ASHLAND — Southern Oregon University wrestling coach Mike Ritchey hopes a large, talented recruiting class will help the Raiders achieve their 37th consecutive winning season.

ASHLAND — Southern Oregon University wrestling coach Mike Ritchey hopes a large, talented recruiting class will help the Raiders achieve their 37th consecutive winning season.

Ritchey has added 25 new members to a team that returns nine wrestlers that competed in last year's NAIA national tournament.

The Raider recruiting class is made up of 16 freshmen and nine transfers, highlighted by seven junior college All-Americans and five high school state champions. There are 17 recruits from Oregon, including three from area high schools.

"I am excited for this season," said Ritchey. "Although this is a large quantity, there is good quality in these recruits, bringing in a lot of experience and accomplishments. This is the strongest group of freshmen I think I've ever had. There are lots of newcomers as well as a strong returning class and that will make for some good battles to see who will be under the lights this coming season."

The three local recruits are: Jake Vizzini (141/149 pounds) from Crater; Shyne Tourville (125) of Phoenix; and Dusty Culver (125) of Illinois Valley.

"The local kids will create interest," said Ritchey. "This will really help to continue our strong fan base. It's also nice for the kids to wrestle in front of a hometown crowd."

Ritchey signed three freshmen from six-time 3A state champion Burns. Tommy Hooper (149) and Tyrel Peasley (133) won state titles last year for the Hilanders, while teammate Levi Root (125) was a three-time state placer.

Ritchey gives credit to first-year assistant coach Brian Samhammer, a former SOU All-American, and the Western Undergraduate Exchange program in signing seven wrestlers from California — six JC transfers and one freshman.

"(Samhammer) had a lot of connections and did the groundwork for the California JC kids," said Ritchey.

The WUE recently added California to its program, making it more possible for Californians to attend Southern Oregon University.

"It cuts the tuition and makes our school more affordable," said Ritchey. "It opens up the talent pool for our entire athletic department."

"There's definitely some talent in that JC group," adds Ritchey. "Those guys have been in college for two years. We're excited about adding that kind of depth. We have some solid freshmen that might make some noise also."

2007-08 Recruiting Class

Incoming Freshmen

125 — Levi Root, Burns HS (three time state placer, 2nd in 2006); 125 — Justin Tracy, Thurston HS (5A state champion); 125 — Shyne Tourville, Phoenix HS (two-time 4A state placer, 3rd in 2007); 125 — Dusty Culver, Illinois Valley HS (4A state placer, 6th in 2007); 133 — Tyrel Peasley, Burns HS (two time 3A state champion in 2005-07); 133 — James Frankie Newport, Toledo HS (three-time state qualifier); 141-149 — Jake Vizzini, Crater HS (two-time state finalist in 2006-07); 149 — Justin Mills, Clear Lake (California) HS (state qualifier in 2007); 149 — Tommie Hooper, Burns HS (3A state champion in 2007); 157 — Jeremy DuPont, Madras HS (5A state finalist in 2007); 157 — Brad Tamashiro, Hilo (Hawaii) HS (Hawaii BIIF Champion in 2007); 157 — Sam Broggi, Riddle HS (2A state champion in 2007); 165-174 — Lane Locke, West Linn HS (3rd at 6A state championships in 2007); 174 — Andrew Marshall, Oregon City HS (6A state placer in 2007); 184 — Levi Morgan, Thurston HS (3rd at 5A state championships in 2007); 285 — Sam Sprauer, Silverton HS (5A state placer in 2007)

Transfers

133 — Brian Jacobs, sophomore, Clackamas CC; 133-141 — Caleb Mack, junior, Delta JC; 149-157 — Seth Roy, junior, Clackamas CC; 157 — Stuart Cole, junior, Palomar JC; 157-165 — Luis Cisneros, junior, Clackamas CC; 165 — Dan Barraza, junior, Sierra College; 174 — Mike Leslie, junior, Sierra College; 285 — Marcus Moore, junior, Sierra College; 285 — Matt Klimek, sophomore, Palomar JC.