Last year, the Lomira wrestling team won the Flyway Conference title and was a match away from advancing to the WIAA team state tournament.
The Lions are hoping for even better things in 2015-16.
Lomira returns three conference champions in Tyler Garriety, Chase Parr and Jordan Michael, as well as a number of other key wrestlers. With the team he has coming back, Lions coach Dave Meyer knows it should be another successful season.
“We are disappointed that we have kept coming up short at team sectionals each of the last four years,” Meyer said. “The guys did a lot of offseason work on their wrestling skills and we have taken a couple of steps to strengthen our schedule. We expect to be competitive with Omro and Laconia, our toughest opponents in the Flyway. We expect to be competitive with Campbellsport and the other teams in our regional and we expect to have rematches with Sheboygan Falls and Wisconsin Lutheran at the team sectional.”
Michael, a senior, was a sectional champion last season and finished fourth at the WIAA Division 2 state individual wrestling tournament. Garriety and Parr both finished fourth at sectionals, just missing trips to state, while Collin Feucht is also back after going to state.
Meanwhile, Meyer also anticipates wrestlers like Mason Neuman, Ryan Riedel, Christian Borges, Ray Manthey, Jackson Ringle, Sage Pastorius and Adam Kinyon to have good seasons. Four-time conference champion and two-time state qualifier Mitch Garriety, as well as conference runner-up Harley Walter do depart from the Lions, but Meyer thinks varsity reserves Allan Klink, Costa Calarco, Jon Stucke, Colin Saegert and David Flynn should be ready to step up this season.
Fond du Lac
With the return of two state qualifiers, the Cardinals and coach Joe Rens believe they can compete near the top of the Fox Valley Association in 2015-16.
Senior Josh Adams and junior Donte Johnson are back after both qualifying for state a season ago and they’re joined by a solid cast of wrestlers, including Gage Zahradnik, Lavonn Johnson and Chase Krug.
The talent Fond du Lac has on its roster this year has Rens believing his team can make a move toward the top of the FVA.
“Realistically, I’d say maybe third or fourth (in the conference),” Rens said. “We have young kids and we’ve got to fill weight classes. I’m not so worried about that now, I just want to build and work on improvement. If I can see improvement, then I know we’re doing things right and the wins will take care of themselves.”
The Vikings return eight letterwinners this season, including three who advanced to sectionals a season ago.
Flyway Conference champion Luke Meihack is back, along with fellow sectional qualifiers Isaiah La Vanway and Tanner Haase. Winnebago Lutheran coach Brad Wright also hopes wrestlers like Zach Olson, Ethan Guse, Jonah Hinds and Grant Manke will step in and perform consistently in 2015-16.
North Fond du Lac/St. Mary’s Springs
North Fond du Lac/St. Mary’s Springs returns a variety of wrestlers from last year’s team, including second-place Flyway finishers Noah Giebel and Abe Giebel, as well as Austin Hernandez, Zach Choate and Jace Braun.
Jared Bavers, Isaac Skiff, Tony Bednarek, Joe Brunette and Odin Nett are also back, although the team does lose Michael Lozano, Riley Behnke and Alan Burkart.
Coach Doug Forsythe also mentioned Brendan Boettcher, Junior Hernandez, Alonzo Moreno, Robert Smith and Michael Zagar as newcomers who could potentially step up this season.
The Spartans lost a good group of seniors from last year’s squad, including Eli Moses, who finished sixth at the state tournament.
But coach Pat Coffeen knows he has a solid core coming back that should put Laconia right in the thick of the Flyway Conference race.
Juniors Alec Potter and Zach Coffeen both finished fifth at state a season ago and were conference champs as well. Meanwhile, sophomore Zachary Foth is a defending state qualifier and Dylan Jacob, Dustin Hobbs, Kevin Potter and Trevin Henker all have good experience.
“I have some great individuals, just not a high number of wrestlers in the room,” Coffeen said. “The individuals in the room can go as far as they want to and that is our expectation for this year as of right now.”
Although the Warriors will be without four-time sectional qualifier Reid Zietlow this season, they return a number of wrestlers who could contribute heavily in 2015-16.
Two-time sectional qualifier Carter Veleke returns, as does Koy Straks — a sectional qualifier last year. Brett Roecker, who missed the 2014 season due to injury, will be back and so is Austin Farr.
Ryan Rens will miss the season because of an injury suffered during football, but even so, coach Tom Hagstrom believes Waupun will be in the middle of the pack in the East Central Conference and could fight its way into the upper half.
With a large group of quality wrestlers returning, Cougars coach Mark Peterson thinks his team should compete for the East Central Conference crown this season.
While Campbellsport does lose Alex Costello, who finished fifth at state the past two years, it returns wrestlers like Dylan Bublitz, Joe Lindsley, Bennett Marchant, Mason Ksioszk, Paul Guelig, Dominick Wetzel, Levi Feucht, Jake Johnson and Jake Verdien.
Bublitz, Lindsley, Marchant, Ksioszk, Wetzel and Johnson were sectional qualifiers last year. Peterson also anticipates sophomore Josh Krueger and junior Austin Narges could fill key weight slots, as well could a number of incoming freshmen.
The Cardinals lost a tremendous amount of talent from last year’s team, meaning coach Adam Davison thinks 2015-16 could be a rebuilding year for Mayville.
Among the departed wrestlers are Dakota Danner, Airon Herning, Kody Priesgen, Dylan Schwersinske, Dominic Palm and Ryan Luehring.
Joey Wiedmeyer is the Cardinals’ lone senior this season and he, along with other returners such as Thomas Staehle, Justin Schlender, Niko Giese, Allison Rex, Montana Bingen, Shawn Schwersinske and Andrew Breitkruetz will need to step up.
“We lost a really talented group through graduation, so this is going to be a year with a lot of growth for a much younger team,” Davison said. “Success won’t be measured as much just by wins and losses on the mat, especially early in the year, but by seeing the team get better every time out.”
The Oaks return a number of talented wrestlers for the 2015-16 season, led by senior Ross Ellison.
Ellison is a two-time state qualifier and was both the regional and sectional champion a season ago. He’s joined by juniors Shawn Ellison, Cody Floyd and Aaron Shepherd and sophomore James Kottke.
Although Oakfield lost Ryan Easterson and Matt Gross to graduation, it brings in freshmen Eddie Hoddel and Cullan Pauliot.
“We are young and are working on building a program,” Oakfield coach Mark Morell said. “We will be focusing on the improvement of our younger and newer wrestlers over the season, while making sure to get our more experienced wrestlers in a position to achieve their goals.”
Sam Oleson: (920) 907-7930, email@example.com or follow on Twitter @sam_olesonFDL