In this edition of “Weighing In,” we’ll look at Adam Eilers taking over Enumclaw High School program after the legacy of retired coach Lee Reichert. Also, we’ll how a state champion transfer bolsters Lake Stevens’ chances to emerge as the dominant team again 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.
Hornets rebuilding after Reichert under Eilers
Adam Eilers learned from the best. Now, it’s his turn to try to be the best and beat the rest.
Eilers spent the last eight seasons as an assistant to Enumclaw High School head wrestling coach and Washington Hall-of-Famer Lee Reichert before Reichert retired after the 2012-2013 season after 37 seasons overall, 18 with the Hornets.
The Hornets, who graduated 17 seniors from last year’s fourth-place Class 3A state finisher, turn to Eilers, Reichert’s son-in-law, as head coach in 2013-2014.
Eilers, 35, knows he has a resource in the now-retired Reichert, if needed. But he’s trying to put his stamp on a program rooted in Reichert’s ways. Eilers hopes to follow the successful trend put together by Reichert, who guided the Hornets to four Class 3A state titles.
“I’m always confident in the kids and we’re always pushing them to their limits,” said Eilers, who married Reichert’s daughter, Michelle. “We always set high goals, and we always try to attain those. We have goals for the team, the kids and the coaches.
“But our biggest goal is the team. If the kids invest in what the team does, they seem to push harder. Hopefully, they end up at state and place high.”
Enumclaw secured 3A state titles in 2008, 2009, 2011 and 2012 giving Reichert seven state crowns as a high-school coach. The Hornets were 3A state runner-up in 2010.
Eilers’ job could be a little tougher from the start with so much experience going the way of graduation. Eilers also understands the legacy Reichert left.
Prior to taking the Enumclaw job, Reichert pushed Kentwood to elite status and helped the Conquerors to consecutive state titles in 1990, 1991 and 1992.
“It’s definitely tough shoes to fill and high expectations for me, and I think for anyone who stepped in there it ,” said Eilers, who began as a head coach at Yerba Buena High School in San Jose, Calif. “We are looking to be tough. We won the White River Classic [on Dec. 7, edging 4A Yelm 145-143 and third-place Bonney Lake (141).] We also beat some top 4A contenders at that tournament.
“We also beat Bonney Lake 44-25 on Thursday. So, we’re doing pretty good.”
Eilers’ voice was heard when spending eight years under Reichert.
“While I was there, I did have a lot of input into the program,” Eilers said. “We run the program much like it was in the past, practice-wise and in pre-dual warm ups. It’s a great transition for the kids and for me.
“There’s definitely some pressure. I never sleep well before a match anyway. I’m always trying to figure what we need to do to win. That’s what makes it fun. If it wasn’t challenging, then why do it?”
Eilers wants to make sure he puts his signature on the program, but he also has the same core values in place that Reichert did.
“I think the most important thing is building that relationship with the wrestler,” Eilers said. “You need to create that bond with wrestler and have them believe in you. You have to look out for their best interest.
“Wrestlers need to understand their coach and that he really cares about me, that’s when they try their best. They know that you are invested then, not only on the wrestling mat, but in life.”
The Hornets feature a lineup looking to gain valuable experience in the heat of competition. Kyle Opland, the team’s 113-pounder, is the lone returning state placer back after taking fourth at 106 in 3A last season.
Opland is ranked No. 4 at 113 by www.washingtonwrestlingreport.net currently.
Sean Wei (170) and Wyley Stewart (195) are off to strong starts in 2013-2014.
“It’s more of a family-type atmosphere that we are trying to create with our program,” Eilers said. “It’s about being there for each other on the wrestling mat, in school or out in the community.”
The Hornets appear to be in good hands after a change at the top of their wrestling program.
“You want to be a life-long learner,” Eilers said. “I always want to be learning. Because, you don’t know everything.”
Cuzzetto bolsters already tough Lake Stevens lineup
Two-time state champion Noah Cuzzetto transferred from Edmonds-Woodway to Lake Stevens for his senior season and will certainly help the chances of the Vikings repeating as Class 4A state champions and winning their 10th state title.
Cuzzetto won the 113-pound final in 4A in 2013 and the 106-pound championship in 4A in 2012 for Edmonds-Woodway and now boosts his new team’s chances of adding to its five state crowns in the last seven seasons.
Cuzzetto is the top-ranked wrestler at 132 pounds in Class 4A, according to www.washingtonwrestlingreport.net. The Vikings’ senior is going for his fourth trip to Mat Classic XXV, which is 63 days away on Feb. 15-16 in the Tacoma Dome.
