PREBLE COUNTY — Eaton’s wrestling team returns six district qualifiers and one district alternate along with a talented group of newcomers. In addition, the Eagles will field a girls team for the first time in program history.
Back this season are district qualifiers Brayden Deem (10), Lucas Abner (11), Logan Littrell (11), Danny Caldwell (11), Zac Schaffer (11) and Matt Michael (12), along with one district alternate, Dominic Isaacs (12).
“The SWBL will be a lot different this year, but some of the most competitive wrestling schools are still in our league,” Eaton coach Nathan Islamovsky said. “This team has goals to do well in our league, each of our starters from last season placed at the SWBL. The goal is to do that again and improve each placement.”
This year Eaton will be in the newly formed Southwestern Buckeye League West Division along with Brookville, Carlisle, Madison and Valley View. The SWBL East Division features Bellbrook, Franklin, Monroe, Oakwood and Waynesville.
“I continue to remind the team that we need to be thankful and excited about the ability to wrestle this season. We have gone back to a relatively normal schedule made up of tournaments as well as dual matches,” Islamovsky said. “Last season our wrestlers didn’t get as many opportunities to compete as they would have in years past, especially in individual tournaments. It is nice to return to the norm and be able to compete Each wrestler should end up getting to compete in twice as many matches as they did last season.”
Deem was a standout freshman at 132 pounds last year.
“He led the team in take downs, and placed at each tournament we competed at except the district. He should have a strong year with a lot of potential for success this season,” Islamovsky said.
Abner wrestled at 106 last season.
“He placed second in the SWBL and third at the district. Now as an upperclassmen he is set up nicely to have an even better season,” Islamovsky said.
Littrell made great strides last season.
“Logan Littrell was one of our most improved of last season, and he has had a great off-season of preparation. He has looked really good in the room and I am excited to see what he does once we get matches started,” Islamovsky said.
Caldwell is competing in just his second season at the varsity level.
“Danny Caldwell has been a huge boost to our room. He didn’t wrestle as a freshman but came back his tenth grade season and after putting in some work really looked good at the end of last year. He is set up to have a great season,” Islamovsky said.
Schaffer gives the Eagles a solid upper weight wrestler.
”Zac Schaffer is a talented upper weight who continues to improve. he has looked impressive through the start of this season, and he should only continue to get better,” Islamovsky said.
Michael is ready to achieve his next goal.
”Matt Michael had a great showing as a Junior. Matt was a couple matches short of his goal to make the state tournament, but he has done everything right since the end of last season. He really is set up to jump levels this year,” Islamovsky said.
Trenton Dungan also adds a quality wrestler to the room.
”Another key returner for us is Trenton Dungan. Trenton was unable to finish the season for us last year, but this season he should be able to make up for lost time and do really well,” Islamovsky said.
Islamovsky is excited about the incoming freshmen.
”In addition to our returners we have a great group of freshmen who have been working and learning,” he said.
This year the program will feature five girls in the program and they will compete as a team.
”The other major addition to our team this year is our girls team. This year Eaton wrestling will be sending the five girls on our team to girls only matches and tournaments,” Islamovsky said.
Senior Jaelynn Trantanella is the driving force behind the girls team. She has wrestled in the boys program since junior high.
”She has spent the last three years getting Varsity time with our team and wrestling the guys. She is prepared to have a great season this year,” Islamovsky said.
She will be joined by pair of juniors.
”Lauren Guiley and Kelin Hasty are both 11th grade girls who joined his year and are wrestling for the first time in their lives,” Islamovsky said. “They have been learning and working and I expect them to learn, improve, and eventually be very successful.”
Two freshmen round out the roster.
”Caroline Klawon and Sarah Abner are both freshman girl wrestlers who competed last season with our middle school team,” Islamovsky said. “They have already made great strides and should have a very successful year. Last year Caroline placed third among girls at the OAC middle school state tournament.”
The girls team traveled to Western Brown on Saturday, Dec. 4, to compete in the women’s Hammer and Anvil tournament. Abner placed fourth in the 120 weight class and Klawon took first at 155.
Trail has high expectations
NEW PARIS — National Trail returns four wrestlers and have 15 total on the roster — its largest team in the five years Bobby Clark has been coach.
Returning wrestlers this year are Caleb Reynolds at 126 pounds, Dylan Smith at 150 pounds, Ethan Wilson at 190 pounds and Brodie Strawser at 215.
“Caleb comes back as a senior, only losing three matches last year to the defending state champ, state runner-up and state qualifier,” Clark said. “Ethan had a good season, ended up a district qualifier and looks to have an outstanding senior year. I look for Brodie to step up and have a great year as well.”
There are seven freshmen on the roster.
“We have seven freshman this year, five whom have wrestled before. I expect to be a big impact on our team,” Clark said. “Logan Riesenbeck at 106, Silas Prather at 120, Zachary Creager at 132, Henry Toschlog at 138 and James baker at heavyweight.”
Clark is excited for his team to able to compete for a league title in the newly formed Western Ohio Athletic Conference.
“I’m holding fairly high expectations for us in our league, we have our first league tournament this year which I’m excited for. I have two seniors who are returning district qualifiers and a good group of talented freshmen along with a sophomore in Dylan smith who’s wrestled for a long time and my junior Brodie Strawser,” he said.
“My expectations are a little higher than ever before because I’ve never had 15 kids on my wrestling team like I do this year. My kids have been working hard every day in the wrestling room and taking everything in. I’m excited to get the season started. We also get to host our first tournament since I have been at National Trail Feb. 5, which I’m excited and looking forward to.”
Reach Eddie Mowen Jr. at 937-683-4061 and follow on Twitter @emowenjr