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Top 20 Seniors

State of Washington 2008-09

This is a list I compiled of the top 20 Seniors in the state of Washington.  There are many more great wrestlers but I had to limit to 20 so this is it.  All of this wrestlers have proven themselves on the mat and all should have great seasons.  As in every season, some will have great joy at the end of the season and others will feel the sting of what might have been.  I salute all the wrestlers who's past deeds have earned them a position on this list of honor and I also salute the thousands of wrestlers not listed here that will go out and give there all on the mat.

By Dave Gilbertson, Editor of the Washington Wrestling Report

Top Two Seniors

Jake Swartz - Auburn

Projected College Weight: 184/197

Background: A two-time state 3A champ Two-time Fargo medalist, Auburnís Jake Swartz is my pick as Washington state's most highly-rated recruit for the 2008-09 season. Swartz also placed in the top 5 at Fargo in both style in 2008 in the Junior 189 weight group. Swartz comes from a family of wrestlers and he, his older brother (Kurt, BSU) and father all won USAW National age group freestyle titles in the same year. Swartz was a two-time Nationals freestyle champion in kids wrestling and also took first at Reno World of wrestling. His nick name when younger was Jake "The Bull" Swartz and he usually lived up to the name. He took some time off in junior high but came back with a vengeance in high school. He had a very successful freshman year but was in a stacked weight group at state and lost to Eric Starks. Starks went on to place first at state and the next year took 3rd in Fargo. Jake lost to Eric again the next year at the Sierra Nevada Classic tournament but has not looked back since.

Where he's looking: Boise State

Jimmy Belleville - Black Hills

Projected College Weight: 157

Background: Jimmy Belleville has been wrestling at a high level since he could first walk. He is a 6-time state kids freestyle champion and has probably added a few more Cadet and Junior titles in there. He is a three-time state high school wrestling champion with an excellent chance of becoming only the fifth Washington wrestler to win four high school titles. As a cadet he placed in the top three at nationals in freestyle and this past year he competed as a Junior and was national runner-up in freestyle. In that match he won the first round and had just reversed his opponent to take the lead near the end of the second round when disaster struck and he was turned and pinned. At every level Jimmy has been a winner and I expect this to continue on at the next level.

Where he's looking: Wyoming

Seniors 3-20

Reid Chivers - Bellingham

Projected College Weight: 184

Background: Reid is another one of those wrestlers that has been around it for years, originally training at the Lakeside club with Scott Jones as his coach. He had great success as a kid wrestler and continued that on into high school. His freshman year he moved to Bellingham and competed there for one year taking fourth at state in 2A. He then moved back to Lakeside for his sophomore and junior year where he won state titles in the 1A division at 189. He has now move back to Bellingham where he will compete in the 2A division and go for a third straight title. He also competed at Fargo as a cadet and placed in the top eight to earn All-American honors.

Where he's looking: Wyoming

Sam Bauer - Enumclaw

Projected College Weight: 125/133

Background: Sam is a tenacious wrestler that has really come into his own over the past 2-3 years. He is a compact and powerful wrestler and always finds a way to win the close matches. He won his first state title as a Junior and the outlook is excellent for a repeat by Sam.

Where he's looking: Wyoming, Oregon State and Arizona State

Sam Ottow - Snohomish

Projected College Weight: 133

Background: Sam is the third brother from the Ottow family to compete at a high level. As a freshman Sam took sixth in state and then had tough endings to the next two years when he finished second in state both years. Both of his older brothers were four time state placers and went on to wrestle in college and I still remember Sam as a 4-5-year-old running around the room as his older brothers trained at the USA Everett club. Sam hopes to join that four time state medalist group and add a state title to it.

Where he's looking: Southern Oregon University, Boise State, Oregon State and Wyoming

Kyle Komata - Woodinville

Projected College Weight: 133

Background: Kyle Komata has quietly been sneaking up the ranks in Washington wrestling over the past two years. As a sophomore he had a great year developing with only one loss going into districts. Unfortunately, Kyle suffered a neck injury at districts which ended his sophomore season. He came back hard for his Junior year and went into state with only one loss and big wins over Sam Otto and Jason Gray. At state he lost a close match in the quarterfinals which took him out of title contention. He came back through the brackets the long way and placed third, defeating be wrestler that had originally knocked him out of the championship bracket. He also wrestle very well at Fargo over the past two years and was one match away from placing in 2008.

Where he's looking: Unknown

Steven Romero - Sunnyside

Projected College Weight: 125

Background: Another younger brother of a four-time state placer, Steven was a state champ as a junior last year which followed his runner-up finish as a sophomore. Steven has also competed very well for some of the Washington national teams at duals and also at Las Vegas last year. Steven took 5th in the FILA Junior national championships in 2008.

Where he's looking: Unknown

Patrick Mucha - North Thurston

Projected College Weight: 125

Background: Patrick is a tough wrestler from North Thurston that has placed sixth as a sophomore and was runner-up in Washington state high school tournament as a Junior. He has competed well at Fargo where he is either placed or come very close to placing.

