Wrestlers face challenge of SPSL


Associate editor

DecaturŽ’s school colors are blue and gold, but the wrestling team is green this year after graduating nine varsity members, including state champion Ryan Trotter.

The Gators have won 30-straight dual-meets and two consecutive SPSL championships led by last yearŽ’s six SPSL champions (and a total of 11 finalists). But that streak is likely to come to an end as new wrestlers fill some pretty big shoes and gain varsity experience.

Ž“WeŽ’re real green,Ž” Decatur coach Mike Bressler said. Ž“WeŽ’ll be down, no doubt about it, but it will be a fun season watching these kids get better. IŽ’ll have to do a lot of coaching this year. But theyŽ’ll get better as the season progresses. TheyŽ’re young and scrappy.Ž”

One of the top returners for Decatur is BresslerŽ’s son, Kyle Bressler, who placed fifth at state last year. Kyle, a returning SPSL and Regional champion, will be wrestling at 189 this season.

Also back for Decatur is Jon Joseph, a regional qualifyer last year at 112 pounds, and Joe Isaac, a returning SPSL champion who will be back at 215 but will be sidelined for the first part of this season while recovering from a football injury.

Dustin English, Hoan Do and Dallas Harwood each bring varsity experience to the Gators. English was second in the SPSL tournament at 119.

As far as newcomers, Bressler said he would Ž“let them prove themselves before mentioning their names.Ž”

Bressler said Rogers, Spanaway Lake and Jefferson will be at the top of the SPSL South this season.

Ž“Jefferson is going to have a good squad,Ž” Bressler said. Ž“They have almost everybody back and they were pretty scrappy last year. TheyŽ’ll be good early in the season.Ž”

Decatur will get itŽ’s first test of the year when it faces the Raiders in the SPSL season-opener at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 12 at Jefferson.

The Raiders are starting to take shape under second-year coach Brett Lucas. Strong returners include senior David Markey, who took third in the SPSL at 112 last year, and senior Ricky Leiser, who was fourth in the SPSL at 215. Other seniors returning with significant varsity experience include Bryan Moherle at 130, senior Cam Warner at 135, Galen Hensley at 152, Nick Vincent at 171, and Jason Baker at 275. Vincent was sixth at regionals last year.

Ž“We had a strong group of juniors last year and theyŽ’ve all stepped it up as seniors,Ž” Lucas said. Ž“They want a little more and they know this is it.Ž”

Top newcomers for Jefferson include sophomores Michael Markey at 140 and Chris Lay at 103 pounds and seniors Chris Horne, Rick Aholelei, and Mark McLaughlin.

Ž“IŽ’m happy with the increased numbers of turnout,Ž” Lucas said. Ž“WeŽ’re getting more kids involved. I think weŽ’ll be more competitive, it just depends on how good everybody else is. I know we have some tough teams in the SPSL.Ž”

The Federal Way wrestling team is looking to rebuild into a solid program under first-year coach Frank Wood. He was unable to be reached for comment by press time.

Look for a preview of Federal WayŽ’s wrestling team in an upcoming edition of the Mirror.

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