ARLINGTON — Veteran wrestling coaches Rick Iversen and Barry Knott are running what should be an impressive wrestling program for Arlington High School this year, and as the season gets started, strong potential state competitors show their skills.
Knott is glad to have a host of experienced coaches building up the wrestling team.
“Coach Iversen and I joined this staff last year,” said Knott. “Iversen had been head coach at Western Washington University and Marysville-Pilchuck for 25 years and I was head coach at Nathan Hale, Lake Washington and Bellermine Prep for about 25 years. We’ve got Jim Smoots, who has been coaching here for 17 years, Gary Niklason who was an ‘81 graduate and state competitor, and Scott Anes, an Everett firefighter and wrestler.”
Knott added, “The five of us are working on building a program that focuses on the Arlington wrestling family,. Last year we had girls for the first time in Arlington wrestling history. This year we have about six to eight girls, and 53 total athletes.”
This year has brought on more athletes, perhaps due to the success of the team in 2012.
“It’s bigger this year than last year and it’s growing,” said Knott. “We anticipate great success this year. The team is still relatively young, though, and we are in a tough league. Lake Stevens, Snohomish and Stanwood are all in our division and other Wesco teams like Oak Harbor, Edmonds-Woodway and Everett are going to be really tough. But we are expecting that by the end of the season we’ll see a successful group of wrestlers at the state tournament.”
The Eagles have two returning state competitors from 2012, Bryce Thomas and Scotty Bardell. Conner Gonzales was set to go to state before being injured.
“Thomas, Bardell and Gonzales have been wrestling for years,” said Knott. “Jake Ferro will be really good as well. We have two freshman — Jeremy Nygard and Boston Jones — who are national competitors, so we are expecting great things from them as well.”
Gonzales was fourth in the 4A preseason rankings at 132 pounds, while Thomas ranked sixth in the same weight class. Bardell was ranked seventh in the 138-pound weight class.
“Those are the guys that you’ll want to watch out for — Thomas, Gonzales, Bardell, Nygard, Jones, Gareth Henderson and Beni Reis,” said Knott. “Reis is a freshman but he’s tough.”
The Arlington wrestling team is packed with talent and will be one to keep an eye on this season.
“We’ve had a lot of ninth graders who came from Haller and Post middle schools,” said Knott. “They’ve really boosted our program. I’m really impressed with our team this year.”
The team faced Stanwood at home on Dec. 6, though the results were not known by press time. The team will compete at Marysville-Pilchuck on Dec. 13 at 7 p.m.