GNADENHUTTEN -- As Nick Swaldo begins his second year as head coach of the Indian Valley High wrestling squad, he does so with plenty of optimism over his young, but promising group of grapplers.
"They are a young, hard-working group," said Swaldo, who is in his 12th year of coaching overall at Indian Valley. "The coaching staff is looking forward on seeing the team develop during the season."
There are no seniors on the squad this year, so the future looks bright according to Swaldo.
"We're excited about the young and new talent in our program," he continued, " and we hope the hard work of last year and so far this year will start to show by the end of the season."
The Braves return six lettermen, headed by junior Mitchell Giffen (113/120), who was an OHSAA Division II District qualifier last winter.
The other letterwinners are junior Dresden Korns (145/152); and four sophomores --Allen Quillin (138), Caden Rostad (145), Hunter Baker (170/182) and John Pankush (220).
Another returnee from last year' team is sophomore non-letterman David Isaacs.
There are several newcomerstown to the mat sport, including juniors Colin Border and Justin Martinnelli; sophomore Brandon Ledbetter; and a dozen freshmen --Andrew Bethards, Donnie Braun, Kyle Fetty, Austin Gilmore, Zach Ledbetter, Matt Love, Nick Phililps, Ty Pompy, Tanner Quillin, Hunter Seese, Therron Stocker and Jarret Swinderman.
Last year, the Braves posted a 3-12 record in dual matches and finish in eighth place in the PAC Tournament.
Graduation claimed five members of that squad --Logan Ryan, Nathan Wegner, Heath Williams, Vince Sunderman and Daniel Roan.
Among this year's tournaments for Indian Valley are the Washington Courthouse Invitational (Dec. 20), the Coshocton Stitchco Invitational (Jan. 2-3) and the Marine Corps Invitational at West Holmes (Jan. 24).
The Braves will host the Indian Valley Duals on Saturday, Dec. 13 will compete in the PAC Tournament at Akron Manchester on Saturday, Feb. 21.