CHES-MONT LEAGUE

National Division

Avon Grove Red Devils

Coach: Frank McCue

Last season: 5-12 overall, 0-5 division

Key wrestlers: Edgar Garcia, Sr., 106; Caleb Edwards, Sr., 170; Ryan Hoffman, Soph., 195; Alex Ortiz, Sr., 132; Garrett Compton, Sr., 145.

Outlook: For the first time in 30 years a Red Devil earned a state medal when Garcia took eighth in Hershey. Garcia should further cement himself as the most-winningest Red Devil as he starts this season with 102 victories. Edwards was close to joining Garcia at states last year and looks to take the next step. Hoffman reached regionals at Cardinal O'Hara last winter, and Ortiz, Compton and Peyton MacNeil add experience to the lineup.

Coatesville Red Raiders

Coach: Bear Stephens

Last season: 13-19 overall, 1-4 league

Key wrestlers: Mike Boykin, Sr., 220; Noah Stephens, Sr., 145; Colin McBride, Soph., 120; Brian Griest, Sr., 138; Stanley Woodward, Sr., 152; Wesley McGuire, Jr., 182.

Outlook: Boykin is arguably the best wrestler in Chester County following two straight trips to Hershey and a third-place finish at states as a junior. Nine Red Raiders will return to the starting lineup. Noah Stephens had a strong postseason and will be key in the middle. Younger brother Chase Stephens is expected to be an impact freshman. McBride reached regionals, and Griest, Woodward and McGuire each look to improve.

Downingtown East Cougars


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Coach Joe Horvath

Last season: 28-5 overall, 5-0 division

Key wrestlers: Sean Snodgrass, Sr., 285; Wade Cummings, Soph., 120; Adam Pleines, Sr., 195; Christian Jarani, Sr., 170; Jason Gibson, Jr., 182; Jared Leonetti, Sr., 132.

Outlook: The Cougars became the first Ches-Mont team to reach the state duals tournament last winter and return their nucleus. Snodgrass, a University of Pittsburgh commit, made it to Hershey as a junior. Cummings and Pleines nearly joined him as regional qualifiers. Gibson and Leonetti could make the jump to the next level and Jude McDowell (113), Matt Fischer (145) and Dustin Carosiello (126) were key contributors.

Downingtown West Whippets

Coach Corey Sigle

Last season: 23-8 overall, 4-1 division

Key wrestlers: Gabe Hale, Sr., 170; Tristan Reynolds, Sr., 126; Covey Austin, Sr., 285; Troy Smith, Sr., 106; Manoa Taniguchi, Jr., 138.

Outlook: The Whippets took a strong step as a team last season, winning two meets in district duals. Much like the football team, West does it without well-known stars, though Hale and Reynolds have the makings of breakout performers after impressive junior campaigns. Smith and Austin add experience as bookends in the lineup. Taniguchi returns to add depth to the middle after recovering from a knee injury last winter. Cole Zapf (132) is expected to add depth as a freshman.

West Chester Henderson Warriors

Coach: Rob Beighley

Last season: 9-6 overall, 3-2 division

Key wrestlers: Josh Nichter, Sr., 132; Joey Wilson, Jr., 126; Brad Patton, Sr., 145; Kyle Medrow, Soph., 120; Cody Lind, Sr., 182; Max Sontag, Jr., 160.

Outlook: Beighley takes over a Warrior program after a very successful run by longtime coach Dean Donley. Beighley inherits some competitive talent, especially in the lower-middle weights where Medrow, Wilson, Nichter and Patton should win the majority of their bouts. Nichter wrestled his best in the postseason last year and if he finds more offense he will be a tough out in the postseason. Lorenzo Mejias (220) and James McDonald (285) give Henderson depth up top.

West Chester East Vikings

Coach: John Gallo

Last season: 11-6 overall, 2-3 division

Key wrestlers: Noah Hankin, Soph., 113; Rob Ritrovato, Sr., 195; Joe Trama, Sr., 220; Nick Phillips, Soph., 120; Justin Cooper, Soph., 145.

Outlook: The Vikings lost a lot to graduation and Hankin is the lone returner with a winning record last season. A district qualifier, Hankin should be one of the top kids at his weight in the league. Ritrovato reached districts in his first year of wrestling last winter and is athletic enough to become a reliable winner. Ritrovato, Trama and Stephen Dages are the only starting seniors in a lineup that consists of seven sophomores. This will be a growing season for East.

American Division

Great Valley Patriots

Coach: Owen Brown

Last season: 8-14 overall, 2-4 division

Key wrestlers: Shane Ruhnke, Sr., 145; Dean Lang, Sr., 285; Ray Colon, Sr., 132; Jerome Nelson, Sr., 145; John Dodson, Sr., 126.

Outlook: Ruhnke used an impressive postseason run to get him a win away from a state medal. He is the pace-setter for a team that has its share of inexperienced grapplers. Lang nearly reached Hershey last season and will be in the mix again. Colon, Nelson and Dodson are solid competitors that will win more than they lose.

