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LOs top wrestlers hope to make impact

by: FILE PHOTO / VERN UYETAKE Austin Faunce was a heavyweight for the Lakers last season but will be formidable at 195 this season.

Lake Oswego wrestling coach Brett MacDonald watched with pride as the Laker football team won the state championship last week.

He knew three of his top wrestlers this year made a huge contribution to the team.

"They definitely benefited from the competitiveness those kids bring and we benefit too. I think football players and wrestlers go hand in hand so having that kind of crossover is great," MacDonald said.

Austin Faunce, Turner Young and Noah Peterson anchored a talented offensive line for Lake Oswego and will also make the Lakers extremely formidable in the upper weight classes this year.

Peterson will be the team's heavyweight this season and has only improved after a breakout season last year.

"He kind of came out of nowhere last year and he's put on 40 pounds since then," MacDonald said.

Young will be the team's 220-pounder this season and will look to finish his high school career on a very positive note.

"He's had some bad luck in the past but I don't think there's a kid at 220 who he can't hang with this year," MacDonald said.

Faunce will fill in at 195 pounds this year, dropping all the way down from heavyweight last season.

"No one worked harder in the offseason than Austin. People are going to look at him and say 'how in the world is this guy 195 pounds,'" MacDonald said.

That trio will anchor a squad that is still small in numbers but very talented.

"If we just wrestled those three weight classes I'd take on anyone in the state and expect to win," MacDonald said.

At 182 pounds, Lake Oswego has a talented sophomore in Paul Carlson who has come up through the youth program.

The team currently has a gap at 170 and 160 pounds while Jake Anderson will fill in at 152 pounds and be challenged by three promising freshmen.

Lake Oswego has a strong freshman class this year which bodes well for the future and a few of them may find their way into the varsity line-up by the end of the year.

"We could fill up every weight class but I'd rather have our freshmen stay confident and enjoy wrestling so they come back," MacDonald said.

Senior Jason Kozlowski will bring experience at 145 pounds for Lake Oswego and the team is still looking to fill a void at 138.

At 132 will be Mason Fellows.

"We're expecting big things from him. He's learning some early lessons that I hope stay with him at the end of the year," MacDonald said.

At 113, the team hopes to get Cahleb Gonzalez into the line-up soon as MacDonald believes he could be one of the top competitors in the state at that weight class.

106 pounds is currently a heated battled between Grant Van Hoomissen and Brian Fay.

"That's what you like to have in your program. Those guys are getting after it in every practice," MacDonald said.

The Lakers will be hurt in dual meets this year by their lack of depth but the program continues to progress.

Lake Oswego will focus on tournaments and the important regional tournament at the end of the year to measure its success.

"I think we have four or five kids who have the potential to wrestle for it all and we'll be a legit tournament team. I'm very optimistic," MacDonald said.