“Weighing In”: This is the first installment of the 2014-2015 high-school wrestling blog. A look at Decatur’s move up to 4A, marquee matchups, top targets, big performances and links to individual and team rankings.
Gators hoping for bigger bite, even with move up to 4A
At the very least, the Decatur High School wrestling team will add depth to the talent pool in Class 4A this season.
After a runner-up state finish in Class 3A, the Gators figured to be challenged even more in their bid to bring home the school’s first state title in the sport. The move up to 4A raises the bar for Decatur, which was also second in 3A in 2013.
“I feel confident, because the kids are working their tails off,” said Decatur coach Mike Bressler, whose team rejoins the SPSL 4A. “And, if they advance the way I expect them to, then we’ll compete with most anybody. We’ve got a tough enough schedule to do that, I think.”
Decatur, which fell to North Central of Spokane 108.5 to 100 in the 3A state race in 2014, chases perennial power Lake Stevens, which won the 4A crown in 2013 and 2014.
“It’ really not a step up for us, because we were only 2A for a couple of years and we were 4A before,” Bressler said. “We’re used to it. We’ve been 4A most of the time as a school, and then they dropped us to 3A. There’s tough teams in 3A and in 4A. I would say 4A is going to be a grind, because a lot of pretty tough teams moved up.
“Teams like University [of Spokane] moved up and, us and Sunnyside and, geez Timberline moved up and Mountain View down south moved up. But I do think we can do as well in 4A as we’ve done in 3A.”
The road could be tougher getting to state, Bressler said.
Leading the way for the Gators is senior 145- and 152-pounder Isaiah Diggs, who won the 138-pound class in 3A last season. Also with high hopes are 132-pounder Leviticus Arizpe, who was fifth at 126 in 3A last season as a sophomore, and 138-pounder Zach Berry, who took sixth at 132 in 3A last season as a sophomore.
“He’s certified for both 145 and 152 right now, so we’ll see,” Bressler said of Diggs.
Diggs could join the 145-pound weight class in 4A and it features a huge challenge in Central Valley senior Blake Beard, who won the 138-pound division in 4A last season for this second state title in a row.
Beard, who took the 126-pound class in 4A in 2013, finished 28-0 last season and could stand in the way of another repeat effort by Diggs, who went 37-3 as a junior.
Also back in the Gator’s lineup is A.J. Sarno, who took seventh at 170 in 3A last season.
Four state placers are back, but overall the Gators will rely on some young talent to give them added depth.
“We’ve got some young kids in the lineup that are tough, and starting to be up and coming,” Bressler said. “We’re a younger team than we’ve been in the past. But we’ll compete. We’re right up there.”
Marquee matches upcoming
Two-time defending Class 4A state champion Lake Stevens hosts a double dual on Wednesday with Decatur, Graham Kapowsin and Vashon at 5:30 p.m. Tahoma hosts Lake Stevens as part of the Maple Valley Duals on Saturday, starting at 10:45 a.m.
The 35th Tri-State Wrestling Tournament on Dec. 19-20 will be a huge measuring stick for many top Washington state wrestlers at the annual event at North Idaho College in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho.
Lake Stevens junior Michael Soler (120) goes for his third consecutive state title this season after taking first at 113 in 2014 and first at 106 in 2013. Soler has his sights set on joining the select group of 10 male state wrestlers with four state titles in their careers. The Vikings have won 10 team state titles.
Arizpe was named Outstanding Wrestler Award over the weekend at the Edmonds Invitational.
Tahoma, fifth in 4A last season, captured the Auburn Invitational over the weekend, putting up 214.5 points to host Auburn’s 185 on Saturday.
2014-15 preseason team & individual rankings
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