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Aiming for special in District 1

Hillsboro and Glencoe will be the favorites in the District 1 battle
by: Miles Vance LOCKED UP — Aloha senior Josh Pope (left) and the Warriors were Special District 1’s best a year ago, and are aiming to scale the heights again in the 2011-12 season.

Nothing has been decided yet, but an early window into the world of Special District 1 wrestling says that west will be best in 2011-12.

While Aloha sent a shockwave through the rest of the district by winning the first Special District 1 tournament in 2011, the league's Beaverton-area coaches - at least for now - believe that this year's best teams will come from the Hillsboro area.

'I feel that Hillsboro is always the team to beat, but I believe that Glencoe and Century have a lot of strong wrestling tradition that always puts them in a position to win,' said Aloha coach Stuart Kearsley. 'It could be an interesting finish.'

I think 'Glencoe and Hillsboro are probably the favorites to win Regionals,' said Sunset coach James Moore.

That said, Aloha thinks it will be able to compete with the region's best by year's end, Sunset knows it's already better than it was a year ago, and so does Westview. How that knowledge translates into wins and losses, however, is anybody's guess.

Following are previews of the varsity wrestling teams at the five Beaverton-area Metro League schools.

ALOHA

ALOHA - The 2010-11 season marked the Metro League's first year as a member of the newly created Special District 1.

And while the return of the Hillsboro schools meant - the league's coaches thought - a return to dominance by Hillsboro and Glencoe, it was Aloha that stepped to the fore to win the first-ever Special District 1 tournament.

The Warriors hope to be able to make that kind of noise again this year, but know that it may take until the New Year until they hit their stride.

'It won't be until mid-January that we get wrestlers down to weight and our lineup where it needs to be,' said Aloha coach Stuart Kearsley. But 'I feel we will be able to put together a very competitive lineup and, hopefully be in a position to make some noise at the Region 1 tourney.'

The Warriors bring back the top wrestler from last year's regional in junior 152-pounder Joey Williams, as well as two third-place finishers (junior Johnny Krahel at 170 and senior Josh Pope at 220) and three more who finished fourth (senior Kain White at 145, junior Ryan Papenfuhs at 195, and junior Michael Kluge at 285).

'I am looking forward to a lot of growth with our younger wrestlers and leadership from our more experienced wrestlers,' Kearsley said. 'We have a lot of experience.'

Also back with experience are sophomore Brian White at 126 pounds (fifth in 2011), senior Jake Neal at 160 (fifth in '11) and senior Muqadas Ibrahim (seventh).

The rest of the front-liners for Aloha are sophomore Casey Wight, sophomore Austin Lawrence, freshman Ryan Swartz, junior Devin Lenzi, senior Justin Burris, senior Justin Howard, and junior BK Khoshnaw.

BEAVERTON

BEAVERTON - Beaverton is going to take what it can get this year, take its chances, and take its best shot at the rest of the Metro League and Special District 1.

And while that may not be enough to win the dual meet or district titles, the Beavers say they're ready to go.

We don't 'have the depth to compete for the team title, but I truly believe we will have more state participants and state placewinners this season than in the past decade,' said Beaverton coach Eric Holman. 'The key to success for the team lies on our wrestlers' continued improvement every day in the practice room.'

This year's Beaver crew will be led by senior 132-pounder Travis Johnson (he was second at district in 2011), by senior 182-pounder Ed Wahedi, and by returning district placewinners Jeremy Olsen (a sophomore who took sixth at district in '11), John Davis-O'Reilly at 285 (A senior who was sixth last year), Torben Billow (a sophomore who was seventh in '11) and Bailey Berg (a junior was took seventh last year).

'Travis knows he can compete with state champions, and even early on this season, Travis has shown in competition that he will be a factor for the podium,' Holman said, adding that Wahedi's wrestling abilities have 'caught up to the man he is off the mat. He realizes this is his year to shine.'

The rest of the Beaverton lineup will include freshman Vien Lie at 106, freshman Junior Alvarez at 113, sophomore Justin Wakem at 145, junior Barkley Saltzman at 152, junior Matt Kim at 160, senior Nick Houlemard at 170, junior Isaiah McGatha at 195, and senior Ed Zaragosa at 220.

Holman also credited his coaching staff of Ben Novinger, Joe Mueller, Jon Billow, Tim Hall, Rae Endicott and Austin Tuma for its skill and dedication.

SOUTHRIDGE

BEAVERTON - It's been since the 2009 season that the Southridge wrestling team last won a league championship, and while that may not change in 2011-12, the Skyhawks are hoping to make some inroads with their young talent this season.

'We are a very young team this year, but everyone in our wrestling room is working extremely hard,' said Skyhawk coach Erik Reinholt.

