The 2008-09 wrestling season was a memorable one for the Lexington Wildcats.
Derek Strobel’s young team finished with a 28-10 dual match record, and had a great run in the Class 4A state playoffs – reaching the Lower State championship match before being eliminated by Fort Dorchester. The Wildcats also served as hosts for the traditional state tournament, and saw senior Kraig Crawford go out as a state champion at 171 pounds. The only other starters gone from last season’s postseason lineup are Hampton Motley and Zach Howerton. Motley was the runner-up at 125, and Howerton was a state qualifier at 152.
The top returning hands include junior Steven Steinbacher (103), sophomore Steven Licina (112), senior Garrett Corbett (112), sophomore Scott Tyndale (119), junior Josh Heape (130), sophomore Caleb Brack (140), senior Payne Ivie (145), sophomore Will Motley (152), junior Alex Morales (160), senior D.J. Crawford (171), senior Brock Baxley (189) and senior Derrick Eden (285).
Steven Steinbacher was 48-6 at 103 last year, was the region champion, the runner-up at the Lower State qualifier and a third-place finisher at state. Licina went 32-21 at 112, was a region runner-up and qualified for state by placing fourth at Lower State. Tyndale had exactly the same showing at 119. Heap went 21-15 at 130 and was a region runner-up. Brack and Ivey were fourth-place finishers at 140 and 145, respectively, at the region tournament. Morales had a great season – going 48-8 at 160, winning region and Lower State championships and placing fourth at state. Baxley finished third at 189 at the region tournament. Eden was 17-13 at heavyweight and the consolation champion at the region tournament.
Some of the newcomers to watch include freshman Conner Jewell (103), freshman Matthew Steinbacher (125), sophomore Cody Bonham (119), freshman Walker Barfield (125), junior Zach Heape (135), freshman Dacus Finchel (152), freshman Nate Meagher (171) and freshman Luke Fetla (189).