LIVINGSTON, NJ — Participation in the Livingston High School wrestling program continues to grow; but this winter, the Lancers' strength might be their toughness rather than their size, as a young group of grapplers might be Livingston's best bet of carrying the day in certain matches.

"We could have a majority of our lineup made up of freshmen and sophomores," said Livingston head coach Ernie Cuneo. "It could be a challenge filling out our upper weights."

Last season, Livingston finished 13-9 in dual meets and sent two wrestlers, Austin Paris and Sean Neary, to the state tournament. Paris and Neary both graduated in June.

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The coach is awaiting upcoming wrestle-offs before the season begins Dec. 20 at Morristown to determine who some of his key newcomers will be in many of the weight classes.

Cuneo, however, knows he can count on senior Michael Petrillo and sophomores Stratos Kantanas and Max Lee, who all got experience wrestling in big matches a year ago. Kantanas wrestled at 152 and Lee at 160 in the latter part of last winter.

"We're young, but we have a lot of tough kids in our program and our numbers keep going up," said Cuneo, who is in his third season as the head coach. "The kids are full of enthusiasm and have bought into our program's philosophy, so I love coaching them every day."

The coach is hoping that, by February, some of the younger wrestlers whose toughness has impressed him will be ready to make a mark once the conference and county tournaments roll around.