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With a new high in turnout numbers, Trojans aiming to send lots of wrestlers to the state tournament

MOUNT ANGEL, Ore. — The growth of Kennedy's wrestling team continues heading into the 2021-22 season.

Not only are the expectations of the budding 2A program set higher than last year, but the sheer number of students coming out for wrestling is up as well. This past spring, 22 kids joined the team; now that number is up to 25.

When you talk to Kennedy head wrestling coach Dewey Enos the only way is up for the team that took second place in the 2A/1A Special District 1 championships last year.

"I want to improve every year," Enos said. "Finishing second (last year), the only way is up. Our goal No. 1 is to win a district title. From there, after that, we'll see who makes it to state."

The competition will be stiff. In the 2A/1A Special District 1 there are 13 teams, Kennedy included, so there isn't a scarcity of talented opposition. Vernonia will return a champion in the 138-pound division, Toledo had several state qualifiers who return to compete, and Enos believes Colton and Nestucca figure to be solid competition as well.

Regardless, the end goal remains the same for the Trojans wrestling coach: get that district gold and send his athletes on to the state competition.

For some of the returning wrestlers, that's also the big-picture goal. Junior Adam Beltran dealt with injuries last year that hindered his run to state, but the 113-pounder is cautiously confident ahead of the season.

PMG PHOTO: TANNER RUSS - Kennedy's Alex Geshwell and Adam Beltran run through the points scoring system for the newer members of the Trojans wrestling team.

"Last year I got fourth at districts with an injured shoulder," Beltran said. "I feel afraid … that I won't do good, but in my gut I know I can go to state."

Junior Alex Geshwell is another junior on the team, also in her third year of wrestling for Enos. The goal for her is less on collecting wins and avoiding losses but more on continuing to improve technically, specifically on finishing her shots.

"I mean, I really just want to get better fundamentally," Geshwell said. "Wins and losses will sort themselves out, but just being able to have my technique step up to another level is what I'm shooting for."

The team will take to the mat for the first time at the Deven Dawson Memorial Tournament on Friday, Dec. 3, hosted by Harrisburg.

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