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SOU wrestlers reload with big recruiting class

Five of 18 newcomers are former state champs; North Medford’s Endecott to play football, too

Southern Oregon University wrestling coach Mike Ritchey on Tuesday announced an 18-member recruit list rich in talent, dotted with state champions and marked by notable family connections.

Five of the newcomers are high school state champions, including two-time Alaska winner Neil Jenny of Petersburg, Alaska, along with 2006 champ Jared Dalgleish (a 119-pound competitor from Kelso, Wash.); Spencer Beckman (112, Craig, Alaska); Jeremy Luce (135, Nome, Alaska); and Beau Hanson (215, Chehalis, Wash.).

North Medford stars Tim Endecott (285) and Jon Ulrey (141) each have an opportunity to make immediate impacts at weight classes vacated by graduating seniors.

Endecott, an all-state defensive lineman, was a Class 4A heavyweight finalist last winter and will compete in both sports as a Raider. Ulrey, whose older brother, Jimmy, was a nationally-ranked 149-pounder for SOU last year, placed third in the state as a senior and seventh as a sophomore.

Another Southern Oregon Conference product, two-time state placer Jake Spears of Roseburg (133), rejoins his former prep workout partner, NAIA 125-pound placewinner Trevor Lofstedt.

“Tim, Jon and Jake are excellent athletes who competed in one of the best wrestling districts in the state,” Ritchey said. “I’m looking forward to seeing what they can do at the college level.”

Hanson, who will also vie for the 285-pound starting role, is the son of three-time Raider All-American and 1983-84 team captain Russ Hanson, and junior Shane Slover, a national qualifier for Clackamas Community College last season, is the younger brother of 2001-02 SOU 149-pound starter and 27-bout winner Shannon Slover.

“I think it says a lot about the quality of our program and the overall educational experience at SOU that we are attracting sons and brothers of former Raiders,” Ritchey said.

Jenny, who claimed 145-pound crown as a sophomore and won the 171-pound weight class as a senior last season, Beckman and Luce headline a sizeable contingent of Alaskans, who follow in the footsteps of current Raider 125-pounder Junior Valladolid and three-year NAIA All-American David O’Brien, both Kodiak High standouts.

Projected 149-pounder Joe Christensen, a four-year state placer at Grace Christian in Anchorage, and Mike Parrone, a 197-pounder from Anchorage Christian, will also don Raider singlets in the fall.

SOU attracted three competitors who competed for former SOU All-American Doug Samarron at Oregon Class 4A wrestling power West Linn High School: incoming freshman Kendall Ward (125), Clackamas Community College transfer Logan Raivio (184), and former Oregon State squadman Chase Locke (184).

More Clackamas connections are Alex Bubb, a 165-pound national junior college qualifier, who will likely serve at 157; and 2005-06 Clackamas assistant coach and former Oregon State letterwinner Joel Gibson. Gibson, a 1998 North Medford High graduate, is a key addition at 165, where Ritchey must replace SOU’s loftiest 2006 national placer — NAIA runner-up and 100-bout winner Jimmy Grochowsky.

“Joel and Chase competed on the Division — level and chose Southern for different reasons,” Ritchey said. “Joel’s NCAA clock ran out but he has another year at the NAIA level, while Chase was looking for a smaller class sizes to continue his academic and wrestling careers. The opportunity to work out with national finalist Rick Story next season was a big factor in his coming to SOU.”

Ritchey’s efforts to beef up Southern’s upper weight classes also netted two-time Class 4A placer Joe Williams of Pendleton High and 189-pound state finalist Brody Collins of Willamina.

Williams, a state meet finalist in 2005 and third-place finisher a year ago, is the only wrestler in Oregon to defeat former Crater High star Cody Clark.

Southern Oregon returns five starters and 13 letter winners from last year’s 14-5 squad that finished sixth at the NAIA Championships and extended the school’s national-record consecutive winning season streak to 36.