By Ray Hamill — A number of heavyweights have been impressing for the Eureka High wrestling teams through the first month of the season, as the Loggers continue to build momentum on the mats.
This weekend, both the boys and girls teams are competing at the Anderson tournament, before returning home to host their own Logger Classic next week.
And both teams are poised to make some noise in the coming weeks.
The Eureka girls have the deepest squad in the H-DNL and have been a force in the North Coast Section in recent years, as the Loggers continue to establish themselves as one of the premier programs in the entire section.
After losing their league title to the Del Norte Warriors last year, the Loggers will be extra determined to win it back this year, and with 18 girls on the roster they should have the depth and talent to do so.
“Honestly, for league I expect our ladies to do very well,” first-year head coach Jaime Hansen said. “I anticipate a handful of state qualifiers.”
Seniors Ava Bergovic and Maizie Fugate have been leading the way and helping to set the tone, while the team’s heavyweights, in particular, have impressed early in the season.
“We have four heavyweight girls that are building off each other and getting better all the time,” the head coach said. “I think they’re going to be something.”
The Eureka girls got the season off to a winning start and showed their intent with a team win at last month’s Battle at the Border tournament in Crescent City.
The Eureka boys team, meanwhile, is young and “up and coming,” according to the coach.
The lineup features mostly freshmen and sophomores and most of them are brand new to the sport.
They are, however, showing plenty of promise and Hansen is excited for the future of the program.
“I’m really happy with the program and what we’re doing and where we’re going,” she said. “We have great support.”
For the boys, Knolin Callender is another heavyweight who has impressed early in the season, placing at every tournament he has competed at.
“He kind of refuses to get beat when he’s on the bottom,” Hansen said of the spirited sophomore.
Senior Iain Clark also has impressed early at 145 pounds and is anticipated to make some noise in the H-DNL, as is junior Elijah Griffin, who is wrestling for the first time this winter after a standout fall on the football fields.
“He’s definitely been a surprise,” Hansen said of Griffin. “He’s highly athletic and I’ve been impressed with how quickly he’s learning the sport.”
Overall, the new head coach is more than happy with the attitude and effort of her wrestlers.
“They are fantastic,” said Hansen, who was an assistant with the program for the past few years under former head coach Clint Hunter. “Honestly one of the greatest groups of young gentlemen. They’re kind, they’re hard working and they listen. They’re a pleasure to coach.”
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