After forfeiting matches (and points) at two weight classes for much of last season, the Cougars enter their 2013-14 campaign with decidedly more depth.
What the Canby wrestling team was able to accomplish last year came despite its lack of numbers.
What the Cougars are able to do this season, coach Jeremy Ensrud hopes, will be because of their renewed depth.
Were pretty solid, said Ensrud, who is entering his eighth year at the helm. We have almost three guys at every weight except for some of the upper weights. So we have a lot of depth and experience. There are only a couple guys who are really tough, but there are a lot of decently tough guys. Were pretty deep all the way through.
That depth will certainly help Canby, which went 3-2 in Three Rivers League matches last year. Maddeningly, the teams two losses came by a combined three points even as it competed with holes in its lineup.
Last year, we had two weight classes that were empty, and that always hurt us, Ensrud said. This year, we definitely have the numbers and the depth.
Although graduation stripped the Cougars of star Keith Nichols and four regional placers Rawley Warren, Jesse McCaffrey, Chris Norred and Jacob McKinnon the team returns with plenty of talent.
Noel Hygelund will vie for a state title after taking third place in the 152-pound bracket at the Class 6A championships last year. The senior will start his season at 160 pounds, Ensrud said.
He definitely has made some gains, Ensrud said. Hes very tough, very difficult to score on. (Assistant coach Trevor Lofstedt and I) both notice that hes very competitive. Hes got the potential.
Alejandro Sandoval (285) is also primed for a standout senior campaign after qualifying for the state meet with a second-place regional finish last season. He and fellow senior Nick Kraxberger will compete for time at the heavyweight slot, Ensrud said.
North Marion transfer Keltin Boykin also brings state-meet experience to the Cougars. He reached the Class 4A championships at 182 as a member of the Huskies last year.
Other likely contributors include freshman Gus Warren at 106, sophomore Alek Purtzer at 113, Jesus Zuriaga and Aaron Jarmer at 120, Sam Hintz at 152 and Jacob Posey at 170.
In the last seven seasons under Ensrud, Canby has had 70 state qualifiers and 35 state placers. The Cougars last individual state champion was current Oregon State wrestler James Roberts, who won it all in 2010. They have not won a team OSAA title since 1963.
Canbys season begins at 4 p.m. Dec. 6 with a tournament at Hillsboro High School. The teams first home meet is slated for 7 p.m. Dec. 11, and its league schedule starts Jan. 9.
Guys are competing to get into the varsity lineup, which is good, Ensrud said. We dont have a lot of standouts, but we have a good feeling that were going to be competitive.
AT A GLANCE
CANBY WRESTLING 2013-14
Coach: Jeremy Ensrud (eighth year)
Last year: 3-2 in the Three Rivers League; sent three wrestlers to the state tournament
Key athletes: Noel Hygelund, Alejandro Sandoval, Keltin Boykin
Key losses: Keith Nichols, Rawley Warren, Jesse McCaffrey, Chris Norred, Jacob McKinnon
First home meet: 7 p.m. Dec. 11
Outlook: Three state qualifiers Noel Hygelund, Alejandro Sandoval and North Marion transfer Keltin Boykin look to lead a Canby wrestling team that appears much deeper than it was last season.
12/6 Hillsboro tournament 4 p.m.
12/11 GRESHAM/REYNOLDS 7 p.m.
12/13 North Bend Coast Classic 11 a .m.
12/14 North Bend Coast Clsasic 8 a.m.
12/18 Crossover at Gresham HS TBD
12/21 CANBY TOURNAMENT TBD
1/3 Pacific Coast Invitational TBD
1/4 Pacific Coast Invitational TBD
1/9 OREGON CITY * 7 p.m.
1/11 Dallas tournament 10 a.m.
1/15 LAKE OSWEGO * 7 p.m.
1/17 Oregon Classic TBD
1/18 Oregon Classic TBD
1/22 West Linn * 7 p.m.
1/24 Liberty tournament TBD
1/25 Liberty tournament TBD
1/30 Lakeridge * 7 p.m.
2/5 CLACKAMAS * 7 p.m.
2/21 TRL/MHC finals 10 a.m.
2/22 TRL/MHC finals 10 a.m.
2/28 State tournament TBD
3/1 State tournament TBD
3/2 State tournament TBD
* Three Rivers League meet