A year after garnering two runner-ups, a third- and a fifth-place, the Knights expect to improve upon that with a some more experience in their upperclassmen and a talented freshmen group as well.
Coach Dan Mikesell is looking forward to building upon the program's best-ever finish last weekend at the Bo Henry Classic, a second-place.
Earning a team victory would surely be the best gift of all for the Knights over the Christmas break, but the trophy won't come easy.
Several competitors will be counted on to make the next jump and earn some hardware in this year's tourney.
Junior 135-pounder Brandon Hathaway is one of those athletes, coming in at 16-1 on the year and looking to build on a fifth-place Mooresville finish last year.
"I am counting on Hathaway to get to the finals," mentioned Mikesell. "He just needs to do what he does, wrestle aggressive on his feet and be tough on top. I am confident that he can win the tournament."
Hathaway meets a 10-4 freshman, Dalton Clements of Monrovia, in the opener and could see Evansville Central's Luke Bittner in the semifinals in a great match-up. Mikesell believes that Hathaway has prepared well for this tournament.
"We have spent some time in practice working on some technique to help him earn some points from the top position. With his skill from neutral, being able to get some near-fall points will help him get over the edge against tougher opponents," assessed Northview's head coach.
Perhaps the biggest factor in earning valuable team points for Northview will be the performance of its four freshmen. This group isn't new to the sport, competing in junior high, but the learning process is a bit rockier at the varsity level.
"With four freshmen in the line up, that is the scary part, you don't know how they will react on such a big stage," said Mikesell. "We will need wins from all for of them to help us pull it off. They are working hard and all four have a legit shot to place. That would be a huge boost for team points."
At 103-pounds, Skyler Hall (8-8) faces classmate, Preston Wilson in the opener and a win there would set up a potential bout with 13th-ranked Jacob Barton of Brownsburg (13-4). There are plenty of important points bouts and Hall's advancement to the second day could be pivotal.
Brandon Mikesell, competing at 125-pounds, is 10-6 this year and squares off with Monrovia sophomore, Tony Patterson in the opener. His success in the opener could set up a big bout with Doug Rush, an 8-2 sophmore or Madison senior Phillip Whimpee.
Wrestling heavyweight as a freshman is no easy task, but Beau Judd has made the best of that situation, going 2-2 thus far. He'll have to face 14th-ranked Joe Arthur of Bloomington North in the opener, but Mikesell believes Judd will leave it all on the mat in the bout.
"Beau Judd got the toughest draw. He'll try his best I am sure, and hopefully he can come through and get to the second day. He is a great kid," commented Mikesell.
"He works hard and listens and that is going to pay off for him eventually."
Tommy Holifield is at 189-pounds and his advancement to the second-day is important for the Knights as well. Senior Nathan Disney returned from injury at the Bo Henry Classic, going 1-3, his experience as an upperclassman will be important in his success.
"Hopefully Tommy and Disney can get through to the second day and place," said Mikesell.
Disney will face Terre Haute South's Nick Pullen, a 14-1 senior in the opening match.
"I think Nathan is getting pretty healthy and Tommy is on the brink of breaking out as a more consistent wrestler.
Tom had a good run at Bo Henry. I hope he can carry that momentum over to Mooresville," said Mikesell.
"Caleb Dutrow could be a sleeper for us as well. I like having three seniors that no one gives a shot to. I hope they are motivated by not getting seeded and I expect all three to have an upset or two," said Mikesell.
Dutrow is making the most of this year after not competing the last two seasons. The senior is 11-6 coming into the Mooresville Tourney and will get an opening match with Mooresville's 6-6 Dain Smith. A win there would send him into a key battle with Hamilton Southeastern's Bobby Natusch, which could pave the way to a deep tourney run.
The 2006 season was a washout for senior Zach Stultz until Christmas. An injury kept him out until he debuted in Mooresville and made a third-place run, going 4-1 with two overtime wins.
Mikesell feels that last year's experience will fuel Stultz to a top finish in the 2007 edition.
"This tournament was Zach's first one back last year after an injury so for him to win a couple in OT was a tribute to his heart. Zach has a real burning desire to win and doesn't get rattled if the score is close."
Stultz (15-1) has drawn notice from opposing coaches, earning a No. 19 ranking at 145-pounds and a No. 2 seed opposite Castle's Preston Richard.
"He is in the best shape I have ever seen him in," said Mikesell of his senior. "So if (Zach) will get a little more aggressive in the early parts of a match he could really start to turn some heads. For sure we are looking forward to a potential match up with Richards, but we have to be sure not to get ahead of our selves and take it one match at a time. There are a lot of good opponents in this tournament."
Chris Craft was a runner-up at 125-pounds last year, but his status is still a bit uncertain as he's suffered from kidney stones recently. But if he does compete, Craft is the top seed and could push his team to the top with a title to match his Bo Henry championship.
Another Northview senior, Beau Pingleton is important for his team's success and is ready to climb to the top of the podium after placing third in 2006.
"Beau has been working extremely hard in practice. He is a pretty motivated kid already, I am sure losing early in the season will add fuel to the fire," said Mikesell.
"He had a nice holiday tournament last year, that experience will help him. We are gearing up for a late season run with him and this tournament is a step on that path."
Pingleton is a No. 1 seed, and at 14-1 this year, is ranked No. 10 overall. He'll get a forfeit in the opener before a possible second round match-up with Plainfield's Dustin Parrish, a 13-6 freshman.
At 130-pounds, Kyle McCoy gets an opening bout with West Lafayette's Jordan Pitman (8-11) and could see Castle's unbeaten junior, Andrew Seitz (15-0), who is the No. 2 seed to West Noble's Kyle Marsh (16-0). The senior placed second in the Goshen Regional last year at 135-pounds.
Sophomore Luke Pingleton came into last year's tourney at 19-2, but did not place. That experience should serve him well in 2007 as he comes in a 11-5 thus far.
He'll face Bloomington North freshman, Shawn Wasley (13-12) in the first round, but could see the No. 2 seed, Castle's Quinton Dormeier (6-3) in round two.
Senior Tom Herr-Smith has certainly been here before, the 10-7 160-pounder opens with Joe Richards of Hamilton Southeastern (5-5). Herr-Smith's survival into the second round is very important for team points for the Knights. A first round win would set him up with a match, most likely against Terre Haute South's Nick Anderson, a rival that should fuel Northview's fire.
Jared Staley placed sixth last season and wants to leave Mooresville with some great memories that start with a match at 215 against Beech Grove's Jacob Hook (2-8)
"Staley has some stiff competition as well, but he is a senior and will have to decide what he wants to make of this tournament. If he can put a couple of good matches together, he could be in the finals," said Mikesell.
Competition begins at Mooresville High School at 10 a.m. on Thursday and at 9 a.m. on Friday.