Solid junior class joins top seniors

Mount Si‘s wrestling program looks to stay at the top of the Kingco 2A/3A Conference. The team finished 8-2 last season, and Jeff Newcomer is returning as coach for his sixth season.

“We’ve got some good returners coming back, two state participants in Ryan Ransavage and Ryan Makela,” Newcomer said.

Ransavage, in the heavyweight division, finished sixth at state, while fellow senior Makela was eliminated early in the 135 division. Makela this season will be wrestling at the 140 class, while Ransavage is expected to be at the 285 mark once again in 2008-09. He is ranked #1 in that weight division, while Makela is #3. Newcomer says they have to work hard to keep those high marks. “It means nothing until they earn it,” he said.

The program has a lot of juniors this season, including Ben Larson (130), Andrew Sypher (119), Lee Amador (152 or 145), Trey Botten (145), Frank Tassara (152) and Drew Handy (160).

There are a number of newcomers, many freshmen, but one senior as well. Michael Nelson, who had a stellar career on the football field, turned out for the wrestling team this year, and his goals are basic.

“I just want to make it through injury-free,” he said.

Among the top freshmen this season are Cody Hookland (appx. 130), Andrew Peterson (appx. 125) and Cody Botten (119 or 112).

Newcomer’s philosophy is broad.

“Number one thing is, my job is to make these guys into the best citizens that they can be,” he said. “In terms of wrestling, we talk about hard work and ethics.”

“We can control how hard we work in practice, the effort we put out, the work ethic and these guys,” Newcomer added. “That’s why we’re almost always one of the best conditioned teams out there.”

The league went through realignment, meaning Mount Si will be wrestling 3A and 4A schools; Newcomer looks at Mercer Island to be the top 3A threat, and within the 4As that they will see, he sees Issaquah and Redmond being the top opponents.

“With the realignment, it’s going to be hard to tell,” he said. “I think we can be in the top three again with hard work.”

Mount Si will not see the Islanders until postseason.

Newcomer said his main goal is to get a lot of athletes individually into the state event. Ransavage also expects Interlake to be a tough oppo nent for the Wildcats this season.

For Ransavage and Nelson, wrestling forces them to train differently than they did for football.

“First of all, we have to do more endurance, because football is 10 seconds, take a break; wrestling is six minutes of all you can give,” Ransavage said. “We have to train for that [by] going on a lot more runs, a lot more long endurance stuff.”

In addition to the league schedule, Mount Si will be competing in a number of tournaments during the season; those include events in Sedro Woolley, Pasco, Auburn, Sequim and Lake Stevens.

These events will likely help the Wildcat athletes see what they need to do in order to qualify for state and do well there, since a number of top programs will also be sending athletes to these matches.

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