Bigger team could lift Juanita wrestlers to top this season
December 22, 2008 · Updated 11:58 AM
A big influx of sophomore wrestlers has provided optimism for the Juanita wrestling team.
The team has 23 wrestlers and over half are sophomores. Juanita coach Jeff Keener said the team has averaged about 14 wrestlers per season in his previous three years.
“It’s a nice thing,” Keener said of the bigger team. “I’m used to working with my smaller numbers, but this makes things a little easier.”
Keener said his relationships with the junior high coaches and teams have helped him boost his numbers this season because students that were in seventh grade when he started at Juanita are now sophomores, and many of them are on the team.
Senior Jake Brown leads the team. Brown wrestled at the 4A state meet (125 pounds) last year and made it to the finals of the Lake Washington Tournament Dec. 13. Brown will wrestle at the 119-pound class this season.
Another senior to watch is Aaron St. Martin. St. Martin wrestles at 135 pounds and was a district champion last season. The two other varsity seniors are Matt Skurnik at 152 pounds and Jory Jamilton at 215 pounds.
Keener picked up two transfers from Evergreen -- sophomores Jeremiah Laufasa and Cody Treddenbarger. Laufasa wrestles at 189. Treddenbarger is a heavyweight, at 285 pounds.
“For those two, wrestling comes second to football,” Keener said. “They wrestle to stay in shape for the football season, but that’s great. They’re good wrestlers.”
Michael Przystupa should make an impact for the team later in the season. The sophomore wrestles in the 145-pound weight class.
Other impressive sophomores are Logan McCallum at 171 and Jonathan Iwazaki at 112.
Even though Juanita has a bigger team than usual, the team will still have trouble filling out some weight classes. There are seven Rebel wrestlers between 145 and 160 pounds. The also doesn’t currently have a wrestler ready to go in either the 103- or the 140-pound weight class.
But even if the numbers don’t match up perfectly, Keener said it’s still great to have a surplus of wrestlers.
Juanita moved from 4A to 3A this year to better fit its enrollment figures, but that switch didn’t change much for the wrestling team.
The Rebels face Bellevue and Mercer Island during the season -- both 3A schools -- but all of their other opponents are 4A schools.
Once Juanita gets to the district level of the postseason, the team will drop down and face strictly 3A opponents.
Keener said he wants his team to finish among the top three teams in the KingCo and then he said his group has “as good of a shot as anybody at winning the district title.”