VANDALIA — A quick glance at the Butler wrestling roster might raise some eyebrows of concern when seeing the number of underclassmen. What the Aviators lack in age, however, should be surpassed by their level of experience according to head coach Mark Peck.
“We are very young on paper, but very experienced,” he said. “We’ve got a lot of mat rats who have been wrestling a long time. We may be young in age but we have kids who have a lot of wrestling experience. Realistically I think we are a year away, but I think we have the capability to be really good this year.”
Peck said that his roster is packed with depth up to 182 pounds.
“Top to bottom, if you go from the 106-pound weight class to 182 pounds, we are really deep,” he said. “The last few classes we aren’t as deep which has been a problem the last few years.”
At 106 pounds, a pair of freshman, Logan Hoskins and Matt Verdes, will push each other. Hoskins placed at the Junior High State Tournament and Verdes fell one win short of placing.
“They both have a lot of mat time,” said Peck. “If that (competition) materializes, that will be a really good wrestle-off. I can’t give the edge to either one.”
At 113 pounds, Peck expects senior David Jobe, last year’s GWOC North Athlete of the Year to fill that spot. Sophomore Josh Suddeth, a State qualifier a year ago, will wrestle at 120 pounds. Also expected to push Suddeth is two-time state placer Ronnie Pietro, a transfer from Dayton Christian.
“We are really deep in those weight classes and have a couple of freshman that will wrestle there as well,” Peck said. “They are all young – Jobe is the only senior in the bunch. That’s a good problem to have.”
District placer Bailey Suddeth is expected to wrestle at 126 pounds. Senior Michael Cyphers and sophomore Michael Brandt will push for time at 132 pounds. Freshman Gavin Casella will also compete for time at 132.
Another freshman, Jestin Love, who placed at the Junior High State Tournament a year ago, will wrestle at 138.
“He didn’t wrestle in our program but was home-schooled,” said Peck. “He has a lot of talent for a freshman.”
Freshman Brent Forbes will wrestle at 138 and 145 and was also a junior high state qualifier last year. Junior Daniel Hicks will also wrestle at 145 or 152 pounds.
At 152 pounds is Mason Motter.
“It’s kind of unique that we have the quarterback of the football team on the wrestling team,” said Peck. “Mason is just a hard nosed, no-flash grinder. He’s going to beat you because he’s going to wear you down.”
Butler returns Nick Coyle at 160 pounds. Coyle was a district qualifier and GWOC placer last year.
“Nick is a hard-nosed kid, not real flashy, but grinds out wins. He has a lot of time on the mat,” Peck said.
Braeden Miller and Ralph Singleton will also wrestle at 160 pounds.
Daniel Couch, Ethan Cyrette, and Jansen Love, and Cameron Wilson are all listed at 170 pounds on the roster, but will see times at other weights according to Peck.
“We have several kids there that will bump around a bit (in different weight classes),” said Peck.
Dylan Sagers will most likely wrestle at 195 when he returns from an injury suffered in football but may start at 220 pounds. Sagers is a returning district qualifier.
Chase Turner is listed at 220 pounds and Will Long will wrestle at 285 if he is cleared from an injury.
“He could really help us out,” said Peck.
The program would appear to be strong going forward too as Peck as 15 freshman that are wrestling this winter.
“Some are just getting started, some have wrestled a while,” he said. “They all work hard.”
The Aviators have traditionally wrestled a strong schedule and this year is no different. The Aviators open Saturday at Northmont, have a quad meet with Miami East Sidney, and Stebbins on Dec. 8, and then travel to Oak Hills on Dec. 10.
Alumni night is scheduled for Wednesday, Dec. 21 versus Tippecanoe and will be part of a unique doubleheader featuring a girls basketball game featuring the same two schools.
“We are going to call that Brutes and Ballers,” said Peck. “That will be pretty cool.”
Butler returns to the Greater Miami Valley Wrestling Association (GMVWA) tourney this year after a two-year absence. Other tournaments include Fairfield, the Maumee Bay Classic, and Central Crossing. The Aviators will host Carroll on Senior Night and also travel to Beavercreek.
“We have some pretty tough match-ups,” said Peck. “If we aren’t in the State Dual Regional Finals on Feb. 1 we will be disappointed. We want to represent this area – our goal is to get to St. John’s Arena.”
Reach Darrell Wacker at 937-684-8983 or on Twitter @VandaliaDrummer.