Times Sports Editor
The Northview wrestling program has quickly reached a level where it annually is one of the favorites in a tough Western Indiana Conference and competes for team titles at the sectional level as well.
This year should be no different as the Knights return valuable experience throughout the lineup despite being a bit short on depth at this point of the year.
Northview returns five regional qualifiers and a semi-state competitor as well, which gives the team and its fans hope for a return to the IHSAA State Finals this season.
Leading the returning wrestlers is senior Luke Pingleton, a semi-state competitor last year after a runner-up regional finish. He won more than 30 matches last season and is gunning for a state finals berth at either the 130 or 135-pound class. Brandon Mikesell will compete at the 140-pound level this year after reaching the regional and going 22-15 last season.
"They both have the most knowledge about the sport. My hope is that they lead by example in practice and really get focused on reaching their potential," Mikesell said. "They both have battled some sickness in this early part of the preseason so hopefully that is out of the way. It will be a marathon season rather than a sprint. So our intention is for them to be peaking at the end of January beginning of February. They both have the experience to advance deep into the tournament."
A strength of this year's team is having experience in the lower weight classes, which is a luxury that many teams don't have.
Caleb Nicosin returns at 103 pounds after a regional berth and a 26-win season and he is joined by Austin Bell at 119 (24-14) and junior Skyler Hall, who returns to the line-up at 112 pounds.
"I think our lighter weights will score a lot of points for us this year," Mikesell agreed. "We have some experience coming back with a returning conference champ at 103, Caleb Nicosin and a junior wrestling 112, Skylar Hall, and Austin Bell at 119 with his experience. I can see all three having a break out season."
Brady Silvers also competed at the regional and posted a 27-13 mark at 160 pounds. He returns at the same weight, another year stronger after football and his leadership skills have proved valuable amongst the competitors in heavier weight classes.
As is the case in many high school sports now, summer experience can be important in developing for the prep season and a pair of Knights competed in tournaments during the offseason, which Mikesell feels will benefit them this year.
"Beau Judd and Brandon Mikesell competed in several tournaments. Beau qualified for Team Indiana by placing second at the state meet," Mikesell said. "Brandon got hurt in pole vaulting two days before the state meet and was unable to participate. They both had outstanding records competing in the Freestlye and Greco programs. We also took about a half dozen kids to camp this summer. I am looking for that experience to pay dividends as well."
Austin Sciotto got valuable experience last season and will see action in a tough 125-pound class and the middle weights will be occupied by Pat Durcholz at 145 and at 152, both Larry Shaffer and Eric Timberlake will battle for time.
In the upper classes there will be plenty of competition from 171 to 285, which Mikesell feels will benefit the team in the long run.
"Beau Judd (HWT) really put a lot of time in this off season," Mikesell said. "Competing at the Cadet Nationals in Fargo, ND and going to the Team Indiana camp should pay off. He is looking much faster and more confident in practice so I expect him to have a great season. He has a lot of work out partners and that should help as well."
Nathan Duregger and Brody Girton are slotted at 171 pounds with Aaron See, freshman Jesse Miller and Andrew Davis at 189. See may also get the opportunity to compete at 215 with Brandon Pleake.
Along with Beau Judd at heavyweight, Justin Sampson, Zach Williams and JR Robertson are competing for time too.
"Aaron See went to a few Folkstyle matches and his strength really has improved so I think he will do well at 215," Mikesell said. "Brandon Pleake is one of the hardest working kids I have coached so I am sure he will get the most out of his potential. Nathan Dureggar's experience from last year should help, and he is really being pushed by freshman Jesse Miller. Their wrestle offs are close and that competition for the spot will make each one of them better."
The Knights won't by shying away from top competition as they opened the season Wednesday on the road against sectional opponent and pre-season No. 12 ranked Bloomington South before facing a number of tough foes in tourney action throughout the season.
2009-10 Northview wrestling schedule
|Dec. 2||at Bloomington South||6 p.m.|
|Dec. 5||at Westfield Great 8||8:30 a.m.|
|Dec. 9||vs. Owen Valley||6 p.m.|
|Dec. 12||Northview Invite||8 a.m.|
|Dec. 15||vs. Edgewood||6 p.m.|
|Dec. 19||at Bloomington North Tourney||9 a.m.|
|Dec. 29||at Mooresville Tourney||10 a.m.|
|Dec. 30||at Mooresville Tourney||8 a.m.|
|Jan. 9||at Columbus East 6-way||9 a.m.|
|Jan. 13||at West Vigo||6 p.m.|
|Jan. 16||at Sullivan Winter Duals||9 a.m.|
|Jan. 23||at WIC Tourney||10 a.m.|
|Jan. 30||Northview Sectional||10 a.m.|
|Feb. 6||at Wrestling Regional||9 a.m.|
|Feb. 13||at Wrestling Semi-state||TBA|
|Feb. 19-20||at IHSAA State Finals||TBA|