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The Historic Triangle does not return any state champions from last season, but a number of wrestlers with state tournament experience do return for local schools.
Wrestlers like Bruton’s Ben Marshall, Jamestown’s Travis Heatwole, Tabb’s Will Speight and Warhill’s Trey Drummond are all coming off state tournament appearances and have the potential to make it back this season.
Top-to-bottom, teams like York, Jamestown, Grafton, Lafayette and Bruton should all have chances to send multiple wrestlers to the state tournament, while Bruton will likely reach the state tournament again as a team in Group 2A.
Tabb and Warhill have some talented individual wrestlers that could make deep postseason runs, but likely don’t have the depth to send multiple wrestlers to the late rounds of the region or state tournaments.
Below are previews for wrestlers for each Historic Triangle team:
Head Coach: Kyle Cowles
Ben Marshall, junior, 120 pounds
A reigning conference champion at 113 pounds last season, Marshall is a tenacious wrestler who never gives up during a bout. Marshall’s wrestling weight will fluctuate this year as he bounces between 120 and 126 pounds. After finishing fifth in the Group 2A state tournament last year, Marshall has the experience to make another postseason run.
Ian Gruver, senior, 152 pounds
Gruver is coming off a sixth-place finish in the Group 2A state tournament at 160 pounds. While Gruver is dropping down to 152 pounds, the senior has kept his raw power and could see his most success this season. With a career record of 33-10, Gruver does not lose often and that should continue to be the case this season.
Head Coach: Justin Cooper
Zach Leherr, senior, 152 pounds
Leherr will need to shake off some rust this season after missing all of last year with an injury. However, now healthy, Leherr should return to top form similar to what he showed during his freshman and sophomore seasons.
Aaron Daugherty, senior, 145 pounds
Similar to Leherr, Daugherty was hampered by injury last season after dislocating his elbow during his first regular season tournament. Despite the injury, Daugherty was able to return late in the year and place third in the conference tournament. Fully healthy, Daugherty will assert himself as one of Grafton’s best wrestlers and should be one of the best in the district at his weight class.
Luke Armstrong, junior 170 pounds
Coming off a fifth-place finish in the regional tournament last year, Armstrong has his eyes set on a state berth this season. Armstrong has the right combination of power and quickness to shoot for takedowns and finish bouts with pins. Given his postseason experience, Armstrong could be Grafton’s best chance to send a wrestler to the state tournament.
Head Coach: Richard Pennycuff
Travis Heatwole, senior, 182 pounds
Heatwole is coming off a loss in the Group 4A quarterfinals at 170 pounds and will be moving up to 182 pounds this season. Heatwole is a scrappy wrestler who could prove to be Jamestown’s best this season. After finishing fourth in the Group 4A South tournament last year, Heatwole should be poised for more success this season.
Connor Hurley, senior, 120 pounds
Hurley projects to be one of the top lightweight wrestlers for Jamestown this season. Quick on his feet, Hurley is tough to take down and can be slippery for opponents to pin. Coming off a loss in the Group 4A South quarterfinals, Hurley will look to make a deeper run this season in a new weight class after competing at 113 last year.
Zachary Pennycuff, junior, 195 pounds
A tough competitor at 195 pounds, Pennycuff has potential to take home a Conference 18 title and could potentially make a run in the Group 4A East tournament. A hard worker in the weight room, Pennycuff has increased his weight after competing at 170 pounds last season. Pennycuff went undefeated as a freshman before sustaining a shoulder injury, so he has shown potential to compete at a high level.
Head Coach: Chris Wiatt
Kane Hurt, junior, 145 pounds
Hurt is coming off a loss in the Group 3A East quarterfinals at 138 pounds. With another offseason of weight training under his belt, Hurt should be prepared to compete for a Conference 18 title after finishing as a runner up last year. With a slight weight increase this season, Hurt will be a tad stronger than last year and should have more takedown potential.
Griffin Hurt, senior, 160 pounds
Hurt had a disappointing fifth-place finish during the Group 3A East tournament last season and is out to provide a better showing this year. Hurt was not the most technically sound wrestler last year, but has enough athletic talent to give other wrestlers fits. Hurt will be sticking at 160 pounds this season, which bodes well as he is comfortable wrestling at that weight.
Head Coach: Doug Roper
Will Speight, senior, 126 pounds
Speight is one of the lone returners for Tabb this year, but does have state tournament experience after reaching the quarterfinals last year at 126 pounds. Motivated by a disappointing loss in the state quarterfinals that ended in 22 seconds, Speight has been working hard over the offseason and should once again be headed to the state tournament.
Zach Schiele, senior, 285 pounds
A big, bruising wrestler, Schiele is taking over as the heavyweight starter for the first time after being beaten out by Robbie Wiscarson last year. Schiele is not the most elusive heavyweight, but he has the pure strength to outmuscle his opponents in the ring.
Jake Roberts, junior, 182 pounds
Described by Roper as a brawler, Roberts is not the most technically sound wrestler but has a seemingly endless motor during bouts. Roberts will need to be more polished this season if he wants to make a postseason run, but the natural athleticism is there to be a tough out during the regular season.
Head Coach: Scott Lish
Trey Drummond, junior, 126 pounds
A scrappy wrestler who took home a conference championship at 113 pounds and reached the state quarterfinals last year, Drummond will likely be Warhill’s top wrestler this season. Drummond is moving up to 126 pounds this season and will be stronger at any other time in his career. With good escapability, Drummond will be a tough out for other district wrestlers.
Chris Mathis, senior, 182 pounds
Mathis has had a quiet career up until this point, but his senior season could prove a breakout moment for the senior. A combination of power and quickness makes Mathis a tough out at 182 pounds. With a motor that does not stop during a bout, Mathis could make a splash for the Lions this year.
Head Coach: Ryan Vottero
Michael Cawley, senior, 170 pounds
The top senior for York, Cawley is taking the unconventional route and is dropping weight from his junior season. After wrestling at 182 pounds last year, Cawley is dropping to 170 pounds but managed to keep his pure strength. With a strong offseason of work, Cawley should be challenging for a conference title.
Mason Bambini, freshman, 120 pounds
A junior varsity wrestler last season as an eighth grader, Bambini is ready to step on to the varsity stage as a freshman. After wrestling as 106 pounds last year, Bambini put on good weight thanks to a growth spurt and weightlifting from football. With years of wrestling experience, Bambini should be one of the better freshmen in the district.
John Cassidy, freshman, 152 pounds
Cassidy has a Midwestern, older-style of wrestling. In a sport Vottero said has become softer, Cassidy has a certain toughness and meanness in the ring that will make him a tough competitor in the district. Inexperience might be an issue, but his raw physicality will cover up some technical flaws.
Luke Grubbs, freshman, 126 pounds
Grubbs enters the season ranked eighth in Group 3A at the 126 weight class despite never wrestling in a match at the varsity level. Expectations are high for Grubbs, who is proficient at his setup moves and combinations. His move set is fairly limited, but Grubbs is technically sound in what he does.