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Warriors start season with wealth of experience

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The Arlee Warriors that tasted success last year will be back again this year to help guide the rest of team.

The Warriors have three returning divisional champions and one state champion.

Cole Rice, the returning 140-pound Western B-C and Montana B-C champion, will lead the Warriors as he goes for his second straight championship and his third top two finish at the state tournament. The senior went 45-3 last year, with only one of the losses coming against an opponent in his weight class and will enter the season with 128 career wins. 

“Cole Rice is truly a leader of the team. He is in good company with other wrestlers on the team who are also good leaders. Cole is always working his hardest in practice to improve his wrestling and is also a coach in the fact he is willing to show the others wrestlers the different and difficult aspects of wrestling he has perfected over the year,” Arlee coach Ken Hill said.

After battling a pinched nerve and illnesses last year, Logan Lefler came on strong at the end of last year, winning the 125-pound divisonal championship and finishing third at the state championship. Hill said the junior, who went 27-5 last year, is healthy and is looking strong at practice.

Austin Rubel is the other returning divisional champion. As a freshman Rubel only lost to one conference opponent in the 105-pound class.

Cameron Dominick joined the three at the state tournament after defeating Mission-Charlo’s Casey Nitschke by one-point at the divisional tournament. Hill said as a sophomore Dominick is more focused.

“Cameron Dominick is growing up and has realized what he wants to accomplish this season. He recognizes his weaknesses and has been working to improve them,” Hill said. 

Curt Seidel and Zach Tameler just missed out of making the final tournament last year. Hill said that Seidel has worked hard in the offseason as he prepares for his military service and looks like a strong contender in the 215-pound class.

Tameler joined the team late last year and failed to reach the level needed to make the state tournament, Hill said that shouldn’t be a problem this season.

“Zach Tameler is back this season after having a great season in football as the running back. He has improved in his speed and strength and is working really hard with Logan Lefler and Cole Rice to improve his technique for this season,” Hill said.

The Warriors have plenty of experience on the team with Al Plant, Leif Rova, Carter Clinkenbeard and Clayton Trimble all returning to the team.

“We have between 14 and 18 guys in the room and as the season goes forward that number will stabilize, but overall we are looking at a very experienced and talented group of wrestlers,” Hill said.

 The Warriors start their season in Cascade Friday and Saturday and then will be at home Tuesday.

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