2017-18 Wrestling Preview Capsules
South Carroll's Dakota Bowers applies pressure to Winters Mill's Zach King during their 113-pound bout in the Carroll County Wrestling Tournament in Westminster on Feb 18, 2017. (DYLAN SLAGLE/STAFF PHOTO)

Coach: Steve Willingham, 2nd year

Last year’s record: 19-8, 4-2 county


First match: Dec. 6 vs. Catoctin, Tuscarora, 5

Key losses: Jack Akers, Cody Davis, Nathan Haerbig, Sam Rothstein, Brett Wardle

Key returners: Brendan Cline, sophomore 138; Nick Dahl, senior 160; Dylan Fitzgerald, senior 138; Kevin Pearson, senior 152.

Outlook: Willingham said via email the Knights have a solid group ready to hit the mats, but the lineup is without a steady heavyweight. That hasn’t been the case in recent years, so Century looks to replace the void left by all-county talent in Akers and Rothstein. “I think it will be very competitive in the county this year,” Willingham said.

Francis Scott Key

Coach: Bill Hyson, 39th year

Last year’s record: 11-10, 1-5 county

First match: Dec. 7 vs. Liberty, 6

Key losses: Paul Hann, Gabe Mojica, Brett Rinehart

Key returners: Nate Imes, senior 182; Lonnie McLain, sophomore 120; Ryan Owings, senior 160; Nathan Perry, sophomore 132; Kane Richardson, junior 195; Blaine Robertson, junior 145; Dontae Smith, junior 126.

Outlook: Imes and Smith earned second-team all-county honors last winter, and the pair should be a big part of FSK’s nucleus this season. Hyson said via email the Eagles, despite a full roster, may have some difficulty filling every spot in the lineup. Rinehart was a county champion last season.


Coach: Logan Yox, 2nd year

Last year’s record: 8-22, 0-6 county

Next match: Dec.7 at Francis Scott Key, 6

Key losses: None


Key returners: Jake Gaskin, junior; Jake Griffin, senior; Noah Weinclawski, junior.

Outlook: Yox said via email the Lions have only one vacant spot in their lineup to start the season, a big improvement over last winter. Having Gaskin, Griffin, and Wienclawski back should be a big help — all three has postseason success of various degrees a year ago. “The team is more likely to find success as individuals however, I expect to surprise teams as the season progresses,” Yox said.

Manchester Valley

Coach: David Dodson, 1st year

Last year’s record: 18-13, 2-4 county

First match: Dec. 6 at Westminster, 6

Key losses: Zach McAleer, Harrison Walsh

Key returners: Kyle Mathias, senior 160; Liam Pence, senior 126; Troy Warner, senior 285.

Outlook: Dodson takes over as Mavs coach, but he’s no stranger to the program. He spent six years as North Carroll’s varsity coach, and has been an assistant at both schools. He’s inheriting a squad that looks to replace two state qualifiers in McAleer and Walsh. Pence won a county title in 2016 with North Carroll. Dodson said via email Man Valley wants to “compete at the highest level in each match.”

South Carroll

Coach: Matt Thomas, 1st year

Last year’s record: 31-4, 6-0 county

First match: Dec. 6 at Middletown, 6

Key losses: Jake MacKenzie, Joey Thomas, Jamar Williams

Key returners: Dakota Bowers, sophomore 120; Travis Crawford, junior 126; Steven Dahl, junior 152; Tyler Harbison, junior 145; Cam Werner, junior 132.

Outlook: Matt Thomas, who is replacing Bryan Hamper as coach, takes over a team that graduated a pair of three-time state champs in Joey Thomas and Williams. But Crawford returns after winning a state crown last year, and he’ls leading a talented crop of experienced wrestlers. The Cavaliers hope to be competitive in duals, but their focus remains to bulk up for the postseason.


Coach: Mike Flemming, 3rd year

Last year’s record: 22-18, 4-2 county

First match: Dec. 6 vs. Man Valley, 6

Key losses: Nic Boyle, Riley Eckenbarger, Jaime Rodriguez, Garrett Vandervalk, Tyler Watkins

Key returners: Chris Hauffman, senior 285; Parker Streib, senior 160; Brad Walsh, senior 145/152.

Outlook: Flemming said via email the Owls are “looking to improve upon last year’s success and eager … to get underway.” Westminster’s depth should be a big boost early in the season. Many weight classes have more than one wrestler ready to go. Walsh was one of three state qualifiers for the Owls last winter, and he’s back after a 43-win season.

Winters Mill

Coach: John Lowe, 15th year

Last year’s record: 16-6, 4-2 county

First match: Dec. 8 at Grindstone Duals (WMHS), 4

Key losses: AJ Holmes, Bailey Konold

Key returners: Troy Blessing, senior 160; Trevor Fawley, junior 170; Zach King, senior 120; Hunter Lowe, senior 195; Hunter Merson, sophomore 113; Alex Miller, senior 220; Casey Rowe, senior 182; Colby Unkart, junior 120; Nico Vagnier, junior 145.

Outlook: The Falcons are relying on a veteran team to mesh with some incoming talent, and Lowe said via email he hopes Winters Mill challenges for a county title — and beyond. Blessing and Hunter Lowe are back after qualifying for the state tourney last season, and Blessing won a county title as a junior. King was second in the county in 2017.