NORTH SUBURBAN LAKE
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Coach: Dan Strickler (20th season)
Last year: fourth in NSC
Top graduated seniors: Scott Hoff (state qualifier), Matt Mueller, Zeke Honegger, Ty Kapitzky, Alex Kubes, Adam Cantwell
Top returning competitors: seniors Jerry Nigro (120), Gresh Henderson (132), Nick Tuthill (152);juniors Sean Lynch (145, state qualifier), Brandon Arteaga (138), Alex Zurawski (182)
Key newcomers: senior Imran Peters (145), Tyler Busse (170);sophomores Josh Spiwak (106), Ethan Honegger (126)
Outlook: As was the case last year when they placed fourth in the NSC, the Bears have proven that they can finish strong despite starting off slowly without their full lineup intact. Lynch will be aiming for a return trip downstate once he gets back in the flow of things following another long football season.
Coach: Dale Eggert (26th season)
Last year's record: 17-4 overall, second in NSC, second in regionals
Top graduated seniors: Pat Fitzgerald (two-time state qualifier, UW-Whitewater), Josh Hirth (UW-Whitewater), Charlie Meyer, Kyle May, Connor O'Donnell, Mike Coutre
Top returning competitors: seniors Austin Pettinato (145, NSC champ), Sal Ayala (152), Joey Nield (195); juniors Steve Polakowski (120, state qualifier, NSC champ), Kayne MacCallum (160, state qualifier), Chris McDermand (285), Kevin Barbian (220), Austin Koziol (170), Noah Strong (126), Tim Grote (182), Nick Andrews (138); sophomore Joey Gunther (138)
Key newcomers: juniors Colton Bast (152), Danny Trinkleback (132), Tyler Brooks (132); sophomore Dan Schilling (113); freshman Joey Locascio (106)
Outlook: After just missing out on a fourth straight NSC title to Grant last winter, the Wildcats return with a very strong, junior-dominated lineup that features two returning state qualifiers. Pettinato (32-10) provides great senior leadership for a squad with seven sectional qualifiers back. Libertyville should be prepared to make a serious challenge at regaining the NSC title if it can stay healthy and focused.
Coach: Vince Jiuditta (first season)
Last year's record: ninth in NSC
Top graduated seniors: Matt Ornoff (three-time state qualifier, Missouri), Gilbert Ceniceros, Dan Winberg, Connor O'Shaughnessy, Spencer Ward, Frankie Ruiz
Top returning competitors: seniors Jake Long (152), Javier Dominguez (145); juniors Ray Ceniceros (106), Matt Hutchinson (126), Sam Riportella (120)
Key newcomers: juniors Joey Laurie (132), Al Mota (160), Eddie Olmos (285); sophomores Anthony Wick (113/120), Ricky Lopez (220)
Outlook: The Mustangs' program will really miss the presence of three-time state qualifier Ornoff and former head coach Tom Buenik, who will be replaced by Vince Jiuditta this season. Mundelein does have some experienced varsity wrestlers back this winter, but a lack of depth will make it tough to compete with the top teams in the always powerful Lake Division.
Coach: Shane Cook (seventh season)
Last year's record: sixth in NSC
Top graduated seniors: Mark Jolcover (state qualifier, University of Northern Iowa), Brad Meyer, Alec Berger, Mikey Kuhn
Top returning competitors: seniors Justin Weber (145/152, state qualifier, NSC champ), Ian Burns (170), Ned Valtchev (182/195), Cole Neuman (145/152), Paul Marcson (120/126)
Key newcomers: senior Jake Ruksakiati (152), Connor Schroeder (160); juniors Ryan Mass (160), Chandler Eckrote (120), Ben Korol (132), Brian Kim (138), J.J. Aquino (182), Seth Harris (220), Cory Edidin (285);sophomore Joel Feldstein (106/113);freshman Alec Nolan (106)
Outlook: The Patriots will face a lot of major challenges in the NSC Lake Division alone this season. But Stevenson has an elite wrestler in senior state qualifier Justin Weber back and the Pats hope to get some of his teammates to join him at the 2013 state tournament.
Coach: Jim Ouimette (third season)
Last year's record: seventh in NSC, Lake Division champions
Top graduated seniors: Shakheim Chapman (state qualifier, NIACC), Aaron Brewton, Justin Zybinski, Matt Miller
Top returning competitors: seniors Danny Hicks (170, state qualifier), Martin Martinez (126), Craig Mason (126), Mikey Malles (120), Blake Howard (138), T.J. Kuhn (132), Jeremy Andrews (160);juniors Israel Santiago (132, 2011 state qualifier), Elijah Parker (120), Emery Parker (152), Sawyer McCaffery (285)
Key newcomers: seniors Andrew Johnson (113), Connor Johnson (195);juniors Tyler Gottlieb (138), Quinn Nonnemacher (145), Eric Shurson (160);freshman Zach Khoury (195)
Outlook: The middle of the Blue Devils' lineup is very strong, but they will need to rely on some younger wrestlers to fill in some key losses to graduation. Hicks is coming off a great season last winter and he will get good support from fellow seniors Mason, Martinez, and Kuhn to name a few.
