WALDPORT — Head coach Joe Chavez and his wrestlers at Waldport are back in action and raring to go in the new season.
The team has seven wrestlers this season — three returners and three with past experience, with one new to the sport, but with “great wrestling lineage” according to Chavez.
“We expect to hopefully turn some heads this year as we continue to rebuild our program and grow as a team, and as individuals,” Chavez said.
His hope is to secure spots at districts and then at the state championships toward the end of the year.
But also help his athletes grow both on the mat and off it.
“We continue an expectation that our wrestlers are working to be good wrestlers, but are good individuals at school, home and in our community,” Chavez said. “This comes from our expectations, work ethic in the wrestling room and the environment our coaching staff tries to provide for our wrestlers with what this sport teaches.”
But on the mat, there are some strong athletes on the Waldport wrestling team.
Waldport has Kolby Albitz, who had a season-ending injury last year but returns with the hope of gaining a shot at the state championships. Albitz is a four-year wrestler and is in the pre-enlistment program with the United States Army.
He’s not the only Albitz on the team, as his younger sister, Mary Albitz (sophomore), returns for her second season.
“Once she finds the spot to be mentally prepared, all things should come together, and we should see her be a big threat in the girls divisio,n” Chavez said.
Kaleb Chavez is a junior, and a returner to the program, but he is being held out due to a concussion he sustained at the end of the football season. Once he is cleared, Chavez will be a key piece to the program as he should see growth after placing fourth in districts last season.
“All three of these wrestlers joined forces and attended Oregon State Wrestling Camp this summer. We are looking forward to what everyone brings to our table this year,” Chavez said.
But, before the team can perform at a top level, they must put in the work in preseason.
“This sport is work, and there’s not a lot of kids out there that are willing to come in and grind it out day in day out in our small group of participants,” Chavez said.
Waldport has its first test of the year in Harrisburg on Dec. 6.