Fitch: The Falcons could have one of their most competitive teams ever. They return two state qualifiers -- junior Nick Bodnar and senior Fred Weidenthal. Both captured EOWL titles last year along with junior R.J. Donadee. Other returning EOWL placers are Brian Weidenthal (soph.), J.J. Pankewicz (soph.), and Dave Drummond (jr.).
Beaver Local: Senior Grant Hoppel will be looking to make a third trip to the state tournament. Three other Beavers looking to return are junior Derik Caudill, senior Shawn Dunn and junior Jimmy Bowersock. All four placed in last year's EOWL Tournament. Sophomore Kyle Reeder will be looking to place this year after earning EOWL honorable mention last season.
Boardman: The Spartans return six EOWL Tournament placers -- seniors Adam Chizmar (1st), Jon Green (2nd) and Mike Pasquale (4th); and sophomores Anthony Wills (3rd), Justin Powell (5th) and Bobby Creatore (6th). Green enters the tournament with only two loses, one to Nick Bodnar of Fitch and the other in the Top Gun Finals.
Canfield: The Cardinals graduated nine EOWL placers, but still return 12 lettermen, including senior Pat McCabe, juniors Nick Rousher and Matt Narducci, and sophomore Ryan Henderickson. Some of the new names to watch for are Brad Benedict, Adam Bannon, Bryan Benedict and Damon Buente.
Howland: The Tigers are led by undefeated senior heavyweight state placer Rob Holbert and two other EOWL placers: senior Alex Wall (4th) and sophomore Cody Leek (4th). Kyle Gantz was second-team all-league and should be a threat at 215. Others to watch for are Steve Wall and Adam Rubesich.
Alliance: The Aviators return four EOWL placers: Matt Walker (soph.), Josh Winner (sr.), Chris Domino (jr.) and David Murphy (sr.). Senior Chad Shields and junior Josh Cintron are also having good years, and senior Josh Winner won the Riverside Rumble and the Leonard Truck & amp; Trailer. Sophomore Matt Walker won both and placed second at the Top Gun.
Hubbard: The Eagles have seven seniors, five of whom have winning records and two who are returning placers: Adam Graban and Brandon Rydarowicz. Seniors Rob Sullivan, Don Nadeja and Chris Spear are having good seasons. Sophomores Anthony Greco and D.J. Dripps are contenders.
Liberty: The Leopards return two placers from last year's EOWL tournament: senior Tyler Williams and junior Tod Rogers. Juniors Jared Hideg and Robbie Webber and freshman Zach Miller are having good years.
Salem: Leading the Quakers are seniors Sonn Hostetter (state qualifier in 2003) and Ben Andre. Another senior, Brandon Quinn, should be a high placer. Junior Mike Manypenny is having a good year.
West Branch: The Warriors have won the Riverside Rumble and the Dies Tournament and have the depth to compete for the EOWL title. They have three undefeated wrestlers -- sophomore state qualifier Nathan Sharp; junior Andy Lamancusa, who won the EOWL championship his freshman year; and senior Brad Learn. The Warriors return seven league placers: Sharp, Lamancusa, Learn, Zach Miller (jr.), Nick Hoopes (soph.), state qualifier Eric Morrow (sr.), and Scott Early (sr.).
Brookfield: The Warriors return two state qualifiers, Tristan Thompson (soph.) and Dave Dillon (sr.), and six EOWL placers: Thompson (2nd), Dillon (4th), seniors Randy Hogue (6th) and Anthony Policastro (5th), and sophomores Brad Harnett (4th) and Ross Tice (4th). Junior Josh Mathews and sophomore Justin Miller are also wrestling well.
Girard: The Indians return two EOWL placers -- juniors Bob Randall (5th) and Mike Nitsky (6th). Randall wrestled at 275 last season but dropped to 215 this year. He beat Bowersock of Beaver Local in the Hoppel final. Juniors Ben Belcik and Nick Coggins are also having respectable seasons.
Jackson-Milton: The Bluejays' lineup features returning state runner-up Nick Dierkes (sr.) and state qualifier Jake Hambrick (sr.). Other returning EOWL placers are Adam Gettman (sr.), Mark Gibbs (sr.), Nick Tomaino (jr.), Adam Keck (sr.), and John Rozum (sr.). Complementing this lineup are freshmen Joe Skaggs, Matt Mascioli and Jeff Yaratch, and junior Mike Wiseman.
Warren JFK: Senior A.J. Seifert, first-team all-league last year, has had a good season, winning the Leonard Truck & amp; Trailer Tournament and placing second at the Catholic Invitational. Junior Phil DeCapito, a second-team selection last year, senior Sam Rathburn and sophomore Tim McBride are having solid seasons.
South Range: Senior Levi Hively is a two-time EOWL placer (fourth and sixth) and was one win from qualifying for state last year. He earned his 90th career win on Jan. 20. Sophomore Matt Baird was honorable mention All-EOWL last year.
Eastern Ohio Wrestling League