The Schuyler Central High School wrestling team enters the new season with great optimism after a successful campaign in 2016-17.

A season ago, the Warriors were crowned Central Conference Tournament champions, they had a state medalist and they qualified for the state dual tournament in Kearney. Although topping those results sounds like a daunting task, head coach Jeremy Hlavac is excited about his team’s potential.

“This season we return six state qualifiers along with state medalist Jesus Maganda,” he said. “The Warriors also return 10 starters out of the 14 weight classes. We are an experienced team with most of the varsity lineup having experience at that level.”

The team has several goals for the upcoming season, including bringing home another Central Conference Tournament title and making it to the state dual meet again.

There are 65 athletes participating in wrestling this winter, including 11 female wrestlers. The large number of participants provides great depth at each weight class along with a full junior varsity team that will compete at several tournaments this season.

Several wrestlers enter the season with high expectations.

“We are looking forward to seeing what Jesus Maganda can do this season. He put in a lot of offseason work and is looking to medal again this season,” Hlavac said. “All of our returning qualifiers -- Kenny Castro, Ernesto Chacon, Caden Yrkoski, Michael Hernandez and Caleb Novak -- should be improved this year. I also believe that returners Denilson Martinez, Isaac Hernandez and Miguel Roman will wrestle well. I am looking forward to newcomers Axel Soto, Miguel Carrasco, Angel Rojo and Edgar Cruz providing some quality wrestling for us, too.”

Hlavac expects to see great leadership on his team this season.

“The leadership has been very good so far. We had a ton of wrestlers compete this offseason,” he said. “Some of our wrestlers got as many as 40 matches in during the offseason. Leadership is always an interesting topic. This season we have several seniors with a lot of experience at a high level. Leadership comes in how they perform, but also it is the silent ones that lead by example.”

As the reigning conference champion, Hlavac views his squad as the team to beat in the Central Conference this season. He also noted that Grand Island Northwest returns a solid team and Lakeview will be improved this season. Omaha Skutt, Scottsbluff, Sidney and Plattsmouth will be tough in Class B, according to Hlavac.