A better-than-normal turnout for this season’s Bonners Ferry High School wrestling team, coupled with several experienced wrestlers, could mean a successful season for the Badgers.

Thirty-two students have signed up for this year’s squad, which opens its season on Thursday, Dec. 10, on the road against Libby.

“That’s a lot more than normal,” said veteran head coach Conrad Garner. “Traditionally, we’ve had about 20.”

Garner expects to fill all of the weight classes. In recent years, the Badgers have competed in matches where four to five classes went unfilled.

“You give away 6 points for every open weight class,” Garner said. “We have three heavyweights, which is a big improvement.”

Junior and senior wrestlers helped recruit new team members, bringing on freshmen and new kids to the school district.

“They were tired of winning matches and not winning duels,” Garner said. “We need numbers.”

Juniors Trevor Hampton and Benny Watt are the  returning Badgers to place at the 2009 state tournament.  Hampton is expected to wrestling at 140.  Watt at 130.

Other returning lettermen include seniors Aaron Stockdale at 152, Justin Spease at 189, Joe Neumeyer at 145 and Josh Carpenter at 130; juniors Reid Boorman at 125, Robert Lundgren at 119 or 125, Dusty Koehler at 125, Benny Watt at 130 , Isiah Grey at 145 and heavyweights David Willems and Beau Cowley; and sophomores Thomas Osborn at 152 and Zach Heigel at 171,

Garner said he is uncertain about what to expect from Priest River, but as far as the rest of the Intermountain League, he feels the Badgers could be in the top three.

Others who have signed up wrestling are seniors Jacob Beazer, Kelly VanAllen and Matt Surrena; juniors Mike Mason and Katie Michael; sophomores Alex Trevino, Austin Lethrud, Reed Bennett and Kody Ramsey; and freshmen Josh Tucker, Josh Miller, Tyson Boorman, Hunter Borer, Blaine Invernon and Carmen Krischbaum.

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