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Lackey

Head coach: Stephen Gilligan (fifth season)

Last year: 10-19, 4-8 (tied for ninth in SMAC with Calvert and Chopticon, ninth at SMAC tournament, fourth at Class 2A-1A South Region tournament, tied for 43rd at Class 2A-1A state tournament)

Athletes to watch: 152 Nate Cargill (Jr.), 170 Corrice Davis (Jr.), 195 Mike Laury (Jr., All-County), 120 Brandon Paulin (Jr.), 160 Trayson Thomas (Jr.), 145 Connor Welch (Sr.)

Key personnel losses: 126 KJ Anderson, 160 Nico Montgomery, 220 Garrett Welch (All-County)

Strengths: Gilligan said that leadership is a key strength this season with four state qualifiers returning, including two more who return healthier after injuries last season. The wrestlers who tip the leadership scale have been competing at the varsity level in some way their entire career with the Chargers. “They work hard in the room and lead by example,” Gilligan said.

Weaknesses: The newer varsity wrestlers do not have a lot of wrestling experience, so there is going to be a growing process throughout the long season, according to Gilligan, but the leadership in the room should expedite the process.

Coach’s comments: “I think that this season will be the year that we really start making our move back towards the top of the conference. We have big tests early with Huntingtown, the Glenn Jones Charger Classic and the Warrior Duals, but that will help prepare us for what to expect towards the end of the season.”

Key matches: Dec. 11 vs. Huntingtown at Westlake, Jan. 24 vs. North Point and Thomas Stone

TAMMY SHOWALTER

La Plata

Head coach: John Pankhurst (second season)

Last year: 24-6, 11-1 (SMAC regular season champion, SMAC tournament champion, Class 4A-3A South Region champion, fifth at Class 4A-3A state tournament)

Athletes to watch: 120 Marty Margolis (So., All-SMAC, All-County), 126 John Papanicolas (Sr., All-SMAC, All-County), 132 Nick Higgs (Sr., All-County), 138 Justin Irwin (Sr., All-County), 160 Anthony Cable (Jr., All-County), 182 Dakota Wilhelm (Sr., All-County), 195 Chris Thompson (Sr.)

Key personnel losses: 120 Robbie Patterson, 152/160 Josh Llopez (All-SMAC MOP, All-County co-AOY, transferred to St. Mary’s Ryken), 182 Mason Kolstrom (All-County), 220 Sean Roberts (All-SMAC, All-County), HWT Jon Boarman (All-SMAC, All-County)

Strengths: The perennial SMAC power features a myriad of seniors, totaling 10 or 11 who could be in the starting lineup. Though not all of the seniors boast varsity experience, they have been involved in the wrestling room where they’ve faced the Warriors big-time talent over the last couple seasons. Already, the senior-laded lineup has paid dividends with the Warriors downing SMAC rival and fellow contender North Point in Wednesday’s season opener, 34-22.

With Cable, Higgs, Irwin and Wilhelm all improving from last year and Margolis and Papanicolas returning as state contenders, expect La Plata to be leading the hunt for the SMAC and regional crowns while looking to continue their run at state contention. The program boasts six duals and tournament state titles in the last seven years. The Warriors are a SMAC-best 18th in the state team rankings.

Weaknesses: Gone is the state’s arguably top talent in Llopez, along with the now-graduated Boarman, a two-time state runner-up, among other key talents the program bid farewell to. So there is a bit of inexperience in La Plata’s lineup from wrestlers the team now needs to rely on in a starting capacity. And the schedule is not forgiving to start the season.

Coach’s comments: “It’s safe to say that everybody is going to show up with their hard hat and work boots, kind of like how we built to where we were [as defending state champions last year]. It’s not so much a blue-chip but a blue collar. The boys are going to come out very hungry to start competing with other people. I think we have a tremendous amount of potential.”

Key matches: Dec. 7-8 War on the Shore tournament (Salisbury), Dec. 11 at Thomas Stone; Dec. 21-22 La Plata duals tournament; Jan. 10 vs. Glenelg and Oakland Mills

Dallas Cogle

McDonough

Head coach: BJ Treadway (second season)

Last year: 4-16, 1-11 (12th in SMAC, 11th at SMAC tournament, ninth at Class 2A-1A South Region tournament, tied for 45th at Class 2A-1A state tournament)

Athlete to watch: 220 Colin Rooney (Sr.)

Key personnel losses: 106 Nate Conley, 113 Kris Ervin, 145 Trey Rawlings, 160 Mark Haft

Strengths: Treadway is happy to see his team’s strong desire and drive to give their best effort. While the team is young and relatively inexperienced, they are working hard each day on and off the mat, according to Treadway.

