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2018-19 high school wrestling preview

By: Warren Mayes


CBC and Whitfield both won state wrestling championships but both programs lost talented champion matmen to graduation.

CBC was the first St. Louis wresting squad to win a Class 4 state championship since 1998. CBC began its wrestling program in 1964 and broke though to win a state championship.”

CBC lost three state champions, who all are now Division I wrestlers. Malik Johnson and Cevion Severado are at Missouri and DJ Shannon is at West Virginia.

Coach Cornell Robinson, who was first black head wrestling coach to win a team title in Missouri, has five state qualifiers returning this winter. Junior Joshua Saunders went 34-3 last season and won his second state championship. He won the title at 132 pounds with a 5-1 decision over Parkway South’s Garret Kloeppel.

Robinson will have a talented newcomer joining the cadets. Sophomore Wyatt Henson is on the squad this year. Henson placed third at the Fargo (N.D.) All-American over the summer and wrestled in Pennsylvania last year where he placed fifth at state as a freshman with a 43-12 record at 126 pounds.He is the son of Olympic silver medalist, Sammie Henson.

“I’m really looking forward to seeing what this group does this season,” Robinson said.

The Whitfield Warriors won their seventh state championship in Class 1 last February. Whitfield finished with 240 points, the third-highest score in state history.

The Warriors have been on incredible run in wrestling at the state level. In 11 out of the last 12 years, Whitfield has been either first or second at state. The squad placed fifth  in 2010. Other than that, Whitfield has been taking home hardware for the school’s trophy case.

Whitfield earned five individual titles at the 2018 state meet. That tied a program record set in 2008 and equaled in 2012.

Graduation hit the Warriors hard. Whitfield will be using five freshmen this season to replace the five graduated seniors.

Whitfield coach Charlie Sherertz said he has let parents and team followers this year’s team will be different.

“I think the tricky thing as I explained it to parents before the season in a meeting and to the kids is that we lost a group of seniors who could walk into anybody’s gym not matter what class the school was and we would walk away with hardware,” Sherertz said. “Can these guys jump to the next level? And what about these five freshmen and can they go? They will have to grow up fast. They’ll have to wrestle sick and hurt and do things they’re not used to.

“We increased our schedule this season. We graduated five stud seniors. You can’t replace those kids with freshman. The key will be if the you can close the gap. We’ll have to do something. The schedule is not easier. It’s tougher. So we’ll see.”

A date to circle on the calendar is Feb. 1. Whitfield will host CBC in a dual match that takes place before district competition begins.

There are new district assignments for this season.

The public schools have new conference alignments with new names this year.

Parkway West is coming off a great season. The Longhorns went 14-2 in dual matches and finished unbeaten at 7-0 to win the Suburban Central Conference championship. Coach Zeke Allison is entering third year leading the program. Allison has 10 starters back and two state qualifiers.

Priory is coming off back-to-back Metro League championships. Coach Steve Rolwes has eight wrestlers returning including three state qualifiers.

There are three new head coaches this winter.

Lafayette assistant Joe Wier moves up from assistant to becoming the Lancers new head coach. Former coach Jonathan Sumner left the position to became the athletic director at Lafayette. Wier has a wealth of experience as a head coach. He was head coach at Hazelwood East high school for three years from 1996 through 1999. From 1999 until 2010, Wier was the head coach at Marquette before he left to become an assistant at Lafayette and help coach his son.

Eureka’s coach is Jesse Zeugin, who advances up from being the assistant coach. Former head coach Mark Gentry stepped down to become the assistant coach and to be able to spend more time with his family.

Parkway South has a new coach. Greg Mattison is entering first year as head coach of Patriots. He’s replacing Jim Lake, who stepped down. Mattison has a standout returning in senior Garret Kloeppel, who finished second at 132 in Class 4 state tournament last winter.

