The Lyons Township wrestling team may have a new coach, but don't look for any changes to the storied program's old tradition.
That tradition includes nine regional titles over the past 13 seasons, as well as a pair of trips to the State tournament. Now with longtime coach Mark King stepping down after last season, Griff Powell, an Illinois native who moved to New York and won a pair of State championships as a high school wrestler there, has taken the reins. He hopes to keep steering the program in the same direction.
"I've known about LT wrestling and tradition for a long time," said Powell, who continued his wrestling career at college powerhouse Illinois with several LT grads. "This has always been one of the better programs in the state.
Powell will be charged with building and maintaining a rich tradition.
He'll have a good start this year with a pair of returning State qualifiers in 140-pound Vince Castillo and 119-pound Phil Lukanich. Both are senior captains looking for a repeat visit to Champaign.
Senior Tom Avrum (135 pounds) is a returning All-conference selection and sectional qualifier, while senior Highland Park transfer Mike Peysakhovich (130) barely missed the State cut last year when he finished fourth at sectionals.
Senior John Keating (275), juniors Casey McMurray (160) and Luke Gacek (152) are also coming off sectional appearances, with McMurray and Gacek earning All-conference nods last season.
Ryon Krueger (215), Steve Cincotti (189), Beau Spreck (152) and Mike Walls (112) all have varsity experience under their belts, and Les Bates (189) and Chris Cavallo (103) are newcomers to the starting lineup.
The Lions have already jumped out to a 7-2 start this season, falling only to defending State champ Sandburg and powerhouse Batavia. LT has also picked up its first West Suburban (Silver) win when it beat Oak Park.