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'Cats look to repeat as KingCo champs
Another wrestling season is set to gear up for last year KingCo
champs, the Mount Si Wildcats, and this season looks to be even better as all
but one of their KingCo tournament placers returns for another shot at the title.
With this year's start is a makeover of the KingCo weight classes.
Starting at 103 pounds and going up to heavy, the classes are as follows:
103, 112, 119, 125, 130, 135, 140, 145, 152, 160, 171, 189, 215 and heavy.
Taking the helm for his eleventh season this year is head coach
Bruce Caldwell, along with assistant Mike Johnson. Although not acting too
confident, the longtime coach knows his team has strength.
"We're in contention for sure this year but Liberty and Mercer
Island will also be right up there," touts Caldwell. "It will be a tough year."
But, to ease his mind, Caldwell has a whole team of talent, starting
with last year's second in state, Ben Veyna. Veyna tackled competitors in the
122-pound class in last season's competition but this year he will be
stepping up to compete at the 125- or 130-pound classes.
Veyna, a junior, lost to Capital's Steve McGetrick in the finals at
state 4-0, but not before inflicting some serious pain on all his opponents in
the 122-pound class, both at the KingCo tournament and regionals.
Also competing at state last year and showing incredible strength
was Chad Mills. Mills, a junior, wrestled in the 115-pound class last year,
making it to the state tournament by defeating Matt Malyon of
Franklin Pierce but losing to the eventual state champ, Burke Barnes of Lake
Stevens. Mills will be wrestling in the 125-pound class.
The last Wildcat to make it as far as the state tournament is
Blake Moore, who finished third in the KingCo tournament last year in
the 129-pound class. Moore should be competing in the 135- pound class
this year, but one year of age has brought maturity and strength to the
But three state wrestlers isn't all that the Wildcats have in their
arsenal. Also in the hunt this year for state placing are 12 KingCo placers
from last year.
Starting the field at 112-pounds will be Senior Andrew
Ahmadi. Ahmadi took third in the 108-pound class last year at KingCo. His
experience and his weight class should give him the edge to finish well this
Jason Moe will be returning in the 119-pound class. Jeff Stone will
also be returning, in the 130- or 135-pound class. Last year, Stone finished
fourth in the 122-pound class. The biggest obstacle this year will be his
own teammates with Mills, Veyna and Moore competing in the 125- to
David Crotts, who last year competed in the 129-pound class and
finished fifth in KingCo, will be competing at the 140-pound class.
Crotts could be the sleeper in the Mount Si lineup, not as well known as some
of the more experienced competitors but strong and smart. His weight gain
in the off-season appears to be primarily muscle, which should give him
that extra edge.
Also bulking up in the off-season was Ryan Smith who finished
fourth in the 141-pound class last year. This year he will likely have more
competition on his own team then anywhere else in KingCo as veterans
Payton Thompson and Hiram Tame will also be around the same 145- or
152-pound weight classes. However, Hiram will be the only Tame brother
competing this year, as sibling Kevin graduated. At last year's KingCo tournament,
the younger Tame took fifth in the 141-pound class.
For the new 152-pound class look for veteran athlete Matt Murphy
to take the reigns. Murphy took fourth in the 148-pound class last year at
the KingCo tournament.
The next placer to hit the ranks this year is Brad "Grumpy" Davis who
last year thrashed opponents left and right as a sophomore. Davis, who
finished third in the 178-pound class at the KingCo tournament last year,
will wrestle at 189 pounds this year and his glare alone is likely to scare a
In the 215-pound class, two veterans will compete for the varsity
position. Senior Brandon Prior and sophomore Dylan Seubert will compete at
a higher level in challenge matches for the varsity spot each week than
many of their regular season matches. Prior finished fifth in the 215-pound
class last year at the KingCo tournament while Dylan Seubert, then a
freshman, finished third in the 275-pound class. One year has made a tremendous
difference in Seubert's physique as the bruiser has slimmed down and
toned up on a heavy lifting regiment. Look for both to place high in the
KingCo tournament and travel to regionals at Ellensburg.
Rounding out the list of veterans will be Sean Sexton, who took
fourth in the 190-pound class last year. This year he will compete in the
Other wrestlers likely to join the varsity ranks this year are Jordan
Prior, Brandon's brother, in the 103-pound class; Jed McDaniels at the
160-pound class; Bob Taylor and Nick Ippillito in the 171-pound class; and
Brad Conner in the 275-pound class. Jacob Ruth, who took fifth in the
KingCo tournament last year despite injuries will also see a lot of action this year.
And the action starts on Saturday, Dec. 4, as Mount Si hosts the
David Szczepanik Takedown Tournament. Competition starts at 7 a.m. in
the Mount Si gym.