Warren's wrestling team has some frontrunners, darkhorses and unsung heroes heading into the District 10 Class AAA Championships Friday and Saturday at Central Tech High School.
And that's just the way head coach Glenn Baldensperger likes it.
"I want to peak at districts," said Baldensperger. "We've improved every outing, and I told the guys (Thursday), 'you guys are ready.'"
Warren junior D.J. Fehlman
Junior D.J. Fehlman is the only returning champion, and in fact, he is a two-time returning District 10 champion. Even Fehlman knows the the Dragons "have an opportunity" to advance more the the Northwest Region Class AAA Tournament than they have in past years, he said.
"I feel like I'm the healthiest I've been going into a postseason," said Fehlman, who is 26-1 and the top-seeded 126-pounder. Fehlman is fast approaching 100 career wins as a junior, but his goal first-and-foremost, "I want to get back to Hershey - that's my ultimate goal," he said. "A hundred wins is great, but that's not my ultimate goal going into it. The goal in my head is to get a medal. I just want to give it all I've got now that I kind of have the confidence to be a leader on the team."
It's kind of funny to call the junior Fehlman a veteran, but he's been a champ twice before. While senior teammate Garrett Smead has fallen short in the past, he's certainly proving himself worthy of being called a champion.
Smead (11-2 at 170 pounds) is coming back from a leg injury, and asked his way into the lineup last week against Eisenhower. His pin helped the Dragons take the lead and beat the Knights.
Baldensperger said Smead, who is also seeded first, has "put more time in to prepare himself to get to the next level" than almost any other wrestler he has coached.
Junior Alex Streich is yet another wrestler capable of finishing in the top four in his weight class, according to Baldensperger, which is the number that advance to the Northwest Region Tournament the following weekend at Sharon High School. Streich (17-6) advanced to regions last year as a D-10 runner-up, and he's seeded third this year at 220.
Junior Collin DeLattre is 19-10 and seeded second at 132 pounds, senior Dan Henry 12-10 and seeded third at 160, senior Cody Gunn 18-8 and seeded third at 182, Derek Reagle 22-10 and seeded third at 195, and sophomore Stephen Crone 14-8 and third at heavyweight.
Other Dragons competing include: Alex Weston (8-8, 106 pounds), Blake Ristau (13-11, 120), Nick DeSimone (9-7, 138), Seth Johnson (5-9, 145), and Nate Park (5-15, 152).
"I talk about controlling what we can control," said Baldensperger.
"'Things are within reach, so control your own destiny,'" Baldensperger told his team on Thursday.
Complete brackets are available at www.timesobserver.com.