FOX VALLEY CONFERENCE
Coach: William Petersen (second season)
Last season: 3-5 FVC
Top returners: Adam Pinter, sr.; Cadin Koeppel, sr.; David Marienthal, sr.
Noteworthy: Petersen said the Trojans have 10 upperclassmen on the roster, but “we are a young, driven and hungry team.” Pinter finished his junior season 20-12, while Koeppel went 20-7. “Our younger guys will be led by two of our returning captains, Adam Pinter and Cadin Koeppel,” Petersen said.
Crystal Lake Central
Coach: Justen Lehr (13th season)
Last season: 18-6, Class 2A dual team state qualifier
Top returners: Connor Burns, sr., 126; Austin Ernd, sr., 152; Frank Carone, sr., 160; Braden Bisram, sr., 170; Liam O’Donnell, sr., 182; Seamus O’Donnell, sr., 195; Aidan Seban, sr., 220; Wyatt Blake, sr., 285
Key newcomers: Rocco Carone, fr., 120; Caden Ernd, fr., 132; Stephen Bushy, jr., 170
Noteworthy: The Tigers reached the state dual finals for the third consecutive season and graduated only two starters from last season’s lineup. Class 2A state champion at 138 pounds, Lenny Petersen, was one of those two seniors. The Tigers have plenty of experience returning to make another run this season. Blake, a senior and a Northwestern football commit, returns for his second season wrestling at 285.
Crystal Lake South
Coach: Ross Ryan (11th season)
Last season: 17-16
Top returners: Peyton Timmons, so., 113; Noah Laney, jr., 220; Cameron DeLeon, sr.,152
Key newcomers: Ethan Greenspan, jr., 285; Jason Burburija, so., 195/220
Noteworthy: The Gators went 17-16 last season after finishing at 3-24 the season before. Ryan is hoping the Gators continue to show that type of improvement. “This year we have a quality mix of returning wrestlers and some young guys looking to add to the varsity lineup,” Ryan said. The Gators return eight wrestlers with varsity experience. Timmons went 27-20 last season at 106 pounds and figures to move up to 113 this season.
Coach: Tim Hayes (third season)
Last season: 9-14
Top returners: Gabriel Scales, so., 120; Brandon Rico, sr., 126/132; Colin Mays, jr., 138/145; Callan Schmeiser, jr., 138/145; Weston Leith, jr. 152; Isiah Ziegler, sr., 285
Key newcomers: Ricardo Zambrano, jr., 113; Will Finucane, so., 126/132; Jesus Medellin, jr., 145; Jordan Lescaleet, jr., 170; Wyatt Griggel, so., 182
Noteworthy: The Chargers have only two seniors this season but have qualified at least one athlete for state in each of the past five seasons. “We would like to keep our streak alive,” Hayes said. Ziegler lost about 40 pounds to get down to 285 midway through the season last year and almost qualified for state.
Coach: Randy Mitty (first season)
Top returners: Casey Allen, sr., 160; Nathan Price, sr., 152; Mark Brown, sr., 145; Christian Rivero, jr., 120
Noteworthy: The Whip-Purs feature five seniors, including Casey Allen, who qualified for state in 2016 as a sophomore and was an alternate at state last season. Hampshire’s two state qualifiers from last season, Pawel Barnas and Max McGowan, both graduated. Mitty said the team “is looking great” and that Allen “has his eye set on a state finals appearance.”
Coach: B.J. Bertelsman (Seventh season)
Last season: 16-9, 8-0 FVC
Top returners: David Ferrante, so., 160; Sam Spencer, so., 113; Zach Spencer, sr., 126; Juan Quiroz, sr., 170; Jimmy Pellegrino, sr., 106; Luke Loprieno, sr., 145; Michael Jernigan, jr., 182; Nik Wise, jr., 195/220; Gannon Kosowski, jr., 138
Key newcomers: Andrew Lira, fr., 113/120; Jeremy Jakowitsch, fr., 120/126; Alex Pena, fr., 132/138; Michael Skoupas, fr., 285
Noteworthy: The defending Fox Valley Conference champions return four state qualifiers in Sam and Zach Spencer, Ferrante and Quiroz. Ferrante finished fourth in Class 3A at 152 pounds and third at 160 at the Cadet Freestyle Nationals in Fargo, North Dakota, over the summer. He is expected to wrestle at 160 this season. Zach Spencer is a three-time state qualifier. So the Red Raiders have some experience, but Bertelsman said the team will be young in other areas.
