Teams to watch
Central DeWitt: Graduation losses and a transfer impacted the Sabers, but Nick Smith is back. He was 40-9 last year and placed seventh at the Class 2A state tournament at 220. Smith is ranked fifth to start this season at 195. Freshman Keaton Zeimet is a wrestler to keep an eye on. He starts the year ranked ninth at 106.
West Liberty: The Comets return a state champion in Northern Iowa signee Bryce Esmoil (195) along with a pair of third-place state finishers in Will Esmoil (106 last year) and Joe Kelly (152). West Liberty, with aspirations of reaching the state duals this season, also has four other district qualifiers back in Justis Dengler, Talon Dengler, Austin Beaver and Coy Ruess.
Wilton: Coach Gabe Boorn's squad has two state qualifiers returning in Trey Brisker and Cory Anderson. Brisker, with a second and two third-place state finishes, begins his senior year with 132 career wins. Anderson was 36-14 last year. The Beavers have five other 20-plus match winners back in Jerome Mays (145), Eli Faison (160), John Rife (182), Cameron Reddick (195) and Calib Lilly (220).
Individuals to watch
Jarod Kadel, jr., Columbus Community, 106 pounds: After wrestling junior varsity as a freshman, Kadel was state runner-up last year in 2A at 106. He begins this winter ranked No. 1 at that weight.
Daniel Meeker, so., Wapello, 120: Ranked third to start the year by The Predicament, Meeker won 40 matches and finished sixth at 106 last year as a freshman.
Ben Emerich, sr., Tipton, 126: Pieced together a solid junior season. He won the River Valley Conference title at 120, compiled 40 wins and was a 1A state qualifier.
Baylor Crigger, jr., Camanche, 152: RVC champion was 38-3 last season but couldn't compete in the postseason after an appendectomy. He begins the year ranked fifth at 152 pounds in 2A.
Jan. 4 — Assumption at North Scott
Jan. 12-13 — Midwest Shootout at Bettendorf
Jan. 20 — Bob Lueders Invitational at Clinton
Jan. 27 — MAC tournament at Davenport West; River Valley at Mid-Prairie; Wamac at Maquoketa
Feb. 3 — Class 1A/2A sectional meet
Feb. 10 — Class 1A/2A/3A district meet
Feb. 15-17 — State tournament
— Matt Coss