Grangeville High School coach Tyler Bransford told the Free Press he has eight Bulldogs interested in wrestling this season, but a couple of them haven’t yet been cleared to compete.
That means GHS will start the season with six, including freshmen Anjel Kent and Wyatt Strouser, sophomore Gavin Gibleau, junior Sebastian Darwish and seniors Brittney Benavidez and Bladen Farmer.
Benavidez will be competing mainly at girls-only tournaments this season, Bransford said, so GHS looks to have five competing on the main schedule, which opens this Saturday morning, Dec. 7, at Potlatch.
Look for Kent to compete at 132, Gibleau in the 130-140 weight classes, Darwish at 170, Farmer at 182 and Strouser at 220.
“Anjel is pretty experienced for a freshman, coming up through USA wrestling,” Bransford said, noting there are 65-70 regulars in the youth program. “A lot of those eighth graders will bring a lot of experience in as freshmen if they stick with it.”
The varsity faces a tough district at many weights, and Orofino — depending on turnout — pencils as a very strong team.
Farmer returns having been through some bad luck due to injury last season, Bransford said.
Darwish wrestled well as a freshman and returns to the team having matured and “got stronger,” Bransford said.
“We’re looking for the young wrestlers to get some experience under their belt and to have the upper classmen finish out their careers strong,” Bransford said of his aims for this season.
Grangeville has not yet scheduled a home date or a senior night, but Bransford said he is hoping to work one out for a mid-week evening in January.
The district tournament is slated for Feb. 22 at Potlatch; state is Feb. 28-29 in Nampa.