The Warrenton wrestling team will be among the favorites this week when the Warriors travel to Clatskanie for the District 2 meet Saturday.
“We are looking to improve on our third place from last year,” said Warrenton coach Corey Conant. “Our district is as hard as ever with six teams, including ourselves (ranked seventh) out of the top 11 in state.”
The shortened season has compacted both training and the meets.
“Everything has gone so fast,” Conant said. “We are wrestling while we are still getting in shape and down to weight, so the first part of the season had an exhibition or tune up feel to it. We had to wear masks while wrestling at our first few events, but the guidance changed and we were able to switch back.”
Tournaments have not been allowed by the Oregon School Activities Association, so all meets have been duals.
“We have essentially wrestled every team within 60 miles of us,” Conant said. “We are rounding into form. We have a large team and no small wrestlers. The lower three weights are empty, but we have two or more solid wrestlers at every other weight.”
Warrenton is led by seniors Nic Pior (145 pounds, two-time state qualifier and district champion) and Sam Irwin (195 pounds, two-time state qualifier, defending district and state champion).
The Warriors also have returning state qualifiers Josh Neihuser (182), Alex Tapia (170) and Aricin Rodriguez (132, defending district champion).
Seniors Duane Falls (182) and Julien Whitsett (126) “will also be pursuing trips to the 3A state,” Conant said, with the state meet scheduled for June 26 at Redmond High school.
“The season has been compressed and is anything but normal, but we are grateful for the chance to wrestle and excited to make our mark,” Conant said.
Meanwhile, seniors Marlie Annat (155) and Divine Godwin (125) anchor the Warrenton girls team. The north regional meet is scheduled for Friday at Tillamook High School.
A recent girls meet at Hood River was held outside, but was eventually rained out.
“The sun breaks between showers heated the mats significantly, so it was an experiment with mixed results,” Conant said.