Coach: Jeremiah Walker, first season.
Key returners: Knight Bankston, Johnson Keller, Nathan Kistler, Dustin Morris, Carson Pillow, Jordan Schaller, Kaleb Sherman, Jon Starr, Caleb Troutt, Josh Trowell, Brice Whitlow.
Key newcomers: Miles Bankston, Trevor Cleveland, Caleb Dilthey, Parker Evans, Bryce Garmon, Caleb Holleman, Hunter Kurowski, Noah Lowe, Larry Moody, Christian Parks, Colin Quinn, Hunter Stevens, Rios Tamanji.
Outlook: Central first-year coach Jeremiah Walker takes over an inexperienced and young team. The only returning state qualifier is junior Nathan Kistler, who did not place at 106. Outside of Kistler, the Bulldogs have only two seniors. But Walker is looking at the big picture. He has an experienced coaching staff and has revamped the program’s workout regimen, conditioning and training. Central isn’t likely to be ready to contend with Pope, the defending champion out of Area 7-AAAAA, this season, but the Bulldogs could take significant steps in the right direction. "This season will be an excellent stepping stone in developing a championship program," Walker said.
Coach: Kevin Contardi, fifth season.
Key returners: Andrew Morin, sr., 120; JT Salgado, sr., 170; Matthew Sheetz, soph., 113; Logan Wood, sr., 195;
Key newcomers: Eric Diemert, soph., 106; Eric Kohlins, fr.; Daniel Morin, fr., 132.
Outlook: Lambert fifth-year coach Kevin Contardi thinks this could be the best duals team in the program’s brief history, and that’s mostly a product of the Longhorns having greater depth in the middle weights this season. It starts with senior Andrew Morin, a two-time state placer, who moves up to 120 this season; JT Salgado, a state qualifer last year at 170; and Logan Wood who made it to sectionals at 195 and is looking to push through to reach state this season. Matthew Sheetz, a sophomore moving up to 113, gives Lambert another returning state qualifier. Contardi is counting a trio of promising young wrestlers in sophomore Eric Diemert and freshmen Eric Kohlins, a kids state champion, and Andrew’s younger brother, Daniel, along with a host of returning seniors to give the Longhorns an edge in close matches it lacked last season.
Coach: Travis Jarrard, 14th season.
Key returners: Steven Anthony, jr., 220; Shane Cross, sr., 145; Ara Johnson, sr., 138; Jake Nash, sr., 126/132; Keigan Radake, jr., 182; Luke Slaton, sr., 126/132; Chase Tenety, jr., 106; Austin Thornton, sr., 195; Chad Warner, sr., 152.
Key newcomers: Justin Lioiti, fr., 113/120; Zach Smith, jr., 285.
Outlook: No Forsyth team returns as much experience as the Raiders. North lost just three starters off last season’s team that won the county championship and Area 6-AAAAAA duals title. Luke Slaton will lead the way after placing fifth at the traditional state tournament at 126 pounds. In all, the Raiders return six state qualifiers, including Shane Cross, Ara Johnson, Jake Nash, Austin Thorton and Chad Warner. With talent at other weight classes, North has depth and flexibility that should make it a dangerous duals team, possibly a top 5 team come state tournament time. But the Raiders are hoping for more. "We have the same goal every year at North Forsyth," Raiders coach Travis Jarrard said, "and that is to win a state championship."
Coach: Danny Sinnott, second season.
Key returners: Shane Beckley, sr., 126/132; Tyler Crawford, sr., 182/195; River Faulkner, jr., 170/182; Felipe Hayes, soph., 138/145; Sid Haynes, sr., 126; Ben Lemay, soph., 106; Brennan McCrum, soph., 152/160; Daniel Rech, sr., 145/152; Gerardo Salinas, jr., 132; Creighton Shirley, soph., 113; Bryan Troye, sr., 170.
Key newcomers: Jackson Baraff, fr., 126/132.
Outlook: South had some impressive moments in Danny Sinnott’s first season at the helm, like a fourth-place finish at the Raider Rumble, a 22-12 duals record and Michael Scullin’s runner-up finish at 285 at the traditional state tournament. Scullin graduated, but the War Eagles still return 10 of 14 starters, led by Felipe Hayes, Sid Haynes, River Faulkner and Daniel Rech who all got into the traditional sectional tournament last season. The hope now is for more to make it through to state, for young newcomers, like freshman Jackson Baraff, to gain experience as the season goes along and for South to reach the state duals.
Coach: Steve Stromie, third season.
Key returners: Jacob Miller, soph., 120 pounds; Austin Rothenberger, sr., 138; Austin Sanders, jr., 170/182; Denver Stonecheck, soph., 113.
Key newcomers: James Chesnut, jr., 145; Troy Crawford, soph., 106; Trevor O’Brien, jr., 160.
Outlook: The most glaring weakness with the Wolverines is in the heavyweight classes. Without many big bodies, West could struggle to get points at 195 pounds, 220 and 285. But elsewhere, Wolverines third-year coach Steve Stromie hopes the team can make up for it with some big-point scorers in the lower weights. Like sophomore Denver Stonecheck, an Area 6-AAAAAA champion at 106. Or sophomore Jacob Miller, who led the teams in wins (51), pins (33) and team points as a freshman at 113 last season. Austin Sanders had a promising season going before tearing a ligament in his elbow and could contend for an area title at 170 or 182. Austin Rothenberger is a four-year letterman, and Stromie expects big things from James Chesnut, Troy Crawford and Trevor O’Brien in their first varsity seasons.