And it's not like the cupboard is completely bare at Southridge. The Skyhawks bring back five district placewinners from a year ago, when Southridge placed fourth and trailed third-place Glencoe by just 12 points. Indeed, the Skyhawks bring back a bundle of talent and experience in the upper weights that should make that part of their lineup a strength.

Foremost among that group is senior team captain Jake Martin at 220 pounds (he was a district runner-up in 2011) and fellow placewinners Anthony Johnson (a senior team captain at 170 who placed fifth in '11), junior Matt McRae at 182 (sixth in '11), senior Chris Gottlieb at 132 (a seventh-place finisher last year), and senior Dre Johnson at 285 (also seventh in '11).

'We are looking forward to watching all of our young men grow as competitors,' Reinholt said. But 'I think Hilhi is the favorite to win our Regional tournament this year, followed by Glencoe, Aloha and Westview.'

The rest of the Skyhawk lineup will include Halbast Gardi at 106, Kekeo Abordo at 113, sophomore Emery Shandil at 120, and Nicholas Piwonka at 126. At 138, it will be senior team captain Andy Wilkson, while Ryan Maza is at 145, Joseph McRae will go at 152, Austin Marlow gets the nod at 160, and senior Jacob Begins will wrestle at 195.

SUNSET

CEDAR MILL - There are knowns and unknowns in equal supply for Sunset this year.

As to the knowns, the Apollos feature three senior wrestlers - Zarin Lucero, Jacob Morello and Stephen Hordes - who have already proved themselves on the regional level.

Further, Sunset coach James Moore is convinced that sophomore Nathan Burnett can also compete with the region's best.

But beyond that, there are questions aplenty, many in the form of talented, but young and unproven, varsity wrestlers.

'I think Sunset has the potential to surprise a lot of teams this year, but only if our younger wrestlers continue to develop,' Moore said. 'I know what to expect from my older more experienced wrestlers. It's our sophomore and freshman classes that have the opportunity to make us into one of the better teams in Special District 1.'

Of the seniors, Hordes was second in the district at 285 pounds last year, Lucero placed third, and Morello took fifth, while Burnett was seventh as a freshman.

'All four have the potential to be Regional champions,' Moore said. 'Zarin's wrestling more confidently then ever. Jacob Morello is without a doubt our team leader, (and Hordes) has the opportunity to become only the second state champion in Sunset's history.'

Also back is district placewinner Luke Batten, a sophomore who finished eighth at 103 last year and will wrestle at 113 this season. The rest of the varsity lineup includes freshman Hayden Stockwell and sophomore Grant Bingham at 106, freshman Quin Bingham at 120, freshmen Jacob Speirs and Adam Simmons at 126, and freshman Spencer Stokes and senior Jeremiah Ross at 138.

Senior Johnny Moses will go at 152, senior Jeff Tordjman is at 160, junior Jason Allgower will be at 170, while sophomore Kevin Luttrell is at 182, sophomore Alex Betancourt is at 195, and junior Mark Swigart at 285.

WESTVIEW

ROCK CREEK - One day at a time.

That's what the Westview wrestling team is focused on this year. One day at a time, one practice at a time, one match at a time, and - the Wildcats hope - one win at a time.

'Last season, we beat five teams in dual meets that Westview had never beaten before,' said Westview coach Michael Delaney. 'Our kids want to continue to improve on that.'

It certainly appears the Wildcats will have a chance to do that, their 2011-12 lineup including six Special District 1 regional placewinners led by sophomore 113-pounder Joel Timmons, a team captain who won a district championship in 2011 and went on to finish fourth in the Class 6A state tournament.

Joining Timmons as team captain is senior Ernesto Escobar at 120. Escobar battled to a runner-up finish at district last year and then went on to take sixth at state.

'They are both very committed to the sport of wrestling and haven't stopped training since the season ended last year,' Delaney said.

The Wildcats' other returning district placewinners are senior Nick Ott at 145 (he was third at district in 2011), senior Mitchell Van Wagoner at 160 (he took fourth in '11), senior Zack Voigt at 152 (he was eighth last year), and senior Ben Keezel at 220 (eighth in '11).

The key for us is that 'our team needs to continue to improve in the practice room,' Delaney said. 'The kids are building on the wrestling and training style our staff put into place last year.'

The rest of the varsity lineup will include freshman Peter Pascua at 106, senior Douglas Rivera at 126, sophomore Justin Parsons at 132, sophomore Duncan Snowhill at 138, sophomore Chris Loveless at 170, junior Daniel Burrill at 182, senior Derek Hansen at 195, and freshman Noah Spencer at 285.