Created on Monday, 30 November 2015 10:50 |
With experience and the biggest turnout in years, Milwaukie plans on making some noise in the NWOC this winter
Opponents may overlook Milwaukie in wrestling this year. But teams that do may do so at their own peril.The Mustangs struggled a year ago, going 1-6 in Northwest Oregon Conference dual meets and placing seventh at district.
Milwaukie team captains and the Mustang coaching staff believe things will be different during the upcoming season.
“We’ll have a full lineup this year, which should help a lot,” said Milwaukie junior captain Mikel Bremner. “We’ve got 47 wrestlers out, which is 15 more than we had last year.”
“We have way more depth than last year,” said senior captain Mountain Witzel. “We should have a full lineup. No forfeits.”
“It’s our biggest turnout in at least five years,” Milwaukie coach Brian Duhrkoop said.
“I think we have a chance to advance eight guys to state,” said senior captain Anthony Flynn. “Us five [captains Bremner, Witzel, Flynn, Jon Snyder and River Meyer], Chazz Amundson, Jake Hickey, and at least one more.”
The Mustangs are not without experience. They have 12 wrestlers with experience competing at the varsity level: seniors Witzel (170), Meyer (170) and Flynn (195); juniors Hickey (145), Snyder (152-160), Bremner (160), Todd Sjullie (170) and Ethan Dye (220); and sophomores Braddley Elmore (132), Romario Ramirez (132), Matthew Lee (138) and Chazz Amundson (182).
Flynn, who missed last year because of an injury, placed third at the NWOC district championship meet two years ago; Witzel placed fifth at 160 last year and Snyder placed sixth at 152 a year ago.
The Mustangs also have two talented freshman in 106-pounder Jacob Ashley and 120-pounder Bryant Smith, who have had success wrestling for the Mustang Mat Club youth program. Smith went 22-1 last year and won a state title in the School Boy Division of youth wrestling.
And the Mustangs have two skilled wrestlers new to Milwaukie in Jarrett Graff (113) and Juvoni Penn-Harris (145). Penn-Harris, a junior, is a transfer from David Douglas; Graff, a sophomore, is a transfer from Corbett.
“And we’ve got some really good athletes out for the first time as well,” said Meyer. “Guys like Josh Hill and Noah Ramirez from the football team. They’ve never wrestled, but they’re good athletes and they should help the team.”
The Mustangs have set ambitious goals.
“Have at lease eight people go to state,” said Bremner.
“Have varsity wrestlers at each weight class place at district,” said Meyer.
“Top three team finish at district,” said Flynn.
“Hillsboro and Sandy will be tough to beat,” Duhrkoop said. “But, if everyone stays out and everyone stays healthy, I could see us finish the season in third place [in the NWOC]. And I think we can qualify eight, and possible as many as 12 for the state tournament.”
Hillsboro and Sandy could prove tough for anyone in the conference to compete with. They return a host of wrestlers from teams that finished second and third in the state a year ago.
Milwaukie begins its competitive season tonight (Dec. 2), when the Mustangs entertain Silverton. League competition begins Thursday, Dec. 10, at Liberty.