Wrestlers should rebuild quickly

They may have lost 14 seniors to graduation, but the Oak Harbor wrestling team still has visions of success in 2004-05.

“We have a good nucleus of leadership from both our juniors and seniors so expectations are high for our team,” head coach Brian Farmer said.

The Wildcats will bring back two state competitors in Karlson Miller and Chris Wichers, who Farmer expects to have a heavy influence on teammates.

“One of their goals as captains is to bring as many as they can with them back to state,” Farmer said.

Miller captured sixth in state at 103 pounds and Wichers took seventh at 140. Farmer is not sure yet if they will stay at the same weight this year or move up a class.

Oak Harbor also returns several district and regional competitors, including Robert Lemme, Chase Stanford, David Wasickanin, David Marriott, Jeff Lang, Jefferson Miller, Mike Poggie, Mark Radach and Jeremy Soptich.

Other wrestlers who are expected to play a large role include: David Smith, Colin Blyther, Sam Wagner, Josh Dix, Jeff Miller, Tyler Elliot, Sean O’Brien, Kyle Lange, Andrew Renniger, Will Witmer, Mike Emory, Daniel Varn and Joeseph Vigil.

“Kids will have to step it up that were on junior varsity last year or wrestled varsity only a few times,” Farmer said.

There’s no question achieving another second place finish or better in the WesCo North will be tough hill to climb as it always is.

“We have some of the toughest teams in the state in the WesCo North,” Farmer said.

Lake Stevens, last year’s 4A state champions, will no doubt provide the stiffest challenge.

Different this year is a new format in the post-season. Wrestlers must first advance through a division bracket (WesCo North), then a district bracket (WesCo South), then a regional bracket (South Puget Sound League North) and finally state. The top five from each tournament move onto the next.

“It’s a tough road,” Farmer said.

Oak Harbor begins its season at home Thursday, Dec. 2 against non-league Ferndale. Junior varsity begins at 5:45 p.m., followed by varsity at 7 p.m.

New to this year’s coaching staff are King of the Rock Club coach Lee Miracle and former North Whidbey Middle School coach Larry Falcon.

“It should be exciting watching us week to week get better and hope that in late January, early February, we are the best we can be,” Farmer said.

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