1. Archbishop Spalding
Coach: Mike Laidley
Last season: 33-0, ranked No. 1
Postseason: MIAA A Conference and Maryland Independent Schools state champion
Outlook: The Cavaliers have the depth to make up for the loss of five starters, including All-Metro Wrestler of the Year Charlie Lynch. Junior Michael Still (113 pounds) and seniors Will Switzer (145) and Devaunje Smith (182) lead the effort.
2. St. Paul's
Coach: Jay Braunstein
Last season: 14-4, No. 4
Postseason: MIAA B Conference champion; third overall in the MIAA and MIS
Outlook: The Crusaders have moved up to the A Conference. With a senior-laden team, they'll lean on Peter Galli (152), Eric Friedman (126) and Brad Mutchnik (160) — all MIAA champs and all ranked among the state's best in their respective weight classes.
Coach: Pete Welch
Last season: 14-8, No. 3
Postseason: Second in the MIAA and MIS
Outlook: The Eagles were pecking at Spalding's heels last season with freshmen and sophomores. With returning state champs Logan Meister (113) and Jack Clark (145) and a load of second-place finishers, Welch likes his team's chances this year.
4. Winters Mill
Coach: John Lowe
Last season: 16-2, No. 2
Postseason: Class 2A-1A state champion; second at state duals
Outlook: With experience and depth, the the three-time Carroll County champs are looking to repeat at the county and state tournaments. Juniors Wes Cook (130 state runner-up) and Chase Cullison (152 state third place) are among the team leaders.
5. Owings Mills
Coach: Guy Pritzker
Last season: 23-1, No. 5
Postseason: Class 2A-1A state runner-up
Outlook: The Eagles sent 13 wrestlers to the state meet last year, and eight — including state champs Demetrius Johnson (145) and Taran Carr (160) — return for another shot. Pritzker also adds last year's junior varsity champion Alex Solomon at 180 and several junior leaguers to the mix.
6. Archbishop Curley
Coach: Greg Kessler
Last season: 16-9, No. 8
Postseason: Fourth in the MIAA, ninth in the MIS
Outlook: Twelve starters return, including six who placed in the states, led by senior Brett Brigman, the state runner-up at 160. Among the key newcomers are freshmen Naron Gilmer (106) and Kevin Sigwart (heavyweight).
7. South Carroll
Coach: Bryan Harper
Last season: 19-3, No. 7
Postseason: Fifth in Class 2A-1A
Outlook: The Cavaliers lost state champion Chris Wampler (125) and state placer Derek Fung (171), but they return seven starters, including state placers Willie Reiter (160, third) and Alec Stavish (152, sixth).
8. South River
Coach: John Klessinger
Last season: 21-10, unranked
Postseason: Third in Class 4A-3A East Region
Outlook: With all but three starters returning and a lineup without a noticeable weakness, the Seahawks look ready to fly. They're led by juniors Austin Alley (126), Collin Alley (132) and Anthony Rossi (195) and seniors Josh Perren (120) and Travis Clow (182).
Coach: Scott Harrell
Last season: 17-10, unranked
Postseason: 12th in Class 4A-3A East Region
Outlook: Excitement is building with eight starters returning and several strong freshmen coming in. Senior Collin Harrell (132), junior Mike Bohlman (160), sophomore Connor Joyce (113) and freshman Cameron Harrell (120) will anchor the lineup. The Bruins and South River will need to be on their games in county competition, with North County and Old Mill also looking strong.
Coach: Dennis Frazier
Last season: 23-7, unranked
Postseason: Third in Class 2A-1A West Region
Outlook: The Knights see good things on the horizon as a talented group of newcomers blends with county and regional champ Brandon Antrobus (220) and Logan Ryder (140). But varsity numbers are short, with just 20 prospective wrestlers on the team. Because of that, health will be major issue.
11. River Hill
Coach: Brandon Lauer
Last season: 28-8, No. 11
Postseason: Seventh in Class 4A-3A East Region
Outlook: River Hill is led by senior state placer Jacob Benedict (220) and state qualifiers Taariq Mohammed (106) and Cory Daniel (160). With 10 wrestlers returning, the Hawks will try to improve their postseason performance.
Coach: Chris Rosas
Last season: 29-2, No. 3
Postseason: Third in Class 2A-1A; state dual-meet champion
Outlook: With six starters returning, including Ryan Carter (138) and Joe Zoller (132), the Gladiators have a strong nucleus. Rosas said his team "has a lot to prove, but I think we're up to the task."
Coach: Steve Truitt
Last season: 18-6, No. 14
Postseason: Eighth in the MIAA, 11th in the MIS
Outlook: Eight starters return, including 103-pound private school state champion David Mohler (30-3 and a junior). The Dons add freshman Jake Nordhausen, a Maryland/Virginia Junior League champion. Senior Ellis Kent returns from injury.
14. Perry Hall
Coach: Jake Roche
Last season: 10-3, No. 15
Postseason: Third in Class 4A-3A
Outlook: According to Roche, the Gators "never take a day off. That's our strength." So is experience. Twelve starters return, including senior Shaun Murphy (126) and sophomores Zeke Salvo (113) and D.J. Grindle (120). Junior Matt Greene (220) has transferred from St. Paul's.
15. John Carroll
Coach: Keith Watson
Last season: 18-5, No. 9
Postseason: Fourth in the MIAA, sixth in the MIS
Outlook:. Juniors George Weber (132) and Scott Strappelli (120) give the Patriots two All-Americans as anchors. Watson says John Carroll will need them with "a ton" of freshmen coming into the lineup. There are a lot of ifs, but if the team develops, Watson says, the Patriots will be competitive.
OTHERS CONSIDERED: Bel Air (23-3), Boys' Latin (16-11), Chesapeake-AA (9-4), Harford Tech (17-9), North County (14-7), Oakland Mills (16-8), Old Mill (21-8), Poly (13-0)Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun