SEASON PREVIEW: BROOKFIELD
Coach Jim Hennessy has seen some ups and downs in his two stints of coaching at Brookfield, which totaled 17 years. But this second stint of five years has been rewarding because he sees some good things ahead.
"It has been a long road back," said Hennessy. "We have a good group of kids, but we still have a ways to go here in Brookfield. We have 18 guys out for the varsity, but we have 27 in the junior high and 45 in the elementary. We have a good crop of 7th and 8th graders now so the future looks good."
Brookfield will start a young team, with no seniors in the lineup. Ringo Simpson, a freshman, will kick off the action at 103 for the Warriors, followed at 112 by his brother Tony Simpson, a sophomore. Junior C.J. Gregg, a junior, will be at 119, while sophomore letterman Joe McFarland will man the 125 slot. At 130 is Mike Miller, sophomore letterman, while freshman Ed Thompson is at 135.
Junior letterman Sandro Vitello is at 140, with junior Louie Pop at 145. J.D. Underwood, a freshman, is at 152 with no one listed at 160 at this time. Terry Teal, sophomore letterman, is at 171, while junior letterman Dave Bell is at 189. Junior letterman Ernie Cunningham will be at 215, while three freshman are competing for the 275 post -- Junior Baum, Lyle Hayes and Jesse Moy.
The Warriors suffered a loss when Steve Kettler, a regional qualifier last season, moved to Hermitage and will be wrestling for Hickory.
Key hope for the Warriors will be Miller, whom Hennessy said "has it together."
"We'll find out right away," said Hennessy. "We're going to a 23-team, all-Division III tournament at Richmond Heights and Mike will meet a three-time state champ. It's a good tournament for us. If the kids get their butts whipped there, they'll know what they have to work for."
Hennessy said stiffer academic guidelines have been set up in Brookfield's conference, which could make him short a wrestler or two at times.
"They've changed the eligibility and you can't be failing in one subject," he said. "It's tougher, but it's great. They've got to get their grades to do extra stuff."
Another change is the location of practice and home matches. All varsity matches will be held at the Brookfield Elementary School (former Sacred Heart School on the West Hill in Sharon).
Once again Brookfield will compete in the Eastern Ohio Wrestling League. Division III teams, along with the Warriors, are Girard, Jackson-Milton and Warren JFK.
Hennessy's brother Ted will again help him coach the varsity, while the junior high and elementary coaches include Scott Thompson, Rick Tice, Rich Osborne and Brian Hennessy (Jim's son and a former Warrior star).
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