Wrestling -- With some strong returnees, Sherwood boasts some high hopes
by: DAN BROOD, BACK FOR THE BOWMEN — Sherwood High School sophomore Kaleb Gilgan (left), shown here wrestling in a match last year, is one of the key returnees for the Bowmen for the 2006-2007 season.

SHERWOOD - Behind a couple standouts with state title hopes and a full lineup, the Sherwood wrestling team heads into the 2006-07 season with plenty of optimism

Leading the charge is junior Sandesh Gurung and senior David Irish, both of whom have placed at the state level in the past. The Bowmen also will fill the 14 weight classes, running two deep throughout.

'We're young in some areas, but we'll be competitive up and down the lineup,' Sherwood second-year coach William Taylor said. 'We've got some depth. We had nine challenge matches (for varsity spots) so that shows me the program's building.'

The Bowmen's foundation begins at 103 pounds with Gurung, who has qualified for state the past two seasons, taking fourth last year. The takedown artist was the Tri-Valley League 103-pound champion last season and has his sights set on winning a state title this year.

'His strengths are his mat awareness, his quickness and body position,' said Taylor of Gurung, who holds a second degree black belt in taekwondo. 'He's highly focused and self motivated in his quest to be a state champion.'

Another Bowmen with state title aspirations is 171-pounder David Irish, a two-time state qualifier. The senior qualified for state as a freshman and went 4-2 his sophomore season to place fifth before sitting out last year's meet after an imbalance of low blood pressure caused him to black out, including in the district final. He had just one loss prior to that match, coming when he wrestled up a weight early in the season, and pinned a team-record 33 opponents.

'I'm almost certain he would've won state last year,' Taylor said. 'He's all better now and on a direct mission to get that state championship. That setback motivated him tremendously.'

Taylor also figures to get solid seasons out of senior 189-pounder James Peters and freshman Jeffrey Maddox at 145 pounds. Peters placed fourth at districts last year, losing to a teammate for the final state berth.

'He did well in football and is bringing that momentum into his senior year of wrestling,' Taylor said. 'After coming up one match short of state, he's driven to get there and get a medal this year.'

Maddox was a two-time middle school district champion and brings plenty of experience to the mat, having wrestled since he was 10.

'He's been looking forward to this opportunity to wrestle at the high school level,' Taylor said. 'He brings technique, self-motivation and drive.'

Sherwood will also lean on junior state participant Sean McClain (135 pounds) and sophomore Kaleb Gilgan (130 pounds), as well as the outstanding support Taylor has received from the community.

'Without the administration and parent support this program has received, we wouldn't be the same,' Taylor said. 'It goes without mention. It really makes my job easy to focus on the kids. Just phenomenal.'

The Bowmen were scheduled to host Parkrose in their Northwest Oregon Conference opener on Wednesday. Results were not available when the Times went to press.

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