Here is a look at the teams that responded to requests for information in alphabetical order:

CBC Cadets
2017-18 record: Won Class 4 state championship with a team score of 155.5 points. Four individual champions in senior Cevion Severado at 113 pounds, senior Malik Johnson at 126, sophomore Joshua Saunders at 132 and senior D.J. Shannon at 182.
Coach: Cornell Robinson. Entering fifth year as head coach.
Assistant coaches: Chris Purcell, Dennis Kakrah, Abe Raziq, Jake Hill.
Returning number of wrestlers and state qualifiers: 5 state qualifiers.
Wrestlers signed or committed to a college: Kyle Prewitt and Will Edgar are both going to Arkansas-Little Rock.
Team captains: Not named yet.
Wrestlers on team to watch for this winter: Junior Josh Saunders at 145, senior Kyle Prewitt at 152, senior Will Edgar at 152, sophomore Vincent Zerban at 138, sophomore Wyatt Henson at 132.
Newcomers expected to contribute: Have a few but let’s see how they do and make their own name.
Goals: Follow the CBC motto of “Men for tomorrow, brothers for life.” Also try to make another shot at history.
Strengths: Middle weights classes.
Metro Catholic Conference teams: CBC, Chaminade, De Smet, St. Louis University High, Vianney.
Favorites to win the conference: CBC.
Class 4, District 1 teams: CBC, Eureka, Fox, Jackson, Kirkwood, Lafayette, Lindbergh, Marquette, Mehlville, Northwest, Oakville, Parkway South, Seckman, St. Louis University High, Vianney.
Quote: “I’m really looking forward to seeing what this group does this season,” Robinson said. “I’m looking forward to seeing they bond together as teammates. I want to see what goals they set for themselves and held see them forward to achieving those goals.”

Eureka Wildcats
2017-18 record: 19-5 in dual matches. State placers were Kyle Dickhaus third at 182, Matt Gentry sixth at 195, Brendan Carter third at heavyweight.
Coach: Jesse Zeugin. Entering first year as head coach.
Assistant coaches: Mark Gentry, Pete Grace, Tyler Wasson, Mike Yancey, Matt Yancey.
Girls Coaches: Allie Gentry, Tara Lester.
Returning number of wrestlers and state qualifiers: 4 state qualifiers.
Wrestlers signed or committed to a college: None.
Team captains: Seniors Michael Hotop, Ryan Lester, Matt Gentry.
Wrestlers on team to watch for this winter: Ryan Lester at 126, Riley Nottingham, Luke Dickhaus at 170, Jake McCollum at 220, Matt Gentry 195 and many more.
Newcomers expected to contribute: Have some young guys that have stepped in to the varsity role that we expect big things from. They are getting better every time they step on the mat.
Goals: To prepare for the state championships in February and bring the best team we possibly can to Columbia. Have the same goals as everyone else — want to be a state championship team.
Strengths: Work ethic is really high right now. Guys are believing in the system and working hard to accomplish our goals.
Suburban Conference Yellow pool teams: Eureka, Lafayette, Lindbergh, McCluer North, Mehlville, Northwest, Parkway South, Seckman.
Favorites to win the conference: Seckman, Lafayette, and Eureka.
Class 4, District 1 teams: CBC, Eureka, Fox, Jackson, Kirkwood, Lafayette, Lindbergh, Marquette, Mehlville, Northwest, Oakville, Parkway South, Seckman, St. Louis University High, Vianney.
Quote: “I am extremely excited for our season,” Zeugin said. “A lot of our guys have really put in a lot of time in the off season on the mat and in the weight room. I believe we will be really tough by the time february comes around. I am really looking forward to our new seniors falling into their leadership roles as captains. Matt Gentry and Ryan Lester will be working hard trying to get to that state championship match in Columbia and I really think they are capable of doing it.”

