WALLA WALLA - The Wa-Hi Blue Devil wrestling team features solid depth for the 2011-12 season as they return three wrestlers with significant experience and are looking to make a strong postseason run.
"We have a lot of kids who it will be a test year for," Wa-Hi coach Clayton Hudiburg said. "They don't get to play that inexperienced card this year; they have to start winning some of their matches this year. And they can do it."
Leading the charge for the Devils will be junior Logan Reardon. Readon went 25-10 last season and placed fourth at the regional tournament. He qualified to be a state tournament alternative, but did not wrestle.
"He's (Reardon) solid," Hudiburg said. "He's got really good chance at getting in the state tournament this year and placing.
"His athleticism, for his size, is probably a big piece of that (success)," Hudiburg continued. "He weighs 215 pounds, but he moves like a 160-pounder. He's just big and strong like those other kids his size, but he's got that athleticism too."
Reardon wrestles at 215.
Senior Anthony Stalder is also returning from a postseason run in the 145 weight class. Last year he finished sixth at the district tournament and was an alternate at the regional tournament. He was 23-9 overall.
Hudiburg said he is looking for Stalder to drop from the 145 class down to 138 by the end of the season.
"If he puts everything together this year he's got a chance at sneaking in that state tournament this year," Hudiburg said, "especially if he gets down in that lower weight class."
Sophomore Wil Babbitt (112 pounds) finished 2010-11 at 23-9 and placed sixth in districts. He was also a regional alternate.
"He had a really great season last year," Hudiburg said. "He didn't finish that well last year, but that's just part of being a freshman."
Hudiburg said Babbitt made large strides in the offseason.
"His (Babbitt) body shape and features have kind of transitioned from last year," he said. "He looks like a high school wrestler this year, so there's definitely some maturing going on there.
"He's really strong in the top position, and he doesn't give up," Hudiburg said. "He just keeps going, even when he gets down by six points. He just goes until the match is over and that's going to serve him really well in the next few years here."
Wa-Hi opens the season tonight at 7 p.m. when the Blue Devils host Eisenhower.
The Devils lost to Eisenhower 42-27 in last season's opener.