“Our goal is to improve throughout the year,” Plainfield coach Paul Nicodemus said. “We want to be competitive every time we step on the mat. We hope to make a run for a county championship. We’ll be a long shot, but we might surprise some people. In the conference we hope to finish in the top half, which will be tough to do in the Mid State. In the postseason we hope to advance as many kids as possible in every round of the tournament.”
Leading that charge for Plainfield this season are returning grapplers Corin McKee, Ben Macri, Peyton Jones, Dean Weaver, and Caleb Sheets.
Each of those wrestlers brings back a wealth of experience and championship hardware. McKee returns as a county champion. Macri won a county and regional championship and was one win away from advancing to the state finals. Jones finished up the year as a semistate qualifier. Weaver advanced to the regional last season. Sheets won a sectional title and advanced as far as semistate.
Nicodemus also pointed to Isaac Gomez, Dayton Clements, and Triston Southwood as a few wrestlers that may have a breakout season for the Quakers.
“(Gomez) is an extremely hard worker who spends a lot of time training in the off season,” Nicodemus said. “Clements is a move in from Monrovia that’s looking tough in the preseason. Southwood is a sophomore returning letterman who turned a lot of heads last year with his size and toughness. He’ll wrestle 195 or 220 this season.”
But all of the preseason optimism could go out the window if the injury bug crops up. Plainfield’s turnout this year is 25 wrestlers and leaves little room for error if one or more grapplers go down for an extended time period during the season.
“We need everyone to stay healthy in order to have the success we think we could have,” Nicodemus said.