Roseburg hoping to continue its dynasty in Class 6A

November 22, 2018

The Roseburg High wrestling team has used a pretty simple formula during its dominating run in the Class 6A ranks.

The Indians, who have won five consecutive state championships and taken down 10 of the past 12 titles under Steve Lander, have pushed themselves with a challenging schedule — especially in tournaments on the road — in the regular season. For most of the wrestlers, it’s meant taking some lumps along the way due to the tough competition.

But come district-tournament time, Roseburg is ready to dish it out against the rest of the Southwest Conference. And no one has been able to match the Tribe’s depth at the state tournament.

“Way down the line, the immediate goal needs to be just getting better every day and improving things we can improve,” Lander, in his 17th season as head coach, said. “In 60 to 70 practices, if we’re all doing that we’ll be a lot better by the end. The end is what people remember, so those are important matches. It doesn’t matter whether you win or lose until district or state because we plan on being a lot better by then.”

The Indians had a turnout of 51 last week, the lowest number in a long time, according to Lander. But there are 15 returning state qualifiers, six of them seniors.

“We’re starting with a few less than we normally do, but if it’s the right guys it’ll still work,” Lander said. “We’re excited about getting started, but it’s a long ways to the finish line.”

Among the losses to graduation were state champions Hunter Sparks and Brandon Jeffers. Sparks took his talents to Cal Poly.

“If we do what we should and do what we’re told, we should get it done,” replied senior Austin David, when asked if the Indians have the horses to make it six straight at state. “We’ll do our best, dominate and work as a team. As long as we do our best, we should be happy with it.”

“We can definitely win state again,” senior Logan Folsom added. “I know how hard we work ... we’re working hard 24/7, and when we get to the match it won’t be that big of a deal. We have to get everybody in the right weights.”

The returning state qualifiers include seniors Devin Folk (145 pounds this season), Bryson Diaz (152-160), Austin David (160), Ethan Stoner (160-170), Folsom (160-170) and Owen Vredenburg (195), juniors Cameron Cross (106), Archer Bergeron (145), Tristin David (145-152), Colin Rietmann (145-152), Rourke Martin (170) and Cayden Gingery (285), and sophomores Kahleb Diaz (126-132), Caleb Jeffers (145) and Darian Thacker (152-160).

Austin David was the state runner-up at 152 last year and finished with a 36-10 varsity record. Kahleb Diaz placed fourth at 120 and went 22-5; Jeffers was fourth at 132 and finished 24-10; Folsom placed fifth at 160 and went 30-16; and Bergeron placed sixth at 138 and was 9-6.

Rietmann (29-13), Martin (19-5), Tristin David (18-10), Cross (18-16), Stoner (16-5) and Vredenburg (15-2) all won at least 15 varsity matches last season. Cross, Jeffers, Rietmann, Austin David and Folsom won district crowns.

“We have a lot of good kids,” Lander said. “Obviously they have to get better, and increase their placing and consistency with some of the kids who spent time on JV last year. We have some weights where we’re backed up a little bit, so it’ll be a while until we can separate them and split them up in the lineup.”

The Indians have some talented freshmen led by Nash Singleton (113), Garrett Gallego (106-113) and Varrius Scanlan (132).

“I think all of them will do really well this year,” Folsom said. “They will be a key for us.”

Roseburg opens its season on Nov. 30, traveling to Keizer for the McNary duals. The Tribe will compete in the Coast Classic in North Bend Dec. 7-8.

“We have basically the same schedule, and we’re looking forward to it,” Lander said.

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