NORTH SUBURBAN CONFERENCE
Coach: Jake Jobst (first season)
Last season: 18-5 overall, fourth in NSC (4-3), sixth in Lake County tournament, second in regionals
Top graduated seniors: Josh Dyer (two-time state qualifier), Kyle Fleming, Maxx Wayne, Nick Swanson, Derrick Juarez, Billy Busse, Mike Bertoia, Eric Brown, Nate Bass
Top returning competitors: seniors Josh Goldberg (170), Nick DiMaggio (160); juniors Justin Wollard (120/126), Jason Wollard (120/126), Ian McGee (132), George Gritsonis (152); sophomore Joey Mrazek (138)
Key newcomers: seniors Matt Grom (152), Justin Miller (220), Matt Wach (285), Jake Schory (145), Elijah Ogletree (182); junior Christian Gavriluti (138); sophomores Logan Neurauter (113), Vinny Pasquesi (106)
Outlook: After losing eight starters, including two-time state qualifier Josh Dyer to graduation, the Bears will be young. Also, Jake Jobst takes over the reigns of the program from Dan Strickler, who completed a successful 24-year run as the Bears' head coach before recently becoming an IHSA wrestling referee. Jobst had been the head coach at Warren for the past two seasons. Many of the Bears' wrestlers are getting a late start to the season due to Lake Zurich's football team playing in the Class 7A state title game last weekend in DeKalb.
Coach: Dale Eggert (31st season)
Last season: 11-10 overall, second in NSC (6-1), second in Lake County tournament, third in regionals
Top graduated seniors: Jack Damenti (Colorado School of Mines), Alex Mitchell (Lincoln Junior College), Drew Onufer, Ryan Cleary, Adam Koziol
Top returning competitors: seniors Charlie Schmidt (285, 36-8, sectional qualifier, Lake County champ), Tyler Padilla (152, honorable mention all-conference), Will Bertaud (145); juniors Michael Gunther (138, 30-10, state qualifier, Lake County champ), Brandon Murphy (120, honorable mention all-conference), Peyton Sartin (160), Ryan Damenti (170), Bennett Whitney (170); sophomore Danny Pucino (132, 39-6, state qualifier, Lake County champ)
Key newcomers: seniors Matt Templeton (120/126, transfer from Deerfield, state qualifier), Will DeBruler (195); junior Quentin Hart (145); sophomores Ian Riley (113), Brian Stacy (145), Jordan Smith (220)
Outlook: While the Wildcats will be inexperienced at some weight classes, they have some top-notch individuals returning, including senior state qualifier Matt Templeton, who transferred from Deerfield's highly successful program. Michael Gunther and Danny Pucino should continue to blossom after they both reached the state meet as well in 2017, and they should both be heading to the state meet in late February. As was the case last season, Libertyville should do well in individual tournaments while having some struggles in dual meets. The Wildcats just won the powerful Barrington invite for the first time in school history last weekend. Dale Eggert's 543-146-2 career record entering this season puts him in ninth place in IHSA history for dual-meets wins and sixth place all-time at a single school.
Coach: Craig Stocker (first season)
Last season: 14-9 overall, fifth in NSC (3-4), 10th in Lake County tournament, sixth in regionals
Top graduated seniors: Marco Rosales, Alex Hendon
Top returning competitors: senior Dane Durlacher (113, 46-9, fourth in Class 3A); juniors Reese Durlacher (120, 40-11, state qualifier), Logan Kvien (195, 41-15, state qualifier, Lake County champ), D.J. Preston (182), Geo Albavera (170); sophomores Jason Guadarrama (220), Isaac Antunez (132)
Key newcomers: senior Angel Pacheco (152); juniors Felipe Calixto (160), Sebastian Portillo (120), Franco Perez (285); sophomores Nathan Dee (132), Andrew Ponce (113), Anthony Ponce (145)
Outlook: With three returning state qualifiers, including a state medalist, the Mustangs should be able to put together a strong season, as former Lakes coach Craig Stocker takes over the program from Mark Stewart. With a strong group of sophomores also expected to contribute at the varsity level, Mundelein is optimistic about its chances of moving up the standings in the NSC and Lake County. Dane Durlacher is an elite wrestler to watch at 113 pounds after he placed fourth in the state as a junior.
