Panther Valley wrestling coach Tim Robb is excited about the upcoming season.
Robb's excitement is twofold.
First, he thinks the Panthers have several wrestlers capable of picking up individual honors once the postseason rolls around.
Second, he believes they have enough balance and depth to achieve some team goals before that starts.
Leading the way for the Panthers will be a pair of District 11 Class AA place winners from a year ago Nick O'Donnell and Mike Weaver.
O'Donnell, a senior, was 35-9 last year, wrestling at the bottom two weights. He will return at those same weight classes this year after placing second in Districts at 103 pounds and qualifying for Regionals a year ago.
"Nick is set to have a very good year," said Robb. "We're projecting him to wrestle at 112 pounds to start the season and then drop to 105 when the weight allowance is given.
"He has wrestled all summer and has a great chance of getting to States and possibly placing."
Weaver, a junior, had a 26-12 record last season, competing at both the 160 and 171 pound weight classes. A Regional qualifier a year ago, he is expected to wrestle at 171 pounds.
"Mike was fourth at Districts last year and is looking to improve on that," said Robb. "I think he also has a chance to qualify for States."
Robb feels like he has a couple of other wrestlers in Alex Lorkowski and Brandon Gurka who are capable of experiencing individual success this season as well.
Lorkowski is a senior who had a 20-19 mark a year ago. He is slated to wrestle at 189 pounds. Gurka, also a senior, will fill the Panthers' 130-pound slot. He was 25-13 a year ago.
"Alex and Brandon both played large rolls for us last year," said Robb. "I think they are great prospects to place at Districts this year."
As for the team goals, Robb feels the Panthers have a chance to improve on last year's 9-10 overall record and their 5-2 Schuylkill League Division 2 mark.
To do that, Panther Valley will have to find a way to replace John Schaeffer, Justin Christman and Kevin Schaller all 20-win wrestlers who were lost to graduation.
Among the Panthers who will be looking to pick up some of those wins are Len Ogozalek (103), Kory Lopata (125), Elijah Hibler (135), Dustin Marblestone (140), Jared Eickhoff (145), Josh Vega (152), Gage Rohlfing (152), Joe Martonyak (152), Steve Snyder (160), Mike Snyder (160), Jake Dulaney (171), John Horvath (189) and Paul David (215).
"Are numbers aren't bad, but right now we don't have anyone at 119 pounds and heavyweight," said Robb. "In addition, we have a couple of guys not working out yet because of off-season injuries.
"Because of that, we might get off to a slow start, but I think we could eventually be pretty competitive in the league. We expect to compete for a Schuylkill League Division 2 title."