Plymouth's wrestling team is a lot like a new, still-under-construction skyscraper.
The Wildcats' foundation is solid and sturdy, but there's still some work to do before the final product reaches the sky.
"Our line-up -- especially the upper weights -- is still in the works," said third-year coach Quinn Guernsey. "We have a lot of guys who were part of the football team that have asked for a couple of days off, which is understandable.
"I have been very impressed by the guys who have been here. They're showing a lot of determination and they really took it upon themselves during the off-season to get better. This is a focused group that wants to do well, both individually and as a team."
Like Guernsey, senior 140-pounder Jimmy Ahearn is excited about the upcoming season.
"I love this team," said Ahearn, a four-year varsity performer who started out at 103. "We have a lot of leadership and it's a very organized and disciplined group. The practices have been a lot more intense than in past years."
Graduation stripped the Wildcats of several upper-weight standouts from last season's 20-15 squad.
"The losses that will hurt the most were our two heavyweights, Jordon Birman and Wally Eppler," said Guernsey. "Those guys gave us a lot of points."
The Wildcats' lower-weight line-up is stocked with potentially strong performers and proven athletes.
Freshman Mohamad Youssef has earned the start at 103 while sophomore Trey Berry will rotate with Shadi Jammoul at 112 and 119 to begin the season.
"Mohamad has been wrestling in the youth club for a while, so we have big plans for him," said Guernsey. "Trey came on strong toward the end of last season. Shadi had a lot of high-quality wins last season, so we're looking for big things from him this year. Trey and Shadi will alternate at 112 and 119 at least in the beginning."
Another freshman with a ton of youth-club experience -- John Conn -- will serve as the Wildcats' 125-pounder.
The heart and soul of the team may be at 130 and 135, where Said Youssef, Alec Breckenridge and Chase Khalil will compete.
"These guys have a lot of ability and should make some noise this season," said Guernsey. "Said made it to the blood round of districts last year where he lost by a point. He had some great wins this summer.
"Alec was having a great freshman season last year before he suffered an injury. Chase had a .500 record last year against some really tough competition. We're looking for him to step up this year."
Weights 140 through 152 are filled with experienced seniors: Jimmy Ahearn, Ziad Tamimi and Brett Echols, all of whom have put a lot of sweat equity into their final prep campaigns.
One of the only known quantities in the upper weights is senior 171-pound Jackson Chalmers, who opened the season Wednesday with a pin against Monroe.
"Our lightweights should get a good lead in a lot of matches this season, then -- at least early on -- we're going to have to hold on for dear life," said Guernsey. "I'm expecting Jackson will be our stop-gap at 171. He'll be one of the guys who will help us hold on for dear life until we get the upper weights established."
Ed Wright can be reached at (734) 453-1980 or email@example.com