Wrestlers throughout the area have been hard at work getting ready for the winter 2017-18 season. Meets will begin this week for wrestlers from Marian Central Catholic High School, Woodstock High School and Woodstock North High School.
WNHS is the first to hit the mats at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 22, at Rockford Lutheran for a triangular meet. The Thunder come back after the Thanksgiving holiday for a dual meet against Vernon Hills at 8 a.m. Friday, Nov. 24.
Marian will begin at a team dual tournament at Carmel High School at 9 a.m. Friday and Saturday, Nov. 24 and 25.
Blue Streak wrestlers will face their first competition at the Ted DeRousse Invite in Antioch at 9 a.m. Friday, Nov. 24, and 9:30 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 25.
Following is a preview of each Woodstock boys team, compiled from surveys of coaches.
Marian Central Catholic High School
Head coach: David Silva
Assistant coaches: Gus Silva,Tony Randazzo,Wil Gaddy, Jim Herff, Andy Randazzo and Lance Shelton
Varsity roster: 14
Top returning wrestlers: Anthony Randazzo (2nd state), Luke Silva (4th state), Daniel Valeria and Zach Gustafson
Promising varsity newcomers: Elon Rodriguez, Bryce Shelton, Kaden Randazzo, Dylan Connell and Lou Gaddy
Goals this year: regional title
Woodstock High School
Head Coach: Ches Dougherty
Assistant Coaches: Tom Donar, Kevin Zange
Varsity roster: 19
Top returning wrestlers: Javier Villalobos, Tanner Heidtke, Anthony Serpe and Fermin Perez.
Promising varsity newcomers: Jonathan Simpson, Jerred Grell, Alex Zange, Payton Dougherty, Will Conlon, Harrison Saville, Cooper Adams, Gabi Eaton and Clayton Grisolia.
Goals this year: We have some big aspirations for the 2017-18 wrestling season.
Filling the weight classes is going to be a huge focus. We stack up in many weight ranges so competition is tough in the practice room allowing for real opportunities to drop a weight class or bump up to gain a varsity spot. We have taken on several upperclassmen who are hungry to break into the lineup.
We intend to win a lions share of our duals this year as well as have a couple candidates for going to individual State.
I put wrestling at the highest level of being physically, mentally, and emotionally straining as well as rewarding. As most wrestling programs will experience, staying health is a constant hurdle to leap in such a long season.
Woodstock North High School
Head coach: Tim Creighton
Assistant coach: Buck Riedinger
Varsity roster: 30 boys and 1 girl
Top returning wrestlers: Cole Walkington, Chris Flores, Nicco Mazzanti, Eddie Flores, Brian Kline, Carter Miller and Jake Finch
Promising varsity newcomers: Isaiah Vela
Goals this year: We hope to continue to be competitive in duals, compete for the Kishwaukee River Conference title and return individuals to the state tournament.
Challenges: Our biggest challenge is lack of experience to fill in on the varsity line up.