In this edition of “Weighing In,” we’ll look at how the return of a state champion bolsters Lake Stevens’ chances to emerge as the dominant team in Class 4A.
Also, we’ll take a look at Marquee matches upcoming, Top targets, Big performances and links to state rankings individually and team.
Already tough Lake Stevens get deeper with return of champion
If it seems like the Lake Stevens wrestling team just got an injection of state-championship proportions, that’s because it did.
The Vikings were already 5-0 in dual meets and with high finishes in weekend invitationals before this week’s return of 138-pound standout Eric Soler.
Soler, last year’s 126-pound state champion in Class 4A, returns from about 11 weeks off with a broken hand. Soler is ranked No. 1 at 138 by WashingtonWrestlingReport.net’s All-Class rankings and No. 1 in 4A.
Add Soler to an already deep team, ranked No. 1 WashingtonWrestlingReport.net’s All-Class team rankings and No. 1 in 4A, and there’s strong potential for the Vikings to claim their fifth 4A state crown in seven years and sixth in 10 seasons. They won it all in 2011, 2009, 2008, 2007 and 2004.
“I think we have the nucleus to make another run, but there’s definitely some other schools that are in the same position, like Tahoma, Mead, and of course, Graham-Kapowsin,” said Lake Stevens coach Brent Barnes, who enters his 25th year in charge of the Vikings and gets a significant boost with the return of Soler. “[Soler] is definitely a kid who can win it again.”
Lake Stevens just came off taking fourth as a team at the Tri-State Wrestling Tournament, featuring some of the top wrestlers from Washington, Oregon and Idaho, at North Idaho College on Friday and Saturday. The event feature 511 wrestlers and 59 teams.
Hermiston, Ore., won the team crown with 222 points, Kuna, Idaho, was second 205, Mead was third at 169.5 and Lake Stevens took fourth with 154. Tahoma was eighth win 122.5 points. Decatur, ranked No. 2 in 3A, tied for 10th place along with Graham-Kapowsin with 110 points.
“Our heavyweight kid, [285-pound senior] Brandon Johnson, just won Tri-State and he’s a kid who can get to the finals,” Barnes said. “He was a state runner-up last year [at 285].”
Johnson fell 6-1 to Central Kitsap senior Kyle Lanoue in the 285 finals of 4A last season.
Senior Jesse Petterson, who lost in the finals as a sophomore at 103, is back and ranked No. 2 at 132 pounds by WashingtonWrestlingReport.net.
“Having him there, he’s definitely a threat and a kid who will place very high for us,” Barnes said.
The infusion of young talented freshman at the lower weight should bolster Lake Stevens’ depth.
Freshmen AJ Crew (106) and Michael Soler (113), brother of Eric Soler, are both 5-0 so far this season. Michael Soler took third at 113 at Tri-state over the weekend.
The elder Soler, at 138, sets a tone.
“The injury happened before the season,” said Barnes. “He’ll wrestle this week.”
The Vikings already have a 31-24 dual meet win on Dec. 1 over defending Class 4A state champion Tahoma, which figures to have a say again at Mat Classic.
“It’s really early yet, but it was a nice win,” Barnes said. “It was the first outing of the year. So much can change from then until the end of the season. It doesn’t necessarily dictate whether you can get it done in the end, but it sure is a nice confidence-booster for our guys.”
Mead will be a factor in the 4A team race.
“This past weekend they showed some depth by placing high at Tri-State, and you don’t place high like they did unless you have depth,” Barnes said. “They have a lot of high-quality talent. Tahoma has six state placers back. And, Graham-Kapowsin has five state finalists returning and they’ll be a threat. They weren’t at full strength last weekend.”
Marquee matches upcoming
… Lake Stevens, travels to Vashon High School for a double-dual meet with Decatur (2nd in 3A) and Yelm (7th in 4A) on Tuesday night at 6 p.m.
… The Vikings also travel to face perennially tough Roseburg, Ore., in a dual meet on Friday at 7 p.m. Lake Stevens topped Roseburg at home last season after falling to the Indians at their gym two season ago.
… Snohomish High School hosts the Snohomish High School Duals on Thursday at 4 p.m.
… Everett senior Jessie Lopez, who won the 132-pound class in state Class 3A last season, is off to roaring 13-0 start in 2012-13 at 138 pounds.
… Both teams from Skyline (4A) and Mount Si (3A) are off to 8-1 dual-meet starts in 2012-13.
… Behind six weight-class winners, Federal Way (4A) captured the team title at Nathan Hale’s Barry Knot Classic on Saturday. The Eagles got individual crowns from Alex Davidson (106), Brandon Henderson (113), Daniel Song (120), Andrzej Hughes (195), Koby Craig (220) and Rod Jones (285).
… Federal Way handled the competition with 232 points to runner-up Roosevelt’s 140 and third-place Sumner’s 137.
… Snohomish (4A) seized the team title on Saturday at Squalicum’s Graham Morin Invitational with two individual champions. The Panthers got title from Greg Eagle (138) and Tristan Baus (195) and amassed a winning total of 250 points to runner-up Port Angeles’ 187.
Preseason team rankings
Class 4A & 3A
Preseason team rankings
Class 2A, 1A, B & girls
Preseason All-Class individual rankings
Here are three valuable prep wrestling resources on the web:
Searchable database for results
Team and individual rankings
When there’s a top performance or noteworthy event in high-school wrestling, please feel to send it to email@example.com and to the attention of Matt Massey.