Lafayette Lancers
2017-18 record: 15-1. Finished third in districts. Finished fifth at state in Class 4. Had six state medalists and graduated three third-place finishers.
Coach: Joe Wier. Entering first year as head coach at Lafayette.
Assistant coaches: Adam Hicks, Wade Pinkston, Brian Sanguinet, Alex Perry, Austin Repp, Jasen Mirakitani, Justin Botorf, Alex Smith, Berenice Blanco, Noah Robinson.
Returning number of wrestlers and state qualifiers: 4 state qualifiers in junior Jalin Reese fourth place at 106, senior Jayden Carson fourth place at 113, senior Jaylen Carson fifth at 120, senior Austin Wegener fifth place at 195.
Wrestlers signed or committed to a college:None yet but Carson twins are talking with multiple schools.
Team captains: Jayden and Jaylen Carson, Desean Reese, Austin Wegener.
Wrestlers on team to watch for this winter: The twin terrors Jayden and Jaylen Carson are both two-time state medalists and very solid. Austin Wegener also a medalist moving up to 220 pounds. Senior Desean Reese had a great offseason of training and improvement.
Newcomers expected to contribute: Freshman Tommy Hagan, who placed third in MOUSA state last year. Freshman Drew Doehring placed third at MOUSA state last year. Sophomore Evan Boren, who beat several state medalists last year but was behind the Carson twins and now will have a shot at 152 pounds.
Goals: Finish in top four at state. Be conference champions. Have 10 state qualifiers and six state medalists.
Strengths: We work throughout the year to improve and constantly have our kids on the mat improving. Our team is a great mix of seasoned veterans and young talented wrestlers.
Suburban Conference Yellow pool teams: Eureka, Lafayette, Lindbergh, McCluer North, Mehlville, Northwest, Parkway South, Seckman.
Favorites to win the conference: Seckman is the favorite with Lafyette, Northwest, Eureka and McCluer North all battling to earn that top spot.
Class 4, District 1 teams: CBC, Eureka, Fox, Jackson, Kirkwood, Lafayette, Lindbergh, Marquette, Mehlville, Northwest, Oakville, Parkway South, Seckman, St. Louis University High, Vianney.
Quote: “We have had a fantastic start in the practice room with some fun battles to earn our team starting spots,” Wier said. “Our theme this year is simply to ‘step up.’. Better than yesterday and each moment we grind and improve. This is my 23rd year coaching and my 15th year of being a head coach and the wrestlers have made it easy with their work ethic and experience. Even the young kids on our team have four to five years of wrestling experience.”

Marquette Mustangs
Coach: Jake Dieffenbach. Entering sixth year as head coach.
Assistant coaches: Josh Hansel, Luke Gentry, Noah Reid, Sean Torgoley, Grady Donahoe.
Returning number of wrestlers and state qualifiers: 2 state qualifiers.
Team captains: Marco Perla and Jack Lenox, who were both state qualifiers.
Wrestlers on team to watch for this winter: Sophomore Luke Watkins at 106, junior Arneze Rush at 120, sophomore Alex Nicozisin at 138, sophomore Aidan Rudman at 145, and junior Isaiah Brisseaux at heavyweight.
Goals: To win the conference and have multiple state qualifiers and medalists. Jack Lenox will be looking to try and win individual state title in his respective weight class and Marco Perla is the highest returning state medalist at 220 and is looking to improve on his finish of fourth place last year.
Suburban Conference Yellow pool teams: Fox, Kirkwood, Hazelwood Central, Hazelwood West, Ladue, Marquette, Pattonville, Ritenour, Summit, Webster Groves.
Favorites to win the conference: Both Kirkwood and Rockwood Summit will have a shot to win conference.
Class 4, District 1 teams: CBC, Eureka, Fox, Jackson, Kirkwood, Lafayette, Lindbergh, Marquette, Mehlville, Northwest, Oakville, Parkway South, Seckman, St. Louis University High, Vianney.
Quote: “We are excited to start the season at the Fort Zumwalt North tournament,” Dieffenbach said. “This group is the most talented group that I’ve coached since I’ve been here. We have two returning state medalists and a very talented sophomore group that will need to develop as the season progresses in order to achieve our goals.”

