HS Wrestling Previews: Cedar Cliff's J.J. Wilson

Cedar Cliff’s J.J. Wilson, right, will be looking for revenge after falling in state consolations last season.

Sentinel

Cedar Cliff Colts

Coach: Rob Rapsey (12th year)

Classification: 3A

Last year: 20-3 (6-0)

Postseason: 2nd in District 3 Class 3A Team Championships; lost to Central Mountain in PIAA Class 3A Team Championships second round consolations.

Key returners: Cole Baer, jr., lightweight; JJ Wilson, jr., lightweight; Aubrey Dawson, jr., lightweight; Christian Prestil, jr., middleweight; Michael Cassidy, jr., middleweight; Danny Sigue, jr., middleweight; Hunter Nelson, sr., middleweight; Bobby Whalen, jr., middleweight; Donovon Ball, jr., middleweight; Anthony Shire, so., heavyweight.

Opener: Saturday at Battle of Bethlehem Duals

Breakdown: Cedar Cliff will once again have the rest of the division shaking, even with the loss of Francis Duggan (fifth at states, District 3 Class 3A title, District 3 sectionals title, regionals title), who transferred this summer to Iowa City West High School for his senior season, Gabe Ikeda (bronze at sectionals, regionals appearance), Emorson Wentz (state appearance, District 3 Class 3A bronze, silver at sectionals, bronze at regionals) and Josh McLaughlin (106-49, state appearance, silver at sectionals, fourth at regionals). The Colts return with the likes of Wilson (31-5, state appearance, District 3 Class 3A title, District 3 sectionals title), Baer (25-13, silver at sectionals, sixth at regionals) and Ball (44-23, District 3 Class 3A fifth place, silver at sectionals, fifth at regionals) to help keep the core of the team together. Getting individuals to the postseason should be a breeze, but a deep team postseason run just may be a little bit harder.

Mechanicsburg Wildcats

Coach: Greg Budman (4th year)

Classification: 3A

Last year: 4-12 (0-6)

Postseason: did not qualify

Key returners: Brady Henry, jr., 120; Logan Ledebohm, so., 126; Luis Gomez, so., 126; Nick Tewell, jr., 132; Dylan Bair, sr., 152; Brady Serina, sr., 152; Aidan Sheely, jr., 182; Kaelen Nolen, jr., heavyweight.

Opener: Friday at Top Hat Tournament, Williamsport, 9 a.m.

Breakdown: Brayden Wills (112-33, seventh at states, District 3 Class 3A title, silver at sectionals, gold at regionals) is the biggest loss the Wildcats will have to worry about coming into the season, leaving them primed for another solid run. Serina (65-29, fourth at sectionals) and Tewell (36-19, fourth at sectionals, regionals appearance) will be the big players to watch this year as the team battles for a divisional title. That pair are strong contenders to make the PIAA tournament this year.

Northern Polar Bears

Coach: Josh Murray (14th year)

Classification: 3A

Lasyear: 4-7 (3-3)

Postseason: did not qualify

Key returners: Jake Koser, sr., mid/heavyweight; Micah Hoffman, sr., middleweight; Paul Feite, sr., middleweight;  Mitch Wagner, sr., middleweight; Liam Strouse, so., lightweight; Kyle Swartz, so., middleweight.

Opener: Friday at Cumberland Valley Kickoff, 4

Breakdown: Northern returns a majority of its starters from last season, including Koser (93-32, fourth at states, District 3 Class 3A bronze, District 3 sectionals title, bronze at regionals), who will no doubt be on the hunt for a top-three finish at states this season. Moving up the ranks as a team will be tough in a stacked Keystone Division, but individually the Polar Bears flourish. Along with Koser, Hoffman (75-27, state appearance, District 3 Class 3A bronze, District 3 sectionals title, bronze at regionals) and Feite (bronze at sectionals, sixth at regionals) will have another shot at a postseason run with more experience this season.

Red Land Patriots

Coach: Brian Baglio (3rd year)

Classification: 3A

Last year: 16-4 (4-2)

Postseason: Lost to Big Spring in District 3 Class 3A Team Championships first round.

Key returners: Cameron Englert, sr., 145/152; Bryce Brennan, so., 126/132; Neith Brennan, sr., 182; Mike Stank, so., 160; Caleb Weaver, jr., 170.

Opener: Friday at Cumberland Valley Kickoff, 4

Breakdown: Austin Rowzer (85-41, District 3 Class 3A fifth place, fourth at sectionals, fifth at regionals) will be a tough loss for the Patriots to overcome, but a solid core returns to help get the team back to districts. Englert (58-35, silver at sectionals) and Brennan (fifth at sectionals) will be the grapplers to watch and may have the experience it takes to crack into a deeper individual postseason run.

​Email Mallory at mmerda@cumberlink.com or follow her on Twitter @MalloryMerda

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Sports Reporter

Sports reporter at The Sentinel.

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