The Anacortes High School wrestling team is bigger this year and already winning, and coach Michael Lomsdalen said things are looking bright for the season.
The team is up to about 30 members this year, the biggest Lomsdalen has seen as head coach. Normally, numbers range between 16 and 20 athletes.
This year, there are two girls on the team, Lomsdalen said.
Because the team is so big, he is able to split it up when there are multiple meets on the same day, so each group of athletes can compete in meets that work best for them, he said.
The AHS team hosted a match last week and found wins against Burlington-Edison and Oak Harbor.
The Seahawks defeated the Tigers 44-32 and the Wildcats 46-28.
“I was very proud of how the boys wrestled tonight. We came ready to battle against two very tough teams,” Lomsdalen said.
The Seahawks were the beneficiaries of several solid efforts against both opponents.
“We picked up a big win at 160 pounds with Rylin Lang defeating Gus Menne of Burlington 18-9,” Lomsdalen said. “It was a close match going into the third, and I loved how Rylin kept attacking and pulling away. And Adrian Castro after a long absence off the mat picked up two important pins.”
Also winning two matches for the Seahawks were Eljiah Ekert, Gavin Lang, Rylin Lang, James Fredrichs, Kaden Jacobson and Garrett Bickley.
The match with Oak Harbor is kicking off a new rivalry, Lomsdalen said. The two teams are calling it the Battle of the Anchor, and there is a large anchor trophy on the line each year, he said.
The victories at this tournament aren’t the only ones the Anacortes team found this year. They placed well the week before in tough tournaments, Lomsdalen said.
“We’re off to a good start,” he said.
On Saturday, Dec. 11, Rylin Lang won a title in the 160-pound weight class.
The Seahawks team, which placed sixth, had five wrestlers place in the tournament: Gavin Lang (second, 145), Talin Kerr (third, 106), Jordan Jopson (third, 132), Dominic Ellertson (fourth, 106) and James Fredrichs (fifth, 160).
The team has big goals this season, with plans to improve each week. That means finding the right competition for the athletes and excelling where they can, Lomsdalen said.
Building up confidence is important, especially with many young wrestlers on the team this year, he said. Many are still getting their footing.
One key returner this year is Gavin Lang, who took eighth at state as a sophomore. Now a senior and a team captain, he has been working in the off-season and will likely excel this year.
Jacobson is also a key returner this year, as are Tony Rios and Hayden Bumgartner.
This is the first group that Lomsdalen has coached all four years, so he’s looking forward to closing out their careers on a high note this year.
A strong group of underclassmen is getting ready for a time to shine.
“The future looks really bright, even after this group of seniors graduates,” he said.
The wrestlers want to excel at districts and make it into the top 10 teams at state, he said.
The team hosts Bellingham, Lynden and Sehome at 7 p.m. today. They next compete again at 7 p.m. Jan. 6 at Bellingham.