Parkway North Vikings
Coach: Matt Conley. Entering sixth year as head coach.
Assistant coaches: Zane Jackson.
Returning number of wrestlers and state qualifiers: 6 wrestlers. 0 state qualifiers.
Wrestlers signed or committed to a college: None.
Team captains: Not named.
Goals: Finish in the top three in the conference and return back to Columbia for the state tournament.
Strengths: Lower weight classes.
Suburban Conference Green Pool teams: Affton, Hazelwood East, McCluer, McCluer South-Berkeley, Normandy, Oakville, Parkway Central, Parkway North, Parkway West, University City, Clayton.
Class 3, District 2 teams: Clayton, Fort Zumwalt East, Fort Zumwalt South, Hannibal, Hazelwood East, Ladue, Liberty, McCluer, MICDS, Parkway Central, Parkway North, Parkway West, St. Charles, Warrenton, Washington, Westminster Christian Academy..
Quote: “We are a growing team that will lean on the strength of our lower weight classes,” Conley said.

Parkway South Patriots
2017-18 record: 4-5 in dual meets. Garret Kloeppel finished second at 132 in Class 4 state tournament.
Coach: Greg Mattison. Entering first year as head coach.
Assistant coaches: Tony Griffith, Nick Lobosco, Brian Bage, Josh Bennett.
Returning number of wrestlers and state qualifiers: 9 returning wrestlers. 1 returning state qualifier.
Wrestlers signed or committed to a college: None.
Team captains: To be determined.
Wrestlers on team to watch for this winter: Senior Garret Kloeppel at 138, senior Connor Hale at 170, senior Ty Osby at 220, junior Max Rinklin at 182.
Newcomers expected to contribute: Freshman Kevin Watkins at 120, freshman Blake Schowalter at 113.
Goals: To go .500 in dual meets, improve our finishes at Thrasher and Hickman tournaments, and to place in top 15 at state. Expect to have four to six state qualifiers with four placers at state.
Strengths: Have a strong core of senior and varsity returners with great leadership and experience.
Suburban Conference Yellow pool teams: Eureka, Lafayette, Lindbergh, McCluer North, Mehlville, Northwest, Parkway South, Seckman.
Favorites to win the conference: Seckman, Lafayette.
Class 4, District 1 teams: CBC, Eureka, Fox, Jackson, Kirkwood, Lafayette, Lindbergh, Marquette, Mehlville, Northwest, Oakville, Parkway South, Seckman, St. Louis University High, Vianney.
Quote: “We’re grateful for the opportunity to lead this group of young men, excited about the opportunities for them as a team and individually, and building a strong foundation to return South to prominence in the district and state,” Mattison said.

Parkway West Longhorns
2017-2018 Record: 14-2. Went 7-0 to win the Suburban Central Conference championship.
Coach: Zeke Allison. Entering third year as head coach.
Assistant Coaches: Chip Allison, Jeff Schlote, and Murry Reich.
Returning number of wrestlers and state qualifiers: Have 10 out of 14 starters back from last year. 2 state qualifiers.
Captains: Jackson Barnhart, James Griffin, and Brayden Eddy.
Wrestlers to watch: Senior Jackson Barnhart at 182, junior James Griffin at 145.
Newcomers: Ian Hall.
Goals: Win the conference for the second year in a row, and to take more wrestlers to state than last year.
Strengths: Experience. We are returning a lot of starters from last year, and 20 wrestlers who have been a part of our program.
Suburban Conference Green Pool teams: Affton, Hazelwood East, McCluer, McCluer South-Berkeley, Normandy, Oakville, Parkway Central, Parkway North, Parkway West, University City, Clayton.
Class 3, District 2 teams: Clayton, Fort Zumwalt East, Fort Zumwalt South, Hannibal, Hazelwood East, Ladue, Liberty, McCluer, MICDS, Parkway Central, Parkway North, Parkway West, St. Charles, Warrenton, Washington, Westminster Christian Academy..
Quote: “I am very excited about this upcoming season,” Allison said. “We have a lot of returners back, as well as a good freshmen class. Our team won conference last year for the first time in 29 years. Now we know what it takes to get there, and we are going to try our best to repeat the same outcome. We have also strengthened our schedule, which I believe will help us in the long run.”

