Wrestling team capsules
Significant dates Jan. 7, 2012 — Nile C. Kinnick Invitational “Beast of the Far East” individual freestyle tournament, Nile C. Kinnick High School, Yokosuka Naval Base, JapanJan. 26-28 — 5th Okinawa “Rumble On The Rock” Tournament, Kubasaki High School, Camp Foster, OkinawaFeb. 4 — Kanto Plain Association of Secondary Schools championship tournament, St. Mary’s International School, TokyoFeb. 13-16 - DODDS Pacific Far East High School Tournament, individual freestyle and dual-meet, Purdy Fitness & Sports Center, Yokosuka Naval Base, Japan
Team capsules Division ISouth KoreaSeoul American Falcons2011 Far East tournament finish — Fifth in individual freestyle, fifth in dual-meet.Coach — Chris Dickinson, second season (coached in 2009-10).Wrestlers to watch — Devin Furner, Sr., 108 (fourth at 108 at last year’s Far East); Robert Rhea, Sr., 129 (fifth last year)Outlook — Rebuilding. Still lacking in overall numbers to be competitive as a team, though Rhea and Furner should score high in the Far East top six.
OkinawaKadena Panthers2011 Far East tournament finish — Second in individual freestyle, dual-meet.Coach — Chris Riley, first season.Wrestlers to watch — Gabe Ahner, Sr., heavyweight (second at heavyweight last year); Tyler Putt, Jr., 158; Thomas Cioppa, So., 115 (defending 108-pound champion).Outlook — Rebuilding-reloading. A program once known for coaching stability has its third head coach in three years. Ahner, Cioppa and Putt make for strong, if small, leadership core. Freshman Justin Sego could be a force at 122.
Kubasaki Dragons2011 Far East tournament finish — Third in individual freestyle, fourth in dual-meet.Coach — Ron Geist, second season.Wrestlers to watch — Steven Walter, Jr., 108 (defending 101-pound champion); Nick Barker, Sr., 115 (third in Far East); Sean Mathis, Sr., 122 (sixth in Far East); Zachary Standridge, Sr., 141; Aundrey Salter, Sr., 148; Mike Sink, Jr., 158; Fred Suniga, Jr., 215 (third at 168 last year).Outlook — Reloading, possibly contending. Especially strong at the lower weights the last couple of seasons. Plenty of new talent to go with experienced leadership core.
GuamGuam High Panthers2011 Far East tournament finish — Sixth in individual freestyle.Coach — Ed Paz, seventh season.Wrestlers to watch — Bryan Taijeron, 122 (second at 115 last year); Brandon Saville, 168 (fourth at 158 last year); Ian Hansen, 215; Kind Smith, heavyweight.Outlook — Contending on island, reloading for Far East. Panthers shared the island regular-season championship, giving them at least a share of five of the last seven island titles. Confronting the Panthers in February, as always, is that they’ll be two months out of season and they must convert to international freestyle rather than collegiate folkstyle used on the island.
JapanYokota Panthers2010 Far East tournament finish — Fourth in individual freestyle, third in dual meet.Coach — Brian Kitts, eighth season.Wrestlers to watch — Stanley Speed, Jr., 168 (third at 158 last year); Jesse Hogan, Jr., heavyweight (third last year); Jesse Christmas, Sr., 180; Bryce Yazzie, So., 108 (fifth last year); Mike Litman, Jr., 148 (fifth at 141 last year).Outlook — Contending, with nearly 40 wrestlers in the room and a junior or senior with three-plus years of experience in 11 weight classes; may become the strongest, deepest team Kitts has had.
Nile C. Kinnick Red Devils2011 Far East tournament finish — Eighth in individual freestyle.Coach — Gary Wilson, second season (coached in 2009-10).Wrestlers to watch — Marcus Boehler, Sr., 135, (three-time Far East champion); Aaron Stravers, Jr., 180.Outlook — Rebuilding. Last time Wilson coached the team, Kinnick won a Far East individual freestyle team title. Plenty of returning wrestlers, but most have just one year’s experience.
Division IISouth KoreaOsan American Cougars2011 Far East tournament finish — Fifth in individual freestyle, third in dual-meet.Coach — Duke Allen, first season.Wrestlers to watch — Brett Hammontree, Sr., 129; Kyle Tellers, So., 158; Kim Robahid, Sr., 108; Preston Blakely, Jr., 168 (transfer from Seoul American).Outlook — The mother of all rebuilding jobs Part II. Allen reports the Cougars got their greatest turnout in years, but most are inexperienced and working hard to improve. Still, Cougars should fill most of their weight classes unlike last year.
Daegu American Warriors2011 Far East tournament finish — Tied for third in individual freestyle.Coach — Luke Spencer and Kevin Jackson, second season.Wrestlers to watch — Jonathan Philley, Sr., 158; Daniel Santil, Sr., 215 (second last year); Xavian Washburn, Jr., 148.Outlook — Rebuilding, though the outlook is far better than a year ago. From just three wrestlers a season ago, Spencer and Jackson now have 20 in the room, and have filled all weights except one. Saintil, Washburn and Philley form the core of the team, which Spencer feels will exceed its finish of last year.
JapanRobert D. Edgren Eagles2011 Far East tournament finish — Second in individual freestyle, dual-meet.Coach — Justin Edmonds, eighth season.Wrestlers to watch — Matt Bernal, Sr., 215 (fourth last year); Cody Scherrer, Sr., 158; James Bowman, Sr., 141.Outlook — Rebuilding. It goes in cycles in Eagle Nation, and the team is facing something of a down cycle until reinforcements can be developed.
E.J. King Cobras2011 Far East tournament finish — Tied for third in individual freestyle, fourth in dual-meet.Coach — Joe Cockerel, first season.Wrestlers to watch — Darnell Vinson, Sr., 180 (second last year); Ian Cockerel, Sr., 215; William Smith, Jr., 148; Michael Christie, Sr., 168 (transfer from Wichita, Kansas).Outlook — Rebuilding. Cockerel is the team’s third coach in four years. Vinson has the goods to make a deep run at that elusive gold, all the while helping lay the foundation for the Cobras’ future; three freshmen and two sophomores are entering their first year on the mat. Christie brings a wealth of experience from the States.
Zama American Trojans2011 Far East tournament finish — Individual, dual-meet champion.Coach — Steve Scott, first season (has assisted every year except two since 1999).Wrestlers to watch — Eric Otero, So., 115 (fourth at 101 last year); Jacob Scott, So., 129 (third at 122 last year); Mitchell Harrison, Jr., 180 (third last year).Outlook — Reloading. First Trojans team to suit up without Chris Iredale coaching and three-time gold medalist Michael Spencer in lineup since 2007-08. Plenty of athletes to go with veteran blood, but matching last year’s feats may be too tall an order.