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The latest news and analysis on high-school sports around the Seattle area

December 16, 2014 at 4:00 AM

“Weighing In”: Prep wrestling blog — Week 2

“Weighing In”:  This is the second installment of the 2014-2015 high-school wrestling blog. A look at resurgent Auburn in Class 3A, marquee matchups, top targets, big performances and links to individual and team rankings.

Trojans possess talent to be a factor in Class 3A state race

Dennis Herren, Jr. thinks this could be the year his Auburn High School wrestling team returns to glory.

The Trojans’ fourth-year head coach feels his program is ready to make a move back to the top of the standings at Mat Classic XXVII on Feb. 20-21 in the Tacoma Dome.

Auburn, ranked No. 3 among Class 3A schools in the latest www.washingtonwrestlingreport.net team rankings, last posted a Top-10 finish at state when it took fifth in 4A in 2010. The Trojans’ program last won state titles in 4A in 1994 – when then-Trojan senior Herren won the 178-pound state title — and in 1996 and was runner-up three other occasions.

It’s time for a renaissance and the 2014-15 Men of Troy have the manpower and willpower to do so, Herren says.

“It’s a special group of kids and a dedicated group of kids,” said Herren, whose team is 5-1 in dual meets and owns a second-place finish in its own Auburn Invitational to powerhouse Tahoma on Dec. 6. “We’re coming up on 20 years since the school’s last state championship. This group makes no bones about it. They want that [state title] and they have shown me so far that they are willing to do what it takes.

“We can set the standard of what does a state-championship room look like, and day in and day out, they are striving to exceed that.”

Leading Auburn with perfect 12-0 records so far this season are seniors Sam Lindsey (195) and Jacob Apodaca (285). Apodaca hopes to build off a fifth-place state finish at 285 last season in 4A and Lindsey looks to rise above his sixth-place showing at 195 last season in 4A.

Also lending some solid punch to the Trojans’ lineup are juniors Drew Aplin (120, 12-1) and Sjon Snitily (138, 12-1), freshman Cole Washburn (160, 12-1) and seniors Balteer Rana (126, 10-2), Bailey Minnar (170, 10-2) and Mario Luevano (220, 10-2).

“This current group of wrestlers has demonstrated a steady amount of progress since they were freshman,” Herren said. “If you follow their trajectory, they’ve turned into a formidable group by putting in the extra time. They gone on the USA Wrestling circuit and gone to camps.

“They’ve also made good use of practice time.”

Setting the pace for higher achievement are Lindsey and Apodaca.

“You’ve got Lindsey and Apodaca and they are definitely both kids who made up their mind that they want to be state champions,” Herren said.

Luevano suffered an ankle injury at regionals last season and didn’t qualify for start. His only two losses so far this season are against teammate Apodaca and a defending state champion.

“He was definitely a [state] contender before the injury last year,” Herren said.

The current roster has a link to the past success.

“The thing about Auburn is when we started out with some of these young guys, who started to dream to become greats is in the sport, we had a total outreach of past champions and alumni who have come in to work with these guys,” Herren said. “I could give you a list of names, but it’s too long. There are past champions from 40 years ago doing what they can help get Auburn back on top.”

Marquee matches upcoming

            … Loads of talent with gather for the Kitsap Peninsula Hammerhead Invitational wrestling tournament on Friday and Saturday at the Kitsap Pavilion. Doors open at 7:30 a.m. on both days of the competition and finals on Saturday start at 6:30 p.m.

There will be 42 teams present at the event.

… On Friday and Saturday, some of the Pacific Northwest’s top high school wrestlers gather at North Idaho College in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho for the 43rd Tri-State Invitational Wrestling Tournament. Many schools from Washington state will participate.

Top targets

… Lindsey and Apodaca both are off to 12-0 starts for Auburn.

Big performances

… Decatur hosted and captured its own Hurricane Harris Invitational on Saturday in its home gymnasium. The Gators dominated with 237.5 points with Bonney Lake finishing a distant second with 154 points.

… Kentwood captured the Battle at the Border, hosted by Blaine, on Saturday. The Conquerors had two individual titlists, but outlasted Beamer 224 points to 210.5 for the top spot in the team race.

… Tahoma knocked off two-time defending Class 4A state champion Lake Stevens 39-33 on Saturday as part of the Maple Valley Duals on the Bears’ home mats.

2014-15 preseason team & individual rankings

All Classifications page

http://washingtonwrestlingreport.net/rankings/

High school page

http://washingtonwrestlingreport.net/high-school-2014-15-page/

Here are three valuable wrestling resources on the web:

Searchable database for results

http://www.nwcaonline.com

Team and individual rankings, results

http://washingtonwrestlingreport.net/

Basic information

http://washingtonwrestling.com/

WIAA wrestling page

http://wiaa.com/subcontent.aspx?SecID=319

When there’s top performance or noteworthy event in high-school wrestling, please feel to send it to sports@seattletimes.com and to the attention of Matt Massey.

Comments | More in Wrestling | Topics: High school sports, wrestling

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