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Federal Way wrestling preview: Tillman hopes to lead Decatur to the top of SPSL South
High school wrestling is back and the Decatur Gators are excited about it.
The Gators finished 5-2 in the South Puget Sound League South Division a season ago. The record was good enough for third place in the eight-team division.
The Gators and head coach Mike Bressler are hoping to move up this year in the SPSL South standings. The biggest point scorer, both literally and figuratively, will be Decatur heavyweight Tevyn Tillman.
The senior 285-pounder is coming off a season that ended in an individual state championship inside the Tacoma Dome. As a junior, Tillman rolled over Kentridge’s LeRoi Edwards in the title match at the Mat Classic and finished 37-2 on the season.
The Gators also return another state tournament qualifier in 189-pounder Darren Faber. Other starters from last year’s lineup include Rad Krysa (112 pounds), Justin Hartinger (119), Tyler Thomas (130), Greg Bull (140), Dylan Aparis (152) and Nick Belcourt (171).
Thomas, Bull, Aparis, Faber and Tillman all kicked off this season with individual weight class wins at the Gator Invitational Tournament last weekend at Decatur. The Gators also won the team title at the nine-team tournament.
Decatur should be competing for the South Division championship with Rogers and Graham-Kapowsin. Rogers finished unbeaten a season ago and placed sixth at the state championships. Graham-Kapowsin lost one match in the South, but ended up second at the Mat Classic.
Beamer should also be fairly solid in the SPSL South Division. The Titans have two of the better middle-weight wrestlers in the South and the state in seniors Trevor Mills and Tyler Enos.
Mills finished fifth at the 2008 Mat Classic at 135 pounds after winning the regional championship and Enos ended up sixth at the state tournament at 140 pounds. Both will be back at the same weights this year.
Also returning for head coach Brett Lucas are regional tournament veteran Ben Draeger (160) and senior heavyweight Johnny Kemman.
The Titans also feature a very talented group of freshmen wrestlers, led by Tre Uson (103 pounds), Ares Carpio (119), Deshar House (119) and Aaron Set-heit (125). All four have wrestled with the Spartans Wrestling Club for the last several years.
“We have a great group of freshman and a couple of fantastic seniors,” Lucas said.
Jefferson should be a lot better than their 4-7 record from a season ago. The Raiders return most of their lineup, including state placer Ivan Mukomol.
“We will be much improved from last year,” said head coach Jess Workman. “Experience is something I can finally say (we have).”
Mukomol finished eighth last year at Mat Classic in the 119-pound bracket. Also back for the Raiders will be Zach Roth (189 pounds), Randy Hentges (160/171), Kyle McIntosh (135/140), Travis Reynolds (140/145), Paul Johnson (152/160), Zeke Nistrian (152/160) and Ian Pecoraro (125/130).
Three freshmen should also see significant varsity time this year — Kyle Williams (171), Steve “Gunner” Sonnenfeld (152/160) and Tyler Jones (103).
Federal Way High School finished winless in the SPSL North Division a season ago and things might look the same this year.
“We may struggle some this year because we are a rebuilding team that has a lot of youth and inexperience,” said first-year coach Travis Mango. “However, we have a lot of promise for the future.”
The Eagles and Mango are also hoping to build a strong girls wrestling program at Federal Way. The coach is having Eagle graduate Sally Roberts come visit the wrestlers during the season to talk about being a woman in wrestling. Roberts is currently on the United States National Team.
Sports editor Casey Olson: 925-5565, email@example.com