NORTH SUBURBAN PRAIRIE
Coach: Wilbur Borrero (ninth season)
Last year's record: fourth in state in Class 2A, third in NSC
Top graduated seniors: George Gonzalez (three-time state qualifier), Zach Epker (three-time state qualifier), Zach Freundt (two-time state qualifier), Mike Morales (state qualifier), Teddy Montemayor, Pat Unida
Top returning competitors: seniors Mike Gussarson (126/132, two-time state qualifier, NSC champ), Johnny Denikas (138), Grant Smith (120), Shannon Mahar (132), Mark Lyman (285); juniors Briley Schultz (106/113, state qualifier), Zac Keller (160), Kyle Nichols (285)
Key newcomers: senior Austin Ellis (120); juniors Chris Ruth (126), Lucas Poplitious (182); sophomores Ken Strohmen (152), Julio Ramirez (182/195), John Haeffele (220), Austin Prinn (152), Justin Miller (182);freshmen Jake Gross (106), Nathan Dlugoposki (106/113)
Outlook: With two trips to the Elite Eight state tournament in the past three seasons to fall back on, the Sequoits have established themselves as a team to beat when the post-seasonrolls around. The huge loss of four state qualifiers to graduation will certainly hurt, but Antioch appears to have the depth and experience to hold its own in 2012-13.
Coach: Ryan Geist (14th season)
Last year's record: 20-5 overall, NSC champions, Prairie Division champions, regional champions
Top graduated seniors: Ben Soumar (University of Illinois), Quinton Quarles (state qualifier, football at EIU), Charles Williams (Harper), Nick Kramer
Top returning competitors: seniors Tony Cashmore (170, state qualifier, NSC champ), Dan Haeffele (285, state qualifier), Nick Fanella (138), Ryan Flores (195); junior Steve Herrington (182); sophomore Noah Drabek (120/126)
Key newcomers: seniors Jared Lalanda (195), Connor Haran (220); junior Nick Koch (106)
Outlook: After losing a lot of key wrestlers to graduation, the defending NSC champion Bulldogs will have some big shoes to fill in 2012-13. Grant will have a tall order to fill in holding off archrival/perennial power Libertyville this season. But the Bulldogs hope to show improvement each and every week behind their key senior leaders.
Coach: Mark Stave (first season)
Last year's record: 12th in NSC
Top graduated seniors: Jose Collado (two-time state qualifier), Tyler Booth (2011 state qualifier), Oliver Shapcott
Top returning competitors: senior David Gregory (160, state qualifier); junior Kaven Mulloy (145); sophomore Levi Smith (132, state qualifier)
Key newcomers: senior Tyler Fuller (182); juniors Sam Callahan (132), Josh Cramer (138), Dakota Larson (152); sophomore Cody Stanley (113), Tyler D'Ambrose (126); freshman Jared Smith (170)
Outlook: With a relatively inexperienced squad returning, it will probably not be an easy road for the Eagles this winter in the Prairie Division. But with two Class 2A state qualifiers back and ready to help lead the team, Lakes could be competitive in 2013 as Mark Stave takes over the reins as head coach in place of Curt Onstad this season.
Coach: Mike Hruska (fourth season)
Last year's record: 12-10 overall, 11th in NSC
Top graduated seniors: Daniel Vega, Anthony Burton
Top returning competitors: seniors Vidal Arteaga (120), Mike Casavant (126), Zach Williamson (170);juniors Nick Moore (145), Juan Mena (152), Thomas Magallon (285);sophomore Dan Arteaga (113)
Key newcomers: junior Tomas Rangel (285); sophomores Juwon Anderson (170), Joel Greenhill (182); freshman Juan Arteaga (106)
Outlook: Because of inexperience, coach Hruska expects the Panthers to go through some early season growing pains this season. But as the campaign progresses, Round Lake is hoping to show much improvement heading into the last month of the season in the Prairie Division and beyond.
