The Reporter/Times Herald/Montgomery Media 2022-2023 Wrestling Preview

It would not be a wrestling season without a little bit of tinkering to the system.

The PIAA added a pound to each of its lowest six weight classes, which for 2022-2023 will be 107, 114, 121, 127, 133 and 139 with the remaining seven weights – 145, 152, 160, 172, 183, 215 and 285 – staying the same.

While change is a constant in high school sports, several The Reporter/Times Herald/Montgomery Media wrestling squads are out to maintain and build on recent success on the mats.

Pennridge is out to defend the Suburban One League Liberty Division title, the Rams returning most of its lineup including junior Cole Coffin, who qualified for states at 113 and finished 32-12 last year.

“We only lost one varsity starter from last season to graduation, so we have high expectations for the team this year,” Pennridge coach Brian Kuhns said. “The team has worked hard in the offseason and is looking forward to an exciting season.”

North Penn looks to reclaim the Colonial crown it captured in 2021 while Souderton and new head coach Billy McGinley look to be contenders in the division.

“Our goal is to develop our younger talent and push our upperclassmen to their goals for the state tournament,” McGinley said. “I think we can surprise some people this year.”

In the SOL Liberty, Quakertown has been one of the District 1’s top sides and the Panthers have another strong group again. Sophomore Collin Gaj was fourth at PIAAs while Calvin Lachman and Mason Ziegler are both returning state qualifiers.

Springfield-Montco is set on earning another SOL Freedom Division title. The Spartans return three wrestlers – that helped them finish second at the District 1/12-2A Championships in senior Jason Morrisy, junior Nick Caruso and sophomore Keith Livezey.

“The league will be competitive with Upper Moreland returning a strong team and Cheltenham and Tennent with big teams that will challenge as well,” Springfield coach Corey McCaslin said. “We have some tough non-league matches scheduled with Upper Dublin, Souderton and Upper Perk with hopes to have our team ready for some deep postseason runs.”

Faith Christian topped Springfield at districts with the Lions proceeding to finish third at both South East 2A Regionals and the PIAA-2A Championships. Faith returns five state qualifiers including sophomore medalists Gauge Botero (third at 113) and Max Stein (sixth at 132).

Coach: Brandon Johnson (second season).
League: Friends Schools League.
Last Season: 1-7.
Key Losses: Clay Lewis, Sosie Treadwell.
Top Returners: Elias Davatzes (Sr., 152), Bella Washington-Vazquez (Sr., 126).
Others to Watch: Myles Griffin (Fr., 132), Jackson McWilliams (So., 120), David Rubin (Fr., 138).
Outlook: This season is looking very promising for this year’s Roos squad,” Johnson said. “Last year we had six wrestlers on the roster, this year we have 10 wrestlers on the roster with four returning wrestlers ready to make some noise this year. It’s important to mention we have Bella Washington-Vasquez coming back after being the first girl in Roos history to place second in the national preps tournament last year along with receiving the all-league reward.
“We are still missing a few weights which might hold us back in team matches but with the hard work the team puts in together there’s no doubt many will have individual success on the mats.”

Coach: Eyvind Boyesen (30th season).
League: Friends Schools League.
Last Season: 14-7.
Key Losses: Nico Boulajeris, Lucas Weinstein, Jax Marion, Yansel Rodrigues-Quiles.
Top Returners: Trent Layton (Sr., 157), Chase Thygeson (Sr., 150), Leopold Kline (Sr., 195), Brady Carver Jr., 175), Dylan Trotman (Jr., 132), Aharon Bloshuk (So., 165).
Others to Watch: Luke Hyland (Sr., 150), Leam Knipprath (Sr., 175), Coleman Boyesen (So., 195).
Outlook: The Lions’ Layton and Bloshuk both competed at National Preps last season after solid performances at PAISAAs – Bloshuk was third at 152 while Layton took fifth at 145.
“The outlook is promising as we return a good core with substantial experience and some success last year,” Eyvind Boyesen said. “Both Layton and Bloshuk were National Prep qualifiers. Our tournament potential is solid. However, with a lot of missing weight classes in the lower weights, the dual meet outlook is not as promising. But with a smaller school type league with programs in similar situations, we might be fairly competitive in the Friends League, especially as returning league champs.”

Coach: Rob Weneck (second season).
League: SOL Freedom Division.
District-Class: 1-3A.
Last Season: 6-11 (0-4 division).
Key Losses: Kahliq McCalman, David Cappel, Michael Slowe.
Top Returners: AJ Gordon (So., 160), Corey Bradley (Jr., 172), Max Borisov (So., 133), Rah’Miere Sanders (Jr., 121).
Others to Watch: Kurt Scheuerman (Jr., 285).
Outlook: “Cheltenham lost five experienced seniors due to graduation,” Weneck said. “Replacing them will be a challenge but there is a youthful core of hungry wrestlers looking to build on .500 or better records from last season. Regional qualifier AJ Gordon and Corey Bradley will be a good back-to-back combination in the middleweights while Rah’Miere Sanders and Max Borisov provide the same punch in the lighter weights.
“Individually, Cheltenham can qualify six or more wrestlers to the Southeast Regional tournament if the wrestlers compete hard. Springfield Township and Upper Moreland are the top teams in the Freedom division of the Suburban One League and are well coached. They provide the measuring stick with respect to our dual meet success.”

