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2019-20 WRESTLING PREVIEW: Team-by-team capsules
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Pinecrest Academy's Mark Metz grapples with Gordon Lee's Bryce James in the GHSA traditional state finals on Saturday, Feb. 16, 2019 at the Macon Centreplex. - photo by David Almeda

West Forsyth

Coach: Evan Goff, third season

Key returners: Dylan Fairchild, Jr.,285; Creston Lorenzo, Sr., 170, Ethan Rickert, Jr., 152; Cam Westray, Sr., 132; Christian Walker, 126; Chase Murray, Jr., 120, Brody Knapp, Jr., 138; Spencer Bovenizer, Jr., 220

Key newcomers: N/A

Outlook: The Wolverines lose six returning starters from last season, but they still feel like they have the numbers and depth to be competitive, especially in a team setting. Ethan Rickert, Dylan Fairchild and Creston Lorenzo all return and were all placers at state last year. West also welcomes back Cam Westray, a two-time state qualifier who sat out his junior season. While head coach Evan Goff feels like his team is inexperienced, he does see an athletic group, and he hopes that fact can help offset their weaknesses.

 

South Forsyth

Coach: Josh Stephen, fourth season

Key returners: Juan Cruz, Jr., 113; Adrian Gutierrez, Sr., 138; AJ Riner, Sr., 145, Matthew Meersman, Jr., 160; Nick Ramsayer, Sr., 182; Ethan Patrick, Jr., 285

Key newcomers: Cole Williams, Fr., 170

Outlook: The War Eagles boast a solid group of seniors led by AJ Riner, a regional and sectional champion last season that placed third at state. The coaching staff has some new additions in Ryan Millhof and Adrian Antonini, but head coach Josh Stephen feels like his team still needs to make some gains throughout the season, particularly because of its overall youth.

 

Pinecrest Academy

Coach: Mark Schmidt, fourth season

Key returners: Joseph Metz, Sr., 152; Tyler Schmidt, Sr., 160; Mark Metz, Jr., 126; Breckin Barbee, So., 132; Lewis Diaz, So., 145

Key newcomers: Brock Barbee, Fr., 152; Jackson McCray, Fr., 145; Brayden Wilson, So., 138; William West, So., 160; Brandun Lyne, Sr., 145; Miller Bustamante, Jr., 182

Outlook: Head coach Mark Schmidt feels like this year’s Pinecrest team should be its best yet. The Paladins will be led by brothers Joseph and Mark Metz, the latter being last year’s 1A Private state champion at 106 pounds. Joseph is a three-time state placer, and the Paladins will also look to have other standouts like Breckin Barbee and Lewis Diaz, who were sectional qualifiers last year. The Paladins are struggling with lightweights, though, with no participants wrestling at 106, 113 or 120. To have a successful team season, Pinecrest will need to have its newcomers step up early.

 

Forsyth Central

Coach: Russell Transue, first season

Key returners: Ashlee Rice, So., 106/113/120; Tyson Upchurch, Jr., 106/113/120; Murat Aliyev, Sr., 113/120/126; RJ Colon, Sr., 132/138/145; Avery Krippner, Jr., 160/170/182; Jake Turki, Sr., 160/170/182; Luis Meyer, Sr., 170/182/195; Branden Redecker, Sr., 182/195/220; Darius Green, Sr., 220/285

Key newcomers: Aidan Manalastas, Fr., 106/113/120; Cameron Haynie, Fr., 106/113; Preston Ostrowski, Fr., 113/120/126; Conor O’Neil, Fr., 113/120/126; Diego Taraquini, Fr., 132/138/145; Andrew Carrizo, Fr., 170/182/195; Luke Sacchetti, Fr., 195/220/285; Mikel Stowers, Jr., 132/138/145

Outlook: Central had some notable names depart the program over the offseason, including former head coach Jeremiah Walker. Russell Transue takes over Walker’s previous post, and although the Bulldogs lost some state placers from last year, Transue will still have some talent to work with. Central has some solid light weights and some seniors to round out its lineup, but the Bulldogs are still young and depth is an issue in some places. Avery Krippner, Ashlee Rice, Branden Redecker and Darius Green all return, and were All-County selections for last season.

 

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North Forsyth's Sophia Eglian looks towards the referee while trapping her opponent in a headlock on Saturday, Feb. 16, 2019 at the Macon Centreplex. - photo by David Almeda
North Forsyth

Coach: Travis Jarrard, 20th season

Key returners: Jaqueline Palmer, Sr., 138; Tate Bissell, Sr., 145/152/160; Sophia Eglian, Sr., 148; Cale Bissell, So., 145/152/160; Bentley Wheeler, So., 145/152/160; Andrew Sexton, Sr., 170/182; Tristan Graham, So., 170/182; Dylan Lyerly, So., 195/220; Mason Butcher, Sr., 195/220

Key newcomers: Michael Gryder, Fr., 106/113; Isaac Hall, Fr., 106/113; Ivan Mercado, Fr., 120; Zander McBeth, Fr., 126/132; Brandon Peoples, Fr., 126/132; Christopher Henderson, Fr., 138/145; Victor Reyes, Jr., 182/195; Eli Edwards, So., 285

Outlook: North graduates a state champion in Paul Watkins, but the Raiders do bring back Sophia Eglian, the first-ever Forsyth County girls wrestling state champion, at 148. Tate Bissell is back for his senior year after a fifth place finish at state. North feels like its roster should be a solid one this year, but the Raiders will be a young group with seven or eight freshman in the lineup at times, along with three or four sophomores.

 

Denmark

Coach: Ty Brown, second season

Key returners: Zach Recker, So., 113; Ethan Culbreth, Jr., 138; Arthur Marsden, Sr., 195; John Mau, Jr., 145

Key newcomers: Josh Wayland, Fr., 106; Hayden Hildebrand, So., 138

Outlook: Denmark is still building up its program in just its second year of existence, but the Danes will have a nice foundation to work with, returning three state qualifiers in Zach Recker, Ethan Culbreth and Arthur Marsden. Head coach Ty Brown feels like it will be a challenge to be a competitive dual team with a mix of new wrestlers with returners, but he fully expects to have some competitive individuals at state, perhaps even a state champion.

 

Lambert

Coach: Kevin Contardi, 11th season

Key returners: Mason McClung, So., 120; Austin Monie Jr., 126; Holden Teillon, Sr., 138; Lucas Teillon, Jr., 145; Thomas Dossett, So. 220

Key newcomers: Chase Disney, Jr., 182; Dylan Lobdell, Fr., 138

Outlook: The Longhorns had five state qualifiers last season, but they feel like they can have nine or 10 qualify if everything goes right for them. Mason McClung, Austin Monie, Holden Teillon, Lucas Teillon and Thomas Dossett all made state last year. Lambert has a few new faces as well: Chase Disney is a move-in from California that has wrestling experience, and freshman Dylan Lobdell is a freshman with a good bit of experience. Filling every weight class with experienced wrestlers might be a challenge for Lambert, but the Longhorns are hoping their younger wrestlers can grow fast.