The Ridgeview wrestling team knows it will have to fight from behind at every dual meet this season.
Because of injury or ineligibility, the Ravens have had no available wrestlers in the lowest four weight classes, as well as no one in the 285-pound class, coach Dan Elliott said. The Ravens are giving up as many as 30 points to start each match, but the longtime coach is pleased with how the young wrestlers who are there have performed.
“Let’s win the points that are contested, and we’ve been able to do that, even against the really top teams,” Elliott said of the team’s attitude.
The team now has no seniors and two juniors, with the rest freshmen and sophomores.
“We’re, basically, wrestling a varsity schedule with a freshman and sophomore team,” Elliott said at a recent practice. “They’re having to step up, but they’ve still had a good deal of success overall.”
The Ravens have done better in tournaments based on individual point totals, instead of dual matches, Elliott said. Among their strong performances was at the Carey Larson Memorial tournament just before Christmas in Sandy, where the Ravens finished third of 14 teams.
Elliott said seven Ridgeview wrestlers placed in Sandy, including first-place finished by freshman Daniel Jaramillo in the 152-pound weight class and sophomore Cole Jackson at 195 pounds.
“I think the intensity in this room has picked up this year,” Elliott said. “Kids are preparing themselves well for competition. We’re still making some youthful mistakes, we’re still working on fundamentals and getting them correct.”
Jackson, who is now wrestling at 182 pounds, and Jaramillo, now at 145, are among several wrestlers that could qualify for the Feb. 22-23 Class 5A state tournament in Portland, Elliott said. Others include sophomore Tony Lochner at 170, sophomore Ethyne Reid at 145-to-152, freshman Joseph Martin at 220 and 126-pound junior Danny Cornejo, who Elliott said has cooled off a bit after a strong start.
“If he gets on fire, he’s got a shot,” Elliott said of Cornejo.
Martin hopes to use the Feb. 8-9 Intermountain Conference meet in Pendleton as a springboard to state.
“It would mean a lot to me,” Martin said of the possibility of reaching state as a freshman.
Jaramillo plans to work harder and build strong intensity going into the IMC meet, he said.
“I feel like I’ve been coming along pretty well, learning a lot of techniques,” he said.
The Ravens get their final tuneups before the regional meet this week. They play host to a three-way meet with rival Redmond and The Dalles Wednesday, before taking part in a tournament in Madras on Saturday.
They crossed the Cascades Jan. 26 for the final time before state, reaching the semifinals at the Tod Surmon Invitational at West Albany, where Ridgeview fell 45-16 against Dayton. The Ravens rebounded to take the third-place match 41-17 against Stayton. Jackson at 182 pounds and Ethyne Reid at 152 pounds each went 5-0 at the event.
Whatever happens the rest of this season, Jackson said the Ravens are looking strong for the future.
“There have been ups and downs, but we have a really solid team and good spirits,” he said. “We’re going to be a really solid team once we get a little older.”
— Reporter: 541-548-2186, firstname.lastname@example.org