Midseason wrestling thoughts

January is kind of the midseason point for prep wrestling, a time when leagues are in full swing and the weekend invitationals are getting tougher and tougher. But, what have we learned over the first few weeks of the season?
Big guns keep rolling: College Park, Liberty and Jason Welch are all still extremely strong, which is no surprise. College Park is the class of the DFAL after a second-place finish at the Lou Bronzan Invitational and a fifth at the Lemoore Bash, Liberty will battle Freedom and De La Salle for BVAL supremacy and Welch is, well, Welch.
League season heating up: The DFAL and BVAL have in progress for some time but the EBAL starts next week and that could be a heated race this season. Foothill has a new coach (Bennie LaFever) and lost top wrestlers Kellen Aura and Tommy Wipfli, Granada returns standout John Banke but lost big man Stephen Bringuel and, shh… don’t tell anyone but Livermore could sneak into the upper echelon this year. At least that’s what some local coaches are saying. Dual meets to watch in the upcoming weeks: Granada at Foothill (1/17), Las Lomas vs. College Park (1/10), and De La Salle at Liberty (1/30).
January’s building blocks: Wrestlers will use this month to get tuned up for the massive month of February. That’s because starting on Feb. 1 with the Mission San Jose Invitational, the month includes league championship weekend, NCS dual meet title weekend (which has been moved to Liberty this year, by the way), NCS individual championships and CIF state championship weekend in Bakersfield. That’s an intense four weeks.