Hawks, Royals focus on youth movement

  • By David Pan Enterprise sports editor
  • Wednesday, December 17, 2008 9:51am

The Lynnwood wrestling team’s roster includes a state returner and individuals that have never stepped out on the mat until this year.

The Royals’ top individual is senior Stephen Takashima, a 135-pounder, who advanced to Mat Classic and who won a match in the Tacoma Dome.

In a match against a state placer from Arlington, Takashima wrestled up a weight class and came away with a victory.

“He handled it well,” said Lynnwood coach Carl Wilkins. “He’s doing a good job.”

Wilkins expects Takashima to wrestle up a weight class for most of the regular season but to drop down to 135 for the postseason. Part of the reason is that Lynnwood has a promising freshman in Ramez Khalaf, who happens to be a 135-pounder.

Two other standouts are juniors Anthony Henderson (119) and Rodson Ubungen (119).

“We’ll be bumping one of them up,” Wilkins said. “Moving them up a weight class isn’t as big a deal, especially if they get better matches.”

Junior Luke Ulke (160) and freshman Zach Calkins are two other Royals that have shown promise.

The rest of the Royals’ lineup is short on experience but long on potential and enthusiasm.

“It’s very, very young,” Wilkins said. “They have a good attitude. We’ve got at least five who’ve never wrestled before. They’re coming around really quick.”

Mountlake Terrace coach Kanoe Vierra understands what his Lynnwood counterpart is dealing with this season.

The Hawks return only three individuals from a year ago.

“We have a whole new squad,” Vierra said. “We have three returning guys. The rest of them are green, first-year wrestlers.”

Vierra will look to senior Zach Leonard (145), junior Eric Quinteiro (119) and sophomore Taylor Call (160) to set the tone for the younger group of wrestlers.

“We do have some seniors who are first-year wrestlers,” Vierra said. “As far as wrestling goes, it’s going to be a real challenge to see how they perform.”

The Hawks should be able to fill out at least 10 of the 14 weight classes by the time everyone is healthy and eligible.

“It’s a real young team,” Vierra said. “We’re looking toward the future.”

For Meadowdale, the future is now. The Mavericks have both solid numbers and plenty of experience.

“I’ve got about six, seven seniors,” said Meadowdale coach Brian Boardman. “That can be very, very helpful. … My expectations are that they should do well.”

“We’ve always been blessed with large teams. … We have 25 freshmen. That is a huge squad of freshmen. We have some really good wrestlers in that group.”

Meadowdale only graduated two seniors last season. Last year’s juniors and sophomores saw a lot of action on the mat, which should bode well for 2008-09.

The Mavericks have about 45 individuals out for the sport. More importantly, many of the returners are self-motivated.

“They’ve spent a lot of time on their own lifting weights and going to camps,” Boardman said. “It’s a lot more than in the past. I think it’s going to be pretty cool.”

Key individuals to watch include Meadowdale’s Ramsey Neville (150), Phillip Stevenson (160) and Christian Adams (125). Meadowdale’s depth and talent should mean the team will be able to compete well in the league.

“I think as soon as when our weights are where we want them to be … we’ll be a very good dual meet team,” Boardman said.

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