Oakland Mills is typically the county's most-watched wrestling team. When you win 13 of 16 county tournaments, eyes tend to be on you.
This season, the Scorpions will attract added attention with the return of coach Steve Carnahan.
After a 14-year run that saw Oakland Mills win 11 county titles, Carnahan stepped down four years ago, when Dan Ricker took over. After Ricker was fired last spring following four successful seasons, Carnahan replaced him.
The second time around for Carnahan begins with a tough challenge. The Scorpions graduated more outstanding talent -- including four county champions -- than any team in the county.
Then again, Carnahan will draw upon a host of talented junior-varsity wrestlers moving up to varsity. The Scorpions won eight junior-varsity titles at last season's county tournament.
"We've got to pay our dues for a while," Carnahan said. "If we persevere and keep our perspective in terms of the tough schedule we have and our inexperience, we've got the numbers and the athletic ability to do well. By midseason, I hope to see some real progress."
The Scorpions will look to three wrestlers for leadership. The top member of that group is senior Adam Seidman (140 pounds), who is the premier wrestler in the county.
A three-time county champion and returning regional titlist, Seidman should own the school record for career victories at Oakland Mills this month. His 25-4 record last season gives him 93 victories coming into this season. He is 20-1 against the county in three seasons.
Junior Juri Freeman (103) was more successful last season than his 14-17 record indicates. Freeman barely weighed 90 pounds last season, and he became one of the coun
ty's most tenacious performers by the season's end.
Senior Geoff Henderson (152) took second at the county and regional tournaments.
From there, the newcomers take over, and it's an encouraging class.
Juniors Paul Crickard (135) and Chad Fekel (160) and senior Jeff Herbert (145) all won junior-varsity county titles last season, and senior Roy Parker (145) was a runner-up.
Senior Aaron Smith (171), one of the strongest wrestlers on the team, finally has shaken the lower-back injuries that hampered him last season.
And senior heavyweight Justin Wethington, who hasn't wrestled since his sophomore season, is a fine athlete who should be a