Last year’s record: 2-19, 0-6 NWFAC
Returning starters: Tucker Sisk, Addison Poteet
Other key wrestlers: N/A
From the coach: “(We’re) hoping one of our wrestlers will make it back to the state tournament, potentially to have multiple wrestlers at the state. Hopefully one of the wrestlers will be standing on the podium down in Greensboro.” – Billy Abee
Outlook: The Wildcats return their lone state qualifier from last year in Sisk (106 pounds) along with another multi-year varsity wrestler in Poteat. Draughn looks to build upon last year, when it won its first two matches since 2014-15, in hopes for a first league win in that same span. Numbers are always key for the ’Cats, and if they get enough, the team should improve as the season progresses.
EAST BURKE CAVALIERS
Last year’s record: 4-20, 1-5 NWFAC
Returning starters: Caleb Johnson-White, Arturo Castillejos, Elijah Pizon, Johnathan Carroll, Abram Tallent, Collin Jackson
Other key wrestlers: Brody Burns
From the coach: “Goals for the season are to improve from what we had last year. Also to fill a full team this year so that we can be competitive in conference.” – Mark Boyd
Outlook: The Cavaliers return a bulk of last year’s team including Castillejos (120), a state qualifier. EB will look to build upon sixth-place finishes the last two years in conference. With Castillejos, plus Johnson-White, who placed third in conference individually, fourth other returners and a strong newcomer in Burns, the Cavs should see some improvement and vie for a finish closer to the middle of the pack.
Last year’s record: 14-7, 5-2 NWC
Returning starters: Fernando Soto, Davion Lowdermilk, Colby Miller, Beckham Ixchajchal
Other key wrestlers: Kalvin Khang, Jeulenea Khang
From the coach: “Our goals are to get our returners back into the position they were last year; build the program back up to where it used to be by getting more people qualified for regionals; getting the underclassmen to challenge themselves and their teammates; get everybody in the winning mindset; and have the type of wrestling team that has been there in the past.” – David Burgess
Outlook: Despite graduating three state gold medals between Spencer Leonhardt and Clay Beach, the Patriots return a solid group highlighted by Soto (106) and Lowdermilk (113), both league runners up last winter. Burgess is in his first year coaching.
Last year’s record: 31-9, 4-2 NWFAC; lost 1st round 2A state playoffs
Returning starters: Mariano Mendez, Dilan Patton, Sawyer James, Keagan Burris, Kaleb Spann, Dylan Rhodes
Other key wrestlers: N/A
From the coach: “We’ve loaded up with a tough nonconference schedule as we are looking to make a push in conference early and looking to make it the state dual teams again this season.” – Gianni Niglio
Outlook: The Panthers return multiple wrestlers from last year’s team, including state qualifiers in Mendez and Patton. Mendez (106) was also regional champ. After back-to-back third-place league finishes were good enough for wild-card postseason berths the last two years, Patton would like to enter the top two this time around and appears to have the depth and experience to do so.