WEST SALEM — The “crazy” season has come and gone.
Wrestling is back among the winter sports in Oregon, and West Salem coach Mike Baker is very happy about that.
The last time high school wrestlers competed was in late June, more than four months later than they normally would in a calendar year.
“It was crazy timing,” Baker said.
Crazy but necessary, given all the shifts and adjustments stemming from COVID-19.
The Titans and other wrestling programs throughout the state started official workouts on Nov. 15, and the Titans will send their varsity team to its first competition of 2021-22 on Friday, Dec. 3. West Salem will be part of the Kirk Morey Invitational at Reynolds High. The Titans are one of eight teams entered.
The first home meet at this point is not scheduled until Jan. 5, when Sprague comes for a Mountain Valley Conference dual match.
Baker said last season “would have been one of my better years” had the Oregon School Activities Association been able to sponsor a state championship.
“It was a strong senior group,” he said.
This season, the Titans return three of their six wrestlers who participated in the makeshift state tournament at Newberg High in June. One of them, Connor Everetts, placed fourth. He’s back at 113 or 120 pounds and is a senior.
“Super tough,” Baker said. “He has state championship aspirations.”
Baker said he believes the Titans can be competitive in the MVC.
“I hope we can finish in the middle or maybe third or fourth,” he said.
The turnout was 55 student-athletes two years ago, down to 30 last season and is back to about 45 (35 boys, 10 girls) this season.