“We did a great job. I’m really proud of them for making it back to state for the third year in a row,” said head coach Adrian Tramutola.
With graduation, Tramutola said he lost eight key wrestlers and had to move up younger wrestlers to take the starting spots. The ninth starter came after one of the Wildcats suffered an arm injury at the county duals.
With nine out of 14 starters not being fully experienced, Tramutola was pleased with their performance but he doesn’t think the team feels as good about it.
“Any time you’re in the finals you want to win. I think it was a disappointment to them, but it was great experience with us being as young as we are. We still had a chance to wrestle for the title,” Tramutola said.
He said Pope was the favorite to win as they won the AAAA championship last season and are ranked 28th in the country.
Woodland was able to win three teams before losing to Pope — against Stephenson 58-19, Creekview 33-32, and Ola 34-33.
As for the finals, Tramutola said his team his team fought “above and beyond” to get there, but they “kind of ran out of steam.”
Over that weekend, Tramutola had three wrestlers go undefeated 4-0 — Jake Huffine, Isaiah Ross and Logan Sims.
Huffine wrestles at 113 as a sophomore, Ross is a junior wrestling at 195 and Sims is at 106 as a freshman.
“Sims and Huffine have had a great season for us. They either pinned or ‘teched’ all of their opponents [at the duals],” said Tramutola.
Ross, Tramutola said, won all of his matches at state by bonus points as well.
Another wrestler close to the top three is senior Zach Frye, wrestling at 152. Frye finished 3-1, losing only to the reigning champ from Pope.
With the state duals done, the coaches are now shifting their focus to the individuals.
“We’re focusing on the individual need, helping to prepare. It had been about the team. Now they can be a little selfish,” Tramutola said.
Tramutola said there are several others than the four wrestlers named that he feels will make it to state, like freshman, 120-pounder Spencer Cooper.
“We’ll have several others that we’re looking to go deep in the tournament,” said Tramutola.