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Daily Local News’ wrestling team previews

Ches-Mont National Division

Avon Grove Red Devils

Head coach: Frank McCue

Last season: 1-4 division, 9-10 overall

Key wrestlers: Nick Barnhart, Jr., 145; Jordan Howard, Sr., 113; Jake Bosio, Sr., 138

Outlook: Avon Grove has a trio of returning regional qualifiers in Barnhart, Bosio and Howard to lead the way for an otherwise unaccomplished group. Barnhart had a strong initial year for the Red Devils, winning 24, including a pair at regionals. Howard won 24 as well in his first trip to regionals, and Bosio saved the best for last, pulling off a couple upsets in the postseason. 

Coatesville Red Raiders

Head coach: Jeff Bowyer

Last season: 4-1 division, 8-6 overall

Key wrestlers: Alex Raimondo, Sr., 195; Ryan Dellicompagni, Sr., 138; Brennan McBride, Soph., 106; Nate Gathercole, Sr., 145

Outlook: Bowyer takes over the program after a successful tenure by Bear Stephens. He will have a solid core to go forward with, starting with seniors Raimondo and Dellicompagni. Both reached regionals a year ago, with Raimondo finishing sixth, one spot away from a trip to states.  McBride will pair nicely with talented freshman, Nathan Lucier (113). Coatesville has had a state medalist five straight, but no one this roster has made it to Hershey yet.

Downingtown East Cougars

Head coach: Joe Horvath

Last season: 1-4 division, 11-11 overall

Key wrestlers: Lukas Richie, Jr., 126; Josh Wileczek, Sr., 195; Brett Horne, Sr., 138; Keanu Manuel, Fr., 106

Outlook: The Cougars lost two 30-win wrestlers to graduation, but bring most of its lineup back with just four seniors in it. Richie is the leader of the pack after finishing second in the region last year and making his first trip to states. Wileczek had a disappointing end of last year after reaching regionals as a sophomore, but he will be in the mix in the upper weights. There are seven ninth or 10th graders in the projected lineup, and the best is Manuel, who won a Pennsylvania Junior Wrestling title last year, but will be an undersized 106-pounder.

Downingtown West Whippets

Head coach: Brad Breese

Last season: 5-0 division, 16-6 overall

Key wrestlers: Doug Zapf, Sr., Sr., 120; Nick Lilley, Sr., 138; Gavin Hale, Sr., 152; Max Hale, Soph., 182; Joe Shafer, Jr., 195

Outlook: The Whippets reached their first state duals last year after a fourth-place finish and the expectations are to improve on that. It starts with Zapf, who won a state title at 106 last year. West is very solid in the second half of its lineup with the Hale brothers, Shafer, as well as promising sophomores Pat Cusak (160) and Chase Meilnick (170) and solid seniors, Christ Madanat (220) and Jesse Cook (285). Lilley reached states as a junior, making West the clear choice in the National Division and one of the favorites in District 1.

West Chester East Vikings

Head coach: John Gallo

Last season: 1-4 division, 8-8 overall

Key wrestlers: Andrew DiBernardo, Jr., 182; Corey Celenza, Jr., 126; Tommy Luke, Sr., 132; Jamison Eadie, Soph., 138

Outlook: DiBernardo and Celenza are returning regional qualifiers, and Celenza finished sixth as a 31-match winner. Luke was a regional qualifier as a sophomore and he hopes to return to form, and beyond. The senior is 24 wins away from 100. The Vikings only lost one starter from last season and with up-and-comer Eadie and an improved Joe Timm (285) to bolster an experienced upper-weight group, East should be more competitive this winter.

West Chester Henderson Warriors

Head coach: Rob Beighley

Last season: 3-2 division, 23-5 overall

Key wrestlers: Killian Delaney, Soph., 113; Ray Martin, Sr., 160; Matt Phayre, Sr., 152; Connor McGuinness, Sr., 195

Outlook: The Warriors graduated a couple core guys but return most of their lineup. They have a star in the making in Delaney, who made states as a freshman and beat a returning state medalist while he was there. After him, Henderson has solid group of veterans in Martin, Phayre and McGuinness, as well as another 20-match winner, Luke Phayre (132). Henderson also welcomes an accomplished freshman, Sammy McMonagle (106), to give the Warriors a strong start down low.

