Mead and Rogers are expected to advance several wrestlers from this weekend’s district tournament into the Region IV state qualifier.
The Panthers host the two-day district event, which begins Friday.
After edging Rogers by two points to finish second in the Greater Spokane League, Mead is now in position to advance a dozen or more athletes from district into the regional at Central Valley in another week.
Among those expected to qualify are two-time state runner-up Troy Hughes at 178, Justin O’Connor at 190 and Erin Vandagriff at 168.
Also among the league’s top-seeded wrestlers are 108-pound sophomore Jon Rugan, 135-pound junior James Clark, regional veteran Brian Kluender at 101 and state qualifier Lyle Beehrbohm at 122.
Rogers could advance nine or more athletes, led by 108-pounders Daryl Groom and Daryn Steeneck, 115-pounder Mike Knight, 122-pounder Terry Swan and wrestlers from 148 pounds through heavyweight.
Among half a dozen Shadle Park hopefuls are heavyweight Joe Clavell, and 148-pounder Corey Laughary and his brother Casey at 129.
Unbeaten North Central wrestler Eddie Jones is the top Indian candidate.
Eagle young guns come out firing
When injuries forced Lakeside’s wrestling program to regroup, Coach Scott Jones turned to his young guns.
Sixteen Eagle wrestlers, six of them freshmen, are competing this weekend in the Northeast District tournament.
“And the eighth-graders behind them are better than this class,” Jones warned.
So it will be Lakeside youth and Riverside experience that are expected to carry the day.
Senior Eagle wrestlers Ben and Bart Orth missed most of the season with injury, but the two-time state placers will be on the mat this weekend at 129 and 148 pounds with 14 teammates.
“I can’t even talk to their mother without her welling up in tears,” said Jones. “It’s not fair what this sport has done to them.”
Ben wrestled with a bad shoulder last year and injured an ankle this season. He’s nearly back at full strength.
Bart suffered a stress fracture in his fibula and has just been cleared to compete.
While out, they trained on mountain bikes, stair-steppers, treadmills and in the swimming pool to stay in shape.
Meanwhile, freshmen Jason Christen and Aaron Laughery earned their spurs and will wrestle at district in those weight classes as well.
The Orths are among seven Lakeside second-ranked wrestlers, including freshman Josh Belyea at 101, Chris Padayao at 108, Chad Drury at 122, Hutch Goodman at 141 and Rick Smith at 190. Nate Bohl is seeded number one at 135.
Riverside’s league champions have four number ones and a number two in 108-pound Adrian Bojourques, 115-pound state champion Henry Peterson, 158-pound Dan Krueger and 168-pound Matt Morin, plus Randy Sadberry second at 178.
All told, the Rams have 12 district competitors after winning their first title.
“They’ve paid the price and have a whole new attitude about themselves,” said Jones.
Deer Park has eight district wrestlers, including state champion Alex Schulz at 178 and runner-up Clint Umbach at 129.
Others ranked one or two in their league weight classes are Will Thompson at 158 and Wes Willimas at heavyweight.
“If we get through district and regional,” said Jones, “I think all three of us can be in the top 10 teams at state.”
Little changed in NEA hoops
With four dates remaining for the regular season, little has changed in Northeast A League basketball.
Riverside’s boys remain tied for first place at 9-3 but must be wary of Colfax. The Bulldogs come to Riverside Friday night after having won three straight games.
Three teams, including Lakeside, are lurking in the shadows a game or two behind.
The girls, meanwhile are in a threeteam battle, with Riverside and Lakeside a game behind leader Colfax going into Friday’s RamsBulldog game.
Lakeside is the hottest of the trio, having beaten both the second time around and currently in the midst of a nine-game league winning streak.
“When we played Colfax the first time, we had no preseason games and shot 25 percent from the field,” said Coach Lisa Schultz. “We just slipped up with Riverside, missing 22 free throws and losing in overtime.”
Since then the Eagles have improved their shooting by 15 percent, sophomore Carrie Waddell has moved to point guard and is averaging eight assists a game, and junior Lora Jolley has moved to a wing to take advantage of her three-point shooting.
“We struggled early but are coming into our own,” said Schultz. “We have improved each game, especially on defense. That’s all we can ask.”