Wrestling: Oak, Collins take aim at Klein
Klein Oak coach Brad Ewing and Klein Collins' Kenny Rucker are hoping their teams can give defending District 20 champion Klein a run for its money.
"It's up in the air right now because several of the teams are still getting their weight classes right and in order," Rucker said. "I know the Klein and Klein Oak boys are solid, and The Woodlands and Kingwood Park boys could be in the hunt, and after (our boys and girls) finished second to Klein last year, we're looking to be right in there again this season."
The district tournament is Feb. 4-5 at Klein Oak.
"Among the boys, it's pretty even across the board," Ewing said. "Klein does have a solid lineup as usual, but we have some good individuals, and we think we should do pretty well."
With only a handful of events left before district, the clock is ticking to get everything in order.
The Klein Oak Panthers are led by junior Travis Leiskau (140-pound division), who is ranked No. 2 in Texas, and has state tournament finishes of third as a freshman (112) and fifth as a sophomore (119) last year.
"I think he'll win state and end up No. 1," said Ewing, who is in his fifth season at Klein Oak. "He had a great summer, and after hitting the weights really hard, he's filled out and become much stronger."
Klein Oak also features juniors Cougar Babin (152), Asaiah Dyer (160), Troy Bentley (112) and Matt Emerson (119), seniors Kyle Bowen (135), Darius Butler (180) and Demetrius Williams (189), and freshman Brandon Davis (140).
"Babin definitely has a chance to go to his first state tournament, and even though Dyer is in a tough division, he's having a great season and is really coming into his own, and Bowen was a state alternate last year and is also having an outstanding season," Ewing said.
The Klein Collins Tigers have a boys roster highlighted by seniors Keith Williams (171), Colton Thomas (160), Tanner Wilkins (140) and Danny Diaz (180), and juniors Sean Ruteshouser (135) and Stephen Carni (103).
Williams and Thomas competed in the state tournament, Ruteshouser was a regional qualifier and Carni placed at district last year.
The Lady Tigers are looking for big things from seniors Sarah Perez (95), Nicole James (165) and Tyesha Thomas (128) with the goal of catching and passing Klein.
Perez is a three-time district champion who has been to two state events (sixth as a sophomore), and James went to state and Thomas was a regional qualifier last season.
The top two district finishers in every weight class move on to regionals, where the top four in each division earn a ticket to state.
The Region 3 Tournament is Feb. 11-12 at the Merrell Center in Katy, and the University Interscholastic League State Meet is Feb. 25-26 at the Delco Center in Austin.
For the first time in the program's history, Klein Oak has no girls on its roster, according to Ewing.
"We've had some success with our girls in the past, and we had a good one at the beginning of the season, but she moved back to Colorado," he said.
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