BARNESVILLE — Coming off a successful season, Barnesville High is armed with plenty of experienced wrestlers back  which has expectations set high entering the new campaign.

Head coach Jayson Stephen, who enters his 22nd year with the Barnesville wrestling program, welcomes back 10 lettermen.

Last year, the ‘Rocks finished with an impressive 15-2 record in duals and were the Ohio Valley Athletic Conference Class 3A Tournament runner-up along with OVAC 3A Dual Tournament champions.

A total of 11 lettermen return for the ‘Rocks, including five district qualifiers in the experienced group.

"We have some talented kids coming back and these district qualifiers will be hungry to take that next step," Stephen said, "so we expect to be better this season. We also have some young talented freshmen this year as well.

"We have several kids back that could have easily been state qualifiers, but just fell a little short," the BHS coach offered. "Hopefully, they can learn from the experience and make a run at getting there this season."

Leading the way for the Barnesville veterans are a trio of three-year lettermen — Zack Meade (220), Brylan Clouse (170) and Dylan Glotfelty (145).

Meade and Clouse were both district qualifiers a year ago, with Clouse also earning all-OVAC honors.

"Zack’s a senior now, a three-year letter winner who has been to the district consistently," Stephen stated. ‘I do believe he’s pretty highly-ranked in his weight class. He’s just a great kids who wrestles hard, so I’m excited to see how far he can get this year.

"Brylan is always right there in the mix," he continued. "He had a couple crazy things happen at districts last year, but he has been a state alternate before so he knows what it takes. Hopefully he can get his ticket back to Columbus this year.

"Dylan had a rough weight class last year and had a few bad breaks,’ Stephen said, "but he has that ability to make a run at state also, he’s putting in the time and effort it takes."

Junior Owen Oliver (160) is a two-year letterwinner, while one-year lettermen for Barnesville include junior Bryce Farrabee (145); sophomores Cameron Woods (152), Jake Boulet (138), A.J. Francis (126), George Hoover (126), Cole McCammon (132) and Brad Hall (138).

"We have good hard-working kids, so we are just looking to fill all the weight classes and compete," Stephen stated,  "and I think we will be able to do that for the most part.

"All three of our seniors — Zack, Brylan and Dylan — have a lot of experience and are setting a good example for our younger kids," he continued. "It helps to have leaders like them to kind of show the other kids what it takes to have some success."

Stephen also welcomes some young talent to the Shamrocks’ wrestling room with seven freshmen, including one of his sons, beginning their high school wrestling careers.

Among that freshmen talent will be a pair of state qualifiers at the junior high level in Griffen Stephen (106) and Carter Wells (113).

"I finally have one of my own boys on the high school team, so I must be getting older," Stephen joked. "He’s a freshman and will be at 106, so I’ll be excited to see how he does. We have another pair of talented young guys in Carter Wells and Connor Jones who could contribute also."

Other freshmen are Austin Mayhugh (126), Orion Smith (152), Connor Jones (132), Avery Clouse (195), and Caiden Thornton (138).

"Every kids on our roster has wrestled before at some level except one," the Barnesville coach noted, "so that’s a real plus for us, with the kids knowing how to work in the wrestling room."

A graduation loss from last season is Brayden Reynolds, who was an OHSAA State Tournament qualifier for the ‘Rocks.

Stephen’s coaching staff includes Rick Milhoan and Colin Castello at the varsity level, with Quentin Castello and Kyle King leading the junior high wrestling program.

"I have a great group of kids to work with and that makes my job easier," Stephen added. "They hit it hard in the weight room and also at practice and put the time into the sport that is necessary."

"Our goal is to have another successful season...that’s the goal anyway," Stephen said. "We need to stay away from injury and sickness, just stay healthy and I like our chances for a good year."

The season begins Saturday at the Union Local Invitational and the ‘Rocks host the 49th annual Doan Ford/Barnesville Wrestling Invitational on Dec. 7-8.