OUTLOOK: On paper, North Andover is the team to beat in Merrimack Valley. The Knights return two New England placers in Brad Drover (runner-up) and Fritz Hoehn (fourth) and they’re loaded in the lower weights.
But North Andover coach Carl Cincotta is hardly overconfident, not with defending champion Lawrence around.
“When you have 100 kids out for the team and a good coach like Rob (Niceforo), that always worries me,” said Cincotta. “I know they’ll be tough by the end of the year.”
Other than that, look for Chelmsford to contend and, if its younger wrestlers come around, Methuen could be a factor. Haverhill should be vastly improved and could be a spoiler.
Merrimack Valley Conference
2012-13 season: 0-18
Returning starters (6): Shaun Merrill, Sr., 171; John Croston, Jr., 145; Tyler Ferris, Jr., 132/138; Matthew Marcotte, Soph., 126/132; Patrick Meagher, Soph., 113; Matthew Stamas, Soph., 215
Returning lettermen: Ben Levine, Jr., 160; Nathaniel Dykstra, Soph., 106; Ryan Surehan, Soph., 126
Promising newcomers: Jarad Amoroso, Jr., 145; Steve Herman, Jr., 215; Matthew Soares, Soph., 285; Jacob Ruthazer, Frosh., 132/138
Candidates: 18; Captains: TBA
Fast facts: Sobhan Namvar resigned as head coach to take a position in New York City although he has since returned to the area. ... New coach Brian Caldwell, who was an assistant last year, wrestled in high school in Ohio and briefly at Wright State before wrestling was terminated there. He has a black belt in jiu jitsu and is an instructor in that discipline. ... Tyler Ferris has put together back-to-back strong seasons. ... There is only one senior on the team.
Assistant coaches: Aaron Blanco, Neal Callahan (volunteer), Neil McCarthy (volunteer), Jake Pilla (volunteer)
Coach Brian Caldwell (1st year): “Our young team has had a tough time growing but we know our work will pay off and we’re in it
for the long run. We will build our team to become a threat. Our kids continue to strive to go beyond their