SPORTS: Taft wrestlers start season strong | Sports |

The Taft 7-12 High School’s 2018 wrestling team members are some of the most determined and hard working athletes in school.

The team workouts are intense and rigorous as each member prepares, both physically and mentally, for each 6-minute competitive battle on the mat

“Most people don’t know how hard it is make it through a 6-minute wrestling match unless they’ve tried it,” Taft 7-12 High School Head Wrestling Coach Robb Ellis said.

Ellis is a new school counselor this year at Taft and in his second year as the varsity wrestling coach.

Taft, like in many sports, is in one of the hardest districts in Oregon, which includes former state champion Willamina, as well as tough schools, such as Rainier.

In order to qualify for the state competition, wrestlers must finish in the top three at the district competition.

Team Goal

The Tigers goal is to send six teammates to the state championships in February. The most the Tigers have sent previously is five members.

There are plenty of talented wrestlers this year on the 23-team member Taft roster, including several returning experienced senior members.

“We have five returning state level wrestlers who went last year,” Ellis said. “And we have three or four who could make it. No guarantees though.”

Taft wrestlers to watch closely in competition include Cody Knott (Sr.), Gio Salazar (Sr.), Biz Byrum (Sr.), David Jin (Sr.), Devon Lindquist (Sr.), Jace Fostveit (Sr.), Jose Flores (So.), and Jacob Mayoral (Sr.). Knott, Lindquist, and Flores were all state qualifiers last season.

The talented Tigers this season had a terrific showcase in Tillamook competing with multiple teams from different classifications. Taft had 2nd, 3rd, and 4th place finishers and about 16 new JV players won at least one of their matches.

Reaching State

Over the course of the season the wrestlers will have to be disciplined in diet and exercise to maintain their appropriate weight classes. A diet of water, fruits, and vegetables are always recommended by the coaches and the team members are advised to stay away from “bad carbs” and sugary drinks.

The wrestlers who can be more discipline will have more success maintaining their weight class.

In the end, it comes down to how well the Tigers wrestle at the district meet in February. The Tigers should be able to overcome any obstacles they may face and find themselves ranked high in the district and ready for a big showing at the state tournament.

The Tigers have a home tournament on January 5 and host a dual meet on January 31.

For complete schedules, visit, or, and follow Taft winter sports at, and in the Wednesday print editions of The News Guard.

The Tigers goal is to send six teammates to the state championships in February.

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