The Sumter wrestling program is looking for a good season this winter with a solid veteran cast returning from a team that went 24-15 in dual meets a year ago and won the Region 6-4A championship.
“This year’s team looks to be the strongest from top to bottom since my first year here when we had four state qualifiers and seven senior. Starters,” said Gamecocks coach Matthew Love.
“With our football team doing so well, we had five starters that will not be in top wrestling condition untill midway through the season, so I think we will struggle a little early. But as the season progresses I can see us having strong showings in some of our holiday and January tournaments. Our four seniors will supply the leadership again for the young guys we have.”
Look for sophomores TJ Colvin and David Baldwin to step in the lineup at 160 and 171, freshman Peter Hackett (103) and Josh O'Connor (215) both had strong middle school campaigns last season, said Love. O'Connor was a Carolina Open champion.
“I feel like our team can compete with anyone from 119 to 152 with the 160 189 and heavyweight spots having solid wrestlers as well,” said Love.
As four-year varsity starters, seniors Andrew Lovice (140) and Josh Sullivan (152) are expected to provide leadership. Sullivan and senior Shawn Armstrong (189) are returning state qualifiers.
Sophomore Korey Paige (112), sophomore Josh Anderson (119), sophomore Matt Devine (125), junior Joseph Watson (135), sophomore Dustin Matz (135-140), sophomore Hayden Raabe (145), junior Eric Portee (160) and senior heavyweight Michael Miller are the other returning varsity veterans.