The Lenape Regional High School District wrestling teams open the 2018-19 season by participating in various tournaments on Dec. 15.
Cherokee will be at Delaware Valley High School, Lenape at Haddon Heights, Seneca at Nottingham and Shawnee will host its annual Pine Barrens tournament.
While all four district squads have a few standout wrestlers, the Chiefs, Indians, Golden Eagles and Renegades will be looking for some new faces to develop as the season progesses toward state tournament time.
New Lenape coach has district ties
Lenape’s new coach Chris Easlick is no stranger to the Lenape Regional High School District.
Easlick, who has been an assistant for 10 years, grew up in Marlton, wrestled at Cherokee and graduated in 2002.
He was an assistant for two years at Cherokee under Bill Roller, followed by one year at Manchester Township and then the last seven years on Joe Robinson’s staff at Lenape.
Robinson coached from 2007-08 to 2017-18 and compiled a 10-year career record of 118-137.
2018-19 Olympic Division Alignments
Camden, Cherokee, Cherry Hill East, Eastern, Lenape, Shawnee, Washington Township
Camden Catholic, Cherry Hill West, Paul VI, Seneca, Timber Creek, Winslow Township
Coach: Mike Booth
Career Record: 131-60
2017-18 Record: 19-7, 6-0 Olympic American champions; Lost to Kingsway, 32-28, in NJSIAA South Group 5 semifinals
Returning Lettermen: Rhoades Rhodes, sr., 113; William Smith, sr., 285; Chris Marrone, sr. (back after missing last season due to injury); Andrew Aromando, ju., 113 (33-11 last year, third at districts, fourth at regions); Ian Manahan, ju., 132; Brandon Noble, ju., 182
Promising Newcomers: Nick Aromando, fr.; Thomas Lapinski, fr.; Brady Bimmer, fr.
Top Returnee: Cooper Pontelandolfo, so., who was 32-6 at 120 pounds as a freshman and reached the district final.
Season Outlook: “Our strengths are the light and middle weights,” said Booth, whose team placed second in the district tournament. “Us and Eastern are probably the top teams in the Olympic Conference. We are in a new district this year that includes Paulsboro.”
Season Opener: Dec. 15 at Delaware Valley Regional High School Tournament; Dec. 17 at Maple Shade.
Coach: Chris Easlick
2017-18 Record: 5-15, 3-3 Olympic American
Returning Lettermen: Brian Boyle, sr., 113 (20-14 last year); Dylan Kim, so., 120 (4-11); Matt McCormick, so., 132 (10-17); Riley Santino, so., 152 (8-16); Emmanuel Rogelio, ju., 182 (7-13); Ian Camrato, 195 (10-14); Vaughn Heller, ju., 220 (5-7)
Promising Newcomers: None provided
Strengths: “We are returning half of the team (seven starters from last year. We took some lumps last year, but gained valuable experience,” said Easlick. “The returning starters have worked hard this offseason and are looking to improve this year. Also, we have 13 freshmen out this year.”
Weakness: “We have 23 freshmen and sophomores and 11 juniors and seniors,” said Easlick. “We are a young team.”
Top Returnee: Brian Boyle, senior, 113. “Brian is our top returning wrestler. He accumulated a 20-14 record last year and was a region qualifier,” said Easlick. “Brian has put a lot of time into this offseason and has his sights on a district Championship. Brian is also a scholar-athlete with a 3.8 GPA and a 5.5 weighted GPA.”
Season Outlook: “The goal is to be .500 or above this year,” said Easlick. “Our goal is always to beat the other Lenape District schools.”
Season Opener: Dec. 15 at Haddon Heights High School Tournament; Dec. 17, tri-match with Camden at Cherry Hill East.
Coach: Greg Bauer
Career Record: 239-160 (13-27 at Gateway for two years; 226-133 for 14 years at Seneca)
2017-18 Record: 17-11, 3-2 Olympic National (third place); seventh place in Nottingham tournament; fourth in NJSIAA District 25 Tournament
Returning Lettermen: Hunter Nixon, sr., 120 /126 (63-24 career record); Tylor Atkins-Ingling, sr., 170 / 182 (9-17); Ryan Eisenhower, ju., 160 / 170 (38-28); Nico Bogardus, so., 132 / 138 (28-11); Zach Borton, so., 113 / 120 (24-8); Will Decker, so., 182 / 195 (5-16); Kory Seidle, so., 138 / 145 (16-16)
Promising Newcomers: Scott Spruill, sr., 145/ 152 (1-7 career record); Jeff Charrier, ju., 126 / 132 (2-3); Jackson Borton, so., 113 / 120 (2-1); Brandon Flory, so., 106 (0-2); Andrew Knorr, so., 126 / 132; Logan Chestnut, so., 152 / 160; John Funches, so., 220 / 285
Top Returnees: Senior Hunter Nixon, junior Ryan Eisenhower and sophomore Nico Bogardus. “Nixon was 29-10 last year at 113 pounds, was second team all-conference, second team all-county, finished third in the Nottingham tournament, third in the District 25 tournament and finished fifth in the Region 7 tournament,” said Bauer. Ryan finished last season with a 24-10 record at 160-170 pounds, was second team all-county and third in the District 25 tournament. Nico was 28-11 at 126 pounds as a freshman, was first team all-conference and second in the District 25 tournament. All three of these wrestlers will lead a young squad this year. They worked hard in the offseason to prepare to be big contributors this season after graduating six seniors.”
Graduates Wrestling in College: Joe Manchio, fr., Columbia University (Division I); Matt Angelov, fr., Centenary University (Division III); Liam Casey, so., DelVal University (Division III)
Season Outlook: “We graduated six wrestlers - all starters - in June, and we had one starter move, so we will be rebuilding this year,” said Bauer. “We have few solid returners, mostly in the lower weights that will lead the team. We will rely on a few of our returners to get us bonus points, and a few newcomers to hopefully step and adjust quickly to varsity competition in order for us to compete. Our lack of numbers - like last season - may hurt us in forfeits.”
Season Opener: Dec. 15 at Nottingham High School Tournament; Dec. 19 vs. Vineland.
Coach: Tom Mann
Career Record: 152-188
2017-18 Record: 8-18, 2-4 Olympic American; Lost to Clearview, 52-15, in NJSIAA South Group 4 first round
Returning Lettermen: Ethan Greenberg, sr., 113 (17-10 record last year); Bryce Dunleavy, sr., 120 (26-12); Mark Palmieri, sr., 160 (11-22); Nick Lope, sr., 285 (11-17); Mike Blackwell, sr., 182 / 195 (4-20); Jaylen Horsley, ju., 145 (6-8); Alex Pfeifer, ju., 220 / 285 (11-20)Isaac Dunn, so., 152 (15-11)
Promising Newcomers: Nick Cottone, fr., 106; Jake Hastings, fr., 106 / 113; Anthony Duerte, fr., 126 / 132
Strengths: Conditioning, according to Mann.
Weakness: Depth and inexperience, according to Mann.
Top Returnee: “Bryce Dunleavy is our top returning senior and he is looking to improve on his advancement from last year,” said Mann of Dunleavy, who won a district title last season. “He has been working to achieve that goal and we are looking forward to his improvement this year.”
Season Outlook: “We will be starting a number of freshmen and sophomore with a smaller number of juniors and seniors,” said Mann, whose team needs two wins to reach 500 in school history. “We will need wrestlers to make the transition to high school wrestling quickly if we hope to contend for a playoff spot.”
Season Opener: Dec. 15 hosting Pine Barrens Tournament; Dec. 19 vs. Camden Catholic.