Coach: Trent Mongillo (sixth season).
League: SOL Liberty Division.
District-Class: 1-3A.
Last Season: 7-11 (1-4 division).
Key Losses: Joe Martini III (Ursinus), Hunter Long (Dickinson-football).
Top Returners: Ryan Allgeier (So., 114), Chris Staub (Jr., 139).
Others to Watch: Benny Staub (Fr., 121), Aiden Morrison (Jr., 127), Orion Newell (Sr., 133), Joey Palmeri (Sr., 172).
Outlook: Hatboro-Horsham has a young team (only two seniors) with talented lightweights,” Mongillo said. “The best is yet to come. This team continues to set the bar high and continues to work towards their goals. A lot of talent at individual weights, HH hopes to qualify a couple wrestlers to states this season.”

Coach: Bill Evans (second season).
League: PAC Liberty Division.
District-Class: 1-3A.
Last Season: 11-11.
Key Losses: Eric Whit, Todd Picard, Chris Carter.
Top Returners: Doug Cawley (Sr., 114/121), Nikosh Marston (Jr., 127/133).
Others to Watch: Samir Miles (Sr.), Deshaun Mathews (Sr.), Israel Valente (Sr.).
Outlook: “We’ll be looking to improve on our performance from last year as we continue to build the program back,” Evans said.

Coach: Robert Shettsline (29th season).
League: SOL Colonial Division.
District-Class: 1-3A.
Last Season: 9-11 (3-2 division).
Key Losses: Will Morrow (Bloomsburg), Dylan Verway.
Top Returners: Michael Cliver (Jr., 145), William Mayland (Sr., 152), Devon Pickett (Sr., 285).
Others to Watch: Quinten Laughlin (Sr., 172), Brayden Shannon (Jr., 145).
Outlook: Cliver is the lone regional qualifier returning for a Knights side looking to be contenders in the SOL Colonial.
“A team goal every year is to win our league championship,” Shettsline said. “We are happy to get back into some of our more prestigious tournaments in December! This better prepares our kids for post season.
“We strive to help our wrestlers attain their personal goals.”

Coach: Brian Kuhns (second season).
League: SOL Colonial Division.
District-Class: 1-3A.
Last Season: 12-5 (5-0 division), SOL Colonial champion.
Top Returners: Cole Coffin (Jr.), Colby Martinelli (So.), Talan Hogan (So.), Sam Kuhns (Jr.), Gio Iadonisi (Sr.).
Others to Watch: Quinn McBride (Fr.), Ryan Rowe (Fr.).
Outlook: The Rams are ready to defend their SOL Colonial crown with a lineup that returns state qualifier Coffin (113) and regional qualifiers Martinelli (106), Kuhns (126) and Hogan (160).
“Pennridge is excited for the season,” Brian Kuhns said. “We have great numbers this year (over 40 wrestlers) and we are still very young with only one senior on the varsity lineup. The two freshman wrestlers from last year that had a solid post season run return this year ready to make the next leap and we add two very talented freshman this year.”

Quakertown’s Mason Ziegler. (Nate Heckenberger – For MediaNews Group)

Coach: Kurt Handel (22nd season).
League: SOL Liberty Division.
District-Class: 1-3A.
Last Season: 16-3 (5-0 division), SOL Liberty champ, first place District 1-3A tournament; first place South East 3A Regional, eight place PIAA-3A Championships.
Key Losses: Frederick Retter, Todd McGann.
Top Returners: Isaac Williams (Jr., 114), Jackson Benckert (Jr., 114), Mason Ziegler (Jr., 121/127), Tyler Scheibenhofer (So., 127), Jerry Stanziola (So., 127), Evan Hilton (Jr., 133/139), Cody Stank (Sr., 133/139), Collin Gaj (So., 139/145), Zach Borzio (Sr., 152/160), Gavin Carroll (So., 152/160), Max Hibsman (So., 152/160), Michael Socci (So., 160), Dylan Fenstermacher (So., 172), Calvin Lachman (Jr., 189/215), Drew Tibbets (Sr., 215/285).
Others to Watch: Waylen Strzelski (Fr., 107, Logan Pfisnter (114/121), Kyler Roesener (121/127), Owen Richwine (172).
Outlook: Quakertown – which is 16 wins away from 600 as a program – looks to continue to be at top of the SOL and District 1 with a lineup that includes three returning PIAA qualifiers in Gaj (state fourth place at 132), Lachman and Ziegler.
“We are returning a lot of talented wrestlers,” Handel said. “We are a small team so we need to stay healthy, we do not have much depth to our starting lineup. The program is looking to win its seventh straight league title! We placed 2nd in our team districts last year and look to improve on that. A team goal is to place at the Team State tournament.
“We open our Dual meet season with SOL rival CR South, it should show where we stand as a dual meet team real early in the season! Then travel down the road to Pennridge the following week. We will have a solid tournament team and build a strong tournament schedule: X-Calibur at Wyoming Sem, Christmas Classic at Liberty and Escape the Rock at CR South.”

