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November 20, 2012

H.S. WRESTLING: Season Preview — Veteran Highlanders have high hopes this season

Floyd Central seeks first HHC, sectional and regional titles since ‘07-08

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> SOUTHERN INDIANA — JEFFERSONVILLE

• COACH: Danny Struck

• KEY RETURNEES: Stevie Jones (So., 106); Jasi Coureur (Sr., 113-126); Xavier Weekley (Sr., 113-126); Trent Lowe (Sr., 132-138); Oscar DeLeon (Sr., 132-138); Tyler Fridley (Sr., 145-160); David Fridley (Sr., 145-160); Daniel Thompson (Sr., 170-195); Brandon Spangler (Jr., 170-195); Amill Haleem (Jr., 170-195); Gavan Jolley-Little (Jr., 285).

• KEY VARSITY NEWCOMERS: JoJo Deleon (Jr., 113-126); Leo Rodriguez (Jr., 145-160); Devon Long (Jr., 145-160); Gary Gaines (Jr., 220).

• TOUGH OPPONENTS/MEETS: Perry Meridian, Warren Central, Franklin Central, Beech Grove, Columbus North, Evansville Mater Dei, Bloomington South, Louisville Trinity, Louisville St. Xavier, Evansville Reitz, Franklin, Yorktown; Capitol City Classic, Hoosier Hills Conference Duals, Jeff Classic, HHC meet.

• OUTLOOK: The Red Devils graduated 18 seniors, including two state qualifiers from a season ago in Alonzo Shepherd and Elijah Curtley. But Jeff does have some successful grapplers back. David Fridley qualified for semi-state last year, while Oscar DeLeon was a semi-state qualifier in 2011. Jolley-Little won the heavyweight sectional title last season. DeLeon, Jones, Weekley, Thompson and Spangler all advanced to regional in 2011-12. The Red Devils expect to improve as the season progresses and contend once again for the HHC and Jeff Sectional championships. Jeff has won four sectional titles in a row and the last three HHC championships.

• STRUCK SAYS: “When you graduate a third of your team, that happens. But don’t make the mistake that we are rolling over. People think we will be down, and maybe we have the most inexperienced state-tourney team that we have had in years. But as far as the drive and willingness to carry on our tradition, the kids have the want. We measure success each year not in terms of wins and losses, but in where we are and where we finish.”

NEW ALBANY

• COACH: Eric Burres.

• KEY RETURNEES: Bryce Peavler (Jr., 120); Austin Jamison (Sr., 126); Keenan Ward (Sr., 132-138); Tre Lynch (So., 132-138); Hunter Castleberry (So., 138-145); Ethan Lee (Sr., 170); Nick Lynch (Sr., 195).

• KEY VARSITY NEWCOMERS: The Bulldogs welcome several newcomers who should make them a deeper squad in the 2012-13 campaign.

• TOUGH OPPONENTS/MEETS: Yorktown, Bellmont, Jeff, Jennings County, Floyd Central; Yorktown Duals, HHC Duals, Jeff Classic, Mater Dei Classic, HHC meet.

• OUTLOOK: Jamison is the unquestioned leader of the Bulldogs. He won the 126-pound title at the Jeff Regional last year after finishing runner-up at the Jeff Sectional the week before. He led the team in takedowns, pins and victories during the 2011-12 campaign. Jamison and Peavler were both semi-state qualifiers last season. Castleberry, Lee, Tre Lynch and Nick Lynch each qualified for regional last year. Burres says this weekend’s Yorktown Duals will be a good measuring stick to see where his team is at this point in the season.

• BURRES SAYS: “I have some pretty high expectations for some individuals. I want our kids to grow and get better. They are a group of young, inexperienced kids who listen and that’s good to see.”

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