CALCUTTA - The Beaver Local wrestling team never seems to rebuild. The Beavers just reload. This season is no different for one of the premier programs in the Ohio Valley.
Beaver Local lost four standout seniors from last year's team, but the Beavers are once again having a solid season. Johnny McComas, Slade Williams, Steven Swartz and Jeremy Gilbert all graduated in the spring.
"We got 115 wins last year out of those four kids," second-year Beaver Local head coach Jordan Williams said about his team's graduate foursome.
Beaver Local’s Kole McKenzie (138) wrestles against Lorain’s Eli?Garcia at the Hoppel Tournament at Beaver Local. (Photo by Patti Schaefer)
McComas and Schwartz qualified for the state tournament last season.
The Beavers may have lost four key contributors from last year's team, but the cupboard is not bare.
"We have seven returning lettermen," Williams said.
The returners are Josh Henderson (106), Paul Schwartz (113), Ron Foster (132), Daniel Lattanzio (160), Tyler Givens (182/195), Cody Green (195/220) and Cody Martsolf (heavyweight).
Foster also qualified for the state tournament last year.
Beaver Local has four seniors on the roster this season. The quartet is led by Givens and Swartz.
"The leaders are our four seniors," Williams said. "We have two returning seniors in Tyler Givens and Paul Swartz. The other kids look up to them. We are counting on them to lead our team."
Beaver Local has 20 wrestlers on the roster this year.
"I would say 20 is a solid number," Williams said. "You always want more, but it is a solid number. We have a good group. We have eight freshmen coming in who we are expecting a lot out of. They can step in and wrestle. They will see a lot of mat time."
The Beavers were progressed well throughout the early part of the season.
"Things have been great," Williams said. "Every year we have great kids who work hard. We have high expectations for them. They are coming in the room every day and doing the work they need to be great. They have great attitudes. We are expecting great things."
As is always the case, the Beavers will face stiff competition throughout the season.
"Our schedule is the same except we are going to a holiday tournament at Lorain Southview," Williams said. "That is the only change we have. Last year, we were down at the tournament in St. Clairsville. This year, we are going to go to a holiday tournament in Cleveland."
Beaver Local's schedule will allow its wrestlers to get a lot of mat time during the season to prepare them for the postseason.
"I think our schedule sets up nice," Williams said. "We will be able to see a lot of kids. Wrestlers see a lot of the same kids throughout the season. We will see new competition at Cleveland. We will see some good wrestlers there. Wrestling in Cleveland is always top notch. Some of the best kids in the state are from Cleveland."
The Beavers want to improve throughout the season.
"Every week we want to get better," Williams said. "We have some young kids, and we have some good senior leaders. We have high expectations we want to meet."
Mark Emmerling, Matt Bostian and Doug Hoppel will serve as assistant coaches this year. Chris Green will work the junior high wrestlers.