There are high expectations for Maverick grapplers

Anderson County High School’s boys wrestling team will soon begin its 10th season, and head Coach Matt Slone is the only coach in school history.

The Mavericks open their 2022-23 campaign on Saturday, Dec. 3, at the Knoxville Catholic Invitational, and Slone has high expectations for his program this season.

“One of the goals we set every year is to win the district championship, and that is a very achievable goal for us,” Slone said. “I expect five, six or seven wrestlers to go to the state this year.

“Our region is fairly competitive.”

Despite being a smaller school, ACHS has opted to wrestle in the Class AA (large schools classification). The toughest competition will be Maryville. Once the Mavericks reach the state sectional round, they’ll have to compete against the likes of Kingsport Dobyns-Bennett and Science Hill.

“This will be the last year that we’ll do this, but we’ve been wrestling up,” Slone said. “Once we get to sectionals, we’ll have to wrestle against Science Hill and Dobyns-Bennett, and that will be a tall order.”

Top returners for the Mavericks, according to Slone, include: Gabriel Dietin (a senior who was a state qualifier in the 106-pound weight division as a junior last season. He’ll likely compete in the 113-point weight class this season); Lucas Prewitt (a senior, who’ll wrestle at either 132 or 138. He was the Mavs’ 126-pound grappler last season and is a three-time region champion); Jayden Bullock (a senior heavyweight who qualified for state last season); Ayden Derry (a two-time region champ who will compete at 195); Tucker Markland (junior, 126 pounds); Kyle Buckner (junior, 182); Tripp Haire (sophomore, 106); Gage Henegar (sophomore, 132) and McLean Spurling (senior, 152).

Anderson County also has a pair of incoming freshmen who have wrestled in the school’s youth feeder program. Evan Prewitt (Lucas’ younger brother) and Max Wolfley will each make their high school debuts this season and will battle for the starting spot in the 152-pound weight class.