Coach: Shane Cook (12th season)
Last season: 18-4 overall, first in NSC (7-0), three-time defending NSC champions, first in Lake County tournament, second in regionals
Top graduated seniors: Dylan Geick (two-time state medalist, Columbia University), Nikita Nepomnyashchiy (two-time state qualifier, sixth in 2017, University of Illinois), Eric Carter (two-time state qualifier, Duke University), Robert Pavlovics (2016 state qualifier, Navy), Brandon Zisman
Top returning competitors: seniors Jake Simon (145), Michael Karp (132), Muzi Sitshela (152);juniors Tommy Frezza (120, state qualifier, Lake County champ), Matthew Zimring (126), Nick Lyubenko (138), Max Gomez (195), Anand Batbaatar (285)
Key newcomers: seniors Marques Reyes (138), Muzi Simon (152), Ahmeer Dinkins (170), Dan Ganzman (182), Matt Meyer (285); juniors Yoni Leibovitz (113), Noah Spiro (120), Ivor Guerguiev (160), Dean Crawford (160); sophomores Randy Lu (106), Brandon Cohen (106), Matthew Millman (170), Ean Norenberg (220)
Outlook: After losing five key seniors to graduation, including two state medalists, the three-time defending NSC champion Patriots will look for a lot of new faces to step up into much bigger roles in their lineup. Stevenson still has a returning state qualifier in Tommy Frezza has numerous wrestlers who are battle-tested from being a part of some successful teams. Coach Shane Cook knows his team has potential and he is confident that they will perform well as the season progresses.
Coach: Brad Janecek (first season)
Last season: 18-3 overall, third in NSC (5-2), fourth in Lake County tournament, fourth in regionals
Top graduated seniors: Grant Zamin (two-time state qualifier, UW-Lacrosse), Andrew Demos (state qualifier, University of Nebraska-Kearney), Chris Love, Richard Howard, Jared Pompilus, Nick Burke, Kendell Bell, Brandon Hergenreder, Tyler Gano, Ronnie Rightweiser
Top returning competitors: seniors Jariston Clarke (160), Kelvin Cupay (152), Keyante Howard (138), Ryan Thomas (126/132); junior Austin Nash (113); sophomore Cam Domke (120)
Key newcomers: senior Jack Moen (170); juniors Sawyer Nash (106), Angel Gonzalez (145), Christian Goeden (220), Marcus Thompson (285); freshmen Joel VanderVere (120), Isaiah Parker (152)
Outlook: Warren is another NSC team that was hit hard by losses to graduation. The Blue Devils lost two elite wrestlers in Grant Zamin and Andrew Demos. Warren graduated 10 senior point-scorers, in total. New head coach Brad Janecek takes over the program from Jake Jobst, who is the head coach at Lake Zurich. The Blue Devils started 2-2 this season, as nine wrestlers earn their first varsity victories. Janecek expects to see much improvement as the season progresses.
NORTHERN LAKE COUNTY CONFERENCE
Coach: Wilbur Borrero (14th season)
Last season: 22-4 overall, third in NLCC (5-2), second in regionals
Top graduated seniors: Pat Schoenfelder (four-time state qualifier, first in 2017, second in 2016, fourth in 2015, Northern Iowa), George Bessette (four-time state qualifier, two-time state medalist), Greg Kane, Cody Matonik
Top returning competitors: seniors DeAndre Burns (138/145), R.J. Vasquez (138/145), DeShawn Williams (195), Alex Scheider (220); juniors Jackie Sistrunk (145/152), Mikey Volkmar (152/160/), Nico Garcia-Fier (160/170); sophomores Alex Barbarise (113/120, state qualifier), Xavier Sanchez (285, state qualifier), Elijah Reyes (132/138), Niall Schoenfelder (145/152), Devin Nobiling (113/120), Luke Menzies (120/126)
Key newcomers: senior Russell Goodman (182/195); juniors Drew Smith (182/195), Blake Juszczyk (195/220), Kevin Tamayo (170/182); sophomores Daniel Bemis (182/195), Joey Brown (182/195), Shawn Carle (152/160), Bailey McGrath (160/170), Danny McPherson (126/132, transfer from Round Lake), Robby Misiek (138/145), Brandon Pinto (126/132), Kolton Powers (106), Joseph Pyles (138/145), Alex Sanchez (126/132), Vincent Sanchez (160/170), Ryan Shaputis (160/170);freshmen Drew Lehn (106), Chad Cowart (160/170), Demetric Moore (285)
Outlook: After losing two of the best wrestlers in school history in Pat Schoenfelder (the first state champion in Antioch history) and George Bessette to graduation, the Sequoits will look for new leadership in 2017-18. In spite of those huge losses, Antioch still has a strong nucleus of wrestlers returning with 11 of its 14 starters back, including state qualifiers Alex Barbarise and Xavier Sanchez.
