In predicted order of region finish
1995-96 record: 3-1-1 IML
Coach: Mark Johnson
Years coaching: 7
Top returners: Nathan Pascoe, senior, 171 pounds; Brad Haney, sr., 130; Chad Haney, sr., 140; Jeremy Morris, sr., 135; Justin Corsi, sr., 140; Sean Barnhart, sr., 140; Jon Bauch, sr., 160; Chris Markham, sr., 160; Levi Cushman, sophomore, 189.
Newcomers: Travis Pascoe, freshman, 140-145; Dylan Stiegemeier, freshman, 112; Shawn Mitchell, sr., 119; Jake Clark, so., 112.
Coach’s comment: “We have a lot of experience coming back because the bulk of our team was juniors last year.”
Outlook: “Family values” success. The Pascoes are two of the premier wrestlers in the IML. Nathan is a defending state champion and a lot of league coaches say Travis could pick one up in his first season. The duo will be the shining stars of an experienced team filled with state experience that should be tough to beat.
St. Maries Lumberjacks
1995-96 record: 1-3
Coach: Ryan Wood
Years coaching: 4
Top returners: Jack Alman, sr., heavyweight; Jeff Tweedy, sr., 160; Nic Epler, sr., 152; Nate Cuvala, sr., 140; Kevin Schultz, sr., 135; Shawn Willey, so., 103; Travis Duffey, so., 112.
Newcomers: Joe Nelson, so., 119; Josh Buell, junior, 171; Dustin Brusseaw, so., 171, Roddy Hill, so., 189.
Coach’s comment: “I’ve got 39 kids out for the team, so there shouldn’t really be any holes to fill.”
Outlook: Strength in numbers. The Lumberjacks have the most wrestlers on the roster in the league. Although they have no state placers back, seven of the returning wrestlers have state experience. Depth will be the key to any chances of knocking off the Hawks.
1995-96 record: 4-1
Coach: Todd Jackson
Years coaching: 2
Top returners: Pat Slusher, sr., 145; Tyrel Hendrix, sr., 189; Eli Goodner, sr., 152; Chad Newby, sr., 160; Travis Costa, sr., 103; Nathan Baldwin, sr., 171; Dave Black, sr., hwt.
Newcomers: Nathan Dawson, fr., 119; Cody Newby, so., 125; Andrew Roberts, jr., 130; Tim Bush, so., 140.
Coach’s comment: “From 145 pounds on up we have all seniors, which should help out a lot.”
Outlook: Strength through experience. Slusher and Hendrix both placed sixth at state last year and should be the catalysts of an experienced squad. The Wildcats could be tough in duals, but the depth of St. Maries and Lakeland could give them trouble at districts.
Bonners Ferry Badgers
1995-96 record: 4-1
Coach: Conrad Garner
Years coaching: 11
Top returners: Todd Van Gundy, sr., 160-171; Travis Liermann, so., 145; Derek Barnhart, jr., 135; Winter Breaden, jr., 125, Billy Elliston, jr., 112.
Newcomer: Nick Tenny, so., 130.
Coach’s comment: “We had nine seniors on varsity last year, and it’s tough to be competitive when you have that many leave.”
Outlook: Maybe next year. Last year, the Badgers won the IML. This year, returning state placer Van Gundy is the only senior, and that could mean another trip to the top next year.
Priest River Spartans
Coach: Ed Arvin
Years coaching: 14, 5th at PR
Top returners: Jake Stark, jr., 130; Quinton Holbrook, sr., 130; Josh Queen, jr., hwt; Casey Holbrook, so., 112; Lucas Blaine, so., 119; Zach Wood, jr., 145; Chris Hughes, so., 171.
Newcomers: Jake Hatfield, fr., 135; Rylan Wood, fr., 140-145.
Coach’s comment: “It’s gonna be tough to compete in duals because we could forfeit up to four weight classes, but we’ll be tough in tournaments.”
Outlook: Quality, not quantity. The Spartans have three returning state placers in Stark, Holbrook and Queen. Unfortunately, it will be almost impossible to win duals if they don’t fill the weight classes. Look for individual champions in the tournaments, but little success in the IML.
1995-96 record: 0-5
Coach: Bill Lemm
Years coaching: 13, 4th at Moscow
Top returners: Andy Brewer, sr., 152; Jeff Falke, jr., 152; Jason Campbell, so., 125; Justin Houska, so., 112.
Newcomers: Javier Jimenez, sr., 119; Ryan Slugle, so., 171.
Coach’s comment: “It will be an unusual situation for us this year in that five or six of our weight classes are going to have to be filled by freshmen.”
Outlook: Need to be patient. Although the Bears have 31 out for the team, 25 are freshmen or sophomores. Lemm may forfeit weight classes in which he doesn’t think his kids are ready to compete and use this year as a learning experience.
, DataTimes MEMO: This sidebar appeared with the story: WRESTLERS TO WATCH Nathan Pascoe, senior, 171 pounds, Lakeland Jake Stark, junior, 130, Priest River Pat Slusher, senior, 145, Kellogg Tyrel Hendrix, senior, 189, Kellogg Todd Van Gundy, senior, 160-171, Bonners Ferry