The Lakers are a team that could come into its own this season, if a few small things fall into place.
“Our key to success this year will be to prevent injury and to get our inexperienced guys rounded out so they can produce for us,” coach David Miller said. “We have a couple of state-caliber wrestlers on our team and we are going to need them to push the room to improve overall.”
Back in the lineup for PV is state qualifier Zach Campbell (132) as well as his fellow seniors Kris Leonard (120) and Cody Ellis (182), juniors Cody Miller 138), Dominic Wolf (145) and J.T. Willis (170) and sophomore Clancy McCall (195).
Fighting for places at the table will be senior David Baker (220), juniors Collin Winkler (160-170), Austin O’Baker (195), Bruce Pavlovski (220) and Shawn Shreves (285), sophomores Gary Baker (138-145), Justin Kordic (113), Lucas Hinkle (138), Christian Sanchez (285) and Cordell McMahon (285) and freshmen Kegen Hoopes (106-113), Tyler Conoboy (132), Phillip Martin (160) and Joe Henderson (220).
The Lakers made a run at the EOWL title a year ago, only to be thwarted by rival Grand Valley. This year, they will make another run, though the conference makeup will have changed a bit.
“It will be interesting to see how things will work out with Jefferson entering the EOWL this year,” Miller said. “It will help the level of competition in the league.
“We have a tough schedule again this year with going to Kenston and Pin City as well as adding going to Greenville this year for the Sheetz Kickoff Classic.”
The Beavers have a strong core group of wrestlers returning in state placer Evan Rosborough (220) and district qualifiers senior Jake Denman (160) and juniors Nick Boggs (132) and Connor Rigsby (152).
Those four will be surrounded by seniors Dalton Anderson (126), Alex Ivary (145), Jose Llamas (170) and Steve Stocker (195), juniors Brandon Leber (132), Jeremy Junsman (138), Mike Person (145), Chad Ely (182), sophomores Zach Van Pelt (120), Nick Pruter (138), Joey Antalik (145), Brandon Ricci (160), Will Krcal (160), Zack Novak (170), Frank McKeon (170), Nick Denman (182) and Jake Militello (195), and freshmen Mecca Short (106) and Spencer Boggs (145).
If coach Scott Blank can fill a hole or two, the Beavers will be a formidable foe.
“We have several district qualifiers who won several matches at Mentor last season and have one state placer at 220 lbs. weight class in Evan Rosborough,” Blank said. “Nick Boggs, Connor Rigsby and Jake Denman were all very close to qualifying last year.
“We are still looking for a heavyweight and 113 for the team to be a strong dual team. I expect to do well this season in the tournament setting.”
Ettinger is a freelance writer from Ashtabula. Reach him at email@example.com.