Weaknesses: The biggest issue the Rams have is the overall youth and inexperience, which needs time on the mat to develop. Treadway is very excited about the season overall.

Coach’s comments: “It is our goal to steadily improve throughout the season and be wrestling our very best come tournament time. I am excited for a couple of our seniors who are looking to close their high school wrestling careers on a high note.”

Key games: Jan. 8 vs. Lackey at Washington and Lee, Dec. 11 vs. Calvert, Jan. 31 vs. Patuxent

TAMMY SHOWALTER

North Point

Head coach: Rich Pauole (seventh season, All-SMAC COY, All-County COY)

Last year: 29-4, 11-1 (runner-up in SMAC, Class 4A-3A South Region duals champion, third at SMAC tournament, second at Class 4A-3A South Region tournament, tied for 43rd at Class 4A-3A state tournament)

Athletes to watch: 120/126 Kyle Gascon (Jr.), 113/120 Dominick Summers (Jr., All-County), 132 Tyler Morgan (Jr., All-County), 138 Malachi Edmond (Sr., All-SMAC, All-County), 152 Andrew Lohr (Sr., All-County), 160/170 Collin Schirf (Sr., All-County), 160/170 Brandon Fournier (Sr.)

Key personnel losses: 285 Ke’Juan Perez (All-County), 195 Julian Hurst (All-County), 182 Curtis Gibson, 138 Sean Mulloy (All-County), 132 John Buffington (All-County)

Strengths: The Eagles bring back six state qualifiers from last season and Pauole pointed out that the program is huge in numbers like it has been traditionally. After qualifying a state-best 11 wrestlers for the 4A-3A state tournament last season and knocking off county nemesis La Plata for the first time en route to the regional duals crown, the Eagles are vying for another regional duals title and advancing to the state duals and tournament.

Weaknesses: Pauole noted that they will have to fill some senior holes from last season and work to fit everyone in the proper weight classes. The goal is to put 11 wrestlers in states again.

Coach’s comments: “Our goals have not changed from season to season. We are trying to win the conference, region, and the state titles. In addition, we want to qualify as many of guys as we can for the state tournament.”

Key matches: Dec. 11 vs. Patuxent, Jan. 5 vs. Broadneck and Old Mill

AJ MASON

Thomas Stone

Head coach: Michael Kositzke (sixth season)

Last year: 17-8, 7-5 (sixth in SMAC, fifth at SMAC tournament, third at Class 4A-3A South Region tournament, tied for sixth at Class 4A-3A state tournament)

Athletes to watch: 182 Garrett Lineberger (Sr., All-SMAC, All-County Co-AOY), 113 Wallace Smith (Jr., All-SMAC, All-County), 126 Tanner Saluter (Sr., All-SMAC, All-County), 132 Cody Jameson (Sr.), 138 Chris Jagen (Sr.), 285 Brad Revoir (Sr.)

Key personnel losses: 182 Genkie Stoutamire, 160 Demetrius Bruce

Strengths: Kositzke said that the five returning state qualifiers are the strong suits of his team. Lineberger returns after concluding a perfect season last year, clinching a Class 4A-3A state tournament championship on March 3 with a 7-3 victory over Springbrook’s Aaron Perez, claimed the Class 4A-3A South Region tournament title by a technical fall and celebrated a SMAC tournament title the week before.

Weaknesses: The younger wrestlers will be looked upon to step up and fill in the holes.

Coach’s comments: “We want to get better each and every day.”

Key match: Dec. 11 vs. La Plata

TAMMY SHOWALTER

Westlake

Head coach: Corey Munn (first season)

Last year: 0-17, 0-12 (13th in SMAC, 13th at SMAC tournament, tied for 21st at Class 4A-3A South Region tournament)

Athletes to watch: 126 Marc Burnett (Jr.), 132 Kyle Shconberg (Jr.), 170 Justin Wells (Jr.)

Key personnel losses: 170 Cortez Smith, 138 Anthony Bush

Strengths: Munn replaces last season’s frontrunner Derek Butler and will look to get the Westlake program back on track to compete within the SMAC after a winless season in 2011-12. Munn, who previously coached in upstate New York, is glad to be with the Westlake family. Thus far, Munn, a graduate of SUNY Oswego, said that he has a group of kids who have strong leadership and possess a strong work ethic.

Weaknesses: What the Wolverines will lack this season is depth, something that has hampered the program the last few seasons. But with a core of juniors to lead the team, the Wolverines can make a big improvement from last season.

Coach’s comments: “I expect our team to be competitive in a tough SMAC conference this year. I expect our team to place in conference and send a couple of wrestlers to the Maryland state tournament.”

Key matches: Dec. 18 at McDonough, Jan. 29 vs. Great Mills

AJ MASON