Pacer wrestlers few but talented
It is a small but spirited and talented group that makes up the Lakeridge wrestling team this year.
The Pacers return a pair of wrestlers who qualified for the state tournament last season in Ben Shipley and Phil Rogers both of whom are key leaders on this year's squad.
Shipley is currently wrestling at 145 and Rogers is at 140 but both are expected to drop down weight classes by mid-January.
'We're looking for both of those guys to jump a level this year and hopefully place at state,' coach Bret Stamper said.
Mike Tavarres, who is currently at 171 pounds but expects to drop to 160 in the next few months, is expected to be another key contributor along with Ryan Bliss at 189 pounds.
'Ryan's really turned the corner and is showing he's on the verge of being a top guy in the state,' Stamper said.
A pair of sophomores should also make some noise for Lakeridge this season.
Tyler Borgeson recently transferred into the district from Washington and will wrestle at 119 pounds for the Pacers. His father wrestled for Lakeridge and Stamper likes his potential.
'He's a really intelligent wrestler and a student of the sport,' Stamper said.
Jamison Emerson is also expected to take a leap this season after a strong freshman campaign. He will likely wrestle at 112 pounds this year.
Lakeridge has already had strong showings in two tournaments this year.
At the Springfield tournament, which featured two-time 5A defending state champion Hermiston, Tavarres and Shipley each won at their respective weight classes to highlight a handful of strong performances.
'Mike pinned everyone he faced in the first period including the No. 5 guy in the state in the finals. He's a phenomenal talent,' Stamper said.
Rogers was also solid with a second-place finish. Borgeson was third at the meet, Bliss recorded a fifth place finish and Emerson came in sixth.
The Pacers then traveled to the always-competitive Tualatin meet and had a few more standout performances.
Shipley and Bliss led the way by each taking second place as five Pacers finished in the top five.
Emerson tallied a third-place finish while Borgeson and Rogers each came in fifth.
'We have a solid core of five or six guys who are going to lead us,' Stamper said.
That core should fare well against league competition this year and the Pacers hope to qualify as many individuals as possible for state.
However, dual meets could prove to be a challenge this season as, once again, the team is small and Lakeridge will likely have to forfeit a number of matches against opponents.
'We'll definitely have some holes and there are some inexperienced wrestlers trying to fill some big shoes but we have some very tough individuals,' Stamper said.
The Pacers were scheduled to wrestle Putnam on Wednesday and to travel to the Benson tournament on Friday pending the weather.