Winter sports preview: Wolves wrestlers ready to take next step

Third-year coach Chad Cate pictures the 2022-23 SHS wrestling season in thirds: the first third, a testing that includes some tough tournaments; the second third, a time for his grapplers to “hunker down” and “shore up weaknesses,” and the third, to show.

“I think we’re going to make some noise in the region, if not the state,” Cate said last week.

The Wolves struggled with turnout numbers in recent years. In Cate’s first campaign in 2020-21, he had just five regular wrestlers.

This year, he’s got more than 20 boys on the roster and said he should be close to filling out a competitor for each weight class.

“This is first time, since I’ve been coaching, we have a chance to start winning dual meets,”Cate said.

One of Sequim’s two state qualifiers from this past season is back in the mix in junior Cayden Beauregard, a 106-pounder who wrestled his way to a fourth place finish at regionals to earn a MatClassic berth.

Cate said Beauregard, who will wrestle at 113 this season, put in more than 100 hours of mat time in camps across the country in the offseason.

Also back is senior Aaron Tolberd, who placed fifth at regionals and just missed a state berth at 145 pounds (state alternate) and will now grapple at 152.

“He really made a great run [last season],” Cate said of Tolberd.

Returning is junior Ari Skov, who narrowly missed a chance at regionals last season in a tough 160-pound weight class after posting three sins, each by pin, in the Olympic League tourney.

Skov’s judo background really helps on the mat Cate said; Skov will likely move up to 170 pounds, the Sequim coach noted.

“They are state-worth competitors, not just participants,” Cate said. “Those three are ready for the challenge; they will not back down. They can give anyone a run for the money.”

Sam Fitzgerald, a senior who earned a win at regionals last season and placed sixth, returns in the 132-pound weight class.

Other key returnees include Dylan Bowen, a junior at 182 pounds, and 145-pounder Roger Burwash, who Cate said is “by far my most dedicated wrestler”; Burwash missed most of last season with a dislocated elbow.

Sequim will have just one girl on the mats this season in returnee Isabella Diaz, a regional alternate last season.

Sequim’s girls graduated two veterans in Petra Bernsten and Jordan Hegtvedt. Bernsten capped her prep career with a fifth place finish at regionals and earned a pair of wins at MatClassic in February.

Hegdvedt is back as an assistant, along with Kelly Reichner, Kjel Skov and former SHS coach Steve Chinn.

Cate said the Hammer Head Tournament in Bremerton on Dec. 16 is a key date to see where the Wolves are at.

“I wish it was a little later in the season,” Cate admitted.

A tourney later in the season in Tumwater should also be a good barometer for the Wolves.

Sequim opens the season with a jamboree on Nov. 30 and are at a tournament at Fife High School on Dec. 10 before hosting Kingston on Dec. 14, the first Olympic League dual meet of the season.

Winter Sports Preview: SHS wrestling

Head coach: Chad Cate (third season)

2021-2022 results: Three wrestlers to regionals, four alternates; two wrestlers to state 2A tourney

Key returners: Boys — Cayden Beauregard (jr.), Aaron Tolberd (sr.), Ari Skov (jr.), Dylan Bowen (jr.), Roger Burwash (jr.), Sam Fitzgerald (sr.) . Girls — Isabella Diaz (sr.)

Sequim High School wrestling 2021-2022 schedule

Date Opponent Time

Nov. 30 Jamboree at Port Angeles 5 p.m.

Dec. 10 at Fife tournament 8 a.m.

Dec. 14 Kingston 7 p.m.

Dec. 16 Hammer Head tournament (boys), Bremerton 8 a.m.

Dec. 23 North Mason Winter Classic, Belfair 7:30 a.m.

Jan. 7 Battle for the Axe, Port Angeles 10 a.m.

Jan. 11 at Bremerton, Port Angeles 8 p.m.

Jan. 14 at Island Invitational, Bainbridge 7:30 a.m.

Jan. 18 at Bainbridge, North Kitsap 7 p.m.

Jan. 25 Olympic, North Mason 7 p.m.