Archbold wrestling looks to be a factor come postseason tournament time with a deep lineup of experienced wrestlers returning.
Last season the Blue Streaks were sectional runners-up with eight district qualifiers and a pair of state placers.
“We expect to have a majority of our lineup represented at the district tournament in Defiance and a few guys wrestling on Saturday in Columbus,” said head coach Brian Becher on his expectations for the season.
Returning letter winners for the Streaks are Gavin Grime (state placer), Dawson Liechty (district qualifier), Shane Eicher (district qualifier), Juan Garcia, Zach Rocha (district alternate), Gavin Seiler, Brennan Short, Austin Baker, Colton Soles, Kasyn Schaffner, Gibson Burkholder (district qualifier), Mason Babcock, Trevor Short (district qualifier) and Anthony Gonzalez (district qualifier).
“We should be able to put a guy at each weight that can be competitive,” said Becher, speaking of his team’s strengths. “We have a better distribution of our weights than we have had the last couple of years.”
However, they will have to replace Noah Mattin who was a state runner-up at 138 pounds. Also gone are Austin Wilson (district placer), Elijah Alvarado (district qualifier), and Noah Quintanilla (district qualifier).
“We have only one wrestler with state tournament experience,” said Becher of the Streaks’ weaknesses heading into the season.
While the Northwest Ohio Athletic League may not be as strong as past years, Becher sees the league as being very competitive across the board this season.
“The NWOAL once again has some outstanding teams and individuals,” he said. “Wauseon returns a number of quality wrestlers from a team that finished as dual meet state runners-up. With Graham electing to move up to Division I for the state duals, Wauseon would be considered the favorite to win a dual meet state championship. Swanton returns almost their whole lineup from their team that qualified last year for the state duals. Delta lost one of the best wrestlers the NWOAL has ever had in Drew Mattin, but returns two of the best kids in our league and has the best incoming freshman. Liberty Center has made great strides in the last two years. Liberty Center’s kids impress me in that they all wrestle hard no matter what the score is. The depth of our league may not be what it once was but the top guys at each weight class will most likely be wrestling on Saturday in Columbus.”
Becher’s top three in the NWOAL consists of Wauseon, Swanton, followed by his Blue Streaks. Next he has Delta, Liberty Center, Patrick Henry, Montpelier, Bryan and Evergreen.
Archbold opens the season this Saturday in a tournament at Cory-Rawson slated to begin at 10 a.m.
Reach Max Householder at 419-335-2010