The Goldendale Sentinel - Headlines & History since 1879

By Andrew Christiansen
The Sentinel 

Wolves are a competitive team, hope to double numbers to State


Jeff King

GOLDENDALE WRESTLING: The 2013-14 Timberwolf wrestlers are: front row (l-r): Michael Holmes, Zach Cully, Nicholas Dix, Avery Walker, Jeremy McElroy, Reggie Sargeant, Leroy Miller. Middle row (l-r): Cameron Read, Demetrius McCoy, Ruben Finn, Kyle Wilkins, Ben Wooden, Dean Enstad, Nicholas Foss, Colby Valladares. Back row (l-r): Assistant Coach Matt Dumolt, Zane Cully, Mark Briggs, Daniel Wedgwood, Bryce Wilkins, Tristan Sheppard, Michael Jagelski, Jakeb Partlow, Head Coach Omar Flores. Not pictured: Trent Radway.

Goldendale has a nice mix of seniors and young talent on this year's wrestling squad. There are seven seniors, one junior, 11 sophomores and four freshmen.

Three Timberwolves made it to State last year. That number could be doubled in 2014 with a flush of talented young wrestlers on this year's squad, says Head Coach Omar Flores.

The seniors are setting the pace, particularly Kyle Wilkins and Dean Enstad who, along with Zach Cully, are the only ones with Mat Classic experience. Wilkins was the only State medalist last year, and he is off to a good start this year. He didn't have a lot of matches in December, but when Wilkins was on the mat, it generally ended in a win by pin. Wilkins took the sixth place medal at State in the 170 pound division last year and is looking to improve on that this year at 182 pounds. Wilkins has been more of a defensive wrestler, but Flores is hoping for more of an attack and first move mentality to get Wilkins higher in the medals this year.

Enstad is another senior who made the trip to State last year, but it didn't end well and he is motivated to have a better finish in 2014. Enstad has been a quick pinning machine at 160 pounds this year, quite a jump considering he competed at 138 pounds at State. He will likely be at 152 this year, still a two division leap. Enstad has learned to be the one making the action with the first move. Flores says Enstad has learned the pace of a match and wrestles with a lot of confidence. He is in a tough weight division, but is expected to be highly ranked and a medal contender in 2014.

The third wrestler who made it to State last year is Zach Cully. It was an emotionally overwhelming achievement for the senior who was an underdog at Regionals. He was out-matched at State and didn't last long, but he has a taste of Mat Classic and he has an idea of what it takes to get there. Cully will contend this year at 285. He goes in around 240, making it a challenge to out-maneuver the bigger wrestlers in his division.

The other seniors are Jakeb Partlow, Reggie Sargeant, Ben Wooden and Tristan Sheppard. Partlow has a good shot at making it to State. Partlow has been very strong in the early going this season. He has been handling opponents in the 195 pound division with his strength and determination. Coach Omar Flores sees Partlow as a wrestler who may be a year late, as a senior. He is a strong contender to make his first trip to Mat Classic, but he will have to really be on his game to get into the medals as a first-timer at the spectacle of Mat Classic.

Sargeant and Wooden will have to dig deep in this their final shot to make it to State. Sargeant is a powerful, stocky wrestler at 220 pounds. He sometimes struggles with the pace of the match and is over-eager, making himself vulnerable to pinning situations. But, he has the strength and experience to be a handful for other wrestlers in the division. Wooden has a tough road ahead of him due to the competition at 182 pounds. He will have to get by at least two other wrestlers on his own team, just to have a shot. Wooden is a skilled wrestler, but needs to avoid becoming too defensive. He will have to pick up the pace to get to Regionals.

Sheppard is a transfer student who wrestles at 285. He has the size to go against the bigger wrestlers and he has mastered a throw but will need to do better on the mat. He is good to have on the squad as he and Cully can compete and make each other better.

There could be some surprises emerge from the big group of sophomores, but the best chances are Bryce Wilkins at 160 pounds, Zane Cully at 220 pounds and Mark Briggs at 145-152 pounds. Wilkins is the third brother who could make the trip to State, following Kurt, a fourth place finisher in 2012, and Kyle, last year's sixth place medalist. Wilkins had a huge growth spurt, growing three inches and jumping from 138 to the 160 pound division where he is likely to stay. His height gives him a leverage advantage that he will have to learn to use. He is coming off a football injury and still has some work to do, but he will be a ranked competitor come District.

Cully wrestles at 195-220 pounds against some experienced competition. Flores says he has good power in his hips and lower half and could be a year away. Flores compares him to Partlow and puts Cully ahead of where Partlow was as a sophomore.

Briggs was the little guy, relatively speaking, last year on a team that always cedes points at the lower weights due to lack of small wrestlers. Briggs was scrappy at 132-138 last year. This year he has that same quickness but is at 145-152 pounds. Briggs is a determined wrestler who too often is fighting his way from behind. Once he learns to make the first move, he will be hard to contend with. He has a shot of making it to his first Mat Classic.

Big question marks lie in the next group, all of whom show winning potential. They include Demetrius McCoy, Nick Dix, Nic Foss, Avery Walker and Trent Radway.

McCoy is very aggressive and good on strength and conditioning. He lacks experience, but is a willing student and can't be ignored at 170 pounds. Dix is a good wrestler at 132 pounds, but it is a division that is particularly strong in the SCAC. This may not be his year, but he will gain great experience as he already has the tools. Foss has the tools and just needs to learn the pace of matches and improve conditioning, a constant theme of Flores' applying to all of the wrestlers. Walker and Radway show much promise. Flores says Radway is gaining a lot of experience wrestling Enstad in practice. "He found it tough at first, but has stuck with it in a tough division," says Flores. He is one of five wrestlers in the 160-170 pound range. Walker hasn't seen a lot of action, but Flores sees him as a future winner in the league.

The remaining sophomores, Michael Holmes, Jeremy McElroy and Daniel Wedgwood have shown some spark, too. Holmes is at the talent-loaded 182 pound division, so will probably see mostly JV matches. McElroy will get some opportunities at 285, but Goldendale is pretty solid there, too. Wedgwood can help out on team competition at 145 pounds where the Timberwolves are a little thin, depending on where Briggs settles in.

There is also excitement among the group of freshmen, particularly with Cameron Read who has a legitimate shot at getting to Regionals. He is probably the number two wrestler at 182 and the only thing holding him back is freshman experience in a division dominated by juniors and seniors.

Another is Leroy Miller at 126 pounds. Miller can be a key player in team competition because he helps out in a division that is a perennial weak spot for Goldendale. There is tough competition in the SCAC in those lower divisions, but with a more aggressive approach and experience, Miller can succeed.

The other freshmen are Michael Jagelski at 132 to 138 pounds and Colby Valladares at 145 pounds. Jagelski, like Miller is good to have at the lower weight division. Valladares shows some potential and is in the same situation as Wedgwood.

Ruben Finn is the sole junior on the team. He has been on a steep learning curve, but has stuck with it and is looking more comfortable on the mat. At 170 pounds, Finn is in that group of wrestlers battling for just a couple of spots and throughout the league, 170 is always a tough class.

So, expect improvement this year with maybe as many as six wrestlers to State. Just as big is the prospect of having a large contingent at Regionals, allowing the Timberwolves to get back into the conversation of District and Regional team placing. The Wolves last won District in 2007, a banner year in which they were third at Regional and sent eight wrestlers to State. Flores was SCAC Coach of the Year that year. His assistant, Matt Dumolt won the honor for Assistant Coach of the Year in 2011.


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