A strong Marion wrestling program is gearing up for a season anchored by the experience of team captains Colten Johnson, Cole Lewman and Brody Carroll.
The roster boasts 24 wrestlers this season, with three seniors among the group of nine returners.
Carroll is going to be one to watch this season in the 138-pound weight class, as he took fifth place at state last season and has his eye on a state title.
“He is determined to be a state champion and has worked very hard to make that happen,” said coach Chad Atkins. “Brody will be the kid to beat everywhere we go. We believe he is up to that challenge and are excited about his season.”
Another Warrior expected to make ripples is Johnson, a senior who has placed at state and is looking to improve on an injury-plagued junior season at 160 pounds.
“He is a great leader and we are excited about the opportunities in front of him,” Atkins said. “Colten is the kind of kid who makes your team better by being there. He rubs off on all of the other kids in our room.”
Fellow senior Lewman also provides leadership, Atkins said, and has improved as an athlete to the point where they expect him to place at state in his final season. Lewman is projected to wrestle in the 152-pound class.
Atkins said Lewman wrestled very well at their team camp in Colorado this summer, so he is excited about his season.
Rounding out the Warriors’ list of returning athletes are senior Royce Ross (138), Eric Regnier (120), Christian Larson (132), Derrick Dvorak (145), Zac Lewman (170) and Brayden Putter (126).
“Zac will be bringing back varsity experience and is much stronger this year,” Atkins said. “We are looking forward to him gaining confidence and becoming a solid wrestler for us.”
But the mat might not be ruled completely by upper classmen. Atkins said he has two freshmen who are likely to make waves as well.
“Beretta (Janzen) is an incoming freshman but has ability and is very competitive,” Atkins said. He is looking forward to seeing him grow as a wrestler and score points.
The other freshman is Kyle Palic, who probably will wrestle in the 170-pound weight class.
“He has had a lot of success in his youth wrestling career and wrestled well at the team camp we went to this summer,” Atkins said.
“We are looking for him to compete very well for us as a freshman. He has the ability to be a state placer right from the beginning.”
The Warriors open their competitive season Saturday at the Mission Valley Invitational.