It's early in the wrestling season, maybe even too early to get a gauge on things, particularly since I've only seen two area teams - Shamokin and Line Mountain - so far. That's because Mount Carmel canceled the Randy Zigarski Memorial Tournament for this year, and because Southern didn't have any action scheduled until just before Christmas.

I saw the latter two teams Saturday when they met in a dual meet at Southern.

From what I've seen so far, Line Mountain may struggle to match its 9-9 dual meet record of a year ago, but only because the Eagles' schedule is pretty rugged. The Eagles are very young, with seven sophomores in the starting lineup. Not coincidentally, they look to be very strong in the lighter weights, and may struggle a bit up top.

Similarly, Shamokin is youthful, also starting a host of sophomores. The Indians have been in a rebuilding phase the past two seasons. They showed solid improvemnt last season from a 2-18 debacle two years ago, and even though they dropped a 51-24 decision to Selinsgrove just before the holidays, three or four of the bouts in that match could have gone either way and ended up going to more experienced Selinsgrove wrestlers. The Indians look much more aggressive from top to bottom, and that last phrase, top to bottom, is very important. For the first time in a long time, head coach Todd Hockenbroch and his staff can fill out the lineup top to bottom.

In doing that, they're quite frankly one of the few teams in District 4 these days that can make such a claim. Of course, injuries are always a threat, and whether the lineup is full a month from now is another story, but the Indians seem to be making good strides.

Early rankings

Several area wrestlers area ranked in the Northeast Region Top 6 by www.papowerwrestling.com as of its Dec. 31 issue. Rankings by weight, with top three plus any area kids, are as follows:

106: 1. Brian Friery, Lewisburg; 2. Angelo Barberio, Muncy; 3. Brock Horton, Athens; 6. Collin Klinger, Line Mountain.

113: 1. Ethan Collins, Troy; 2. Eric Hunt, Warrior Run; 3. Jordan Gessner, Lewisburg; 6. Brian Earlston, Line Mountain.

120: 1. Cameron Newman, Line Mountain; 2. Tyrus Hamblin, Williamson; 3. Mike Stuart, Benton.

126: 1. Zack LeBarron, Warrior Run; 2. Todd Lane, Southern Columbia; 3. Lewis Williams, Central Columbia.

132: 1. Collin Edsell, Wyalusing; 2. Zach Fry, Hughesville; 3. Keith Batkowski, Montoursville.

138: 1. Austin Harry, Lake-Lehman; 2. Kent Lane, Southern Columbia; 3. Trevor McWhorter, Williamson.

145: 1. Billy Barnes, Williamson; 2. Sam Miller, Bloomsburg; 3. Zack Bennett, Milton.

152: 1. Cole Walter, Mifflinburg; 2. Blake Marks, Southern Columbia; 3. Dominic Vitale, Benton.

160: 1. Jeric Kasunic, Benton; 2. Max Reed, Lewisburg; 3. Robert Wright, Lake-Lehman.

170: 1. Ryan Preisch, Milton; 2. Garrett Hoffman, Montoursville; 3. Robert White, Hughesville.

182: 1. Isaiah Bobotas, Montgomery; 2. Alex Liberman, Midd-West; 3. Matt Herr, Hughesville.

195: 1. Garrett Wesneski, Canton; 2. Logan Womelsdorf, Benton; 3. Brady Butler, Lake-Lehman.

220: 1. Dylan Otis, Wyalusing; 2. Connor Route, Canton; 3. Zack Faust, GAR; 6. Zach Biddiscombe, Shamokin.

285: 1. Nazar Mironenko, Mifflinburg; 2. Dalton Chilson, Wyalusing; 3. Connor Bassett, Montoursville.