EATON — Eaton’s wrestling program is heading into this season with a giant question mark over its head.
But that question mark is not a bad one, says head coach Mark Silvers.
“There’s a question mark on how good can we be. I’m not looking at it as ‘we could be bad.’ If I have everybody healthy and I have everybody on track, just how good can we be,” he said. “I really believe that, again, we should be looking at taking 10 to 12 guys to the district meet.”
The Eagles took 10 wrestlers to districts last season but failed to qualify anyone for state. The team was full of a solid ‘supporting cast’ as Silvers puts it, but didn’t have that superstar to get to the finals.
But the supporting cast did earn them a first place finish in the SWBL for a fourth straight season as well as a first place finish in the Eaton Invitational.
“Team goal-wise, we hit it (last year). As a team, I couldn’t be any happier,” said Silvers. “This team this year, big question marks again. I have a solid crew coming in, some guys that have experience and I am looking for – we need to get some people to state.”
Eaton brings in 32 wrestlers total, including eight seniors to round out an always-competitive team.
Experienced wrestlers, such as Coleman Manning (126/132), Brandon Weaver (138), Parker Wilken, Issac Ilo, Mac Altom, Matt Todd (220), and KJ Melling (195) are expected to lead the way for the Eagles while newcomer (and freshman) Wade Monebrake (106) has been putting in time and effort and will be a threat all season long. Drew Moore will have to sit out much of the year because of a football injury, but may be cleared to return to the team by seasons end, which would be a huge asset to the program as well.
That’s just the tip of the iceberg for the deep Eaton team, though – even with the loss of district qualifiers Blake Sittloh, Hayden Trunck, and Levi Gilbert.
“That’s a solid crew. We’ll be taking that crew all over the state and they’ll be able to compete and be solid with whoever we go with,” said Silvers.
Eaton opens their season at the Findlay Duals at Findlay High School on Saturday, Dec. 5.
Jeremy can be reached at 937-683-4061 or on Twitter @jerskine_RH.