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Vikings ready to grapple

With plenty of returning upperclassmen, the Portland State men’s wrestling team is poised to do well in the Pac-10 conference this winter.

As the season begins for coach Marlin Grahn, he notes, “We’re a mature team, and for the first time we have lots of upperclassmen, and I’m interested to see how we do.”

Grahn sees many things to be optimistic about this year and he emphasizes the returning class has good senior leadership, which is key in any collegiate sport. Grahn’s concerns for the season revolve around some weight classes not having enough depth.

In voicing his concerns about the depth of the squad, Grahn said, “We just need to fill some holes where we’re thin and we will get a benchmark for season in the first three duels.”

In those first three duels, the Vikings wrestle against some of the top 15 schools in the nation, including the University of Nebraska and Arizona State.

One Viking wrestler who looks to have a promising upcoming season is Eric Arbagast, who has already been to the NCAA tournament and looks forward to a successful senior season. Other promising seniors include 174-pound Quinn Collett, a returning NCAA qualifier who is coming off elbow surgery, and 197-pound Randy Davidson, a returning NCAA qualifier who is also expected to do well in the heavyweight class.

Junior Ryan Thomas, 157 pounds, is a two-year starter who has had three operations during that time. He is expected to do well if he stays injury-free. Eddie Dolan, in the 141-pound class, is a transfer student from Clackamas Junior College, and although he lacks experience due to injury, he should do well in his weight class.

In the lightest weight class, 125 pounds, juniors Casey Kotter and Zac Enoch ought to be able to throw their opponents around.

This season will include a lot of travel for the team, including trips to Arizona, Nevada (twice), Fresno, Colorado, Wyoming and Kansas City for the NCAA championships.

Grahn stressed that the keys to success this year include “staying healthy due to the lack of depth and (our) need to wrestle through injuries.”

If the team can maintain its health throughout the season, it appears that the Pac-10 conference and the nation have a force to reckon with in the Portland State wrestling team.