PRINCETON — With only three upperclassman, Princeton High School wrestling coach Steve Amy is going to have to look for some young talent to fill the varsity roster.
“We have a few guys with some varsity experience as well as a few freshmen with a good wrestling background” Amy said. “This year will be a learning year giving many of our newcomers lots of varsity experience for the years to come.
Returning lettermen for the Tigers include sophomores Tim Hilliard (120 pounds, 13-19 record last season, fourth at last year’s regional; Starr Mecum (138, 1-2 record); Drew Pranka (160, 9-3 record); and junior Caleb Dickens, who returns to the 152-pound weight class with a 4-6 record as a sophomore.
Senior Ryan Gann (145) and sophomore Skyler Spencer (170) are expected to see a lot of varsity action but neither wrestled at the varsity level last year. Sophomores are Silverio Napules (132), Matt Schlindwein (195) and Kyle Odell (220) and junior Dylan Williams (195) are also in the mix for Amy’s squad.
The PHS varsity welcomes a pair of freshmen who were IKWF State qualifiers a year ago in Tyler Wood (106) and Luke Hoffman (152). Other newcomers to the varsity squad include freshmen Luke Marselle (106), Jacob Smith (160), Derec Roberson (106), Tyler Webster (106), Denver Wyatt (132), Jacob Sissel (182), Kyle Bowler (195), and Chaz Williams (220.
“This is a great group of athletes that really do a good job of working hard and learning the things that we are trying to teach them. We just have to continue to improve each day and learn from the experience on the mat they will be getting,” Amy said.
The Tigers opened the season with losses to St. Bede (48-36) and Peoria Notre Dame (48-0). Their next match is Thursday at Erie where they will face the host Cardinals and Morrison. The Tigers then come home against Mendota on Monday. That match begins at 6 p.m. at Prouty Gymnasium.
“These guys work hard every day. It will be exciting to see how well they progress from now until the end of the season,” Amy said.