SVSJ preview: Mount Si wrestling aiming high, real high, this season

EDITOR’S NOTE: Happy Thanksgiving from the Snoqualmie Valley Sports Journal. Before you sit down and watch some football and eat some turkey and trimmings, we this morning offer you our latest installment in our series of Valley high school winter sports previews, focusing today on Mount Si High School’s wrestling program.

A very experienced group of wrestlers this season has Mount Si’s wrestling team, coming off a strong 6-1 season in 2012-13, thinking about a long postseason run.

Local middle school teacher, and longtime wrestling coach, Tony Schlotfeldt is back for his fifth season at the helm of the Wildcat wrestling program, and he is excited about how well things have gone to start the season. “This is one of the best seasons we’ve had in terms of a start, of them knowing what to expect and coming (in) at a higher intensity level from the beginning,” Schlotfeldt said.

Among the top returners include five seniors. Tye Rodne is set to compete at the 160 lb. weight class, and he is looking to do well this winter. “I think they can just expect me to work my hardest. I think people want to see me go to state, I want to see me go to state, so that’s my goal for the season,” he said. Rodne is joined by fellow seniors Tanner Stahl (152), Eli Clure (120), Hunter Conway (113) and Ryley Absher (145) and all five bring a lot of varsity experience to the table.

Another responsibility these five will share this season is leadership, with a solid crop of freshmen including Mason Morenco (132). Stahl looks to lead by example. “Just leading them well, keeping them on track, make sure he works hard during practice,” he said. With respect to Morenco specifically, Absher will look to offer positive reinforcement. “Just tell him to stay positive and try to push through the whole year,” he said.

Morenco is seen as a top newcomer largely because he comes in with a lot of experience himself, according to Schlotfeldt. “Great mat awareness, he’s already wrestled a lot, he knows what tournaments are all about,” the coach said.

Rodne believes that setting an example himself for the younger kids will pay dividends. “I just want to make sure that I’m pushing them 100% all the time. I want them to see me as a friend, but at the same time I want them to see me as someone to look up to,” Rodne said.

Juniors Gunnar Harrison and Justin Edens also round out the strong returning group, and their challenge in league, for many of them, will be one team and one team only: Mercer Island. And Mount Si has them at home this season, so this could be a match to circle on your calendar. But beyond that, there are league and regional tournaments, followed by Mat Classic, and Schlotfeldt is hoping to land several wrestlers in the state event in Tacoma next March.

Schlotfeldt also believes that in addition to MI, Liberty and Bellevue might be teams to watch this season within the Kingco 3A.

The program has a solid group of about 30 kids this season, with a good number of freshmen; that number, however, could have been larger, and better quality, according to Schlotfeldt, had a number of talented boys who wrestled last year as eighth-graders at Twin Falls Middle School in North Bend turned out; the coach told the SVSJ those kids did not turn out, opting to focus on other sports, such as football. Competing with other sports, such as football, for those kids when they come to the high school will continue to be a challenge for Mount Si, but the program is grateful for the freshmen that have turned out.

Mount Si has four home matches this season; the first of those will be on December 12 when the Wildcats host Interlake. Meets usually start around 7:30, and depending on the length of matches – and the number which take place – will run anywhere from 90 minutes to 2 ½ hours. The match against MI, as noted, is a must see, and that will take place January 23. The full schedule is at Mount Si’s wrestling website, which is at right in our news links.

Rhett Workman

About Rhett Workman

Rhett Workman is the editor of the Snoqualmie Valley Sports Journal. Workman is a veteran sports journalist, having covered Snoqualmie Valley sports for nearly a decade with the Snoqualmie Valley Record newspaper before starting up the SVSJ. Workman's coverage has earned the support and respect of Valley coaches, players, parents and fans, and the SVSJ continues the standard of coverage that Workman brought to the Valley Record.
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