New Year, Higher Expectations

By Jeremy McDonald

SALEM, Ore.—Last year exceeded the expectations of North Salem Head Wrestling Coach Andy Pickett as they finished second in the Greater Valley Conference as he reflects on how last season was entering this season.

“I think we outperformed expectations, I was happy with the way we performed and we didn’t have as large of team as I would’ve liked, but, given the kids we have, they performed well,” said Pickett.  Finishing second in league was huge for us because programs at North are down and we thriving for success is good.  Not just for our program but for the school as well.”

Last winter gave the Vikings some momentum into the offseason as they juggled Open Mats, offseason training and seeing Ian Carlos, Shannon Glover and Brandon Quezada competing at National-level competitions as the season started this past Monday.

“We had three kids go to Nationals, North has never had three kids in the same year go Nationals much less three kids coming back the following year,” said Pickett.  “So that was amazing.  Ian winning that National Tournament in Reno was awesome, a 100-man bracket.

“And we came in here and had two amazing first days,  we start with a combination of a bunch of new guys and old guys, they’re good.  Our leaders are really going to step up this year and our younger guys…we got younger guys jumping on board and running with our training, so we’re excited.”

Carlos describes carrying that momentum into this year is by continuing to bring out people to the mat rooms as everyone tries to become the best as they can become.

“Last year had a lot less guys,” “so this year we’re going to get as many people as we can in the wrestling room and make sure there pushing the pace and become the best that they can be to get us back to the peak where we were at last year.  So it’s just making sure everyone’s working hard, getting to the best shape they can so that when district comes, we can dominate the tournament.”

The goals that Coach Pickett has set forth compares to with what Carlos mentioned above with two of the four goals that are set for the team.

Head Coach Andy Pickett (blue shirt, far left) demostrating a move and a drill in Wednesday practice (picture By Jeremy McDonald)

Those four goals are:  Go undefeated in duals.  Win the regional tournament. Have five regional champions and send seven kids to State.

It’s a lot to come by, but the North Head Coach is pretty confident with the group of talent they have, that they can do it.

“We got lofty goals this year, they’re all achievable, but we got lofty goals,” said Pickett.  “Pretty good goals, but we got so much talent in this room, it’s incredible.”

As for dethroning Sprague?  They’re hopeful.

“That’s a possibility,” smiled Pickett.

As the third day of practice rolls on, Carlos is liking how his team is looking as they broke off into two groups for practice Wednesday afternoon.

“As of right now, we’re doing pretty good,” said Carlos. “I think we’re doing pretty good.  We have a lot of returners from last year and all of our incoming freshman, they’re not very skilled but they’re very athletic and that plays a big part from beginners and non-athletic beginners.

“We’ll be good this year, I think my team is going to be good this year.”

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