With 19 returning lettermen, 10 of whom placed in the sub-regional tournament last year, the Oak Harbor High School boys wrestling team should have the experience and depth to improve upon last year’s sixth-place finish in the Wesco North.
Unable to fill all the weight classes last year, the Wildcats struggled to win dual meets, going 2-9 (1-5 in league). In the postseason, Oak Harbor fared better, taking fifth in the sub-regional, seventh in the regional and 36th at state.
“The team is hard working and is hungry for competition,” coach Larry Falcon said. “We are growing with each practice and going to be filling all weight classes. We will have seconds and possibly thirds in each weight class competing for that varsity spot.
“This will continue to make those varsity places work harder to maintain their spot and improve as a team.”
Leading the way are seniors Michael Fisken, Caleb Fitzgerald and Blake McBride, all state qualifiers last year.
Fisken earned first-team, all-league honors while winning the sub-regional title and taking third at regional.
Fitzgerald was second at sub-regional and third in regional, and McBride was second at the sub-regional and fourth at the regional tournament.
Also returning are Blake Servatius (second, sub-regional; fifth, regional), Nathaniel Nunez (third, sub-regional); Jakob Dailey (fourth, sub-regional; fifth, regional); Ethan Pace (fourth, sub-regional), Jamal Graham (fifth, sub-regional), Hayden Campbell (fifth, sub-regional), Shingo Johnston (sixth, sub-regional), Shamus Warden (sixth, sub-regional), De’Andre Bennett, Brandon Liberty, Evan Beerbower, Jeremiah Dailey, Jackson Pittman, Salvador Tirado, Noah Hangan and Levi Williams.
Key newcomers, according to Falcon, are freshmen Nolan Bying, Trevor Lang and Cole Valdez.
Falcon said the team’s strengths are its depth, experience and dedication, which was on display when a large group of Wildcats attended team camp last summer.
“We have a solid foundation and a solid group of newcomers to our program that will support and push the returners to preform and improve,” Falcons said. “There will be some challenges this season and will test our mental and physical skill sets. We, as a team, will adapt, overcome and learn from our setbacks and gain strength from our successes.”
Oak Harbor will host its annual fundraiser, the Purple and Gold Dual, at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 28.
The Wildcats will begin the season at the 29-team Edmonds Invitational at 8:45 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 1, at Edmonds-Woodway High School.