With six seniors lost to graduation, Triton Central wrestling coach Trey Miller believes his program settles into a rebuilding mode this season.
Three of the seniors lost advanced to regional or semistate rounds of the state tournament. That puts leadership responsibilities on a new set of veterans as underclassmen work their way into varsity roles.
“We have good athletes but this will be a big building year, especially for the younger kids to see what it’s like at the high school level,” said Miller. “We will have to prepare and wrestle tough to have a successful season.”
The Tigers were set to debut tonight in a dual meet at Indianapolis Lutheran but that has been postponed due to the Saints winning the Class A football state championship Friday at Lucas Oil Stadium. A complete roster could not be put together in time to face Triton Central.
So Miller and the Tigers will wait another week to debut at home against Eastern Hancock.
“It’s a good place to start against another smaller school,” admitted Miller. “We can compare athletes and get a couple of matches in before wrestling larger schools.”
Following the Dec. 7 opener, the Tigers will travel to Union County for a dual match on Dec. 9 then compete in the Plainfield Invitational on Dec. 11.
Triton Central will likely debut with two of the 14 weight classes vacant. Miller expects to forfeit matches at 120 pounds this season and will forfeit at 138 but that could change as the season progresses.
Ayden Nufio returns at 106 pounds after enduring a tough first season.
“He is stronger and bigger than last year,” said Miller of the sophomore. “He took some lumps as a freshman plus he was about 20 pounds underweight.”
Freshman Dayne Bailey will debut at 113 pounds after four years of middle school wrestling experience.
“He has a good base of wrestling,” said Miller.
Ethan Booth has been a .500 wrestler the last two seasons but Miller sees the junior ready to have a breakout season.
Senior Marcus Davis returns to the program after not wrestling as a junior. Davis will start the season at 132 pounds.
Lucas Kleeman, a junior, and senior Jaden Ferris are battling for the 145 slot. Ferris could drop weight down to fill the 138 position if he does not secure the 145 position, according to Miller.
“Kleeman is a leader on the team,” said Miller. “He works really hard in the room.”
There are five wrestlers in competition for three weight classes (152, 160 and 170).
Sophomore Peyton Burris and freshman Aaron Heinemann are battling at 152.
Junior Trevor Ashman, and seniors Isaak Booth and Tristan Gibbons are in the mix for 160 and 170.
Gibbons did not wrestle as a junior but returns to the program down at least 20 pounds from his sophomore year. Gibbons is one of Triton Central’s best bets to be a regional qualifier in 2022, according to Miller.
Roncalli transfer Hadyn Ball takes over at 182. The junior was a regional qualifier last season and could make a deeper run into the postseason as a Tiger.
Freshman Andrew Bailey takes over at 195 and junior Austin Myers follows at 220.
Aden Sosbe, a junior, did not wrestle last season and gives Triton Central a “true” heavyweight in the 285-pound division.
Triton Central will compete in the New Palestine Invitational on Dec. 18 and close out the 2021 schedule at the Spartan Classic in Connersville.
The Tigers’ annual dual meet with Shelbyville is Jan. 6 in Fairland.
Two days later, the Tigers travel to Maconaquah for an invitational tournament.
The Indiana Crossroads Conference Meet is Jan. 15 at Beech Grove and the Ritter Invitational one week later closes out the regular season schedule.
The postseason starts Jan. 29 at the Warren Central Sectional.