Mariemont head coach Rodney Cash said he is coaching a nice mix of freshmen and returning wrestlers this season.
“The freshmen are looking good, they just need experience,” he said. “The seniors should be right there with some of the best wrestlers in the state.”
Mariemont returns Riley Henderson at 152, Dominik Butler at 126 and Drew Goheen at 132.
Cash said Henderson, who was a state alternate two years ago, is 17 victories away from breaking the school record for career wins. Butler was a state qualifier two years ago. He suffered an injury last year and didn’t make it to the state meet.
As for Goheen, he returns for his second season.
“He’s had a good offseason and got stronger,” Cash said. “We have good talent in the (wrestling) room and the kids work hard.”
Purcell Marian was fourth in the Greater Catholic League Coed last season and a league champ in 2012-13 under coach Bill Antle.
Antle has five starters back in senior Tony Meinking and juniors Jake McCarthy, Doug Fairbanks, Elijah Pryce and Caleb Marshall. McCarthy was GCL Coed first team at 145 pounds last year and Pryce made honorable mention at 220.
“We only have two seniors this year and we have six freshmen,” Antle said. “We have the potential to surprise a lot of teams. I’m very excited about this year.”
The rest of the Cavaliers include senior Isaac Hershaw, junior Quentin Wade, sophomores Tim McDowell, Sayeed Nuby, Darren Chatmen and Mike Posey, and freshmen Ben Bellmen, Abel Edwards, Raymond Hahn, Owen Lewis and Josh Jones.
Purcell Marian is at the Norwood Invitational Dec. 27 and begins the new year at the Madeira Invitational Jan. 2.
Withrow will be in its first season in the Eastern Cincinnati Conference after finishing second last year in the Cincinnati Metro Athletic Conference.
Eighth-year coach Clinton McElroy returns three starters in senior Tra’Von Barnes and juniors Tim Harrow and Stanley Williams. Harrow and Williams were CMAC first team at 138 pounds and 195, respectively. Barnes made honorable mention at 220.
“It’s the most inexperienced team I’ve coached in years, but they have some athleticism,” McElroy said. “Harrow, Williams and Barnes have the experience and ability to surprise people this season.”
Walnut Hills looks to move up after finishing seventh last season in the ECC. Coach Emmerson Mincy returns four starters.
Senior Edward Hampton is closing in on 100 victories at 285 pounds. Juniors Markus Myles (145) and Anson Moore (160) add experience along with sophomores Quinton Mincy (220) and Saul Weinstein should contribute.
“This is the fifth season of the rebirth of the wrestling program at Walnut Hills,” coach Mincy said. “We have a young team but our numbers have grown substantially. This season is destined to be our best since we restarted the program.”
Mincy hopes to bolster the team eventually through the hiring of middle school coach James Neville to improve the junior high wrestlers. Walnut has also added young coaches Sam Newton and Carlos Munoz, who have state championship experience at Louisville St. Xavier.
“They bring a lot of fire and enthusiasm for the sport,” Mincy said.
Walnut Hills host the Eagle Rumble Duals Dec. 20.
Summit Country Day head coach Jim Covert will count on a few wrestlers to have big seasons this year for the Silver Knights.
Summit returns senior Jesse Campbell , junior Davionne Laney and sophomore Josh Campbell. Laney was a district qualifier at 220 pounds and Covert said the Campbell brothers have started the season well with a combined 9-1 record between them.
“Davionne is in great position to do well this season. He is in the right place at the right time,” Cover said. “When I came in, I asked the Campbells to do a lot of things differently, and their experience along with what they are learning is coming together. It’s a good mesh.”
The Silver Knights participated in the Everette Howard Invitational Dec. 13 at North College Hill and will wrestle again Saturday in the Eagle Rumble at Walnut Hills.
Cincinnati Country Day wrestling head coach Dan Wood enters his sixth season as Indians’ head coach with a smaller roster made up of mostly freshmen.
The Indians feature five freshmen and one sophomore. He added that the young group is eager to soak up everything it can.
“They love this sport and want to learn as much as possible,” Wood said. “Each one also has a lot of competitive spirit so no match is over until the final whistle. They battle every second they can.”
CCD doesn’t compete in dual meets and last won a Miami Valley Conference title in 2007.
Taking over for the highly-successful Jeff Gaier in the Moeller wrestling room is James Yonushonis. He inherits a team that has won the Greater Catholic League-South 12 years in a row and 21 of the last 22 seasons. The Crusaders were also the top-ranked Division I team in the Enquirer’s preseason poll.
Yonushonis was previously at Bishop Ready in Columbus.
Among those to watch for Crusaders are senior Conner Ziegler, juniors Jacoby Ward, Joe Hensley and Jack Meyer and sophomore Brett Bryant.
Meyer made GCL-South first team a year ago at 285 pounds. Ziegler was second team at 120 pounds with Ward making it at 132. Ward and Ziegler were both state participants last February.
The Crusaders will be at Harrison High School for the Coaches Classic tourney Dec. 20-21 and finish 2014 at the Powerade Invitational Dec. 28-30 at Canon McMillian High School.
The focus at St. Xavier is on the short term.
“If we focus on the short-term goals, in the long run they’ll work themselves out,” said St. X coach Tom Wynn. “What we talk about is just winning the battles we can, one period at a time.”
The Bombers are coming off a more than memorable season. They finished 12th overall in the state and Joe Heyob, who graduated, was a state champion at 170 pounds.
Seniors Cole Jones and Ben Heyob are both returning state qualifiers. Jones placed fourth at 195, but he’ll likely wrestle at 220 this season. It was Ben’s second time qualifying for state, and he’ll be at 145 this year.
Junior Nick Falke also returns, a district qualifier last season. Sophomore Conner Yauss was a sectional qualifier last year. Sophomore Sam Kreiter’s a transfer (from La Salle) and he won’t be eligible until later this season, but Wynn said he will help out.
“I like the fact that the guys are gritty, they just work hard,” Wynn said.