This winter marks the 25th season in which Dale Eggert has guided the Libertyville High School boys wrestling team. And a year after his team won 17 and dropped only five matches; he brings back a few experienced and talented performers.
Three seniors combined to win 73 matches last year and the Wildcats will look to Charlie Meyer, Pat Fitzgerald and Kyle May to lead the way this winter.
Fitzgerald qualified for the state tournament as a sophomore. He will be asked to tackle the 126 weight for this final season of high school wrestling. He won 22 matches at 112 last year.
Fellow senior, Meyer, is also stepping up in weight class. At 125 last year, he rung up 31 wins and will be asked to take over the 132 weight this season.
May won 20 matches at 112 last year. He'll step up to 119 this winter.
Eggert will have to look to some young wrestlers to step up.
"It's a young team,'' Eggert said. "Especially in the upper weights, we're working on something with our sophomore class. But we need some seasoning."
It's not quite the upper weights, but the Wildcats do look tough at 160. A year ago as a freshman, Kayne MacCallum won 25 matches. So look for another strong year from this sophomore.
If anyone was perfectly named for this sport its Noah Strong who will wrestle at 106 this season. He's a sophomore. Junior Austin Pettinato will try 145 this season. He was a 12-match winner at 135 last year.
A year ago, the Wildcats won the NSC Tournament. Libertyville was also tops in the Lake Division of the NSC. Libertyville placed second in the regional at Harlem. The JV team also claimed a conference title.
New Faces: Who will be the next Libertyville star? Some of the sophomores this season could be Steve Polakowski (113), Nick Andrews (138), Sal Ayala (152), Austin Koziol (182), Tim Grote (182), Kevin Barbian (195) and Chris McDermand (285). The incoming junior class includes candidates Joey Nield (195) and Pat Stacy (170).
The seniors who are trying to make it this time around include Josh Hirth (138), Mike Coutre (152), Connor O'Donnell (170), Connor Egan (182) and David Edstrom (220).
Coaching Staff: Eggert's career record at Libertyville High School is an impressive 453-104-2. He will get help from Roy Seeger, who has been the head coach at both Mundelein and Lake Forest. Brian Bernard has been in the Libertyville wrestling program for 24 seasons. Also helping out the program is freshman coach Kevin O'Neill, Chris Davis, Jeff Keske, Sean Weppler and Rick Strychalski.
Wrestling season opens on Nov. 23 against Grant.