NEWCOMERSTOWN — The Newcomerstown High wrestling team lived up to the hype last season as three wrestlers were OHSAA State Tournament qualifiers.
"We are looking for big things out of our young team," offered Newcomerstown coach Jericoe Jones. "We were 7-3 last year and made it to the State Duals regional semifinals. We only lost by one point to Buckeye Local in the semis."
Entering his eighth season as the Trojans’ coach, Jones is looking for the even more success this season.
"I look for us to make another deep run at the State Duals this year," he said. "Our numbers are up and the kids are working hard. It should be another exciting year.
"If we don’t get four wrestlers to the State Tournament this year, I will be disappointed," he continued. "I think if the kids continue to wrestle hard, we might even surprise some people and end up with five heading to Columbus at the end of the year."
Returning state qualifiers for Newcomerstown include junior Gavin Weaver (126), who was all-Ohio in Division III after a fifth-place finish at the state tournament and was named second team all-IVC at 120 pounds last season; and sophomores Logan Hursey (132), who was all-Ohio D-III with a sixth-place finish at the state tournament and was also awarded first team all-IVC at 126 last year and Colton Meeks (152). Also returning is sophomore Division III District qualifier Jordan Sanders (182).
"Weaver, Hursey and Meeks will be leading the way," Jones said. "Gavin lost a one-point match at the state tournament in the semifinals and finished fifth. He was ahead the entire match until deep into the third period. We look for Gavin to place a lot higher on the podium this year.
"Logan finished in sixth place at the state as a freshman and didn’t wrestle his best tournament," he added. "In the regular season, Logan beat the state runner-up at 126 by a score of 2-1 and had 43 total wins, with 38 of them coming by pinfall. We are excited to see what he can do this year.
"Colton was our most improved wrestler," said Jones of Meeks. "He started his best wrestling at tournament time and you can’t ask for anything more than that. He qualified as a freshman to the state tournament and is looking to get on the podium this year."
Rounding out the Trojans’ varsity squad are seniors Trew Davis (106), Gannon Baker (138) and Matt Goff (285); junior Anthony Hudnal (195); sophomores Gavin Monroe (145), Noah Ganno (160), and Hunter Jones (170); and freshmen Aaron St. John (113), Sam Brode (120) and Caleb Ganno (220).
"Our freshmen newcomers who will get varsity mat time will be Aaron, Sam and Caleb," Jones offered. "We are also excited to see what Noah can do this year. He was one match away from districts last year and has spent the whole off-season lifting and wrestling during the summer."
Coach Jones talked about the Inter-Valley Conference and the future of his squad in the league.
"I would say the IVC frontrunner this year will probably be Indian Valley," he concluded. "They have a solid team returning and you can’t ever count Claymont out. I think we are probably one year away from being a threat to winning the IVC."
Newcomerstown’s mat squad opens the season Dec. 7-8 in the Smithville Tournament. The Trojans will also compete in invitationals at Coshocton, Nelsonville-York, Heath, New Lexington and Buckeye Local along with the OHSAA State Duals and the IVC Tournament which will be at Sandy Valley High.