Coach: Jerry Micelli (13th season)
Last year's record: 10th in NSC
Top graduated seniors: Jeremy Brazil (state champion at 285 in Class 2A, Upper Iowa University), Dan Klema (three-time state qualifier, Cornell), Tim Claussen, Jeremy Sullivan, Patrick Conrad
Top returning competitors: seniors David Pierce (145, 2011 state qualifier), Ben Turley (160), Jake Hallendorff (170), Zach Eckstrom (182), Izzy Montolongo (138), Ben Rappaport (152); juniors Jordan Reich (106/113); sophomore Brae Cruz (126/132)
Key newcomers: senior Javier Castillo (195); sophomores Peter Vanderbloomer (113), Joe Blistein (285); freshman Max Rickard (106)
Outlook: Two of the real cornerstones in the Vernon Hills program are now gone with the graduation of 2012 state champ Brazil and three-time state qualifier Klema now graduated. But all is not lost for the Cougars as they will begin the rebuilding process with Pierce leading the way along with a solid group of young individuals.
Coach: Tom Nance (29th season)
Last year's record: eighth in NSC
Top graduated seniors: Jake Sherman, Ryan Efflandt, Jeremy Olson, Manny Pacheco
Top returning competitors: seniors Devin Tortorice (132, two-time state qualifier), Bruce Pearl (152, 2011 state qualifier), Owen Wolfe (126), Will Danner (285), Elias Mazikowski (145), Tyler Holt (138), Trevor Wuebben (170); juniors Nate Magiera (220, two-time state qualifier), Alex Schwickwrath (182), Mike Prate (170)
Key newcomers: juniors Ross Theel (160), Alex Bueno (120), Josh Connour (182), Connor Ford (138), Matt Tometich (160); freshman Mikey Tortorice (106)
Outlook: The Bulldogs have three outstanding and accomplished leaders in Devin Tortorice, Pearl, and Magiera to set the tone for the rest of the team. Now, it's just a matter of the remainder of the squad to develop in a positive manner if Wauconda hopes to be a big player in the Prairie Division and NSC this winter.
FOX VALLEY / FOX DIVISION
Coach: Dan Catanzaro (fourth season)
Last year's record: 14-12 overall, third in regional
Top graduated seniors: Joey Valdivia (three-time state qualifier, football at Lake Forest College), Dylan Hay (two-time state qualifier), Jimmy Molitor (state qualifier), Sean Keever, Mark Long, Chris Wollmuth, Tom Halloran
Top returning competitors: seniors Davonta Jennings (145/152), Jourden Swopes (152/160), Joe Slusser (170/182), Connor Miller (195/220), Cam Hosimer (285); juniors Kurt Radke (113/120), John Muno (113/120), Zak Molitor (120/126); sophomore Jon Makey (138/145)
Key newcomers: seniors Sid Carbone (145/152), Glen Stearns (152/160), Ted McGraw (160/170); juniors Ryan Aoki (195), Ben Celeslie (220), Spencer Hirt (220/285); sophomore David Thiel (170/182);freshman Lawrence Augustin (126/132)
Outlook: The loss of three state qualifiers and a total of seven key seniors to graduation will certainly have an impact on the Rams' squad this season. But Grayslake Central does have an experienced group of seniors back which have been very successful over the past three years in the powerful FVC.
Coach: Ryan West (second season)
Last year's record: second in Fox Division
Top graduated seniors: Jimmy Prince (two-time state qualifier), Kasen Christensen (state qualifier), Angel Cabrera (2011 state qualifier), Aaron Hoover, Andrew Soulis, Zach Young
Top returning competitors: seniors Stone Dax (170, 2011 state qualifier), Luke Pritchett (106), Efrain Rodriguez (220); junior Zac Juron (152)
Key newcomers: senior Richard Thomsen (145); junior Ian Pearce (182); sophomores Alex Sanchez (113), Cody Sawyer (170); freshman Jake Wright (126)
Outlook: The Knights were hit very hard by graduation following the 2011-12 season. Grayslake North does have a proven leader in Dax returning to help lead its lineup, but the Knights will need for some of their younger wrestlers to step up if they hope to compete effectively in the FVC.
EAST SUBURBAN CATHOLIC
Coach: Bob Kuykendall (fifth season)
Last year's record: 10-12 overall
Top graduated seniors: none
Top returning competitors: seniors Jake Cochrane (fourth in state at 285), Marty Schwartz (145), Jim Dandino (160); juniors Joe Salvi (145), Matt Braun (182);sophomores Brodie Palm (106), Steven Alvarado (220)
Key newcomers: sophomore Anthony Swindell (126); freshmen Kenny Barber (106), Jake Morgan (120)
Outlook: The Corsairs still have a relatively young team returning for the new campaign. But Carmel does have the luxury of elite senior all-stater Jake Cochrane at 285 to help set a positive example for the entire team in the rugged ESCC.