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December 4, 2012

Knights look like team to beat

OUTLOOK: Newcomer North Andover, with three Division 2 state titles to its credit, joins the league and is the automatic favorite to take top honors, but it’s hardly a slam dunk.

A young and talented Chelmsford team which, says North Andover coach Carl Cincotta, has a strong guy at every weight, is on the rise. Defending Division 1 champ Methuen is still dangerous, Dracut boasts outstanding individuals and — because of its numbers — no one is counting out Lawrence.

MVC teams have won the Division 1 state title the last two years (Lawrence in 2011) and no one would be surprised if the trend continues. Regardless, with Methuen’s Christian Monserrat and Paul Sughrue, North Andover’s Brad Drover, Fritz Hoehn and Ryan Neals and others, the league is busting with outstanding talent.

andover

2011-12 season: 1-11, 12th at Division 1 North

Returning starters (7): Shiv Chawla, Sr., 132; Ben Dykstra Sr., 145; James Burke, Sr., 120; Joe Solimini, Sr., 152; Jack Reilly, Jr., 120; Tyler Ferris, Soph., 113; Jack Kiley, Soph., 113

Promising newcomers: Nick Bouchard, Sr., 160; James Herman, Soph., 138; Matty Marcotte, Frosh., 132; John Croston, Soph., 138; Nate Dykstra, Frosh., 106; Nishan Bilazarian, Frosh., 120;

Candidates: 25; Captains: TBA

Fast facts: Sobhan Namvar returns as head coach after two years during which he got a master’s degree and competed in Iran. He was Andover’s first coach. ... Senior Nick Bouchard returns to the program after taking two years off. ... Freshman Matty Marcotte is the younger brother of Nick Marcotte, a standout on last year’s team. ... Senior Chiv Chawla is an outstanding student likely headed to MIT. ... New assistant Brian Caldwell is a former state placer from Ohio. Junior Jack Reilly and sophomores Tyler Ferris and Jack Kiley give the Warriors strength in the lower weights. ... Freshman Nishan Bilazarian has youth wrestling experience despite having a prosthetic leg. ... The team will practice at the Wood Hill Middle School.

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