Chiefs take new coach, new attitude into 2011-12 season

The 2011-12 North Myrtle Beach High wrestling squad has returners at virtually every position but one – head coach.

First-year Chiefs coach Andrew Baeli takes over a program that has developed depth and stability over recent years. He hopes to bring a new team-oriented concept to what is often regarded as an individual sport.

“Our success will come from the team unity we have been building for two months,” Baeli said. “The team is stronger willed than in the past and together they have a goal set.  Each wrestler helps the other get stronger which builds the team up.”

Returning from last year’s 17-9 squad are Joey Small, who went 26-9 at the 112-pound class last season, and senior Sheldon Dove, who went 24-10 while splitting time between the 125 and 130 weight class.

Also providing previous experience to the Chiefs will be seniors Nick O’Brien, Wesley Sambleson and juniors Jared Woody, Eric Baker and Hampton Harmon.

Baeli also is looking for contributions from a pair of senior newcomers, Brandon Doughty and Ronnie Johnson, while freshman Taquan Long is expected to bring some new energy to the squad.

North Myrtle Beach went 3-1 in the tough Region VIII-AAA last season and lost a nail-biter to region champion St. James 32-30 late in the season. Baeli said an enhanced offseason conditioning program may be just the thing to take the Chiefs over the hump in 2011-12.

With a new coach and attitude and a lot of previous experience, the Chiefs hope to take the next step to a region title and a strong showing at the state this season. They open the season tonight when they host Carolina Forest and Waccamaw.

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