Where he's looking: Boise State, Wyoming, Oregon State and Columbia

Jacob Lauderdale - Lakeside

Projected College Weight: 125/133

Background: Jacob is a three-time state placer and will be going for his third state title this year as a senior. This is the second wrestler from Lakeside high school that has shown up in the top 10 list. Another wrestler that has had success for a number of years.

Where he's looking: Cornell, Columbia, Indiana, Boise State and Oregon State.

Jason Gray - Enumclaw

Projected College Weight: 141

Background: Jason Gray is a three-time state placer taking third as a freshman, fourth as a sophomore and first as a Junior. He is the second wrestler in the group from Enumclaw high school which has a long tradition of producing high caliber wrestlers.

Where he's looking: Wyoming

JJ Gubler - Republic

Projected College Weight: 141/149

Background: Hereís one of the wrestlers we unfortunately donít get much of a look at but is a very accomplished athlete. He competes in the B Division for Republic and took third as a freshman and then first the next two years. He took third in the prestigious Tri-State tournament last year and has wins over Jacob Lauderdale, Sam Otto and Kevin Tao.

Where he's looking: Embry-Riddle, Northern Colorado, North Carolina, Virginia Tech and Dana. We are also having talks with JCs Meramec and Central Iowa

John Thompson - Orting

Projected College Weight: 149/157

Background: He has had a great high school career so far. He has been in the state finals for 1A all three years and won it once. Last year in Western Junior Regionals he took 2nd in Greco and 5th in freestyle.

Where he's looking: Oregon State

Nick Burnham - Black Hills

Projected College Weight: 125

Background: Nick is a longtime wrestler that placed fifth in state as a freshman at 103 and then placed first in state over the next two years at 112 and 119 pound weight divisions of 3A.

Where he's looking: Boise State, Oregon State, Cal Poly, Stanford, Northern Colorado, Maryland

Cody Miller - Deer Park

Projected College Weight: 157

Background: Cody is a three-time placer in the 2A division at state placing eighth as a freshman and then moving up to a second as a sophomore and then state champ as a Junior. Cody is also demonstrated success competing in freestyle and has placed or come close to placing in Fargo.

Where he's looking: Unknown

Shane Hunt - Sedro Woolley

Projected College Weight: 125/133

Background: Shane Hunt is from the storied Sedro Wooley program and is one of the last wrestlers to have been trained by Ron Bessemer when he was the coach at the USA Everett club. Shane is a three-time state placer taking third each year. He is two or three moves away from potentially being a three-time state champ. This year I am sure that Shane will leave nothing on the mat in his quest to finally secure that elusive title.

Where he's looking: Oregon State

Daniel Swain - Newport

Projected College Weight: 133

Background: After three near misses in his first three state tournaments Daniel will obviously be going all out to win that title in the senior year. He started his high school career with runner-up finishes as a freshman and sophomore and then took third as a Junior. Daniel competes in the 1A division and did very well on the national dual team last year.

Where he's looking: Univ. of Great Falls, Oregon State, Simon Fraser, and Boise State

Sam Villegas - Royal

Projected College Weight: 149

Background: Sam hit the ground running as a freshman with a runner-up finish at state and he followed that up with two more finals trips taking second as a sophomore and first as a Junior. Sam competes in the 1A division for Royal but rumor has it that he may be moving to Moses Lake this winter compete in the 4A division. Reviewing his record I see two wins over John Thompson which is impressive.

Where he's looking: Unknown

George King - Lake Stevens

Projected College Weight: 157

Background: George is another competitor that trained with Ron Bessemer as a young wrestler and has placed at high school state twice. He wrestled for Marysville high school as a freshman and did not place at state but moved to Lake Stevens for the remainder of his career and took fifth as a sophomore and first as a Junior.

Where he's looking: Unknown

Stefan St. Marie - Snohomish

Projected College Weight: 141

Background: Stefan has only been wrestling for a short time as made accelerated improvement over the past year. As sophomore he made it to state but as a Junior he went undefeated through the season before losing in the final two wrestler that heíd beaten the two previous weeks. Big things are expected of Stefan in 2008-09

Where he's looking: Boise State University

Cody Quinn - Kentwood

Projected College Weight: 149

Background: Another hard-nosed wrestler from Kentwood who took fifth his freshman year, third as sophomore and forth as a Junior when he came back from a and early-season injury to do well at state.

Where he's looking: St. Cloud State in Minnesota, Portland State, Cal State-Fullerton, Embry-Riddle in AZ, South Dakota State and Eastern Michigan

Jacob Humphrey - Blaine

Projected College Weight: 125/133

Background: Jacob competes for Blaine in the 2A division and started out his high school career with a 3rd place finish a freshman and then followed that up with two runner-up finishes during his sophomore and junior seasons.

Where he's looking: Unknown

It is very difficult to select just the top 20 wrestlers. There are many other wrestlers that I could easily make an argument to have in the top 20 without any reservation. There are wrestlers in the field that have wins over the wrestlers in the top 20. All of these are very talented and hard-working wrestlers.