As a new season begins for the Lake Stevens wrestling team, you never know if they will be as formidable as they have been during the past season. This is a new team, with a lot of new starters, but the Vikings seem to be starting off right where they left off. Over the last week, Lake Stevens beat two of the better teams in the state, Tahoma and Rogers, and also crushed Marysville-Pilchuck in the team’s first home dual match.
On Saturday, Dec. 5, the season got under way with a double dual match against Tahoma H.S. of Covington, and Rogers H.S. of Puyallup. The matches were held in the Rogers gym. Gone from the team were a number of successful graduated seniors, George King, Jack Stilwell, BJ Alewine, Blake LeHuquet, Jake Welch, Sean Anderson, and Zach Teuber. That left big wrestling shoes to fill at a lot of weight classes and a number of new varsity grapplers saw their first varsity action.
103 pounds - Eric Soler seems to be the guy to beat at a weight class that Lake Stevens has been extremely successful in during recent years. Soler went 3-0 over the first three dual matches including two solid wins and a forfeit. Backing up that weight over the season will be Dakoda Reynolds, Jesse Peterson and JoMae Alewine (who finished 2nd in last year’s girl’s state tournament).
112 pounds - it is projected that state champion and now senior, Josh Heinzer will be back down to this weight class, but for now at the beginning of the season Dakoda Reynolds has wrestled up from his normal 103 lbs and found some success winning against Marysville on Tuesday night.
119 pounds - Ryan Rodorigo may be at this weight by the postseason, but sophomore and first time varsity starter Mick Majors is getting the chance to gain some great mat time and experience. He won a big match against Marysville 4-2.
125 pounds - the Vikings definitely have a challenge. If Heinzer and Rodorigo get down to their certified weights, then it leaves a bit of a void at 125 lbs. Jose Cervantes is one Viking who may have the opportunity to prove himself this year.
130 pounds - Ryan Rodorigo has had all the matches so far this year going 2-1. His only loss was a tough match against Freestyle National All-American Joey Palmer of Rogers. But Rodorigo will be dropping weight and it is projected that sophomore Kinsey Johnson will be at this weight later in the year.
135 pounds - look for last year’s phenom freshman Steven Walkley to once again challenge for a top spot on the state podium. Walkley missed the first duals of the season, but came out strong for a pin against Marysville wrestling at 140 pounds. 140 pounds - the Vikings have another challenging spot to fill. Jack Reeves has been the go to guy so far this season and will probably be in the mix for the postseason tournaments. 145 pounds – Andrew King might fill this spot or 140 pounds. King, the younger brother of two-time state champion George King, has the ability to wrestle at either of these weight classes, and is actually certified at 135 pounds, but it would be surprising to see him that low. He’s had a good start to his season with a couple of big wins.
152 pounds – Junior Josh Villani was one of the most exciting youth wrestlers to enter the Lake Stevens program two years ago. As a freshman, he was injured and was unable to compete in the postseason tournaments. Last year Villani experienced some personal problems and didn’t get on the mat all year. This season he is back, a lot bigger, and doesn’t seem to have missed a beat. He is 3-0 on the year with two overwhelming wins and a forfeit. He has as much potential as any great wrestler, and it will be interesting to see how his season progresses. 160 pounds – The team doesn’t have a single wrestler certified at this weight. However it is expected that Jacob Anderson, another returning state placer from last season, will end up at this weight for his senior season. Anderson has been a takedown machine for the early season.
171 pounds – Brandon Belcher is a new face to the varsity team this year. An outstanding athlete, Belcher has gone 2-1 to start the season. Given a season’s worth of experience under Coach Brent Barnes and the rest of the coaching staff, Belcher will be ready for big competition.
189 pounds – Justin Grow is looking like a miniature version of The Hulk. Grow has improved each season in the Viking wrestling room, and he seems poised for a great season.
215 pounds – It is unclear at this time who will be the end of the season starter at this weight class. Grow has wrestled up for the start of the year, but isn’t big enough to compete at 215 in the postseason. Kody Dinh seems the likely candidate to fill the slot.
285 pounds – Junior Cody Schlosser is the likely wrestler for the job at this weight. He gained a lot of experience wrestling in Fargo this last summer at the national championships, and should bring some success.
The Vikings have a limited home dual schedule this year, but will be hosting their first major tournament Dec. 29 and 30 at Cavelero Mid High. Come on out and support the team as they go for their fourth straight state championship. Photos from the first three dual matches of the year may be viewed at www.jedicheetah.com