Skyline High School wrestling struggles to fill top of roster

November 27, 2012

By Lillian O'Rorke

With 32 athletes already signed up and several returning state qualifiers, the Skyline High School wrestling team is hopeful as it continues to hunt for a heavyweight competitor to complete the lineup.

“We are strongly optimistic. We have a good bunch of returning young men and we have some good athletes that are turning out,” coach Gus Kiss said.

The Skyline Spartans finished 7-3 last year in KingCo dual meets and qualified four wrestlers for the State Mat Classic, including Kara Alden. The team’s only female went on to become the team’s top finisher after taking sixth place in the 145-pound girls division. She returns this year as a junior.

The Spartans may be struggling to fill the top of their roster, but there is no shortage of competition in the lower weights. After qualifying for state at 106, Griffin Howlett returns this year a senior and is looking to fill the varsity’s 113 or 120 slot. He’s got his work cut out for him at 120 — senior Justin Manipis is also eyeing the weight class. Manipis won the 113 KingCo title last year after beating fellow teammate Joseph DeMatteo, 2-0, in the championship match. But due to a foot break, his season ended there.

“He is going to be a sleeper,” Kiss said about his team’s secret weapon. “He is going to turn heads. The fact that unfortunately he broke his foot last year didn’t allow him the opportunity to wrestle at regionals or possibly state … doesn’t mean he shouldn’t be there this year.”

DeMatteo went on to qualify for state and returns this year as a junior looking to make weight at 126 or 132. Fellow classmate Tristan Steciw also qualified for state last year at 120 and is also looking to occupy 126 or 132. The team also has three regional qualifiers — junior Joey Gurke and seniors Cyrus Sarkosh and Michael Mecham — returning.

“They certainly will lead the way,” Kiss said. “There’s some good core kids coming.”

Others returning to the team include seniors JC Abboud, Sean McAlhaney and Alex Smith; junior Kody Nguyen; and sophomores Tyler Aguirre, Nate Swanson and Garin Swanson. Newcomers are Pierre Abboud, Adrian Abraham, David Balind, Conrad Black, Peter Daynes, Ricku Dua, Paul Eremenco, Jacob Gehrett, Kristopher Grubber, Nate Jensen, Sandor Jimenez, Rohit Kalyanpur, Rohit Kumar, Henri Kunold, Boden Longmore, Jacob Mallula and Nate Tilley.

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