Ches-Mont American Division

Great Valley Patriots

Head coach: Mike Semar

Last season: 2-4 division, 12-12 overall

Key wrestlers: Ethan Seeley, Jr., 182; Luke Wilson, Sr., 145; Jack Semar, Jr., 152; Ryan Cavanaugh, Sr., 285

Outlook: The Patriots trying to build some momentum in Mike Semar’s fourth year at the helm. Individually there is some reason for optimism with a pair of regional qualifiers, Seeley and Wilson, returning, as well as a strong heavyweight in Cavanaugh, who’s currently on the mend, when healthy. Seeley finished sixth in the region and if his progression continues, he’ll end his season in Hershey. Wilson and Jack Semar give the Pats experience in the middle.

Kennett Blue Demons

Head coach: Kevin Reigel

Last season: 0-6 division, 3-12 overall

Key wrestlers: Logan Reigel, Sr., 126; Gerhardt Reiter, Sr., 132; Bryan Castaneda, Sr., 220; Trent Kochersperger, Fr., 120

Outlook: Longtime coach Tyrone Johnson retired and Kevin Reigel steps in to lead a squad with a tough trio of lightweight. Kevin’s son, Logan, and Reiter were regional qualifiers and are both in line to join the century club as both sit at 79 career wins. Castadena and sophomore Collin Watson (285) are the only other returners with double digit wins last year, but Kochersperger will give Kennett a good 1-2-3 punch down low.

Octorara Braves

Head coach: Mark Durante

Last season: 3-3 division, 12-11 overall

Key wrestlers: Liam Babauta, Sr., 120; Seth Hoopes, Jr., 113; Caden Dalton, Sr., 152

Outlook: In their last season before leaving for District 3, the Braves are hoping to claim a couple of District 1’s slots to Hershey. Babauta, Hoopes and Dalton were regional qualifiers a year ago, but are the only Braves with double digits wins last year. Babuata and Hoopes have reached regionals the past two seasons and are looking for the third time to be the charm. Babauta has 77 career wins, while Hoopes has 65. 

Oxford Hornets

Head coach: Scott Gold

Last season: 4-2 division, 14-8 overall

Key wrestlers: Brandon Sheffield, Jr., 138; Kevin Quin, Soph., 113; Anthony Spadaro, Sr., 132; Will Johnson, Jr., 170

Outlook: After a late-season injury stopped a promising season by Sheffield last winter, the junior is primed to make a run at Hershey. When he’s right he can give just about anyone a go. Around him is a pair of 20-match winners, Quin and Johnson. Spadaro and Sam Blevins (285) bring experience to the lineup and the Hornets have a handful of freshmen that can make an impact right away.

Unionville Indians

Head coach: Bill Taylor

Last season: 5-1 division, 14-7 overall

Key wrestlers: Tyler Mousaw, Soph., 170; Dom Chaclas, Jr., 120; Elijah Lyons, Jr., 285; Jacob Lehman, Jr., 132

Outlook: The Indians will likely struggle early as Chaclas and Lyons will miss time healing from injuries. With that, the spotlight will be on Mousaw, who stormed to regionals as a freshman with a funky style that resulted in 14 of his 24 wins coming by fall. Lehman and Gavin Grim (182) combined for 37 wins a year ago and give Unionville experience. When healthy, Chaclas and Lyons will attempt to improve on their fifth and sixth place finishes, respectively, at districts last winter.

