The Mountain Home Tigers open the 2012-13 wrestling season this week with two duals and a tournament.
Tiger wrestling coach Lynn Knudson talked about this year's turnout for wrestling.
"We had 37 kids total, and three of our state qualifiers returning, including Aerial Groene, who placed fourth at the state tournament last year, so overall, it's a pretty good turnout."
The Tigers open with a busy week of wrestling. They wrestled a conference dual at Emmett on Tuesday, wrestle at Columbia on Thursday, Dec. 6, before they head to Nyssa, Ore., for the Nyssa Invitational on Friday and Saturday.
"It's going to be busy, but we're looking forward to seeing how our kids can perform these first two duals," Coach Knudson said. "Hopefully we can get healthy, because a lot of us have been not feeling too hot."
The Tigers coach expects a tough conference race this season and hopes his Tigers can make a run as well.
"I believe Columbia will recruit like they usually do, so they're going to be strong," he said. "Kuna has a lot of returners and Middleton has a lot of kids coming back, too, so they're going to be okay, but I think Mountain Home is going to be right up there in the run of things, so it'll be interesting.
"We had quite a few kids that just barely missed the cutoff (for state) last year, and we still take the top five out of our district, but I think they've turned their skills up quite a bit," the coach added. "We've definitely been working with them one-on-one a lot, with tuning up those skills that they were weak in, so I think we're going to see some good numbers this year."
Knudson expects to have a good dual lineup with almost every weight class filled, as they try to improve upon last year's 14-10 dual match record.
"We've got a good solid lineup all the way through, and should even be solid on our JV, too."
For this week's openers, Knudson is going with Jacob Lucas in the 98-pounds weight class, Aerial Groene at 106, Josh Saporta at 113, Bobby Dominguez at 126, Jordan Pendleton at 132, Levi Abrahamson at 138, Tanner Sessions at145, Tyler McCall at 152, Jacob Ryan at 160, Blake Spagnolo at 170, either Taylor Ogaard or Colt Lohmeier at 182, Josh Deal at 195, and Solomon Chung-Hee or Dallin Dearing at 220 or 285.
Aerial Groene, Josh Saporta and Tanner Sessions are returning state qualifiers.
"We're looking forward to good duals, and that should lead us into our district tournament and on into state," Knudson said.