Cuzzetto rallied from down 6-3 for a 6-5 decision over Yelm sophomore Darren Harris in the 113-pound final in 4A last season. Cuzzetto finished 39-1 last season and entered this season 99-21 in his high-school career.
Marquee matches upcoming
… Decatur, No. 2 in Class 3A in the www.washingtonwrestlingreport.net rankings, travels to No. 3 Bonney Lake on Wednesday at 6 p.m. for South Puget Sound League (SPSL) 3A showdown.
The Gators, second at 3A state last season and only four points behind 3A champion University of Spokane’s 142.5 points, feature a tough lineup from top to bottom.
Some are picking the Gators to pick up their first team state title on Feb. 15-16 at Mat Classic XXVI in the Tacoma Dome.
Decatur is led by a pair of third-place state finishers in 2013 in sophomore Leviticus Arizpe and Isaiah Diggs.
Arizpe took third at 113 last season at state and is rated No. 3 in the tough 126-pound division in 3A. Diggs was third at 132 last season at state and currently sits No. 3 in 138 in 3A, according to the rankings.
Bonney Lake, which took eighth at 3A state a year ago, is led by seniors Colton Tracy, who is ranked No. 1 at 132 in 3A by www.washingtonwrestlingreport.net and Jeremy “Chili” Sabin, rated No. 1 at 182. Tracy took third at 126 in 3A in 2013 and Sabin was second at 182 in 2013.
The Panthers also send out junior Carson Corballey at 106. Corballey took seventh at 106 in 2013 and is currently rated No. 3 at 106 in 3A.
Decatur also has senior Brandon Zimmerman at 170 and he’s ranked No. 3 in 3A in that weight class after taking seventh at 160 as a junior. Senior Trysten Dawson, who took eighth at state in 113 behind teammate Arizpe, steps up to 120 and is currently No. 4 in 3A at that weight.
… Local teams will travel for one of the most prestigious early-season tournaments, the 35th Tri-State Wrestling Tournament, in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho on Friday and Saturday. The event is scheduled at North Idaho College.
Here’s a link to the tournament website:
… Skyline (4A) is off to a 5-0 start in dual meets in 2013-2014.
… Lake Stevens (4A) is also off to a 5-0 start in duals in 2013-14.
… Behind just one weight-class winner (Bryce Overholt at 182), Southridge of Kennewick won the Edmonds Invitational tournament title on Saturday. The Suns put up a tourney-best 20 wins by fall and outdistanced with 167.5 points to runner-up Arlington’s 154.5 total. Oak Harbor took third with 144.5 points, Lynnwood was fourth at 141.5 points and Auburn Mountainview was fifth at 140.
Auburn Mountainview scored four individual titlists to Arlington’s three. Winning crowns for the Lions were Brahm Trujillo (120), Dylan Foley (126), David Boone (152) and Dakota Weir (285). The Eagles got titles from Jeremy Nygard (113), Conner Gonzales (132) and Scott Bardell (145).
… Decatur won its own Hurricane Harris Invitational on Saturday at Decatur High School with 216 points. The Gators A team, who went 42-14 in individual matches, and finished far ahead of runner-up Lincoln of Tacoma’s total of 143.5. Kent-Meridian was third at 137.5 and Skyline was fourth at 114.
Decatur’s B team finished fifth at 88.5.
The Gators picked up five individual titles with Trysten Dawson (126), Leviticus Arizpe (132), Isaiah Diggs (138), Dennis Good (145) and Brandon Zimmerman (160).
… With two titlists, Sedro-Woolley won the 2013 Battle at the Border on Saturday with 273 points at Blaine High School, near the border to Canada. Blaine and Kentwood tied for second with 234 points each.
Everett took third with 190 points and Beamer took fourth with 186.5.
For Kentwood, brothers Walker Meyers (132) and Dalton Meyers (145) brought home the Conquerors’ only individual trophies for first place.
… Fife won its own 11th annual Larry Brown Invitational on Saturday with 229.5 points and five weight-class winners. Sunnyside was second with 209.5, Port Angeles was third with 182.5 and Renton fourth with 139.5.
Khali Crowl won the 160-pound class for Renton.
… Former Auburn and Mead of Spokane wrestling coach Scott Bliss passed away on Dec. 12. Bliss guided Auburn to state titles in 1994 and 1996 before taking the Mead job.
Preseason team & individual rankings
All Classifications page
Preseason All-Class individual rankings
High school page for Washington Wrestling Report
Here are three valuable wrestling resources on the web:
Searchable database for results
Team and individual rankings
When there’s top performance or noteworthy event in high-school wrestling, please feel to send it to firstname.lastname@example.org and to the attention of Matt Massey.