FLOYDS KNOBS —
Gavan Jolley-Little expects to lead an inexperienced Red Devils varsity squad that has some potential.
Jolley-Little, a heavyweight, was one of two Jeff wrestlers (the other being Jasi Coureur, who graduated last year) to reach the 2013 state finals. Jolley-Little is a five-time All-American and won the FILA Cadet Greco Roman National Championships this past offseason.
Other seniors Jeff head coach Danny Struck will expect leadership from Tavion Lucas (120), Jo Jo DeLeon (126), Kevin Cain (182) and Geary Gaines (220).
Leading the Red Devil junior class is Stevie Jones (113), who is one of Jeff’s two returning regional qualifiers. The rest of the Red Devil juniors are David Pulliam (132), Josh Sauer (138), Freddie Hudson (145) and Chase Thompson (195).
Also in the starting lineup for Jeff are Alex Keeney (152), Eddie Kaster (160) and Devyn Long (170) and freshman Noah Morrison (106).
“We have 58 kids come out — the youngest team in over 10 years, but the best groups we have ever had in the ninth- and eighth-grade classes. Jeff wrestling will be in the mix and around for a while,” Struck said.
Two past semistate qualifiers highlight the Pirates’ roster this season. Senior Luke Woods (113) reached the semistate last season at 106, while junior Bryant Haynes (126) made semistate in 2011 at 120.
Four other returning letterwinners for Charlestown are junior Hunter Huddelson (120) and sophomores Tanner Smith (106), Zach Higdon (170) and Jeffrey Lopez (195).
Five varsity newcomers for the Pirates were juniors Cameron Hopson and Josh Hurley (220), sophomores Dillon Gray (132) and Jose Gomez (138) and freshman Antonyo Gaddie (152).
“Our numbers are up and we’re working hard. [The Pirates] are just seeing what they fit in right now,” Charlestown head coach Adam Doherty said. “We have a solid team. Everybody is pushing each other hard. Right now, we are getting better each day.
“We’ve got a couple of kids who want to make it to the state finals. We want our kids to wrestle above their seeds in tournaments. I think we can be competitive in the sectional this year. We’re hoping for a top-three finish.”
Doherty says the Pirates’ toughest competition to repeat as Mid-Southern Conference champions this season is Corydon Central. As for the Southern Indiana Wrestling Conference, he expects the Pirates to battle with Milan for the conference title. Doherty thinks the two most challenging tournament on Charlestown’s schedule are the Jeff Classic and a duals meet at New Castle.