Towson High wrestling coach Phil Simmonds sees promise in his young wrestlers, but the Generals also are experiencing growing pains. Towson has only four seniors in Daryl Cockerille (160), Nikko Regalbuto (220 pounds), Matt Hayden (152) and Toheeb Aroworowon (189).
That's among the fewest Simmonds has had in his 14 years as Towson's varsity and assistant coach. The inexperience is reflected in 2-8 dual-meet record.
"We have had a lot of seniors graduate the last couple of years," Simmonds said. "We are rebuilding with a lot of new freshmen and sophomores who don't have a whole lot of experience. So we are working on getting them up to speed."
The revamped lineup includes six wrestlers who were on junior varsity -- sophomores Lazarus James (113), Jacob Mader (170), Sam Shrestha (132), Othman El-Omari (138), Justin Mohammadi (145) and junior Bryce Gordan (126), and two first-year wrestlers, freshman Jonathan Krimm (106) and sophomore Tyler Graves (285).
Towson assistant coach Anthony Conty sees the youth as a positive for this winter and in seasons to come.
"They have a lot of enthusiasm," he said. "The are willing to learn. They will do anything the coaching staff tells them. They are really buying into what we are teaching."
Conty said picking captains for this season presented a challenge. Junior Scotty Mason (120) and Regalbuto and Hayden (152) took on those duties.
"It was tough finding captains this year because not one was able to really step up right away," Conty said. "This year, we just have a lot of guys who all follow the same rules and were ready to learn all the time."
Regalbuto has as much potential as any Generals' wrestler. He's off to a sterling 16-1 start with six pins. His only loss was to Pikesville's Rual Aliyev at the Loch Raven duals on Jan. 10. In that tournament, Regalbuto finished second.
He went 23-11 last year and placed third in the county and region at 220.
"It's all about technique with him," Conty said. "His shot has improved and it's making him a lot more dangerous. He didn't like shooting last year. He was winning all his matches last year on top and bottom."
Simmonds added: "He worked really hard in the offseason and it's paying off for him this year."
Aroworowon is another wrestler who has taken a big step forward.
He missed about half of last year with an ankle injury and went .500.
This year, he has a 9-4 record.
"He's got top-four potential," Conty said of the Baltimore County and regional tournaments. "He is a lot stronger than a lot of the guys he wrestles. He can hit a pin in the first couple of seconds because a lot of guys don't see it coming. He is an exciting guy to watch."
Cockerille also has been a key wrestler in Towson's lineup.
"I think he can place in the top-four in the county," Conty said. "He's had a lot of key wins. He was trying to cut weight to 152. That was too difficult and he was wrestling with little energy. Now, he's at 160 and a lot stronger."
The conversation about Towson's lineup always seems come back to youth.
"They will take their lumps," Dulaney coach Desi McNelis said. "If they stay positive with it and keep working, they will develop. In the long run, that will help the team a lot."