A pair of state veterans will lead Riverside High’s wrestling program from the Northeast A to the Frontier League.
But the Rams must make the transition with one notable absence.
District champion and state qualifier Dan Kruger, who was 2-2 at Mat Classic in Tacoma as a junior, did not turn out.
But Matt Morin and Adrian Bojourkes, who were 2-2 and 1-2 respectively in state are back.
“We graduated seven seniors last year and are going to be young,” said coach Randy Miller. “Some weights we’re unable to fill but the returnees are keeping the team together.”
Among them is regional wrestler Randy Downing and Zack Ross, who nearly made it to regionals.
“We peaked at the Royal City tournament last year, that’s when we usually do,” said Miller. “And league is after Christmas so that might help.”
Morin won the 168-pound championship of the Deer Park Invitational and was unbeaten in six matches going into this week.
“I couldn’t ask any more from the kid,” said Miller. “I expect him to go a long ways.”
Bojourkes is up a weight to 115 pounds and has also been at 122.
“It’s a little tougher for Adrian,” said Miller. “He needs to work on his strength.”
Downing is solid at 158 pounds and Ross will be at 115.
There are 16 freshmen in the program and several will be in the lineup, including Joben Nuesse at 122 or 129.
Junior Paul Murray will be at 141 or 135. Sophomore Paul Purcell, who wrestled for University High last year and competed for third place at Deer Park two weekends ago, is at 148 or 141.
Sophomores Tue Le and Jared Bailey are at 108 and 178 pounds respectively. Senior Brian Jameson is at 275.
Others looking to fill the lineup are senior 158-pounder Eric Custer who is back in the program after a couple years’ absence and freshman Brandon Morris at 108-pounds.
A freshman will be at 101. But the 190 and 215 pounds are unfilled.
And the future is bright. Not only is there a large freshman turnout but Miller said the seventh and eighth graders are strong.
“The weights we’re missing will fit right in,” he said. “We’ll be very competitive the next few years.”