Andover posted an 8-10 dual record last season and returns two section place winners and three more who should be key point-winners this winter. Junior captain Corey Parsons, who finished runner-up at sections and earned All-Conference honors, opens the season ranked fifth at 170 pounds but will compete at 182 pounds. Senior captain Conner Schotfeldt (126 pounds) placed sixth in what was a very strong section. Other standouts on the Huskies roster to watch include junior captain Jason Dilly at 170 pounds, junior John Reynolds at 160 pounds and senior Troy Sperl at 152 pounds.
Anoka is coming off a fourth-place finish in the Northwest Suburban Conference and first-round exit in sections, but returns seven with varsity experience, including captains Brandon Krone, Kodi Kron, John Tawfick and Jake Olson. Others returnees include Cole Eischens, Matt Njos and Sam Begin. The Tornadoes graduated nine seniors from the varsity line up. Co-head coaches Kurt Werk and Todd Springer have a young group to work with and expect to turn out different line-ups each week. Look for Preston Flaherty and Royce Myren to gain valuable experience at the varsity level as the season progresses.
Junior Caleb Butler returns to the mat for the Bengals, looking to be among the state tournament favorites in Class AAA. He opens the season ranked third at 220 pounds as Section 7AAA foe St. Micheal-Albertville senior Mitchell Eull is fourth in the first ranking.
Coon Rapids’ program marks its 50th anniversary this season and begins the season ranked No. 5 in Class AAA behind fellow Section 7AAA foes, St. Micheal-Albertville (No. 2) and Cambridge-Isanti (No. 3). Forest Lake, another Section 7AAA squad, is ninth in the first team poll of the season. The Cardinals finished 27-3-1 last season and seventh ranked in the final Class AAA poll of the season, losing to Cambridge-Isanti in the section semifinal 43-22. Coon Rapids went 10-0 in the Northwest Suburban Conference to win its third straight conference title and fourth title in five seasons.
Cardinals senior Michael Burckhardt begins the season top-ranked at 285 pounds and senior captain Joe Anderson is seventh at 120 pounds and competed at state last season. Burckhardt became the ninth Coon Rapids wrestler to win a state championship last winter as he rolled through the 220-pound Class AAA state bracket and has a chance of being the school’s first multiple-year state champion. Junior Shad Olson will attempt to step into Burckhardt’s former spot at 220 pounds and is a ninth-grade state champion. Senior captain Nate Julkowski was 21-4 last season and will be looked to guide the middleweights. Sophomore Tyler Berdahl will compete at 170 pounds after earning all-conference honors and winning a ninth-grade state championship last season.
The Cardinals have another strong schedule with duals against Albert Lea, Forest Lake and Class AA power Foley in addition to the Hastings Duals, Board Hyland Cardinal Duals, Christmas Tournament and Rumble on the Red.
New coaches on the staff include Coon Rapids graduate Ryan Adams, who won a state title on a broken leg in 1985 and finished with a 36-0 record. He captained and was a three-time NCAA qualifier at North Dakota State. Kevin Kelley will coach the ninth-grade team this season after wrestling for the U.S. Marine Corps.
Spring Lake Park/St. Anthony
New head coach Jacob Roberts served as an assistant coach for the Panthers last season and is excited about the 2012-13 season. “We have a young team, but we are fortunate to have a great senior leader like [heavyweight] JP Labelle and we will keep getting better all year,” Roberts, who was a national meet qualifier during his collegiate career at St. Cloud State. Look for Danny Chlebeck to be among the top 120-pounders all season as he begins the season ranked 10th in the first Class AAA poll, posted on theGuilotine.com. Sophomore Justin May is ranked eighth at 138 pounds.
New St. Francis coach Michael Phillips takes over the program after serving as assistant coach for the past seven seasons. The Saints finished second in the North Suburban Conference with a 7-1 dual record and placed seventh in a very competitive Section 7AAA. Senior Taylor Charles is ranked eighth at 160 pounds in the first Class AAA state poll.
Jason Olson is at email@example.com