ILWACO - Bobby Crislip at 275 and David Casper at 152 are the only two Fishermen wrestlers with appreciable experience for Coach Tom Hornbuckle this campaign, but 27 young grapplers have been hitting the mats at Ilwaco in early-season workouts.
Crislip was 22-8 last year, but fell short of his goal of making the state Mat Classic by losing twice at the District IV meet. Casper was 6-17 and showed improvement during the year. Another returnee is Eddie Smith at 171. He struggled to a 1-17 mark against mostly 2A opponents and should do much better with the drop to 1A.
Priscilla Powers, who wrestled at Morton last season, will be the first girl to participate and should do well at 130 according to Hornbuckle. Several other Fishermen rookie competitors have junior high experience, another pleasant addition to the program.
Other wrestlers in the program are Ryan Garcia (112), Camilo Borrayo (125), Jason Hall (140), Alex Phillips (160), R.J. Jamison (171), Brandon Vitkoczy (160), and Ben Mazie (275).
Also doing well in early turnouts are Chad Jenkins (171), Tom Jenkins (152), Casey Marsh (130), Dan Beierle (215), Kyler Pratt (215), Brian Marteeny (119), and Joe Shaw (189). Rafael and Ismael Bautista, Cooper Belisle, Robert Crete, Uriel Garibo, Markus Peterson, Dominic Perez, Ivan Padilla, and Irving Rosales are also on the squad.
Hornbuckle will be assisted by Mike Garcia and Nathan Plummer. The pair both has extensive wrestling experience and unlimited enthusiasm. They will coach also work with the middle school program.
The number of berths to District and State are still up in the air as the WIAA is taking a census of the number of 1A and B teams in the state that have wrestling teams. Hornbuckle said he should know what the situation might be by the third week in December.
"The outlook is good, assuming we develop throughout the season and stay healthy and eligible," Hornbuckle predicted. "When the league tournament rolls around, I'm hopeful we will have a solid competitor in each weight class."
If that happens, Ilwaco's wrestling program will have made a definite leap to respectability.