Jamal Graham returns after placing in the sub-regional tournament last winter for the Wildcats. (Photo by John Fisken)

Jamal Graham returns after placing in the sub-regional tournament last winter for the Wildcats. (Photo by John Fisken)

Winter prep preview / Oak Harbor boys wrestling

A core of 10 lettermen will lead the Oak Harbor High School boys wrestling team into the 2019-20 season.

The returning Wildcats are seniors Evan Beerhower, Jamal Graham, Noah Hangan, Jackson Pittman, Salvador Tirado and Shamus Warden; junior Zach Badaouie; and sophomores Zach English, Tim Powers and Cole Valdez.

Graham finished fifth and Warden sixth in last year’s sub-regional tournament.

Warden was also a team captain, and Powers was named the team’s most improved wrestler last winter.

Key newcomers to this year’s varsity team, according to coach Larry Falcon, are senior Derek Jacques and freshmen Miles Erikson, Jeffrey Hogarth and Trey Luis.

“The team is hard working and is hungry for competition,” 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.”

Falcon said the team’s strength is its solid foundation of returning wrestlers who are coming off “a great offseason…and went to camps over the summer.”

“There will be some challenges this season, graduating many great wrestlers, but this is a great opportunity to improve and build another great succession of wrestlers,” he added. “We, as a team, will adapt, overcome and learn from our setbacks and gain strength from our successes.”

Growth is the goal of the season, according to Falcon.

“Every match, every tournament and every dual, we want to learn how to become better and become great,” he said.

It will be a successful season if “we continue to develop loyal leaders, which have a competitive edge and strive for excellence,” Falcon said.

“Our wrestlers are dedicated to the program and have the desire to make it great. They have brought our freshmen and newcomers into the fold of the wrestling family. This group is creating their own identity and will be creating a name for themselves.”

Oak Harbor will hold its annual fundraising Purple and Gold Dual at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 3; admission is by donation.

The Wildcats (4-5 last season) host Squalicum (7-4) at 7 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 5.

More in Sports

Participants comment on virtual triathlon experience

The coronavirus forced the South Whidbey Parks and Recreation District to make… Continue reading

Melnick leads team to tournament title / Golf

A team captained by Todd Melnick, who also happened to be the… Continue reading

WIAA fine-tunes plan for high school sports

The Washington State Interscholastic Association made several adjustments Tuesday, July 28, to… Continue reading

Renninger revels in the success of her high school teammates

For Avalon Renninger, it’s all about others. The 2020 graduate played three… Continue reading

Oak Harbor, South Whidbey compete in COVID Classic / Youth baseball

Oak Harbor tied for third and South Whidbey finished sixth in the… Continue reading

Veteran athlete, newcomer share triathlon experience

7,350 miles. That’s what separated Peter Oakley and Frank Ascioti as they… Continue reading

Whidbey Island Triathlon begins this weekend

The Whidbey Island Triathlon is underway. The triathlon has been a summer… Continue reading

Coupeville plays shortened summer season / Youth baseball

A group of Coupeville baseball players were able to emerge from the… Continue reading

Among many changes, WIAA moves football to spring

Friday nights will need a little less artificial light when the high… Continue reading

Power Squadron earns grant to promote children’s boating safety

Deception Pass Sail and Power Squadron received a $500 grant this spring… Continue reading

Marshall stars in softball, classroom and life

When high school spring sports were canceled because of the coronavirus, South… Continue reading

Coronavirus changes landscape of high school sports

Like so many things in today’s virus-ravaged world, the fate of Washington… Continue reading