Coach: Gary Conrad (sixth season)
Last season: 17-6, 6-2 FVC
Top returners: Jake Harrier, so.; Justin Peters, jr.; Johnny Ridle, jr.; Dominic Tenyuca, jr.; Ryan Dykes, sr.
Key newcomers: Aidan Roberts, fr.; Jack McMahon fr.
Noteworthy: Two Harrier brothers qualified for state last season. Beau Harrier graduated after reaching state at 120. Jake Harrier returns for his sophomore season after qualifying at 113 during his freshman season. Conrad said the Golden Eagles are in a “rebuilding stage,” adding that they “do not have a lot of bodies at the top of our lineup, which hurts.” Conrad is looking for some newcomers to fill in those spots. That being said, Conrad said offseason participation was high over the summer.
Coach: Jake Guardalabene (second year)
Top returners: Jake Leske, sr., 182; Geoff Cagle, sr., 285; Tyler Lowrey, jr., 132; Ricardo Bautista, sr., 145; Victor Aguilar-Campos, jr., 195; Sanahi Salazar, sr., 126.
Key newcomers: Jerry Arreola, sr., 170/182; Zach Krzyzak, jr., 170/182; Zach Seymour, fr., 106; Anthony Lawrence, sr., 138.
Noteworthy: Jaden Glauser took fourth in state at 170 last year as a freshman for the Warriors, but he and his family moved to Richmond during the offseason. Guardalabene is looking for big seasons from Leske and Cagle. Both have aspirations of reaching Champaign in February. Leske qualified for state last year. “We have great senior leadership to go along with a lot of first-time varsity wrestlers,” Guardalabene said. “I’m excited to see who will step up and make an impact on the varsity level.”
Coach: Trey Breeden (first season)
Last season: 8-12
Top returners: Nick Fetzner, sr., 170; Drake Regenhardt, jr., 152; Trey Piotrowski, jr., 138.
Key newcomers: Tommy Evans, fr., 160
Noteworthy: Fetzner finished third in the Class 2A at 170 pounds last season as a junior, while Piotrowski finished fifth at 138, also as a junior. Those two have high aspirations for their senior seasons. Regenhardt also was a state qualifier last year. “I expect to have a few holes,” Breeden said. “But overall (we) will have some quality wrestlers and hope to start building the program.”
KISHWAUKEE RIVER CONFERENCE
Coach: David Schultz (second season)
Last season: 19-7, 6-0 KRC, KRC Champions
Top returners: Keenan Brummett, sr., 145; Marty Krasinski, sr., 182; Zach Bokowy, sr., 132; Blake Bischke, jr., 106; Uriel Herrera, jr., 113
Noteworthy: The Hornets return six starters from last year’s KRC championship squad, although they graduated three state qualifiers. Brummett and Krasinski are returning state qualifiers in Class 2A. Brummett went 37-13 last season and finished fourth in Class 2A at 138, while Krasinski posted at 35-15 record. “We have a lot of new athletes that are developing into solid wrestlers,” Schultz said. “I’m looking forward to see how our seniors lead the team.”
Coach: Mike Miller (first season)
Last season: 9-15
Top returners: Matt Tobin, sr., 152; Joey Calhoun, sr., 160; Austin Butler, sr., 170/182, Fred Fuchs, sr., 170/182
Key newcomers: Marko Miserda, sr., 195
Noteworthy: Miller is excited about the turnout from the freshman and sophomore classes. Butler was a state qualifier in 2016. He is approaching 100 career varsity wins after a 34-8 season. Butler, Calhoun, Tobin and Fuchs were sectional qualifiers in 2017. “We should have some real solid seasons from our varsity wrestlers,” Miller said. “Hopefully, we can get multiple wrestlers down to the state tournament.”
