With Century's exit out of the Metro League and the district returning to its Beaverton-based-schools only roots, Aloha's chances at presiding atop the conference certainly soar.
But the Warrior wrestling program was and is always rooted in excellence regardless of the opposition. Their work habits, attention to detail, toughness and ability to groom grapplers from a young age all the way through the high school level is up there with the likes of Roseburg and Newberg in terms of long-term greatness. Over the last six years or so Westview has engaged in a wholehearted arms race against Aloha in an attempt to overthrow Metro. The Wildcats are drawing closer, but Aloha is still the undisputed barometer for a district that will surely miss Century's clout, but will still be as fierce as ever.
"All of our wrestlers, new and old, have made some great strides already this early in the season, and I am really confident that we will be vying for that district dual meet title and the district tournament title," Aloha head coach Timothy Yee said. "We are a very young team this year, but there's a lot of untapped potential in our newer wrestlers to help us score points during that district tournament."
Interestingly enough Yee wanted his team leaders to apply for captaincy this season rather than have the program's wrestlers each vote as is custom. He wanted his potential captains to feel empowered and confident enough to come forward and put themselves out there as Aloha's authority figures, guys who are fully invested in the program, not just their own well being. The five individuals who Yee viewed as leaders turned those applications in: Jackson Rosado, Colton Fleming, Payton Volk, Kieran McCalpin and Colton Melton.
"All of these individuals have the qualities any coach looks for in a leader, they lead by example in our wrestling room," Yee said. "They all want to see our program succeed and continue to succeed, they are very coachable, and the newer wrestlers look up to them."
Rosado is a monster at 152 pounds, a pitiless, pin-hungry sophomore who tosses opponents around like a linebacker on the football field and does so without remorse. In the district title bout last year against Southridge senior Joseph McRae, the then-freshman Rosado whipped the Skyhawk with pure physicality and tenaciousness. Those around the program think Rosado has state championship potential. Fleming is a supremely focused, no frills, driven individual who's been to the Class 6A state tournament before and won matches under the bright lights of the Memorial Coliseum. The junior takes on that fabled Warrior no days off work ethic, putting in hours and hours on the mat, running miles to keep weight off, sticking to a meticulous diet.
Fleming, Volk, Rosado, McCalpin and Melton make up a middleweight class lineup from 145 pounds through 182 pounds that's fearsome and experienced. Yee expects each to contend for a district title as well as 126-pound Jarod Flores. Yee said he's coaching a number of individuals who will be in the finals for the district title, some of those individuals will be wrestling each other for the district title as well. Yee also said he would not count out our younger wrestlers who are currently vying for varsity sports. Freshmen TJ Turner (106), Alex Rodriguez (120), and Trevor McCoy (145) should make a solid run during the district tournament this season. The Warriors are slated to compete in the Rose City Invitational at Westview High, the Reser's Tournament of Champions in late January in addition to their dual meet with Westview at home on Jan. 17. Yee expects the Wildcats to be raring to go for what should be a great head-to-head battle.
"With the league now being the Beaverton schools, I see Westview as the school to give Aloha a challenge for the district title, as they have a lot of talent in certain weight classes and they always have great numbers during the season," Yee said. "I also would be on the lookout for Beaverton, they have a new coach in Josh Johnson, who will do a tremendous job with the student-athletes over there."