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2004-05 Ki-Be Bears Preview

The Bears have a strong team returning this year. Led by Junior Gonzalez, the Bears return 6 regional qualifiers. Junior will be on another quest for a state title this year. A close loss in the State semifinal match last year ended his 36 match unbeaten streak and his bid for a state title in 2004. You can expect Junior to be just as unbeatable this year. Coming into this season, Junior has emassed a total of 93 wins, just 7 shy of becoming only the 5th wrestler at Ki-Be to reach the century mark.

Brandon Ashley battled through a shoulder injury last season to narrowly miss a state appearance. He should be ready to give it one more try this year. Brandon has already stamped himself as one of the best lightweight wrestlers in Ki-Be history with his 77 wins and a 5th place finish at state as a freshman. He will benefit from the presence of Troy Cunningham on the team this year.

Troy comes with lots of fanfare. He has been a force in middle school and freestyle over the last few years. He will bring some much needed youth to the Ki-Be team. As of now only 5 freshman have joined the team. Troy is the future of the Bears team. La Sourivongsa is back for another year and will give the Bears some depth in the lower weights.

How well the Bears do as a team will depend in large part on how Jerry Haug, Ryan Burns, Tony Chapin and Ryan Phipps wrestle this year. Past season performances point to great things from these wrestlers this year. Chapin and Phipps came within a win of making it to state last year and that should be motivation for both of them this year. There aren't many wrestlers as tough as Tony nor as determined as Phipps. Haug and Burns have shown steady improvement over the past three years and should be ready to take that final step this year.

The team was dealt a blow when Travis Haug was injured playing football. Kyle Hagins is also having some health issues. First year senior wrestler Jeff Slape could surprise this year. Also first year senior Tommy Small could make some noise at the heavier weights. Both are good athletes and should help the team this year.

Senior Jose Prado will be counted on more this year. With two years experience under his belt he has seniority at the heavy weights. One interesting note about Prado is that of his 8 career wins, 6 are by pin. Clegg and Samsil are both freshman who could impress this year.

The Bears should do well as a dual team, but it may be at tournaments that they will do their most damage. Some CWAC teams took a hit after last season, namely Othello, losing 10 state qualifying seniors off of their team for this year. I don't expect them to be any less of a team this year though. Ephrata and Omak look to make a big impact this year. Connell will still be tough. The future is now for the Bears with 11 seniors on the team.