Fillmore Central/Lanesboro/Mabel-Canton coach James Love returns an experienced core of wrestlers that he feels will make the team very competitive this season.

The team returns 10 starters, including a state runner-up, off a squad that finished 2-9 in conference action and 4-13 overall. Nine of the returning starters are seniors that have had several years of experience.

"We will have some very strong individuals - and a great core of kids that worked hard all summer in the weight room and at team camp in Nebraska," said Love. "I would expect us to be very competitive this season. With some new kids out that will help the team."

Niko Anderson, now a senior, made it to the state tournament last season, becoming only the third finalist in FC/L/M-C history. He took his second loss the season in the finals, ending as state runner-up at 170 lbs. and finishing 37-2 for the season.

Three other wrestlers medaled at the section wrestling meet. Connor Hanson and Tom Henry took third place while Monty Holm finished fourth.

The other senior starters returning for this season are Alex Fishbaugher, Andy Love, Trevor Barnes, Gabe Decker and Josh Jones. Freshman Treyton Chiglo is the other returning starter.

Other wrestlers include senior Tristen Chiglo, sophomores Korby Koch and Sam Bahl, and freshmen Walker Ward, Jacob Thomas and Charlie Jones.

Although Love, now in his second year of coaching, feels the squad will be much improved, he said one weakness may be not filling all the weights early in the season. He tabs Chatfield, which will get a late start due to several members playing football in the Prep Bowl, as the favorite in the Three Rivers Conference.

Love will return the same coaching staff as last season with Allen La Fleur, who has been coaching for 10 years, along with Joe Cullen and Paul Snell assisting.

The team starts the season Thursday, Dec. 5, at home against St. Charles.