Coach: Tim Keefer (12th season)
Top returners: Landen Pfeiffer, sr., 106; Cameron Miller, jr., 145; Kenny Reed, sr., 152; O’Neil Swanson, sr., 132; Chris Botzoc, sr., 160; Rich Botzoc, sr., 170; James Mier, sr., 205
Noteworthy: The Indians move on without graduated Joe Mier, who finished as the state runner-up in Class 2A at 170 last season. Pfeiffer returns after a fifth-place finish at 106. In one of the most heartwarming stories of the offseason, the McHenry County wrestling community came together to support Marengo coach Tim Keefer and his family, who lost their Marengo home when a neighbor’s house exploded in June. More than 50 homes were damaged because of the explosion. The wrestling community raised more than $5,000 for Keefer and his family with a charity wrestling event.
Coach: Tony Nelson (third season)
Top returners: Brenden Kaminscky, jr., 126; Chase Duncan, jr., 132; Joey Kaht, sr., 145; Dalton Wood, so., 160; Josh Dumont, jr., 220
Key newcomers: Jaden Glauser, so., 182
Noteworthy: Glauser finished last season in fourth place while competing for McHenry at the Class 3A state finals. Glauser and his family moved to Richmond during the offseason. The Rockets graduate Class 2A 145-pound state champion Gavin Sutton, among others. However, Nelson is excited about the returning starters the Rockets bring back. Kaminscky went 30-13 and was a sectional qualifier. Kaht went 26-12 last year at 152 but will compete at his more natural weight of 145 this year. Wood was not a full-time varsity wrestler until the end of the season, when he went 12-4.
Coach: Ches Dougherty (first season)
Top returners: Tanner Heidtke, sr., 160; Javier Villalobos, sr., 285
Noteworthy: Coach Jon Grell is on leave for active duty in the Navy Reserve. In his place steps Dougherty. Heidtke and Villalobos return from last season and look to take the next step as seniors. The Blue Streaks had a lot of newcomers last season but gained some much-needed experience. Heidtke and Villalobos return as two veterans, and the Streaks will look to some new faces to help fill out their lineup.
Coach: Tim Creighton (third season)
Last season: 15-12
Top returners: Carter Miller, so., 106; Cole Walkington, jr., 120; Jake Finch, sr., 132; Nicco Mazzanti, sr., 145; Eddie Flores, jr., 152; Brian Kline, sr., 160; Chris Flores, sr., 220
Key newcomers: Isaiah Vela, fr. 126
Noteworthy: Walkington and Chris Flores are returning Class 2A state qualifiers for the Thunder. Chris Flores will try to make his third trip to state this season, while Walkington hopes to get back for a second time. Creighton likes how the lineup is shaping up and expects the Thunder to compete well in duals and make a run at the KRC title.
EAST SUBURBAN CATHOLIC CONFERENCE
Coach: David Silva (second season)
Last season: 17-8
Top returners: Jack Harman, so., 106; Daniel Valeria, so., 126; Anthony Randazzo, sr., 132; Luke Silva, sr., 160; Cade Bokowy, jr., 170; Joey Fitzgerald, jr., 182; Zach Gustafson, sr., 195
Key newcomers: Elon Rodriguez, fr., 113; Bryce Shelton, fr., 120; Kaden Randazzo, fr., 145; Dylan Connell, fr., 152
Noteworthy: Anthony Randazzo finished second in Class 2A at 132 pounds last season. He is committed to wrestle at Central Missouri and no doubt will be aiming for another state medal this season. Silva finished fourth in 2A last year at 152. The Hurricanes hope to contend for a regional title this season, coach David Silva’s second in charge of the program.
NORTHEASTERN ATHLETIC CONFERENCE
Coach: John Cashmore (fourth season)
Last season: No dual wins because of low roster number
Top returners: Spencer Stanley, sr., 132; Jordan Gricar, sr., 138; David Reiter, sr., 145; Justin Strand, jr., 152/160; AJ Brewer, so., 220
Key newcomers: Austin Stephens, fr., 195
Noteworthy: The Giants return five athletes with experience, including three conference champions in Stanley, Reiter and Strand. Strand is a two-time sectional qualifier and could jump into Alden-Hebron’s top 10 in career wins this year. Reiter is only the second four-year wrestler for the Giants in the past five seasons. Cashmore has set a goal of qualifying five athletes for sectionals. “[We’re a] small team,” Cashmore said. “We are training hard and working on the fundamentals.”