Coach: Bill McGinley (first season).
League: SOL Colonial Division.
District-Class: 1-3A.
Last Season: 10-8, 3-2 division.
Key Losses: Tyler Geiger, Erick Dominguez, Luke Ragusa.
Top Returners: Charlie Arabone (Jr., 121), AJ Slayton (Sr., 127/133), Ben Beckett (Sr., 160).
Others to Watch: Kole Lester (Jr., 189), Andrew Hallman (So., 145), Mike McCormack (Fr., 215).
Outlook: “We have a full solid lineup and every weight class will be full which can be a struggle in high school wrestling these days,” McGinley said. We have a solid young core which will be great for the future, just going to be a learning year for a lot of our sophomore and freshman varsity wrestlers. AJ, Ben and Charlie are returning regional qualifiers who have aspirations to compete at the state tournament this year. AJ is at 71 career wins and hopefully will get to 100 this year.
“We always have a tough league schedule so I am excited to compete against all our opponents. We are pretty friendly and competitive with North Penn, so that is always a great match for our community!

Coach: Corey McCaslin (16th season).
League: SOL Freedom Division.
District-Class: 1-2A.
Last Season: 18-5 (4-0 division), SOL Freedom champion, second place District 1/12-2A Championships,
Key Losses: Roderick Porter, Owen Hussie, Sto Gradistanac, Jaxon Weiss.
Top Returners: Colin Pennington (So., 121), Nick Caruso (Jr., 126), Will Horn (Sr., 160), Jason Morrissy (Sr., 189), Keith Livezey (So., 285).
Others to Watch: Dominic Antinucci (Jr., 138), Julian Mitchell (Jr., 145), CJ Johnson (So., 145), Kenneth Cordon-Acevedo (Sr., 152), Richie Jones (Jr., 152).
Outlook: Regional qualifiers Caruso, Livezey and Morrisy return as the Spartans aims to stay on top of the SOL Freedom.
“We graduated a lot of talent, but have a strong nucleus coming back,” McCaslin said. “Our numbers are strong with close to 40 wrestlers. Our success this year will hinge on how quickly our younger guys can step up.”

Coach: Chris Falcone (third season).
League: PAC Freedom Division.
District-Class: 1-3A.
Last Season: 5-18 (1-4 division).
Wrestlers to Watch: Casey Lamey (Sr., 160), Declan Ryan (So., 133/139), Jowell Jones (Fr., 152), Nikito Hansell (Fr., 107/114).
Outlook: “We are a super-young team,” Falcone said. “This year there are 15 freshmen on the team. This year is also one of the school’s biggest turnout in years of wrestlers with a total of 25. This is something that is positive for the program.
“Ultimately we just want to show up to each dual meet, dual meet tournament and individual tournament and just compete. We have a motto of “Do the work” and that is our mission this year. Just show up and do the work that is needed to win.”

Coach: John DeFranco (11th season).
League: SOL Freedom Division.
District-Class: 1-3A.
Last Season: 21-6 (3-1 division).
Key Losses: Owen Dunleavy, Aidan Cosgrove.
Top Returners: Collin Evanson (Sr., 127), Charlie Hogan (Sr., 133).
Others to Watch: Davlat Asrorov (Sr., 152).
Outlook: “We have a large group of seniors and expect to make some noise in our SOL Freedom Conference,” DeFranco said. “Collin Evanson (127 pounds) should get his 100th win this season which would be a huge accomplishment considering the truncated 2020 season.
“We’re looking forward to hosting our first tournament in a long time. The Golden Bear Tournament will be a great experience and will be wrestled in a round robin format to get kids more matches and crown a true champion in each weight class.”

Coach: Anthony Stagliano (13th season).
League: SOL Liberty Division.
District-Class: 1-3A.
Last Season: 7-13 (1-4 division).
Top Returners: Nathanael Chez (Sr., 172).
Others to Watch: Evan Prestipino (Sr., 189).
Outlook: “Our league will be dominated by Quakertown,” Stagliano said. “Match I always look forward to is against our cross-town rival Upper Dublin. Also, competing against my alma mater Springfield (Montco).”

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