Kennett Blue Demons

Coach: Tyrone Johnson

Last season: 7-10 overall, 3-3 division

Key wrestlers: Cory Tomasetti, Sr., 285; Tyler LaCosta, Soph., 132; Kyle Werner, Jr., 182; Rudy Perez, Jr., 160; Drew Masetti, Fr., 120.

Outlook: Only three seniors graduated from Kennett's team, so there will be experience throughout the lineup. Tomasetti was a regional qualifier at 220 as a junior and will get in the mix in a competitive heavyweight class in the Ches-Mont. Johnson expects LaCosta to improve after a winning record as a freshman.

Octorara Braves

Coach: Mark Durante

Last season: 4-20 overall, 2-4 division

Key wrestlers: Nick Prange, Sr., 160; Troy McBride, Sr., 138; Rico Camacho, Jr., 120; Scott Burridge, Fr., 145.

Outlook: Prange may wrestle his third weight in four years, after competing at 182 and 170 the past two years. He's certified at 160, but wherever he lands, he will have a puncher's chance to make a postseason run. McBride is a typical hard-working Brave who will be a pesky out. Octorara will have its forfeit issues again, but with Camacho, Burridge and the rest, the Braves will battle.

Oxford Hornets

Coach: Scott Gold

Last season: 4-15 overall, 2-4 division

Key wrestlers: Alex Chavez, Soph., 113; Kyle Youssi, Sr., 152; Jake Trabue, Soph., 120; David Cox, Fr., 145

Outlook: Oxford has some young talent, but the trouble for the Hornets is that the impact will take some time to be felt. Youssi is the elder statesman in a lineup packed with underclassmen. Chavez is the lone returner with a winning record and he and Trabue will give a jumpstart in the lightweights. Cox had a strong middle school career and is expected to make an impact as a freshman.

Unionville Indians

Coach: Chris Matz

Last season: 15-8 overall, 6-0 division

Key wrestlers: Mike Caldwell, Sr., 152; Nate Chaclas, Sr., 138; Will Hart, Sr., 285; Ian Larson, Jr., 145; Tyler Crossman, Sr., 170; Bobby Murray, Jr., 120.

Outlook: The Indians ended West Chester Rustin's reign in the American Division last year with an undefeated league season. Caldwell won 30 bouts as a junior, and Chaclas (31), Hart (27), Larson (24) and Crossman (24) bring firepower to the favorite in the division again. Murray and Will McNew (113 pounds) combined for 37 wins in the light weights last year. Unionville has 51 kids on the roster and should be back in district duals.

West Chester Rustin Golden Knights

Coach: Brad Harkins

Last season: 7-5 overall, 5-1 division

Key wrestlers: Matt Ricci, Sr., 138; Thomas Hatzipavlides, Sr., 145; Christos Moscharis, Jr., 285; Isaiah Spriggs, Soph., 220; Shane Boyer, Jr., 160.

Outlook: Rustin has no great stars, but it will have a group of kids that will fight and scrap. Ricci and Hatzipavlides, as well as Ross Barcusky (182), are the only seniors. Moscharis and Spriggs made improvements a year ago in the upper weights. Boyer and sophomores Costa Hatzipavlides (170) and Cole Cugini (120) will add effort and Brett Kaliner (106) could be a solid contributor as a freshman.

OTHER TEAMS

Conestoga Pioneers

Coach: Steve Harner

Last season: 13-3 overall, 9-2 Central League

Key wrestlers: Kevin Zhao, Jr., 132; Scott Christy, Jr., 138; Mike Sklar, Jr., 126; Dan Iredale, Soph., 145.

Outlook: Kit Schofield (182) is the only senior in the starting lineup at the beginning of the season, so the Pioneers will have a lot of learning to accomplish along the way. Fortunately, teaching the sport is one of Harner's specialties. Zhao reached districts and was a win away from regionals. Sklar and Iredale join Zhao as double-digit winners returning this winter.

Malvern Prep Friars

Coach: Nate Lautar

Key wrestlers: Ryder Harkins, Sr., 182; Jake Anderson, Sr., 220; Nick Lattanze, Soph., 106; Matt Lattanze, Soph., 132; Pete Ciesielski, Jr., 285; Dymond Wright, Jr., 152.

Outlook: As always, Malvern has its share of very talented individuals. Anderson (seventh), Nick Lattanze (eighth) and Matt Lattanze (fourth) placed at prep nationals last year, and Harkins may have joined them if not for a late-season injury. Wright, who didn't wrestle as a sophomore, is back to restart what was a promising career. The Friars also have a pair of eighth-graders in Chris Hisey (132) and Matt Beard (145) who will help in Inter-Ac action.

Westtown Quakers

Coach: Jay Farrow

Last season: 15-0 overall

Key wrestlers: Clay McKee, Sr., 170; Ethan Fye, Sr., 182; Eric Ekas, Sr., 195; Manny Vilmatelo, Sr., 220; Jared Marshall, Sr., 126.

Outlook: The Quakers look for their 10th straight Friends School League title and sixth straight Delaware Independent Schools Conference title. McKee is the keystone of the lineup after capturing All-American status as a junior. Fye won 32 bouts last year and junior Luke Neal was a 27-match winner. Lukas DeSimone (132) and Lux Lennox (152) are a pair of underclassmen that Farrow expects to improve and contribute.