The Washington Metropolitan Athletic Conference has provided some of the top area wrestling confrontations in recent years, and this winter the Metro Conference should display balance again.
The Interstate Athletic Conference will not change much either, but that is because Bullis, with some of the top talent in the area, should dominate once more.
"The wrestling in the (Metro) conference has come a long way over the last five years," said O'Connell wrestling Coach Bill Carpenter.
"The championship is going to be won by a match win or a single pin," said Gonzaga Coach Ken Laureys of the WMAC.
A closer look at the WMAC:
DeMatha's top returnees are twins Kirk and Karl Tamai, at 105 and 112 pounds respectively.
Last season, Kirk was the national prep champion at 95 pounds and Karl placed third at 102 at the National Prep Tournament at Lehigh University, where more than 90 private schools participated.
"I think the league will be wide open . . . " , said DeMatha Coach Dick Messiur. "There isn't a real powerhouse team in the conference, but Good Counsel and O'Connell will probably have a little edge."
Other returnees include Billy Smith (167), who was third in the WMAC tournament, Damon Boyle (145), Greg Domagauer (119) and Dave Slomkowski (126).
At Carroll, there is a new coach in Rich Lane and an inexperienced squad.
"This will be a rebuilding year for us . . . . I am virtually starting the program over," said Lane.
Carroll's top wrestlers are Marty Gooden (128), Matt Alexander (98), Mike Knaly (185) and Shaun Gunther (heavyweight).
"Overall we are missing a couple of spots, but we should perform well in the tournaments. We probably won't do too well in our dual meets," Lane said.
At Gongaza, Laureys is looking for a payoff this season with a veteran team returning.
With senior tri-captains Robert Tiaresi (105), third in WMAC and sixth in the St. Alban's tournament, John Swope (138) and David Caulfield (155) leading a team which was 9-5 overall and 3-3 in the league, a good finish is anticipated.
Three others who are expected to do well this season are James Olivero (132), third in WMAC and sixth in St. Albans tournament; Mike DiLorenzo (167), and Kevin Douglas (185).
McNamara will rely on hard work and steady improvement to defend the conference championship it won last year.
The Mustangs will be led by heavyweight Joe Hall, second in the national tournament.
Top returning seniors are David Hammett (145), who was second in the WMAC and fifth at the St. Alban's tournament, and Tom Gleason (138). McNamara will sorely miss senior Brendon Cross (132), who will be out most of the season with a broken ankle. Junior Mike Kaufman (119) is another top returning prospect.
O'Connell, last season's second-place team, will attempt to regain the conference championship it won in 1982-83 with a good nucleus of wrestlers coming back.
Among those returns are Dennis O'Brien (167), the WMAC champion at 155 pounds; Bill Garvie (119), third at the St. Albans tournament, and Drew Garvie (112).
Unfortunately, the team will initially be without last year's WMAC champion, Chris Andres (132), who has a broken leg and may be out until January.
Good Counsel will attempt to use the depth which has 10 returning letterman.
Returning will be senior tri-captains Mark Bruno (132), George Gomez (112) and Mike Reyes (155), with junior Billy Burns (126) adding to the team's chance of winning the conference championship.
St. John's has suspended wrestling for lack of interest.
In the IAC, the premier team the last few years has been Bullis, which has captured four consecutive league championship along with three consecutive titles in the St. Albans tournament.
Bullis will have six returning champions, including Charles Lee (182), who won a national title and the St. Albans tournament championship as he compiled a 38-1 record.
Other returning champions are: Jim Chang (105), Ricky Glasby (155), Brian Burkett (119), John Hollard (126) and Ricky Grapes (167).
Episcopal has eight returning lettermen with first-year Coach Charles Skipper.
Team members include Chris Jordan (119), Steve Cook (98), Ken Kam (126), Alec Bocock (132) and Anthony Palmer(155).
Georgetown Prep's first-year Coach Jeff Trees had more than 40 wrestlers try out.
Pacing Prep will be Bill Borot (138); Lauren Chen and Brenden Wells at 145; and Pat Maher and Mike McCaughey at 155. Newcomers include Tom Gerth (98) and George Gancayco (119).
Top returning wrestlers at Landon are Rob Bedell (112), Stuart Hough (145), Tony Fuller (167) and heavyweight Gordon Ginnings.
Fuller, who last year finished third at the IAC and sixth at St. Albans at 167, will be at 155 this year.
Sidwell Friends' first-year coach, Lou Heberer, will rely on three seniors to provide strong leadership amidst the inexperienced wrestlers returning this year.
The seniors are John Click (126), Chris DeLong (145) and David Andrews (155).
DeLong and Andrews finished third last year at the IAC tournament.
Led by Andrew Snowden (105) and Adam Pincus (138), second- and fifth-place finishers at the national, St. Albans hopes to finish high in the conference standings.
Other key wrestlers are Charlie Martin (145), Alan Karas (155) and heavyweight Bill Keys.
St. Stephen's, which last year finished as Virginia state prep champion with a 16-4 record, will be rebuilding after losing seven top wrestlers to graduation.
"This will be somewhat of a rebuilding year for us . . . considering we lost 10 out of 13 wrestlers," said Coach David Hooper.
Returning from last year's IAC second-place team are junior co-captain Mel Sadelski (112), the Virginia state champion with a 27-9 record.
Also back are Thompson Ball (119), who was sixth in the nationals; Andy Bucholz (132); David McKean (138), and Mundy Carter (176).