Mercer Island’s Owen Baebler (left) and Colin Farrell (right) are two of the top wrestlers for the Islanders going into the new season. Benjamin Olson/staff photo

Mercer Island’s Owen Baebler (left) and Colin Farrell (right) are two of the top wrestlers for the Islanders going into the new season. Benjamin Olson/staff photo

Mercer Island wrestlers ready to tilt

The Islanders have a mixture of fresh faces and experienced veterans as they embark on new season.

The Mercer Island wrestling team is back on the mat, preparing for a new season.

Mercer Island wrestling head coach Lee Jahncke said there has been a good turnout this year, so they have plenty of new wrestlers coming into the program.

“We have a handful of good, new freshmen coming in and a handful of good returners,” Jahncke said. “We have a good group of girls, which is nice for us. We have six on the roster, which is more than we’ve had in the past.”

Early in the season, Jahncke said they are focusing on conditioning and teaching the new wrestlers about technique.

“We do a lot of teaching in the early days,” Jahncke said. “Just teaching moves, tactics and the basics of wrestling, because a lot of our wrestlers come in not knowing a whole lot or being totally brand new to the sport.”

The Islanders will rely on some of their veteran wrestlers, especially Colin Farrell (182), Owen Baebler (195) and Jack Harper (160). Jahncke said freshman Chris Neal, who is expected to compete at 138 pounds, is also going to be an exciting wrestler to watch this season for the Islanders.

Jahncke said one of the team’s biggest strengths is its depth in the higher weight classes.

“We have some depth in our middle weights, but especially so in our upper-end weight classes,” Jahncke said. “That’s where we have some of our more veteran wrestlers who should be able to make some noise and do some good things.”

Jahncke said he expects the team this year to be competitive in all of its dual meets.

“I think we have a handful of wrestlers who have a shot to go far in the postseason,” Jahncke said. “We have a chance of having three or four wrestlers that can maybe make it to the state tournament and perhaps place at the state tournament.”

One of the areas the Islanders are looking to improve on from last season is their consistency.

“Last year, I think we had a pretty good season, but we had some moments where the team wasn’t necessarily as consistent collectively as we could have been,” Jahncke said.

That inconsistency was evident in a meet against Lake Washington late last season. The Islanders let a lead slip away to the Kangs, costing Mercer Island the league title.

“They ended up catching us on a bad night and they wrestled really well,” Jahncke said. “So more power to them, of course. We were tied up in the league standings so they took the league championship away from us when we had an off night.”

Jahncke said that he is personally excited to get another shot at Lake Washington on Jan. 30.

“We want a shot at everybody we can of course, but at least in my book, I look forward to seeing them,” Jahncke said. “They’re always fun to wrestle and I have a great relationship with their coaches. It’s a friendly kind of rivalry.”

The first home meet of the season will be against Interlake and Newport on Dec. 5. Jahncke said that he is excited to see how things go in the first few meets, especially with lots of new wrestlers. Mercer Island will compete at their first tournament of the season at the Edmonds-Woodway Tournament on Dec. 7. With lots of strong wrestlers competing, the tournament will provide a measuring stick for the Mercer Island wrestlers.

“It will be cool to see how our wrestlers perform against some top competition early on in the season,” Jahncke said.

Mercer Island wrestlers Brooke Wood and Nin Garr grapple during practice on Nov. 26. Benjamin Olson/staff photo

Mercer Island wrestlers Brooke Wood and Nin Garr grapple during practice on Nov. 26. Benjamin Olson/staff photo

John Mangino and Chris Neal square off at a Mercer Island wrestling practice. Benjamin Olson/staff photo

John Mangino and Chris Neal square off at a Mercer Island wrestling practice. Benjamin Olson/staff photo

[flipp]

More in Sports

Mercer Island basketball teams hit the hardwood

The Islanders boys and girls basketball season began on the road against Issaquah on Dec. 3.

Mercer Island football players snag all-league honors

Several Mercer Island football players received 2A/3A KingCo all-league honors for the… Continue reading

Mercer Island boys water polo finishes sixth at state tournament

By CHRIS VACCA Special to the Reporter The Mercer Island boys water… Continue reading

Islanders finish strong at state

The Mercer Island swim and dive team finishes fourth at state meet on Nov. 16.

Amateur tennis team from Mercer Island wins national championship at California tournament

Play2Nguyen, an amateur tennis team from Mercer Island, won the 4.5 division… Continue reading

Mercer Island gymnastics tumbling into new season

The Islanders will be led by new head coach Olivia Harvey.

Mercer Island swim and dive finishes third at district meet

The Mercer Island girls swim and dive team finished third at the… Continue reading

Football results: Week 10

Following are the prep football results from Nov. 7-8 for the teams… Continue reading

Mercer Island boys water polo team ends regular season on a high note

The Islanders begin their postseason with a state tournament match against Newport on Nov. 14.

Mercer Island volleyball season ends with loss to Lake Washington

The Islanders lost 3-2 in a loser-out 3A KingCo tournament game on Nov. 7.