Coach: Lenny Grodoski (third season)
Last season: 17-7 overall, second in NLCC (6-1), fifth in Lake County tournament, fourth in regionals
Top graduated seniors: Jacob Melton (2016 state qualifier), Kris Krey, Justin Spies, Kurt Kratz, Frank Urman, Eduardo Tapia, John Japzyk, Mark Lantz-Warner, Ryan Alsip, Easton Warmowski
Top returning competitors: seniors Spencer Welter (145, state qualifier), Tucker Rogan (126), Sam Maldonado (138); juniors Corbin Henningson (120), Alex Paz (120); sophomores Zach Hitzler (113), Dylan Rinkenberger (132), Ethan Geist (152)
Key newcomers: senior Christian Palma (160); junior Kaleb Perzigian (220); freshman Chris Lozos (106)
Outlook: With all six of their wrestlers who recorded 20-plus wins last season returning, including state qualifier Spencer Welter, the Bulldogs believe they can contend for conference and regional championships this winter. Last year, Wauconda toppled perennial power Grant in the battle for the first-ever NLCC crown. But the Bulldogs will look for some revenge this time around. Grant should also be poised to move up the ladder in the Lake County meet standings after placing fifth in 2017.
Coach: Matt Joseph (third season)
Last season: fifth in NLCC (3-4), 11th in Lake County tournament, sixth in regionals
Top graduated seniors: Anthony Magno, Alonso Rosas
Top returning competitors: senior Austin Connelly (152, two-time state qualifier); juniors Alex Cramer (160/170, two-time state qualifier), Joey Murphy (138/145), Ethan Torres (182/195)
Key newcomers: senior Asa Ketter (285); juniors Mark Martinez (138), Ethan Lester (182); sophomores Tristan Burich (106/113), Jason Weidman (126), Kyle Amodia (220); freshmen Adrien Cramer (160/170), Joey Jens (145/152)
Outlook: With a couple of elite wrestlers in Austin Connelly and Alex Cramer ready to lead their squad, the Rams hope to finish over .500 and be in the top three in the NLCC this season. Coach Matt Joseph will gear up for a strong finish to the season, and he hopes his team can compete for a regional title.
Coach: Collin McKillip (fourth season)
Last season: 13-15 overall, fourth in NLCC (4-3), fifth in regionals
Top graduated seniors: Joe Arroyo (three-time state qualifier, first in 2017, UW-Parkside), Alex Moran (fifth in Class 2A, Milwaukee School of Engineering), Justin Bock, Miguel Carrera, Wilfredo Caldero
Top returning competitors: seniors Angel Flores (195, state qualifier), Michael Johnson (170), Zach McCauley (182); juniors Adam Blonski (152), Wake Caldero (220)
Key newcomers: sophomores Alex Castiglia (113), Nick Kozanecki (145)
Outlook: With the ultimate leader in state champion Joe Arroyo (113) lost to graduation, the Knights will be young at the lower weights with numerous sophomores getting their first varsity experience during the season. At the upper weights, Grayslake North has almost everyone back from last year.
Coach: Jack Troesch (first season)
Last season: eighth in Lake County tournament, fourth in regionals
Top graduated seniors: Xavian Girona (state qualifier), Ishmael Velasquez (2016 state qualifier), Dylan Terranova
Top returning competitors: senior Brett Haraty (285); juniors Joey Kleppin (120), Max Sanders (106, 25-10), Mickey Kane (138, 15-2), Jack Brunati (220); sophomore Kurtis Smith (126)
Key newcomers: seniors Gavin Kafka (160/170, transfer student from Ohio), Brett Holmes (126); juniors Isa Abdeljaber (160), Joey Gunther (132), Charlie Schmitt (182), Anthony Om (195); sophomores Brandon Burdette (138), Logan Abanero (152), Jayden Terranova (126), David Becker (106)
Outlook: Despite losing two state qualifiers and a Lake County champion (Dylan Terranova) to graduation, the Eagles should have a full lineup and be competitive when the regional tournament arrives. Jack Troesch takes over as head coach, as Craig Stocker moved to Mundelein as the Mustangs' head coach. The Eagles won a 43-36 shootout at Mundelein to open their season last week.
