While the Kentridge High School wrestling team struggled last year in dual meets, the Chargers took third place in the South Puget Sound League tournament and sent several wrestlers on to regionals.
“I wanna do well in duals, but we emphasize getting to state,” Kentridge coach Todd Lantz says. “Our number one goal now is how many kids can we get to state.”
While his team contains a heavy number of veteran wrestlers, he still cites overall experience as the team’s biggest weakness.
“When you look at a lot of the other teams, like Tahoma, they’ve been wrestling for years,” he says. “They have kiddie programs, and for us a lot of our kids just turned out as seventh graders, eighth graders. We even have some kids come into it who haven’t been doing it till freshman year.”
Lantz says that the most important rule to staying on top of wrestling skills is constant practice.
“Wrestling is such a sport you have to wrestle year round,” he says. “If you don’t wrestle year round you’re never going to be that successful in the program, and that’s what we’re trying to institute here.”
Whether it’s the Tahoma Bear Claw Wrestling Club or Reality Sports Wrestling Club, Lantz’s primary goal is to encourage his wrestlers to continue their training in the offseason to build the team’s talent pool.
To help compensate for the experience gap, Lantz knows that he’ll need to have an aggressive set of wrestlers, and he believes that the best way to develop that trait is to pair rookies and vets during sparring. By doing so, he hopes the new wrestlers will learn from examples the vets set.
“The tougher our room is, the tougher all the kids will get, they’ll get better and stronger and more aggressive, and they’ll be more technical,” he says. “So to get the younger guys with the more experienced guys is the key.”
Of these veterans, he is particularly looking to sophomore Derek Freitag, who took fifth place at the recent Tri-State match, and also participated in state last year. “He’s just a tough kid,” says Lantz. “He understands his hips, he’s got great balance. I see good things from Derek.”
Lantz also has high hopes for senior Tanner Zeiler, who took fourth in the 2013 SPSL all division tournament. Other returners on Lantz’s radar are senior Daniel Vi and Philip Nguyen.
“We’re high intensity, high energy,” says Lantz. “We want to be an aggressive team, we don’t want to go out there and be scared of our opponents.”
Returning: Derek Freitag, 106 pounds, soph.; Reyes Trevino, 113, soph.; Tyler Lantz, 113, soph.; Savone Chham, 120, soph.; Philip Nguyen, 120, jr.; Tanner Zeiler, 126, sr.; Jian Chen 126, soph.; John Dickerson, 132, sr.; Conor Berlin, 138, jr.; Phoenix Copp, 138, soph.; Erick Medel, 138, jr.; Conor Berlin (transfer), 138, jr.; Petru Scheau (transfer), 145, jr.; Jesse Covey, 145, jr.; Jake Philpott, 152, jr.; Anson Smith, 160, sr.; Zach Seibel, 182, sr.; Justin Sandhu, 195, sr.; Jason Sandhu, 220, sr.; Daniel Vi, 285, sr.
New: Nathan Hobbs, 106, fresh.; Payton Viltz, 132, soph.; Kyle Slasor, 132, soph.; Matthew Holman, 145, jr.; Caleb Wiliams, 160, soph.; Reece Hobday, 170, soph.