The Lord Botetourt wrestlers will open their first season under new coach Paul Craft with a quad match at Wilson Memorial High School this weekend.
LB has some strong wrestlers returning on a roster of close to 40 grapplers. Senior TJ Piluso will be at 165 after finishing second in the state last year, losing just three matches. Others who look to have a big year include junior Declan Sullivan, junior Camden Saunders, senior Gray Arnold, junior Cooper Roberts, senior Seth Williamson and senior Ben Gilbert. Craft was still putting the team together after the extended LB football season.
“The reality is that we’ve got a bunch of kids that are pretty solid up and down the lineup and we just don’t know what weight classes they’ll end up at until we have the whole team together,” he said.
Newcomers looking to make some noise include freshmen Jacob Spence and Kevin Gergely.
“We’ve got a bunch of freshmen and sophomores that are going to do well,” said Craft. “It’s just so early in the season. We’ll know more in December when they get tested. We’ve got upperclassmen coming out that’ve never wrestled before and kids returning to wrestling as juniors and seniors that haven’t been on the mat in several years. We’ve been recruiting hard at school.”
Craft is hoping to improve on last year’s 11th place state finish.
“As a team we want district, region and state championships,” he said. “That’s going to be extremely difficult as Staunton River, number one in 3A state, is in our district, region and state and they’re absolutely loaded again this season. But we have to aim up. My hope is that we can crack the top five in the state. That would be a huge accomplishment for our team.”