A-J wrestling coach optimistic as new season set to open

First-year Anna-Jonesboro Community High School wrestling coach Kevin Stephens is optimistic for the upcoming season.

“If we can keep everybody healthy and fill a couple of weight classes, we look like we’ll do well,” Stephens said. “The conference championship as well as the regional championship could be in our grasp.”

The squad won the Southern Illinois River-to-River Conference last sesaon under retired coach Rick Bittle, who remains as a volunteer coach.

The weight classes have changed this season at A-J:

A-J wrestlers will be competing in the following weight classes: 106-113 pound class: senior Andrew Adams; 120-126: junior Ryan Brown; 132-138: senior Forest Palis; 145: sophomore Josh Merriman; 152: junior Austin Nobel; 160: senior Preston Brimm; 170: junior Brandon Crosser; 182: senior Andrew McMahan; 195-220: junior Logan Tripp; and 285: senior Michael Dillman.

New wrestlers on the squad expected to contribute include 138-145: freshman Garrett Nadeau; 126: freshman Lucas Arft; 195:  freshman Jacob Blakely; 126: freshman Taylor Anderson; and 152: sophomore Jay Davis.

Former A-J grappler Ryan Bittle is also a volunteer assistant coach on the squad.

The Wildcats compete this weekend in the Lawrenceville Invitational.

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