County teams pin hopes on success in postseason


Franklin's Austin Burnside, right, grapples with Jacob Lashley of Columbus North in the 138-pound weight class at Thursday night's, Nov. 29, 2012, dual meet in Columbus.

Franklin's Jacob Stevenson, left, gets the upper hand on Columbus North opponent Andrew Jones in the 152-pound weight class at Thursday night's, Nov. 29, 2012, dual meet in Columbus.

Despite the graduation loss of state champion Sean Mappes and state qualifier Brock Warner, veteran coach Cale Hoover is confident the Center Grove wrestling team will again figure prominently in the postseason.

Especially if strength in numbers is an advantage.

With 61 wrestlers, the 2012-13 roster is easily one of the largest — if not the largest — in team history.

“By far the largest number we have had in my seven years at Center Grove,” Hoover said. “Over 40 are (freshmen and sophomores). We are excited about the mix of experience and youth.”

The Trojans will be led by two returning state qualifiers, seniors Anthony Schoettle (120 pounds) and heavyweight Drew Ponder. Schoettle placed eighth at 113 last year, while Ponder was eliminated in the first round.

Others expected to contend for postseason success are seniors Ceasar Gonzales (106), Nathan Carmichael (126), Dallas Pruett (138), Saul Fisher (145), Dalton Wheeler (160) and Damien Stone (220).

Junior Tyler Fleener (132), Mat Kelly (152), Chapman Johnson (182) and Josh Kuechler (195) are expected to start, as is sophomore Zach Blevins at 113.

“We have a strong senior class who will dominate the starting lineup and many talented young guys who will push them for spots,” Hoover said. “The key will be to replace the loss of leadership, but this group of kids has been willing to do everything we have asked and have had a great attitude.

“We are looking forward to competing and measuring where we are at.”

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