After losing a number of top performers to graduation, including state champions Horus Madrid and Will Long, Camden enters the new wrestling season with a bit of uncertainty.
The Bulldogs are coming off a solid season that saw them produce a 15-10 dual match record, win the Region 6-3A championship, advance to the second round of the state playoffs and finish in ninth place at the season-ending traditional state tournament last season.
”Obviously, we lost a lot,” said coach Stephen Sutusky.
“However, we have a good core group of kids coming back, I think we stand a chance to be pretty good, if not better next season. You never replace state champions. Losing Horus and Will, of course, will be tough, but with Nick Benson coming back and 10 other starters we should be very competitive.”
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Benson, a sophomore, is the top returning man after going 28-14 and qualifying for state at 112 pounds last season. Other veterans to watch are junior Travis Jordan, senior Jeremy Huggins, senior Thad Bullock, junior Brayan Mendez, junior JeDarius Hayes and senior Roland Matthews.
Matthews went 28-9 at heavyweight and just missed make the state tournament cut. Mendez, said Sutusky, is a wrestler with the potential to be a major force at either 160 or 171.
Camden enters the season ranked No. 15 in Class 3A by scmat.com. Benson is the only Bulldogs ranked individually on the early scmat.com list. He is No. 8 at 112, though he will likely be up at 119 for most of the season.
“On paper we might not look as strong and that’s why we aren’t ranked real high right now,” said Sutusky.
“That’s all right with me. I don’t mind being under the radar right now.”