By CAREY FOX
Times Sports Editor
The Northview wrestling program is coming off a year in which it finished second in a very solid team sectional race with as talented a senior class as it has had recently. The Knights might have some inexperience and are a little short in numbers this year, but the cupboard is far from bare.
The Knights have a pair of senior anchors to this year's squad with Caleb Nicosin and Aaron See returning with a solid resume that includes three Western Indiana Conference titles for Nicosin and a spot in the regional last year. See reached the semi-state last season and is a two-time WIC champion.
Northview head coach Dan Mikesell agreed that the duo will be key to the Knights' ultimate success this season.
"I am counting on Caleb and Aaron to anchor out lineup at the top and bottom. Both of them have been in the program since middle school. Aaron had another good summer and found a lot of success going to the Disney Duals competition again. He was one win away from being an All-American in the toughest division. Caleb is a hard worker and really leads by example during the season.
Seniors Brody and Bailey Girton are penciled in at 145 and 160 pounds, but could potentially move as the year progresses. Baylor posted a 23-18 record at 140 pounds last year with Brody placing fourth in the sectional last season and finishing with a 24-18 mark.
Brody and Baylor are seniors that have been around the program for several years. I expect them to solidify the middle of our lineup. Brody went through basic training for the Army guard this summer and is much more mature," Mikesell said. "He is looking good in practice and working pretty hard so I expect him to get to semi-state for sure. Baylor is also showing much improvement so I expect him to be in Evansville with his brother as well."
The Knights are young in the lower weight classes with freshmen and sophomores slotted in from 120 to 138.
"We have a lot of new faces this year from 113-132. I do have two freshmen that were successful in middle school and they are off to a great start in practices. I expect Phoenix (Trance) Kelley and Jackson Copper to have a decent freshman year. I would say 20 wins is a good goal for both athletes," Mikesell said of the newcomers. "London Perdue is a move in with a little wrestling background, but he is technically a 106-pounder so it will be a little tough for him wrestling up a weight. He has a great attitude and I am happy he is here with us. Shane Ryan had some varsity experience last year so he isn't totally green. He should come through for us and win against most of the teams on our schedule. He has some talent and could be a dark horse for us.
"Trey is a great kid, it was tough for him last year being a first year wrestling being thrown in the lineup," Mikesell added of Boor. "But he persevered and looks much improved this year. He is making steady progress and should have a winning season."
At 152 pounds, sophomore Connor Pierce should see action with freshman Foster Buell in the mix with Brody Girton at 160 pounds.
Northview lost some quality experience in the upper weight classes with the graduation of Nathan Duregger (171), Brandon Pleake (189) and Beau Judd (285).
Levi Brown and Michael Miller are listed at 170 pounds followed by junior newcomer Devin Gullett at 182. Junior Jessie Miller returns at 195 with See at 220 and the combination of Justin Sampson and Zach Williams at 285. Miller wrestled a good portion of the season before a knee injury sidelined him at 189 pounds.
"I think Jesse should be right there for a birth in the state finals. He has speed and strength to match anybody so if he continues to improve on his technique and stamina the sky is the limit for him. Justin Sampson has been patiently waiting for Beau Judd to graduate," Mikesell said. "He had an awesome summer traveling to national competition with Team Indiana in both the National Duals tournament and the prestigious USA Wrestling Nationals in Fargo, N.D. He beat some really good kids this spring in Freestyle and Greco to make the team. So I am expecting him to pick up right where Beau left off.
"It would be my vision for the program to have 14 kids like Justin he has bought into the philosophy of wrestling year round and was patient and persistent in waiting his turn to be varsity as a junior. I am confident it will pay off and he will have a successful season," Mikesell continued.