UNION TWP – In his first year as varsity head coach at Glen Este High School, Chris Redmond led his Trojans to a second-place finish behind a power-packed Loveland squad. With a number of returning veterans, Glen Este looks to be competing with the Tigers again for the Eastern Cincinnati Conference title.
The Trojans won the ECC in 2013 by a half-point over the Tigers.
Nine starters are back for Redmond, highlighted by senior Gage Branson at 120 pounds. Like many of his teammates, he’s already out to a quick start and was the sectional champion and district runner-up last winter. At the state meet, Branson was one match away from placing.
Also back is senior Matt Kennedy at 182 pounds, junior Brandon Hertel at 126 and junior Brandon Smith at 132. All three were district qualifiers last season.
The other starters are seniors Evan Gottis at 138, Owen Reeves at 145 and Jason Belcher at 160, juniors Avery Jones at 152 and Nate Stone at 195.
“Our numbers are surprisingly low, even with the deduction of pay-to-play fees,” Redmond said. “Where we lack in numbers, we make up in quality. We have a great group of returning wrestlers that have been dedicated to the sport and program for many years. Not only do they take care of their responsibilities on the mat, they are respectful and responsible in and outside of school.”
The remainder of the Trojan team includes senior Kyle Kushner, juniors Angel and Oscar Santanna, sophomores Hunter Chrisman and Orien Reeves and freshmen Nick Borne, Cameron Chrisman, David Jones, Bailey Stultz and Nick Sutter.
Glen Este is in the Coaches Classic meet at Harrison Dec. 20-21. They finish 2014 at the Greater Miami Valley Wrestling Association Holiday Classic at Wright State’s Nutter Center Dec. 27-28.
Amelia finished third in the Southern Buckeye Conference-American Division last season behind Bethel-Tate and Western Brown. The Barons did lose Wrestler of the Year Cohen Canter to graduation, but return seven starters.
Among those are seniors Tanner Croft at 113 pounds, Isaac Shalash at 126, Corey Gastrich at 132, Jacob Hopper at 138 and Nate Adams at 152.
“We have a great group of seniors that will provide leadership to the team,” coach Chance Baysinger said. “Overall, our numbers are up with a big freshman class and we hope to continue to build the program.”
Among the events scheduled after the first of the year for Amelia is the Milford Invitational Jan. 31.
New Richmond was fourth behind Amelia in the SBAAC-American. Coach Deron Shinkle is in his 18th year leading the Lions and sophomore Brandon Planck is a returning district qualifier at 132 pounds. Sophomore Cory Higginbotham at 285 and junior Zyx Khan are also veterans.
Others Shinkle is relying on are senior Nikoli Lewis at 145 pounds, junior Mike Jones at 152 and sophomore Kennith Moore at 192.
“They are young and work very hard,” Shinkle said of his squad.
The Lions tangle at Williamsburg Dec. 17 and at Blanchester Dec. 19. They begin the new year at the Madeira Invitational Jan. 9-10.
Williamsburg began the final season under longtime head coach Mark Isaac. Isaac is in his 30th year at the helm of the Wildcats. With nine starters returning, the first league title in school history would be a good way to send Isaac off.
Isaac highlighted Kendal Johnson, Nate Golden, Dawson Davis, Billy Cadwallader as the Wildcats’ wrestlers to watch this season.
He added that Cadwallader is a Division I prospect and Johnson is closing in on the school record for wins.
No current information for Batavia was made available at press time. Log on to Cincinnati.com for updates throughout the season.
McNicholas returns a small contingent of wrestlers after losing five seniors to graduation last year. Despite the low numbers, head coach Craig Moore said the team’s goal is to move as many as four wrestlers on to the district meet.
“They have the potential; we’ll just have to see how it goes,” Moore said. “I think it’s a reasonable goal.”
The Rockets return two seniors in Nick Keri at 160 and Ronnie Ehemann at 170. They also return district qualifier in sophomore Riley Dowell-Howko.
McNicholas placed four at a meet in Williamsburg and have a tri meet coming up against Walnut Hills and Indian Hill.