GSL state placers
State champions – Jordan Rogers, so., Mead, Jake Trotter, sr., Mead, Jake Mason, sr., U-Hi; 2nd – Ryan Zumwalt, sr., U-Hi; Nathan Brown, sr., NC, Ben Carter, sr., NC; 3rd – Jarod Maynes, jr, CV, Brandon Riehle, sr., Ferris; Steven Taylor, sr., NC; 4th – Tyler Clark, jr., U-Hi (2008); 5th – Kevin Harder, sr., U-Hi; Jared Berlinger, jr., NC; Darren Bunke, jr., Shadle Park; 7th – Russell Stinson, jr., Ferris; Brandon Matlock, jr., U-Hi; Wyatt McGuire, sr., Mt. Spokane; 8th – Jeremy Golding, so., Mead; Sean Biltoft, sr., EV.
Everyone is pointing to last year’s co-champions, University and Mead, as logical favorites. U-Hi coach Don Owen doesn’t disagree.
“The big thing that helps us is we have kids, many of them who have been on varsity for three years,” he said. “It’s not very often I’ve had a crew come through with this much experience.”
U-Hi brings back 13 of 14 starters, five of them state placers, including finalists Mason and Zumwalt. The Titans have added a gifted freshman in Ryan Gabel (103 pounds) and has depth everywhere.
Mead coach Phil McLean called U-Hi, “probably the best team (Owen’s) ever had.”
The Panthers have talent, too, with state champs Trotter and Rogers, just returning from a broken leg in football. McLean also said he’s without some athletes dismissed for school code violations. “I thought we had more depth and was licking my chops. Now we’re thin,” he said.
There appears to be more team competitive teams with large numbers of returnees. “It will be a great year for fans in terms of exciting dual matches,” said McLean. “University has the big guns, but every team has them.”
Central Valley, under new coach in Doug Pecha, returns 10 starters. “We have a physical lineup,” Pecha said. “We should be very competitive.”
The sleeper is North Central with four returning state placers including finalists Brown and Carter. “This is the best team we’ve had in a long time,” coach Luke Leifer said. “We graduated two starters. We will have a solid dual meet lineup and an outstanding tournament team.”
East Valley had state title aspirations, but has dismissed a quartet for various reasons, including state finalist Chris Tripplet, third-place Nick Sweeney and seventh-place Keith Babington. “It does put us in a bind,” coach Craig Hanson said. “But you know what? The last two practices have been our best of the year.”
GNL state placers
State champions – Blake Adams, sr., Deer Park; Drew Acorn, sr., Deer Park; Billy Rhoads, jr., Deer Park; Shawn Burton., sr., Deer Park; Quinn Gannon, sr., WV; 3rd – Nick DesRosches, jr., Riverside; 7th – Dewey Bender, so., Riverside; 8th – Josh Bradley, so., Cheney; Nick King, sr., Clarkston; Garrett Santana, sr., Riverside.
Area wrestling power resides in neighbors Deer Park, two-time state team champions, and Riverside, fourth in state last year. At the Deer Park Invitational, the Stags won with 249 points and Riverside was second with 208 in rolling past a field that included six GSL schools, including Mead, and most of the GNL. The Stags had five champions including three of four defending state titlists – Adams, Rhoads and Burton – and a couple of other finalists. The Rams had 11 finishers in the top four.
“We have a young but experienced varsity and strong group of freshmen,” DP coach Matt Jorgensen said. “We should compete well if we work hard and try to improve.”
Riverside coach Randy Miller, with half a dozen state veterans, likes his team. “We have some returning seniors for whom the lightbulb’s kind of gone off,” he said. Miller likes his veterans and incoming freshmen. “I tell the guys all the time, there’s no reason why we can’t run with Deer Park.”
NEA state placers
3rd – Josh Lauderdale, jr., Lakeside; 4th – Michael Baumgarden, jr., Lakeside; 6th – Daniel Trudeau, jr., Chewelah.
Perennial Northeast A League champion Lakeside is favored. Chewelah will give Lakeside a go, but remaining schools won’t have the dual match depth to contend. “I think many teams in our level will count us out having only two returns from last year’s state tournament,” Lakeside coach Troy Hughes said. “We are down a bit, but still believe we are never out of the fight.”
B state placers
State champions – Kyle Kirkendall, so., Republic; Levi Larson, sr., Republic; Ryn Rollins, sr., Republic; 2nd – Niko Knezovich, so., Reardan; Raleigh Beckstrom, sr., Reardan; Scotty Bacon, jr., Republic; Connor Kalugin, jr., Springdale; 3rd – Wyatt Anderson, jr., Reardan; Tyler Williquette, sr., Reardan; Herson Rodriguez, jr., Ritzville; 4th – Reid Ashley, sr., ACH; Waylen Anderson, so., Reardan; Kaare Anderson., so., Reardan; Austin Rollins, jr. Republic; Jesse Nichols, sr., St. John-Endicott.
Republic returns three individual state champions in search of the Tigers’ third straight team title. Reardan was freshman oriented while placing six individually and finishing fourth as team.