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Seniors Noah Ochs and Isaac Quesada lead the Wildcats into the 2019-20 season

COURTESY PHOTO: GREG ARTMAN - Isaac Quesada placed third in Class 5A at 120 pounds in the 2018 state wrestling tournament.

Wilsonville returns four wrestlers with state tournament experience.

The rest of the Wildcats lineup is a work in progress.

"I'm not entirely sure who we are yet," coach Jason Milham said. "We have the returners coming back that have a ton of potential, but that sophomore group. we're going to lean on them a little bit and see if they rise up to that challenge. I think several of them have the potential to do that."

Wilsonville opens the season Saturday at the Oregon City tournament.

"I'm excited for the season," Milham said. "We've got kind of a youngish team with some solid senior leaders that we think can do well, and we're looking forward to seeing what it looks like when we get on the mat."

Seniors Isaac Quesada and Noah Ochs will lead the Wildcats this year.

Quesada failed to make weight at the state tournament last season, but placed third in Class 5A at 120 pounds in 2018 as a sophomore.

At 220 pounds, Ochs went 2-2 in the state tournament last year.

"We're an interesting team," Milham said. "We've got those two strong seniors and then we're sophomore and junior heavy from there."

Junior Jake Moore, in his first year wrestling, also qualified for the state tournament at 220 last season.

Junior Caleb Wilde, who wrestled at 132 last year, is back after participating in the state tournament as a freshman and sophomore.

Of Wilsonville's 36 wrestlers, 24 are underclassmen.

Sophomores Luke Nelson and Marshall Rodenbeck are back after wrestling on varsity last season. Milham expects sophomores Austin Sharp and Kohl Kaiser to also make an impact this season, as well as freshman Josh Abarca.

"I think those kids can help us," Milham said. "There's a lot of potential there, but with that sophomore age, you have to wait and see how they respond and how they do."

The Wildcats finished fifth at the NWOC district tournament last season, after placing second the year before.

"I expect to finish in the top half of the league," Milham said. "Last year, I think that was just a function of having less kids in the tournament than the teams that beat us. I think 2-4 is probably realistic. I think it's going to be hard to beat Hillsboro as the returning league champion with a lot of kids coming back, but you never know until you wrestle the tournament."

Wilsonville is continuing to grow its girls wrestling program.

Sophomore Maddy Lay returns and will be joined by six new wrestlers, including five freshmen.

"We've been working hard to try to get that going," said Milham, who added that coach Dallas Malone has been tasked with leading the girls team.

Malone is an assistant coach for Wilsonville's girls soccer team and a former collegiate player herself.

"She doesn't have a bunch of wrestling experience personally, but her brother is a wrestler, her dad was a wrestler, and she's been around the sport for a long time," Milham said. "She knows what it takes to be successful, and she's willing to learn the details of wrestling. We're excited to have her on board, and we're working together to try to recruit as many girls as we can."

The girls will compete at the Rose City Championships on Dec. 13-14 at Westview and then the Liberty tournament Dec. 21.

Derek Wiley
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