By CAREY FOX
Hopes are high this season for the Northview wrestling program. And for good reason.
Not only did the Knights graduate just two regulars from their lineup from last year, but they will be able to comfortably fill all weight classes this season.
With three returning 30-win wrestlers and another two who picked up 20-plus wins, the Knights could make some postseason noise once again.
First year head coach Dan Mikesell takes the reigns this year and shares the thought that his squad has a lot of potential. "These kids are really working hard," commented Mikesell. "I've come into a great situation (at Northview). My goal is for these seniors to have the best dual meet record they've had here."
That certainly is a possibility since the Knights return both experience and talent.
Junior Cory Grigsby returns after going 31-8 and placing second in the Bloomington South Regional at 119 pounds. He was second in sectional competition.
This year, Grigsby moves up to 125 and creates a tough back-to-back combination with 130 pound Austin Staley who placed third in the sectional last year, going 32-7 for the year.
Staley has a wealth of postseason experience with a semistate trip as a freshman, a fourth place regional finish as a sophomore and a trip to Regionals as a junior. This year could be the year he cracks the state finals barrier along with teammate Derek Mroczek.
Mroczek will wrestle at 145 pounds this season after winning 32 matches last season. He placed second in sectional action and moved on to finish third in the regional.
"We've got great leadership on this team," commented Mikesell. "The seniors are really taking control of the team. There's a lot of talent on this team."
Doug Porter returns at 160 pounds after 21 wins last year and a fifth place sectional finish. He lends competitive depth to the upper weight classes along with Jeremiah Allen at 215 and Tony Sanabria at the Heavyweight level.
Brent Withers will be competing with Corey Allen at the 152 pound class and newcomer Phil Beckley will fill the 140 pound class for his senior season.
While the Knights boast considerable talent in their returning wrestlers, the squad isn't without question marks.
Five freshman are expected to see considerable time throughout the early part of the season, leaving some of the lower weight classes without much experience.
Caesia Myers will hold down the 103 pound class with Lucas Boyd in the 112 pound class while sophomore Austin Nicosin recovers from a broken leg.
Nicosin placed fourth in the 103 pound class as a freshman last season on the way to 24 victories. But after injuring himself in a motorcycle accident, the Knights will depend on their younger newcomers to learn on the fly.
"I see some holes in the lineup right now and we'll have to have some kids pick it up. But as far as a tournament team, I think we're going to surprise some people."
Chris Dean will fill the 135 pound spot while Cody Stearley and Conner McCoy will wrestle off for the 189 pound slot. Sophomore Greg Stoltz will likely take over at 171 to complete a lineup that will take time to gel.
With the Knights kicking off the season in a tough six-way meet with state-ranked Bloomington North, Paoli, Mitchell, New Albany and Seymour, they'll be tested early and often.
"We've got 24 kids out this season and that helps our depth," said Mikesell. "Our goal is to win the WIC and to get to the state finals," he noted.
With a determined and talented group of athletes comprising this year's team, Mikesell's goals could become reality.
The Knights will kickoff the year with their meet at Bloomington North on Saturday morning at 8 a.m.
Northview Wrestling Schedule
|Sat. Nov. 29||at Bloomington North||8 a.m.|
|Wed. Dec. 3||at Bloomington South||6 p.m.|
|Sat. Dec. 6||at Westfield||8 a.m.|
|Wed. Dec. 10||vs. Owen Valley||6 p.m.|
|Sat. Dec. 13||Northview Invite||8 a.m.|
|Tue. Dec. 16||vs. Edgewood||6 p.m.|
|Tue. Dec. 30||at Mooresville||10 a.m.|
|Wed. Dec. 31||at Mooresville||10 a.m.|
|Thu. Jan. 8||at T.H. South||6 p.m.|
|Thu. Jan. 15||vs. Greencastle||6 p.m.|
|Sat. Jan. 17||at Sullivan||9 a.m.|
|Sat. Jan. 24||at S. Vermillion||10 a.m.|
|Sat. Jan. 31||at Owen Valley||10 a.m.|