Portland State is still young, but the future looks bright
By The OWF staff
Sometimes forgotten in the NW, is its other Division 1 wrestling team in the Portland State Vikings. Portland St. had a slew of freshman who competed well over the summer, including several who placed at the FILA Jr. National tournament in Las Vegas. Starting heavyweight Zach Smith and 184lber Joe Maumoynier both placed at the prestigous event, 4th and 8th, respectively.
In speaking with 2nd year head coach, Mike Haluska, hoped that this was a step in the right direction to build the Vikings chances of getting wrestlers to the NCAA Championships in 2008.
"I feel like the team is coming along very well. We had a great group of freshmen last year that competed hard but faced the normal frustrations most first year wrestlers do," said Haluska. "They all responded to a very tough season by training hard in the off season. I have recruited a group this year that is of the same character. We will still be very young however if this group stays around until they are all JRs. and SRs. we can be competitive in the PAC 10, have some NCAA qualifiers, and even a chance or two at some All Americans," added Haluska.
OUR PROJECTED STARTERS:
133 Greg Einerson SO. Idaho Falls, ID.
141 Camrun Arkills RS.FR. Parkrose HS / Portland, OR.
149 Henry Kofa JR. transfer from Lassen College(CAJC AA)
157 Alex Bubb JR. transfer from Clackamas CC(JC AA)
165 Dale Seley SR. Falen, NV.
174 Matt Lively JR. transfer from Lassen College
184 Josh Miller FR. Kelso, WA.
197 Keena Washington SO. Tacoma, WA.
285 Zack Smith SO. Graham, WA.
Other wrestlers looking to crack lineup:
149/157 Steven Daily SO. Molalla HS. OR.
157/165 Brady Garner RS.FR. Preston, ID.
174/184 Joe Maumoynier RS.FR. Chester, CA.
184/197 Jacob Antoine FR. Beckley, WV.
Most of our team is so young that they probably won't make an impact at this level for a year or two.
Dale Seley has a chance to do some good things this year. He had that chance as well last year. He is a father of three children and with the limited funds we can offer him, he has to work to support his family and is not able to dedicate himself the way he knows he needs to be successful. We are trying to get him through his final year of competition, giving him as much support as we can so he can finish his career with the success he has pursued for many years.
Last season, Seley led the Vikings in wins with a 22-13 record, including a win over ASU phenom, Pat Pitsch, in a dual at the beginning of last season. Seley has a lot of potential and just missed out on placing at the Pac-10's by losing two matches by a combined score of 3-2.
Henry Kofa is a transfer from Lassen College in CA, where he was a JC All American as a freshman. Last year Lassen was not able to compete at the National level and I don't think he was training as hard as he should have. He was runner up at the CA State JC tourney. If Henry is in shape I feel he can compete at this level. He will impact the PAC 10 and is another one of our high hopes for a NCAA qualifier.
I have two freshmen from Burns HS this year and a third one coming for winter term.
Tyler Swartzlender is here but having a difficult time making the transition to college wrestling. Tyrell Peasley is going to come to PSU in the Winter term. Jordan Toney is the third Burns recruit. He was not the kid I thought would be a good college wrestler while I was recruiting him, but after he has been here for a few months I think he is going to be one of those hard nosed kids that never gives up. I am excited to see him grow over the next four years.
Swartzlender was a 3-time champ for Burns and Peasley was a 2-time champ, while Toney was a state runner-up last season.
I have a two other new freshman, one from Beckly WV, Jacob Antoine, and another from Walnut CA, Marcus Johnson, who could both turn out to be fine college wrestlers.
At this time the best chance I see from this years class of freshmen is a hard worker from Willamina, OR, Alan Dickey. He is giving Henry Kofa fits. He is the reason Kofa is working hard. I can't wait to see Dickey compete this year as a freshman, and believe he will be a force in the PAC 10 before his career is over.
PSU's transition to DI:
I'm excited about the small steps we took this past year. Our goal was to wrestle twice as many (individual matches) as the year before. We ended up winning more (individual matches) then were wrestled the year before. Our winning percentage was notas good but the goal was to get experience.
I believe Oregon and the NW region has enough HS wrestlers that don't wrestle because of wrestling opportunities being cut, ie. University of Oregon The best wrestlers in the region are going to go to schools that have the scholarship dollars. They should!!!
It is the many others that have the desire to be a DI wrestler so bad they are willing to go through the things wrestlers have to at this level without receiving the benefits a high profile program can give them. I think this program can become a good DI program if I can find those kids, like Alan Dickey, Brady Garner, Greg Einerson, Steven Dailey, Josh Miller, Jordan Toney and Zack Smith, that have the desire and work ethic to become the best they can be. They may not be talented enough to impact the PAC 10 as freshmen, however if PSU can continue to get two or three of those kids each year, we will be competitive. A few will qualify to the NCAA each year. A few will become All Americans. The main thing is they will have the opportunity. Opportunities that are being lost every time a program is dropped.
What PSU needs from Wrestling Community:
Marlin Grahn has become larger then a HERO to me since I started this job. He did more then anybody knows to keep this program from extinction. Thank You Marlin. Your the Magician.
Don't wait until the program is being cut to rally. I don't think I can perform that type of magic. Come out to our matches and support us while we are building. Because our program is so underfunded the athletes need to work part time jobs in order to survive. If anybody has summer jobs they could hire PSU wrestlers. Many of these guys want to stay and train over the summer, but have to go home where they have summer jobs.
I don't have a good database of PSU wrestling alumni because it was erased from Marlins computer about a year before he retired. I could use a group of alumni or boosters to step up and help build the Booster Club back to where Marlin had it.
I am trying to get a way for the wrestling community can register their contact info at the PSU website.
This year already the PSU Wrestling Team worked a weekend helping with the Special Olympics. We helped set up the event on a Friday night, and helped the athletes with their competition all day Saturday. We are going to Dornbecker Hospital in November to visit with some of the children there. We have invited them and their families to be our special guest at the PSU duals on Nov.11.
This group of student athletes has a goal to be the best they can be at wrestling, students, and community leaders. Come out for the next few years and watch them grow. I think you'll become a Viking backer when you see the determination this group has.
The Viking's start out the season at home with duals against Southern Oregon at 12pm and another at 4pm against Pac-10 rival, Arizona State at the Stott Center on Sunday, November 11th. Hope to see you out there cheering on this up and coming squad.