Mead, Mt. Spokane and everyone else.
That’s been a common sentiment for the deep and talent-heavy Greater Spokane League, which has long produced state finalists and team trophy winners.
But Mead, a 4A power coming off a fourth-place state finish, and Mt. Spokane, aiming for a third straight State 3A title, have been a cut above the rest of the GSL’s other eight members.
The Panthers and Wildcats have been atop of the league the previous three seasons. Mt. Spokane edged the Panthers in a regular-season finale to earn the GSL crown last season.
Mt. Spokane – ranked No. 1 in the latest state wresting poll – and Mead are the overwhelming favorites again, according to league coaches.
The Wildcats return a half-dozen medalists from last year’s state-title team, including three-time state runner-up Jarret Sharp (113 pounds). Sharp, Ky Haney (132) and Casey Howerton (138) are ranked No. 1 in their respective weight classes.
Mt. Spokane coach Travis Hughes likes his team’s maturity.
“We should be good. The team has more upperclassmen than the last couple years,” Hughes said. “There’s good work ethnic and leadership. Keeping everyone healthy will be critical.”
Longtime Mead coach Phil McLean’s squad has finished third, second and fourth in the state’s largest classification the previous three seasons.
Mead graduated three-time state champion Chase Tebbets and two-time champion Chase Crawford, but the Panthers return 11 wrestlers with state tournament experience.
Top-ranked Chase Randall (126) finished second at state in 2018 but missed the tournament last season. Teammate Ryan Clark (126) took second at state last season and returns with another former medalist, Ben Voigtlaender (220).
“(Our) sophomores are talented, but we will have to mature fast to keep (us) at the top,” McLean said.
Seven of of the league’s 10 coaches predicted the GSL order of finish. Four chose Mt. Spokane and three chose Mead.
University was unanimously picked third. For the first time in 26 years, the Titans will be without Washington Wrestling Hall of Fame coach Don Owen, who retired earlier this year.
Owen was replaced by his former assistant, Ryan Montang, a former head coach at Timberlake.
The Titans return four state qualifiers.
“Looking forward to my first year leading the Titan wrestling program,” Montang said. “We have a great group of guys who believe in the vision of the program and have been putting a lot of offseason effort into establishing expectations for the team.”
Central Valley, picked fourth by the majority of league coaches, is the last team not named Mt. Spokane or Mead to win a GSL title (2016). The Bears return four state qualifiers, including defending heavyweight champion Braxton Mikesell.
Ferris welcomes back six starters and three state participants, including district champion Jake Davis (182). Gonzaga Prep returns seven starters.
North Central hopes to make a run at a 3A trophy after graduating state champions Clayton Gilliam (126) and Kadin Shaw (152). The Indians boast defending state champion Kenndyl Mobley (120) and Seven Zaragoza (106), who placed third at state last season.
“We have a lot of new wrestlers with with some athletic talent, but limited experience,” NC coach Mike Bundy said. “I guess time will tell.”
First-year Lewis and Clark coach Aaron Petak reports a young roster, led by state qualifier and senior Jordan Munir (170).
Rogers lost the bulk of its talent and experience, including four who earned a state medal in 2019. The Pirates have a turnout of roughly 50 wrestlers this year, including state qualifiers Isaac Sweeney and Yasir Ahmed.
Shadle Park is led by Juan Escobar (182), who is ranked No. 3 in 3A state after placing fourth earlier this year.
Great Northern League
East Valley returns a pair of standouts in Avery Sundheim (126), who placed second in 2A, and Jake Kessinger (145), who is ranked third. … Cheney is ranked No. 7 in the latest state poll, led by by second-ranked Blake Seubert (145) and fourth-ranked Dylan Straley (138). … Gaje Caro (160) is back for West Valley after placing fifth at state. … Gage Smith (113), who placed sixth at state as a freshman, leads Pullman. … Clarkston returns 12 starters and five state qualifiers.
Defending 1A champion Colville was hit hard by graduation but returns state champion Reuben Seeman (145) and second-ranked Logan Hydorn (113)…. Deer Park is loaded with skill and experience, including state champion Nathan Gregory (120) and second-ranked Matthew Jorgensen (132). … Medical Lake is a veteran squad littered with medalists and lettermen, including Ethan Davis (132), who won state in 2018. … Riverside is led by brothers Jonny DesRoches (132) and Sammy DesRoches (182), who placed second and third, respectively, at state last season. … Lakeside has seven returning state qualifiers, including medalist Ty Friedman (113). … Eight returners and three state qualifiers are back for 15th-year Freeman coach Chad Ripke. … Nate Allen (138) is back for Newport after placing fourth at state last season. The Grizzlies return five wrestlers with state experience.
Chewelah placed third at state last year and may do better this year with the return of state champions Kaden Krouse (182), Jake Jeanneret (182), as well as third-place Ezekiel Crocket (132), Justyce Acosta (126) and fourth-place Cole Davis (195). … Reardan also has depth with top-ranked Rylan Anderson (152) and second-ranked Cory Perryman (102) and Ethan Hall (138). … State champion Charlie Harrington (heavyweight) and fourth-place Sam Nelson (182) are back for Liberty. … Garrett Phillips (120) was a win shy of taking home a state title for Colfax last season and returns with Kolby Sisk (113), another medalist. … Davenport’s Aelex Plasencia (152) and Northwest Christian’s Sammy Manina (126) are looking to build off their respective fourth-place finishes. … Springdale heavyweight Nicholas Schurger lost to league rival Harrington (Liberty).
Back-to-back 5A champion Post Falls may have graduated one of the best wrestlers in Idaho history in four-time champion and current Nebraska freshman Ridge Lovett, but the Trojans return plenty of talent in returning champions Lane Reardon (120), AJ De La Rosa (138), Isaac Jessen (160) and 2018 champion Roddy Romero (113). … Gunner Giulio (152) leads last season’s 5A runner-up Coeur d’Alene after winning a state title. … Lake City, which placed fourth at state, returns defending state champion Caden Hess (106) and finalist Owen Hughes (205).