H.S. wrestling / 2017-18 preview capsules
ECC Division I
Coach: Ed Lorah (10th year).
Key returnees: Jr. Everett Minevich, So. Ashton Fontaine, So. Corey Filewich, So. Evan Highley, Sr. Elan Johnson.
Top newcomers: Fr. Dante Bustamante, Fr. Colin Clerkin, Jr. Kevin Fifield, Sr. Morgan Pink.
Outlook: Minevich, a Class M place-winner as a freshman, returns after missing his sophomore season with an injury. He will lead a young team that won't be able to fill out every weight class, but has a number of individuals who have the ability to place in this year's Class M state meet, something the Vikings failed to do last year for the first time in Lorah's tenure.
Coach: Steve Bilheimer (16th year).
Key returnees: Sr. Joey Millbach (120), Jr. Tyler Miller (138), Sr. Richard Mullaney (220).
Top newcomers: Jr. Joey Knight (182/195), So. Jacob Hirschfeld (120), Fr. Evan Dupuis (113), Fr. Erich Stein (126).
Outlook: The Colonels had another dominating season in 2016-17, winning the ECC Division I, ECC tournament and Class S state tournament championships while finishing 24-4 in dual meets. They were decimated by graduation losses, however, losing six Class S place-winners, including champions Bo Nguyen (120) and Mike Sullivan (182). Ledyard does return three state place-winners in Millbach, Miller and Mullaney, who drops to 220 after wrestling at 285 last season, and Bilheimer expects his program to reload and make another strong postseason run.
Coach: Mike Gorton (6th year).
Key returnees: Sr. Xavier Alvarez, Sr. Luis Rodriguez, Sr. Noah Kimball, Sr. Adam Garcia, Sr. Taren Robledo-Thompson, Jr. Jacob Commander.
Top newcomers: Fr. Najee Powell, Fr. Max Commander, Fr. David Dorn, Fr. Gives Louis-Jean.
Outlook: The Whalers are coming off an impressive season, going 12-5 in dual meets, finishing second to Ledyard in Division I and fourth in the Class L state meet. They will miss graduated twin brothers Renelson (Class L 220 champion) and Renel (State Open 285 runner-up) Michel, who were named to The Day's All-Area team, but return Jacob Commander, another All-Area selection who was the ECC 160 champion and the Class L runner-up. "We have a great group of senior leaders who are ready to lead this year's young team," Gorton said. "We recognize the team is young, but have high hopes that this group will continue to surprise."
Coach: Steve Nelson (2nd year).
Key returnees: Sr. Jacob Foster, Jr. Brandon Nieto, Sr. Laura D'Elia, Sr. Max Charles, Sr. Doug Moore, Sr. Marc Thelusma, Jr. Kamren Snodgrass, Sr. Jack Morse, So. Mason McMahon.
Top newcomers: Fr. Dominic Renfree, So. Theran Vanase, Fr. Savannah Vanase, Sr. Jayson Garcia, Sr. Vicente Rodriguez, Sr. Trent Mederios, Fr. C.J. Grube.
Outlook: Despite struggling through a 4-12 dual season, Nelson moved a step closer to getting the Wildcats back to their competitive ways. NFA returns plenty of experienced wrestlers this winter and Nelson is excited by the addition of some promising newcomers, including Theran Vanase, a Ledyard transfer who reached the ECC final at 138 last year.
ECC Division II
Coach: Chris Gamble (18th year).
Key returnees: So. A.J. Sachatello (126-138), Jr. Eric Zane (120-132), Jr. Logan Smith (106-120), Sr. Luther Wade (145-160).
Outlook: Smith is the reigning Class M champion (106) and will be among the elite wrestlers in the ECC and at the state level again, while Gamble will rely on the senior leadership of Wade to help the Lancers improve upon last year's 9-16 dual season and 2-1 finish in the division (second to Killingly). "The team is young and will likely have several underclassmen step into the varsity lineup," said Gamble, who is excited about an enthusiastic group of newcomers who should keep Waterford competitive within the division.
ECC Division III
Coach: Gary Wilcox (18th year).
Key returnees: So. Quinn Bond, Jr. Jayden Colon, Sr. Noah Caskey, Jr. Ezra Spreng, Jr. Ian Anderson, Sr. Sam Kury, Jr. Zach Navarette, Jr. Ken Heon, Jr. Caleb Forehand, Sr. Dane Concascia, Sr. Nick Tibbetts, Jr. Derick Deveau.
Top newcomers: Fr. Derek Debbis, So. Mick Wynosky, Fr. Sawyer Kury, Fr. Cy Champagne, Fr. Ionna Cobena, Fr. Chris Cullen, Fr. Zach Dorion, Fr. Jillian Murallo, Fr. Brandon Pederson, Fr. Aida Flores, So. Nate Bedingfield, So. Chris Early, So. Nate Weaver, So. Kolt MacCracken.
Outlook: The Indians are coming off a strong season. They won the Division III title, ending Windham's 73-match winning streak with a dramatic 35-31 victory, before placing second at the ECC tournament and third in the Class S meet. Wilcox must replace Joel Morth, The Day's two-time All-Area Wrestler of the Year, but there is plenty of talent returning led by reigning Class S champions Caskey (126) and Sam Kury (145). Said Wilcox: "We have some experience and some good new talent in the room. As the year progresses (we) should emerge as a strong team."
St. Bernard/Norwich Tech
Coach: Tom Dowler (6th year).
Key returnees: So. Logan Starr, St. Jeremy Foular, Sr. Anthony Pomerleau, Jr. Doug Rediger, Jr. Kent Lyu, Jr. Josh Brown, So. Robert Yuchnich, So. Roark Ryan, Sr. Mike Jester.
Top newcomers: Fr. Chance Weber, Fr. Bradley Telfer, Fr. Chris Gill, Fr. Zach Morris, Jr. Will Korineck.
Outlook: Ryan, who was a Class M place-winner (285) as a freshman, returns to lead a young but experienced team that went 12-14 in dual meets. The cooperative program probably isn't ready to unseat Division III heavyweights Montville and Windham, but Dowler expects the Saints to be competitive and "have a fun season."