WHITTEMORE - In his fifth season as the Whittemore-Prescott wrestling coach, and with a young team dominated by freshmen hopefuls, Russell Wilson somehow motivated the Cardinals to a 17-7 record in dual match competition.

Fortunately with all that youth the Cardinals have a ton of experience coming back, led by senior Ridge Schutte who was third at states last year, as well as senior 130-pound wrestler Mason Hensley and sophomore 160-pounder Dakota Gagnon who both qualified for the regional tournament last year.

The Cardinals are naturally pinning their hopes on a bevy of returning sophomores who cut their teeth on stiff competition last year and now are looking to make even bigger strides this year.

Included among that group of experienced youngsters are sophomores David Candy at 103 pounds, Devan Nader at 125, Jesse Allen at 145, Russell Wilson and Izaack Waldorf at 215.

Also coming back from last year are seniors Josh Green at 152 pounds, Jacob Green at 171 and junior Ronnie Boggs who'll wrestle at 285.

Joining them are newcomers Adrien Fragoso, a freshman at 103, sophomore Kyle Fenner at 152, freshman Jesse Morrison at 145, freshman Faith Keller at 215 and sophomore Sunny Fragoso at 285.

"Practice has been going very well," coach Wilson said. "The kids are working hard so far. The team goal is to win the conference title, and a district title. We still have a very young team.

"I will rely on my sophomores to win us big matches. Then we have our seniors to give us leadership. I'm counting on Hensley, Josh Green and Ridge Schutte to lead the team. Mason Hensley, Kyle Fenner and Dakota Green will have something to prove this year."

Hensley, Fenner and Dakota Green all lost in the blood round at the regional tournament last year, just one win away from qualifying for state. Schutte is expected to be in the hunt for a state championship this year.