Fort Mill’s Noah Kitchton is a returning starter that is one of many wrestlers that have a lot of experience to bolster the Jackets lineup. File photo

The Fort Mill wrestling team is deep with experience, but also youthfulness this season.

Fort Mill opens their 2022-2023 wrestling season today hosting a tri-match against Indian Land and White Knoll.

The Jackets return the majority of starters, with 13 from last year’s team coming back, and are ranked second in the preseason state rankings in 5A behind Summerville.

“If I can get all of them in the lineup at the same time in the right place, we will be pretty competitive,” said Fort Mill head coach Chris Brock. “We have got as many state qualifiers returning as anyone in the state. I think it is going to boil down to new guys in the lineup filling spots.”

Key wrestlers coming back from last year’s team are Aidan Eubanks (126), Logan Shope (132), Caleb Brock (145), Noah Kitchton (152) and Henry Debbout (220), just to name a few.

“We have got a lot of experience in the lineup,” Brock said. “We have seven or eight that have been wrestling since they were in elementary school.”

Besides the duals that Fort Mill opens up with this week, their first big test will be at the Southern Slam this weekend. Although it is a tournament for individuals, Brock said it will show his team where they match-up with other wrestlers in their weight class.

“A lot of the better programs are there,” he said. “We will get a good look at the landscape.”

Brock said Fort Mill should be a better dual team this year, than individual team meaning they can make a good run at a Region 3-5A title and possibly in the playoffs as well.

“If we can stay healthy, I think we are going to cause some problems for people, but we are going to have some young ones in the lineup,” Brock said. “It is not extremely uncommon for us to have a freshman in the lineup. I think it is a team that can do very, very well and do better than any team has ever done here. It will be a better dual team than a tournament team. We have been opposite of that for years.”

Fort Mill will still have to deal with Clover this year in contending for a region title, but with Rock Hill being back in the same region as the Jackets, it renews an old rivalry between the two teams.

The Jackets will also be hosting the Kingsley Classic this year Dec. 9-10 and the Milltown Duals Dec. 17, before hitting the road during the Christmas break and opening its region schedule in 2023.

Mac Banks:, @fortprep