The high school wrestling season officially began Monday with the athletes aiming for the state championships Feb. 15 and 16 at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Here's a look at five teams and five wrestlers to watch this season:
Cathedral: No surprises here. The Irish will be very good again. They advanced to the state semifinals a year ago with 10 underclassmen starting -- six ended up with 34 or more wins. Four state qualifiers return, including state runner-up Vinny Corsaro and two others who placed seventh, Wesley Bernard and Ben Harvey. Indianamat.com has the Irish ranked fourth in the preseason poll.
Franklin: The Grizzly Cubs, who fell to Perry Meridian in the 2012 regional final, appear loaded. Eleven starters return -- including state qualifiers D.J. Smith, Jake Stephenson and Luke Kriech (second at 152 pounds) -- while freshman Shane Wilkerson also is expected to make an immediate impact at either 113 or 120 pounds.
Hamilton Southeastern: The Royals return nine starters from a team that pushed Cathedral in the regional final. John Tatom is back after finishing sixth in the state at 145 pounds; four other wrestlers who won 29 or more matches last year also are back for new coach Kyle Poyer, who previously developed a strong program at Anderson Highland.
Perry Meridian: It's starting to sound like a broken record but the Falcons again are the best in the state heading into the new season. Nine starters from last year's state champ return, with their eyes on extending the Falcons' 55 consecutive dual-meet wins streak. Four of those starters -- Brandon James, Cody LeCount, Jake Masengale and Donte Winfield -- are ranked No. 1 in their weight class.
Warren Central: The Warriors peaked at the right time last season, winning their first sectional title since 2007 and advancing to the state meet. Seven starters return from that squad, including four with 30 or more wins. Warren Central also adds Deondre Wilson, who wrestled at Tech last season, to the mix. Wilson finished 21-5 a year ago and is ranked seventh in the state at 113 pounds in the preseason poll.
Vinny Corsaro, Cathedral: Corsaro won 38 of 43 matches a year ago, falling in the 145-pound finals to four-time state champ Jason Tsirtsis of Crown Point. Corsaro is ranked No. 1 at 152 this year.
Josh Farrell, Greenfield-Central: A three-time state placer, Farrell took second at 138 pounds a year ago. He's ranked second at 152 pounds.
Cody LeCount, Perry Meridian: You could probably drop any one of four Falcons into this spot, but LeCount gets the nod because of his high-school résumé (a record of 100-2), a runner-up finish at 126 pounds last season and a second-place finish in the prestigious ASICs Nationals over the summer. He's ranked No. 1 at 132 pounds.
Neal Molloy, Danville: After winning the state title at 130 pounds in 2011, Molloy took a 42-0 record into the 2012 state meet but was upset in the quarterfinals and wound up fifth. He's ranked No. 1 in the state at 138 this year.
Mitch Sliga, Fishers: After a pair of third-place finishes in 2010 and 2011, Sliga broke through a year ago, winning the 195-pound crown in dominating fashion. He was 49-0 last year and is ranked No. 1 at 195 pounds once again.