The Delta wrestling team will have strong leadership this season on the back of eight upperclassmen and five wrestlers back with quality postseason experience.
“I think we are going to surprise some people judging by how hard our underclassmen have worked in the offseason. We will have some bumps along the road, but they are willing to learn and improve. Our upperclassmen know what is expected of them and hopefully will push our young guys to work even harder,” said second-year coach Mark Nagel.
The most recognizable returnee for the Panthers is sophomore Adam Mattin. He was state runner-up a year ago at 106 pounds in Division III.
Delta also returns Evan Hanefeld, a three-time state qualifier, Luke Schlatter (district qualifier), Connor Sintobin (district qualifier), Landon Lintermoot (district qualifier), Cass Chiesa, Daniel Thatcher, Parker Cone, Carl Warner, Richard Flores, Brady Creps, Holden Barnes, Anthony Hernandez, Gabe Aronjo, Kallen Incorvaia, Jeremy Hambly and Jose Fonseca.
Newcomers looking to add depth to the roster are Jerremiah Wolford and Tyler Barnes.
“We have a strong core of upperclassmen to help the underclassmen who are going to get varsity experience. Many of our underclassmen got a lot of mat time last year and worked hard in the offseason,” said Nagel on his team’s strengths this season.
The Panthers will have to replace three state placers off last year’s team. Among those is Austin Kohlhofer who captured back-to-back D-III state championships, at 220 pounds at the 2021 state tournament and heavyweight last year.
Also gone is Carson Chiesa who placed third at 126 pounds, and Evan Perry who took eighth at 157 pounds. Furthermore, they lose Rylee Hanefeld (district qualifier), Shane Kruger (district qualifier), Dakota Sintobin (district qualifier), Rollin Robinson (district qualifier), Devon Haven and Tristen Mlynarek.
“We graduated three state placers and seven district qualifiers who were vocal leaders in our room. Some of our young guys don’t have a lot of varsity experience,” Nagel said of his team’s main weaknesses for the season.
Delta finished second in the Northwest Ohio Athletic League last season to Wauseon, who has won six straight league titles. The Panthers hope to unseat the Indians at the 2023 NWOAL Tournament, but it will be no easy task.
“We should be in the hunt for a league title, but Wauseon and Liberty Center still have a lot of depth and experience,” admitted Nagel.
Delta opens the season by competing in a tournament at Marysville High School Saturday, Dec. 3.
Reach Max Householder at 419-335-2010.