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Its a building year for Putnam wrestling

by: JOHN DENNY - Putnam underclassmen Juan Hernandez (left) and Brice McDonald have high hopes for the 2013-14 wrestling season.With only 19 athletes out for their sport, the Rex Putnam Kingsmen will likely take their lumps in wrestling this winter. Putnam coach John Telesmanich says the Kingsmen are likely to spot opponents 12 to 18 points through forfeits in dual meets because of holes in their lineup.

“Our numbers are down,” Telesmanich said. “We lost 10 seniors [to graduation] and 12 others to moving, injuries or for other reasons. We’ll forfeit at 106 and 119, and possibly at 132 or 138....

“We’re young. We’ve only got one senior on the team.”

Still, the Kingsmen have several individuals who should hold their own in the Northwest Oregon Conference.

Heading the list is Juan Hernandez, a junior who earned a district title at 220 last season. Hernandez will wrestle at 220 again this season.

“Juan is in a tough weight bracket,” said Telesmanich. “But we are hopeful he’ll repeat as league champion and place at state.”

“I want to at least place at state, and my highest goal is to win it,” said Hernandez. “I definitely think I can repeat as league champion. I’ve learned a lot of new moves and I’m more experienced than [I was] last year.”

The Kingsmen return another 220-pounder with potential in junior Jeff D’Auvergne.

“Jeff was a match away from placing [at district] last season,” Telesmanich observed.

The Kingsmen mat boss said he’s got another junior with potential in Doug Fry, who’ll wrestle at 182 or 195. He missed most of last season because of a knee injury, but placed fourth at district at 182, because there were only four wrestlers in his weight division.

Fry comes from a wrestling family, with older brothers Andy and Ted, who both placed high at district and competed at state.

The Kingsmen return another junior with potential in Vince McFarland. He placed sixth at district at 170 in 2013 and returns to wrestle at that weight this winter.

Telesmanich says he likes what he’s seen from sophomores Brice McDonald and Zack Mason, who have “improved a lot” since their freshmen year. McDonald will wrestle at 119 or 126 this season; Mason will wrestle at heavyweight.

“I went 2-2 at district last year,” said McDonald. “My goals this year are to place at district and go to state.... I wrestled freestyle [after the last collegiate season], and I’ve worked out in the weight room to get stronger, so I think I’ll do much better.”

Jason Karper (160 or 170), the only senior on Putnam’s team, is a work in progress. He did not wrestle last season.

The Kingsmen will miss two underclassmen who were among their top wrestlers last year. Aaron Dolfay, who placed at district at heavyweight last year as a freshman, will miss the season because of a football injury; sophomore River Meyer, who placed fifth at 152 as a freshman, has transferred to Milwaukie.

Telesmanich says he expects Sandy, Sherwood and Liberty to field the stronger teams in the NWOC.

The Kingsmen went 2-5 in NWOC dual meets last season and placed sixth — ahead of Parkrose and St. Helens — at the district tournament. Sandy was a runaway winner at district and the Pioneers placed fourth at the Class 5A state tournament.

The Kingsmen will see three Northwest Oregon opponents this Thursday, when they travel to Wilsonville for a tournament with the Wildcats, Milwaukie and St. Helens.




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