Underclassmen wrestlers eager for more mat time
Scappoose wrestlings aren't wasting time this season.
After a short season last school year, the girls and boys teams dove right back in for the winter season — both experienced upperclassmen and underclassmen who started the season with little to no high school wrestling experience.
"Our sophomores are basically freshmen," coach Branden Bailey said, explaining that the six-week season last year and no real off-season activity didn't offer anywhere near the same advancement that a full year usually provides.
But, Bailey said, "We have a few freshmen and sophomores that are jumping in and contributing at the varsity level. They're coming in, putting in the work, getting early opportunities to fill some holes, and they're learning alongside a group that has a lot of experience and a lot of time on the mat."
On the girls team in particular, the older wrestlers "do a really good job of being inclusive and getting girls out," Bailey said.
Scappoose had five wrestlers place at state last year and return this year.
"All five of those guys have done a good job of becoming team leaders and developing a culture of hard work in the room, for sure," coach Nick Byrd said.
Turnout is slightly lower than pre-pandemic seasons.
"I think, just like everybody else, we're still bouncing back from the last couple of years," Byrd said.
Siblings Anna Rintoul and Benjamin Rintoul are two assets to the team.
Senior Anna Rintoul, competing in the 190-pound class, and junior Benjamin Rintoul, in the 160-pound class, kicked off the season in early December, both taking second place at the Perry Burlison tournament.
Benjamin Rintoul, Trey Dieringer and Anthony Comer, all juniors, each took first place in the Muilenburg tournament in December.
Comer "has done a good job at developing into a team leader, and it's really starting to show on the mat," Byrd said.
Maverick Heimbuck, a freshman who also runs cross country, has been a strong addition to the team at the 138-pound class.
"He has one of the best work ethics and (is) one of the toughest kids who've come in as a freshman in a long time," Byrd said.
"Just last week, he lost three matches, all by just a couple points, to a state finalist in 5A, a state finalist in 4A, and then a fifth-place guy in 6A. So he had three losses last week, all by single-digit points, but all the really high-level kids. So him coming out as a freshman and competing at that level has been really encouraging," Bailey said.
Bailey said junior Courtney Hall was also only taking loses in tough matches. The 120-pound class, which Hall is in, is "a super-tough weight class," Bailey said.
Hall has "been dominating this year," Bailey noted.
"She's lost a couple matches to girls that are ranked highly nationally," he added. "She's not losing to random people."
For the younger wrestlers, seeing the dedication and work ethic of the team's best wrestlers is an important lesson.
"Our goal as a program is to always give ourselves a chance to trophy at the state tournament, and I think we're on track for that," Byrd said. "For some of our younger guys, our goal is to get to know what wrestling at a high level looks like and get that buy-in to wrestling at a high level and put in the work that is required to wrestle at that level."
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