Cheney Free Press -

By PAUL DELANEY
Staff Reporter 

Not much rest in offseason for Cardinal wrestlers

Leenhouts has busy offseason ahead prepping for 2018-19

 

Paul Delaney

Matt Leenhouts had a memorable first season as Medical Lake's new head wrestling coach.

Fresh from a very notable trip to Mat Classic XXIX where his team took home an individual state title, Medical Lake's first-year head wrestling coach Matt Leenhouts is not letting the embers die.

The Cardinals returned home last week with freshman Ethan Davis with his hands on a trophy from winning the 1A 132-pound title, the school's first since 2004 and the only time for a first-year competitor at the school.

Two more freshmen, Jun Figueredo (113 pounds) was third and Alex Gonzalez (126) sixth. They were part of a group of seven wrestlers who earned berths in the 1A event and three more who were alternates.

Northeast A League Deer Park won the team title with 159 points followed by Colville (136) and Freeman (116) as the local league dominated much of the competition. Cardinals (56.5 points) were 13th.

"Not bad, not bad," Leenhouts said of the season where his team finished third in the regular season NEA standings.

But Leenhouts has his sights set on bigger things for his team next season. "Out of our 36 I think we have 33 returning," he said.

His initial goal was just to grow the program, which he did by attracting 36 wrestlers. "My first thing was to get the numbers up," Leenhouts said.

Leenhouts' new mission is to have a turnout of 50 and make a run at the Northeast A League leaders, Colville, Deer Park and Freeman. "Freeman was our dual-league champs and we beat them," Leenhouts said. "We're right there, we're just a year away."

"Then we just went to work, I knew we were going to be really young," Leenhouts said. Goal two was to get back to the basics and get in shape.

While the roster had a significant number of fresh faces, at least at the high school level, "The youth did not disappoint," Leenhouts said.

The team sent 10 athletes to Tacoma, seven of who actually competed. That's more in one season than the last four years combined.

"We had two last year, one the year before that and none the year before that," Leenhouts said.

And if an ambitious offseason of competition and camps pays off those numbers could increase.

A Freestyle program kicks off on March 4 and is designed for kids that do not play a spring sport. It's the first of about a half-dozen opportunities to compete for athletes in grades eight through 11. Between 20 to 30 are expected to be part of that program.

"It gives them a ton of mat time," with the opportunity for 6–8 matches if they keep winning, Leenhouts said.

While designed around those kids who do not generally play spring sports, the Freestyle program still attracts some athletes who run track. "We only practice one day a week," Leenhouts said.

The off-season also includes attending a camp at noted collegiate wrestling power, Cal Poly. The 18 participants will bus to San Luis Obispo for the June 22-28 school. "We can't afford to fly, we're not quite there yet," Leenhouts said with a laugh.

Davis, Gonzalez and Figueredo will travel to Fargo, N.D. for Freestyle Nationals, also in June. In addition, Davis will head to Virginia Beach, Va. for freshman high school nationals.

Medical Lake Wrestling 2017-18

Wrestler W-L

Ethan Davis 44-7

State champ at 132

Jun Figueredo 33-13

3rd place at 113

Alex Gonzalez 27-15

6th place at 126

Weston Thomas 30-16

3X state participant at 113

Izaiah Schlosser 24-13

State qualifier at 220

Josh Figueredo 35-14

State qualifier at 145

Justin Warnick 25-17

2X State qualifier at 138

Skyler Peterson 23-18

State alternate at 106

Sam Griffey 29-16

State alternate at 160

Nick Thompson 11-19

State alternate at 285

Jon Anderson 15-9

120 pounds

Brayden Petersen 25-17

145 pounds

Nate Stevens 21-17

160 pounds

Chris Hurt-Moran 25-15

182 pounds

Colton Ellis 6-2

285

Ben Henry 17-13

106 pounds

Haili Threadgill 13-7

110 pounds

Nic Anderson 11-11

132 pounds

Brandon Giles 25-13

132 pounds

Kamanakai Paikui 12-11

126 pounds

Brent Keith 12-5

152 pounds

Evan Peterson 18-13

138 pounds

Jarod Pendell 11-12

145 pounds

Jake Olmstead 16-13

132 pounds

Victor Long 18-9

138 pounds

Paul Delaney can be reached at pdelaney@cheneyfreepress.com.

 

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