Priory Rebels
2017-18 record: 12-7 in duals Were Metro League Champions for the second straight year. Had 5 state qualifiers, and one was a state finalist in Greg Rolwes, who has graduated.
Coach: Steve Rolwes. Entering 11th year as head coach.
Assistant coaches: Christian Buchanan, Steve Ryan, Marty Combs.
Returning number of wrestlers and state qualifiers: 8 wrestlers. 3 state qualifiers.
Wrestlers signed or committed to a college: None.
Team captains: Currently Louis Rolwes, with opportunities for Will Todt, Luke Bagwell, Elliot Holdosh, and Dalton Bingman to show their leadership as well.
Wrestlers on team to watch for this winter: Seniors Louis Rolwes and Elliot Holdosh, as well as juniors Dalton Bingman and Luke Bagwell.
Newcomers expected to contribute: Adam Rolwes and Gabe Gross.
Goals: Get better every match, and have fun.
Strengths: Having three returning state qualifiers, and a number of other upperclassmen as leaders and contributors.
Metro League teams: Lutheran North, Lutheran South, John Burroughs, MICDS, Principia, Priory, Westminster Christian Academy.
Favorites to win the conference: Westminster always puts out a good team, Principia has been very competitive the past few years, and John Burroughs program has been growing.
Class 2, District 2 teams: Boonville, Centraila, Fulton, Kirksville, Lutheran St. Charles, Marshall, Mexico, Moberly, Orchard Farm, Owensville, Priory, Southern Boone, St. Charles West, St. Francis Borgia, Winfield.
Quote: “This should be a very fun season,” Rolwes said. “The past two years we have had a lot of postseason success. However, this is a different team with a different feel. The boys are working hard and are a fun and talented group to work with. We want to build on previous success, but also realize it is a new season and new expectations, especially considering that our district has become much more challenging this year. Having three returning state qualifiers is something we have not had before, plus there are two guys in the room who were very close to making it to state as well. Overall, I want them to be competitive and to keep it fun. I am excited for the first competition to see how far we have come.”

Whitfield Warriors
2017-18 record: 17-1 in dual matches with the lone loss come to Class 4 state champion CBC. Won Class 1 state championship. Mike McAteer won his fourth state championship to become only the second Warrior to accomplish that feat. McAteer won at 126 pounds to cap a 51-2 season. At 106, freshman Logan Ferrero won and finished the season at 43-9. Sophomore Connor McAteer finished a 38-13 season with winning title at 113. Senior Jeffrey (J.R.) Ditter ended a 44-6 campaign by winning at 132. Zac Russell won at 170 to cap a 46-9 junior season.
Coach: Charlie Sherertz. Entering 23rd year as head coach.
Assistant coaches: Buddy Smith and Matt Politte.
Returning number of wrestlers and state qualifiers: 8 state qualifiers.
Wrestlers signed or committed to a college: None.
Team captains: Not named yet.
Wrestlers on team to watch for this winter: Three returning state champs in Loegan Ferrro, who goes up to 113; Connor McAteer, who moves up to 126; and Zac Russell, who will stay at 170. Senior Ethan Hovis is a returning fourth-place state finisher at 160 and will go to 182 this season. Senior Wade Raeman, a two-time state finalist who came in second at 120, will go at 132.
Newcomers expected to contribute: They will have to make their name for themselves. They are all freshman. We will start five freshmen.
Goals: Manage expectations with a tougher schedule.
Strengths: Sheer talent but we lack discipline and consistency. If you develop discipline, you’ll get consistency. You can’t rely just on talent. We have potential to get there.
Conference: Independent.
Class 1, District 1 teams: Bishop DuBourg, Brentwood, Central (New Madrid County), Christian High, Gateway Science Academy, Maplewood, McCluer South-Berkeley, Missouri School for the Blind, Principia, Valle Catholic, Whitfield, Wright City.
Quote: “I’m looking forward to the challenge ahead,” Sherertz said. “I like this group of kids. I like them as people. I just don’t appreciate them for their athletic ability. I like them as kids.

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