).
Junior Jerome Walker (195) and freshmen Craig Anderson (130), Alex Marsh (113), Kyle Dodd (145), Cody Howsen (170), Cody Freeman (145), Nathan Myers (160), Murphy Griffin (132), Devan Salsgiver (113) and Michael Miller (113) will all contribute in some way.
Winning the EOWL title the first time wasn’t easy. It might be more difficult to defend that championship.
“After having won the conference last year, I’m not really sure what to expect this year,” Paratto said. “PV is always tough and South Range also some tough kids. I told my kids that last year they won it, now this year, it’s their job to defend it.”