Transfers, local stars highlight SOU wrestling recruits

ASHLAND — Highlighted by impressive groups of transfers and local high school stars, Southern Oregon head wrestling coach Mike Ritchey announced the signing of 20 wrestlers Thursday.

The group features 11 transfers and five local wrestlers who will compete for the defending dual-meet national championship team next season.

"I think our success last year helped us when it came to people being a little more interested to join this program," Ritchey said. "We were able to bring in some quality transfers and also pick up some of the best high school wrestlers from the best high school programs in the state here in Southern Oregon."

The transfers include Jimmy Eggemeyer (133 pounds/University of Wyoming), Kyle Wirkuty (141/Clackamas CC), Jordan Toney (157/Portland State), Kris Spencer (165/Clackamas CC), D.J. May (165/North Idaho), Zach Pagnotta (165/Southwestern Oregon CC), Josh Stalcup (174/Oregon State), Derek Rottenberg (184/Shasta JC), Ron Lee (197/Oregon), Nigel Bond (285/Clackamas CC) and Jarod Pitassi (285/Cal Baptist).

Lee wrestled for Crater before starting his collegiate career at Oregon, where he was an NCAA Division I qualifier in 2007. Eggemeyer was a two-time state champion in Alaska before heading off to Wyoming.

Wirkuty, Spencer and Pagnotta all are junior college All-Americans.

Locals preps to commit to SOU are Steven Evans (125/Roseburg), Tyler Lander (133/Roseburg), Justin Eldred (141/Grants Pass) and Sam Winter (149/Illinois Valley).

Winter is a two-time state champion, and Lander and Eldred each claimed a state title.

Other prep signees are Jordan Lowe (125/McNary), Joe Hutchison (141/Squim, Wash.), Tucker Van Matre (149/Kodiak, Alaska), Adam Swogger (157/South Salem) and Etan Hinton (184/Squim, Wash.).

"It's going to be a really tough (practice) room next year," Ritchey said. "We now have a lot of depth that has a lot of top-level experience."

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