Lake-Lehman graduated three of its four individual district champions, but the Black Knights return many other key performers from their latest championship wrestling squad.
Two-time district champion Austin Harry is back after finishing eighth in the state at 126 pounds. He helped Lake-Lehman win the Wyoming Valley Conference Division 2 title and take the District 2 Class AA team championship by a point over rival Dallas.
We lost three district champions, but we have a nice nucleus coming back, said Tom Williams, who is in the third season of his second stint as Black Knights coach. This group is ready to pick up where we left off last year.
Harry and Jimmy Stuart, a district finalist at 113 last season, will work around the 132-pound weight class. Four-year starter Zeb McMillan is also around 126 or 132.
There's going to be some movement from our early-season lineup, Williams said.
The Black Knights opened the season by going 2-3 at the Catasauqua Dual Meet Tournament.
We were missing two or three weights, but we've got that covered up now,' Williams said. We lost two matches by a point and a third by three points. We were competitive in the all the matches.
The Black Knights ended December by taking seventh place out of 21 teams at the Tunkhannock Kiwanis Tournament. Harry won the 132-pound title at Tunkhannock. Brady Butler finished second at 182 pounds.
John Tomasura was fourth at 113 pounds at Tunkhannock, while Josh Sayre (138), Josh Winters (145) and Robert Wright (152) took fifth and Derek Dragon (170) and Phillip Hettes (220) placed sixth.
Williams has some less-experienced wrestlers that he's working with to fill varsity spots with the hope of entering all 14 weight classes.
Tomasura is back at 113 after finishing fourth in the district at 106 last season as a freshman.
Becca Wright may join the lineup at 106 and freshman Mark Gray should be at 120.
MacMillan, Harry and Stuart provide the strength of the lineup in the next few weight classes. They are followed by Sayre, who had a winning record last season as a freshman.
Winters, a three-year starter, is at 145 and 152 along with Robert Wright, who started much of last season. Josh Bullock is also getting some time there. They could also spend some time at 160, along with freshman Tommy Williams.
Richard Emel and newcomer Randy Zacharias are at 170.
Dragon is at 182 and three-year starter Brady Butler is at 195 with Justin Winters available to fill in at either weight class. Dragon and Butler were each fifth in District 2 last season.
Sophomores are handling the top two weight classes of 220 and 285. Hettes has shown promise early at 220. Kody Pachamovitch is also available there or at 285 where he joins Austin Parry.
Wyoming Area is expected to be the top threat to Lake-Lehman's hopes of repeating as division champion. Western Wayne, which won the District 2 Dual Meet Tournament last year, could again provide some of the top competition on the district level in Class AA.
The Black Knights hosted the WVC Tournament this weekend before wrestling at Meyers Wednesday.