Boys' Latin coach Drew Haugh' roster of 27 wrestlers — the most in his 14-year tenure — has made him optimistic about what's ahead for the up-and-coming Lakers.
Boys' Latin is that good.
"We have depth, which we rarely have," Haugh said. "We may have had a couple of years where we had a lot of kids. A lot of times, you have a bunch of kids and they are not very good at all. Our backups are pretty good. They just happen to have a little bit better wrestler in front of them."
Better yet, since only three Lakers are seniors, Haugh expects the program to move into the elite level in the next year or two in the 11-team Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference.
Regardless of what the future holds, the Lakers appear extremely strong right now.
"It could be a good year for us," said Haugh, whose team has an 8-3 dual-meet record. "We are primed to be a good tournament team. We beat Calvert Hall (by 21 points) and had a good match with St. Joe. We are still one or two years away from being rock-solid. We have pretty much have everyone back next year."
The Lakers' best wrestler could be its youngest, freshman Nick Malinowski (106), who is 15-3 with 12 pins, the Loch Raven Duals champ and a sixth-place finisher in the prestigious Mount Mat Madness.
Malinowski has more experience than the older Lakers, having wrestled for six years in the Boys' Latin Junior League before joining the varsity.
"He is into wrestling, hard-core," Haugh said. "He could be one of the better 106-pounders. He can definitely place in the MIAAs and a get a top-six finish at (the state private school tourney)."
While Malinowski might be the Lakers' most talented wrestler, senior Torrin Stokes looks like the most improved (the others are seniors, 285-pounder Myles Vilceus and 160-pounder Chris Rubino).
After Stokes posted a .500 record last year — his first after transferring from Franklin High — he's off to a 10-1 start and placed third at Loch Raven.
Stokes went 15-5 at Franklin as a sophomore and took fifth in the Baltimore County junior varsity tournament.
"I feel real comfortable with the team this year," Stokes said. "It was a new place, a new setting for me last year. I was still trying to get acclimated."
Juniors Hunter Cotsoradis (120, 11-3) and Even Dohler (170, 6-0), Vilceus and sophomores Anthony Wyler (145, 13-5), Rocco Bruno (4-0, 182, 27-9 last year) and Demitri Lezcano (195, 8-2) appear to be the other Lakers with the best shot at postseason success.
All of those standouts should help the Lakers overcome the loss of senior Frankie Johnson (37-9 last year) to a shoulder injury.
Wyler finished fourth in the Mount Mat Madness and third at Loch Raven while Dohler place sixth in the Mount Mat Madness.
Both Lezcano and Vilceus grabbed second at Loch Raven.
Cotsoradis has been particularly impressed with Wyler.
"He got fourth in the Mount Mat Madness and I don't think he placed in anything last year," Cotsoradis said. "He is using more technique. Before, he was just strong and trying to muscle people."
Freshmen Kahlan Lerner (113), Brendan Mullally (152), Nate Malinowski (126) and sophomores Colton Haugh (132-138) and Nick Morton (220) also start for the Lakers.
"Maybe one or two of our kids make a career out of wrestling," Haugh said. "They wrestle year-round. Most of our kids play other sports. We have kids in the room that are coming in, literally, just to stay in shape."Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun