The gameplan: Things are definitely looking up at Long Reach, which hasn't won a league match in more than six seasons. The Lightning have 30 wrestlers in the room, or almost twice what they had at this time last year, and could have close to a full varsity line-up, which is something they haven't had in years. Hindman, who won 24 matches including several at the state tournament last year, gives them a legitimate talent. Williams, a transfer from Meade, brings significant experience to Long Reach, having placed second at last year's District V JV Tournament.
Bonus point: Kick, Kim, Casey, Roundtree, Williams and Stewart all played football for the Lightning.
Marriotts Ridge Mustangs
Last season: 6-5, 13-13, 11th at county tournament
Coach: Jason Conley, eighth season
Top returners: Seniors Nick Spano (126/132), Michael Min (160), Lyle Fugate (170) and Ryan Austin (285); juniors Michael Bernal (152) and Chris Park (195); sophomores Zach Moody (126/132) and V.J Stout (180-195).
Top newcomers: Freshmen Romtin Habibi (106) and Thomas Olson (120).
Key losses: Codi Parton (138), Jeff Barbera (106), Christian Jordan (120) and Justin Burkett (145).
Non-league opponents: Eleanor Roosevelt, Dec. 13; South Carroll, Feb. 2; Northeast, Feb. 4.
The gameplan: Numbers have never been a problem for the Mustangs, who once again have almost 40 wrestlers in the room, but some of their best wrestlers will be blocked behind other top returners until after the holiday break, when Conley gets more flexibility with weight allowances. As just a sophomore last year, Park impressed by winning 30 matches and a regional title. Spano, Moody and Fugate all won around 20 matches last year and will look to take the next step by qualifying for states this season. Wrestling at heavyweight last year, Austin won 25 matches and qualified for the state tournament. Stout injured his knee early in his promising freshman campaign, but was a decorated junior leaguer.
Bonus point: Fugate, who plans to play college football next year, had over 100 tackles for the Mustangs this fall.
Mt. Hebron Vikings
Last season: 6-5, 12-7, ninth at county tournament, Hebron Duals champion
Coach: Todd DeCrispino, sixth season (24th overall)
Top returners: Seniors Joe Kendrick (152) and Nick Lucchesi (160); junior Ryan Hassan (220); sophomores Jeff Hayden (113) and Connor Strunk (138).
Top newcomers: Freshman Josh Kendrick (106).
Key losses: Nawwal Ibad (152).
Non-league opponents: at Tuscarora, Dec. 20; at Eastern Tech, Jan. 10; at Catonsville with Winters Mill, Jan. 31.
The gameplan: Returning almost everyone from last year's team, and with at least one experienced wrestler at every weight class, the Vikings could be a surprise contender this season. In his fourth year as a varsity starter, Joe Kendrick — who has committed to wrestle for Millersville University — is looking to go out on top after winning 36 matches and placing at states for the first time last year. His younger brother, Josh, is one of the league's most experienced rookies. Strunk (29 wins last year) wrestled in Nathan Kraisser's shadow last season, but after bulking up two weight classes, he is capable of going deep in the state tournament. Hayden and Hassan combined to win more than 50 matches last season.
Bonus point: Last year the Vikings raised $4,000 for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital and Johns Hopkins Children's Hospital in part by selling 'Mt. Hebron Wrestles Cancer' wrist bands. The $5 wrist bands can be purchased for this year's campaign from any Mt. Hebron wrestler.