The Washington Metropolitan Athletic Conference has provided some of the top area wrestling confrontations in recent years, and this winter should not be any different with a balanced Metro league.

The Interstate Athletic Conference features one of the area's top teams, and best individual talent, at Bullis.

"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.

Other returnees include Billy Smith (167), who was third in the WMAC tournament, Damon Boyle (145), Greg Domagauer (119) and Dave Slomkowski (126).

Carroll's top wrestlers are Marty Gooden (128), Matt Alexander (98), Mike Knaly (185) and Shaun Gunther (heavyweight).

At Gonzaga, Laureys is looking for a payoff this season with a veteran team returning.

Senior tri-captains Robert Tiaresi (105), third in WMAC and sixth in the St. Alban's tournament, John Swope (138) and David Caulfield (155) lead Gonzaga, which was 9-5 overall (3-3 in the league) and finished second in last weekend's St. Anselm's tournament. Those three and Mike DiLorenzo (167) won individual titles Saturday.

Others expected to do well this season are James Olivero (132), third in WMAC and sixth in St. Albans tournament, 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) second in WMAC and fifth at St. Alban's tournament, and Tom Gleason (138). McNamara will sorely miss senior Brendon Cross (132) who will most most of the season with a broken ankle. Junior Mike Kaufman (119) is another top returning prospect.

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.

In the IAC, the premier team the last few years has been Bullis, which has captured four consecutive league championships 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).

Landon Coach Todd Andsley begins this season with three primary goals for his freshman oriented team -- to place wrestlers in the IAC finals, the St. Albans tournament and finish third or higher in the league.

Top returning wrestlers 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 Francis' first-year coach, Lou Heberer, will rely on seniors John Click (126), Chris DeLong (145) and David Andrews (155).

St. Albans is led by Andrew Snowden (105) and Adam Pincus (138), second- and fifth-place finishers at the national tournament.

Other key wrestlers are Charlie Martin (145), Alan Karas (155) and heavyweight Bill Keys.