Sports

Veterans return to lead Hornets

The White River High girls wrestling team will look to program veterans – senior Ashley Orr and junior Sam Lovelace – for leadership as the 2008-09 season gets under way.

Two days into turnouts, coach Joe Klein had eight Lady Hornets on the mat going drill-for-drill with their male counterparts in the school’s wrestling room.

Klein said he’s excited about the girls’ season and the growth of the program.

Three years ago, 56 schools with a total of 110 female wrestlers participated in the sport. In 2006, those numbers grew to include 125 schools and 375 participants. Most recent numbers from the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association estimate almost 500 lady wrestlers covering 144 schools across the state are participating in the program.

This season, the league plans to add a couple of all-girl tournaments and has boosted its weight classes to 11 by adding 171 pounds.

The Lady Hornets plan to be among the top in a competitive league that includes Enumclaw, Franklin Pierce and Auburn Mountainview. Yelm, which was the state’s No. 3 female team at the state tournament last season, will also be on White River’s radar.

Helping Klein with the Lady Hornets’ program this season will be assistant coaches Bob and Brandon Walker and volunteer Deena Padgett.

One of the first all-girls tournaments is scheduled for Dec. 13 at Tacoma’s Foss High.

Reach Brenda Sexton at bsexton@courierherald.com or 360-802-8206.

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