Coach: Mike Hruska (ninth season)
Last season: 8-20 overall, seventh in NLCC (1-6), 14th in Lake County tournament, eighth in regionals
Top graduated seniors: Noah Castillo, Ruben Navarette
Top returning competitors: seniors Javier Ambriz (220/285), Anthony Enriquez (152), Casar Monsivais (170/182), Andre Neal (138); juniors Shamier Austin (170/182, transfer from Mundelein), Aaron Cuellar (160/170), Zach McCain (132), Tony Williamson (160)
Key newcomers: seniors Luis Dominguez (152), Jarron Rogers (126); sophomores Luis Cadena (113), Jonathan Cermeno (113), Juan Gomez (152), Maqiis Haywood (195), Ender Kongkaeow (145), Anthony Ramirez (106); freshmen Dominic Tovar (138), Jesse Aldana (120), Owen Hill (220)
Outlook: With their numbers up considerably from last year, the Panthers have already recorded more wins (9) than they did all of last season in dual meets. Losing sectional qualifier Dan McPherson to Antioch hurts, but the Panthers have numerous wrestlers at the lower weights who will be trying to step into much larger roles. Transfer student Shamier Austin showed much promise last season as a sophomore at Mundelein. While most of the teams Round Lake faces in the NLCC are in Class 2A, the Panthers will move up to Class 3A again when the IHSA regionals take place.
Coach: Mike Buhr (second season)
Last season: 24-5 overall, second in Class 2A, team sectional champions, first in regionals, first in NLCC (7-0), seventh in Lake County tournament
Top graduated seniors: Tyler Stankiewicz (2016 state qualifier, football at UW-Platteville), Mike Turzynski (sixth in Class 2A, football at Augustana), Justin Mitchell (state qualifier, North Central College), Devin Parrish (state qualifier), Tyler Husko (Alabama), Nick Schomer, Carlos Hernandez, Ryan Zahari, Frank Milella
Top returning competitors: seniors Zac Finn (182, state qualifier), Jared DeWyze (195), Mickey Landvick (170), Erik Heinzinger (152); juniors Evan Husko (120, state qualifier), Delon Kanari (132, state qualifier); sophomore Lucas Kaiser (113)
Key newcomers: junior Johnny Lopez (126); freshmen Jack Sullivan (106), Paul Balingit (138/145), Tyler Lavigne (138)
Outlook: With a school-record six individuals qualifying for the state meet last year and second-place trophy at the IHSA team tournament, the Bulldogs will have difficulty topping last season. They still boast a trio of state qualifiers to help rebuild the program. "Any time you can bring back three state qualifiers, you always have something to build off," said coach Mike Buhr. "We will be a young team, but we have a great group of leaders that were part of an extremely successful season last year, and they will be able to help mentor some of the younger wrestlers."
CENTRAL SUBURBAN NORTH
Coach: Jerry Miceli (18th season)
Last season: 15-16 overall, 1-4 in CSL North, eighth in regionals
Top graduated seniors: Collin Turley (state qualifier)
Top returning competitors: seniors Jesse Goldufsky (113, state qualifier), Blake Teschky (126), Scott Harris (132); sophomore Will Darling (138)
Key newcomers: juniors Casey Wood (182), Nate Gunderson (120)
Outlook: The Cougars look to be competitive with the goal of capturing a regional title. They expect to have multiple state qualifiers, and the coaching staff is excited to watch the evolution of some younger wrestlers who will contribute at the varsity level. This will be only the second season for Vernon Hills in ther CSL North Division. With the newly aligned NSC and the new NLCC, the Cougars, Antioch and Grayslake North did not compete in the Lake County meet last year due to previous commitments.
EAST SUBURBAN CATHOLIC CONFERENCE
Coach: Bob Kuykendall (10th season)
Last season: 11-9 overall, third in regionals
Top graduated seniors: Bobby Pryhocki (2016 state qualifier, Campbell University), Will Martin
Top returning competitors: seniors Anthony Schaer (126, state qualifier), John Ivan (220, sectional qualifier); juniors Riley Palm (138, sixth in Class 2A), Tommy Hoy (152, sectional qualifier); sophomores Christian Valadez (120, state qualifier), Vince Swindell (138/145, sectional qualifier)
Key newcomers: senior Forrest Fay (106); junior Alex Perez (113); sophomores Luis Guzman (132), Jonathan Lopez (182), Avery Bugaj (160)
Outlook: With all three of his 2017 state qualifiers back, coach Bob Kuykendall expects to enjoy some more individual successes this winter. But without a lot of depth from top to bottom in the 14 weight classes, Kuykendall also knows that forfeits could make it difficult for the Corsairs to compete at a high level in large-team competitions.