West Chester Rustin Golden Knights

Head coach: Brad Harkins

Last season: 6-0 division, 18-5 overall

Key wrestlers: Collin Hurley, Jr., 152; Dan Labus, Sr., 160; Tyler Kaliner, Jr., 145; Ethan Harkins, Sr., 170

Outlook: Rustin has the best trio in the American Division in Hurley, Labus and Kaliner. Hurley and Labus made their first trips to states a year ago and Kaliner was literally seconds away from joining them. They will set the tone for the favorite in the American. Varday Jacobs transferred out and five key starters graduated, but Rustin has an influx of nice freshmen, led by Josh Viarengo (106), Charlie Baldesari (120) and Alex Partner (132).

Other Teams

Church Farm Griffins

Head coach: Art Smith

Last season: 6-1 Bicentennial League, 6-4 overall

Key wrestlers: Sebastian Corrales, Jr., 132; Noel Gilgeous, Jr., 195; Joel Gilgeous, Jr., 170; Yonbue Tanco, Sr., 145

Outlook: Church Farm has had representatives in Hershey the last two years, and with both still underclassmen, the Griffins could keep the streak going this year and beyond. Corrales made states as a freshman and will be hungry to avenge just missing out again last year. In his stead, Noel Gilgeous made his first trip after winning districts. He, along with Joel Gilgeous and Emmanuel Lawal (285) give the Griffins a strong back end, and Tanco and Senior Gyamfi join Corrales for a solid middle.

Conestoga Pioneers

Head coach: Tom Elicker

Last season: 5-3 Central League, 12-8 overall

Key wrestlers: Paul Pelham, Jr., 220; Scott Jean, Sr., 195; Ezra Toll, Soph., 132; Morgan Lofland, Fr., 113

Outlook: A Pioneer has earned a state medal the last two PIAA tournaments, but with no returning regional qualifiers, the streak will have to be continued by a dark horse. Pelham and Jean were 20-plus match winners a year ago and give Conestoga its strength up top. Toll is tied with Pelham with the most returning wins (24). Lofland will inject some youthful talent as a seventh-place finisher at the Pennsylvania Junior Wrestling tournament last year.

Malvern Prep Friars

Head coach: Nate Lautar

Last season: 4-0 Inter-Ac League, 23-1 overall

Key wrestlers: Mike Beard, Sr., 195; Ryan Karoly, Sr., 182; PJ Crane, Sr., 145; Micah Visuwan, Sr., 132; Dalton Harkins, Soph., 138; Nick Florschutz, Jr., 170

Outlook: The Friars are loaded once again, starting with Penn St. commit and two-time national prep champ, Mike Beard. Fellow two-time national champ, Karoly, make that one of the best duos in the country. Penncrest transfer, Dayton DelViscio (113), adds depth to the lightweights, who also boast Mark Salvatore (126). Visuwan, Crane and Chris Hisey are seasoned vets, and locals, Harkins, Henry Hague (160) and Florschutz will play major roles. Malvern has established itself as the clear class of the Inter-Ac as it continues its rise as a national power. Former Friar star Shane Hanson-Ashworth transferred to Council Rock South for his senior year.

Phelps School Lions

Head coach: Ira Miles

Key wrestlers: Khasim Mumim, Jr., 220; Eric Appenzeller, Sr., 126

Outlook: The Lions have a very young team and will have trouble fielding lineups, but have a pair in Mumim and Appenzeller that have the talent to qualify for nationals. Mumim is the top athlete on the team, but has dealt with injuries his first two seasons. Appenzeller placed fifth at prep states two years ago, and after not wrestling last year, is back for his senior campaign.

Westtown Quakers

Head coach: Jay Farrow

Last season: 15-5 overall

Key wrestlers: Alex Taylor, Sr., 160; Matt Rhile, Sr., 182; Ethan Gadra, Sr., 145; Zander Kramer, Sr., 170

Outlook: The Quakers finished second in the Friends School League but will have seven seniors in the lineup to make a charge back to the top. Taylor, Rhile and Gadra won at least 30 matches, each, last season, and Taylor was the highest state finisher at third. Westtown is solid from the middle on up, with Kramer, Carter Dean (195) and Alec Butler-Roberts (285). Billy Roberts (138) was a 20-match winner a year ago, as well.

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