With a week to go before Woodinville’s season opener vs. Meadowdale, coach Nathan Davis is embracing change.
Following last year’s 3-11 record, there’s a fresh new attitude, a new philosophy, and a champion wrestler now serving as a new goalie.
“We’ve obviously got to improve on our record from last year,” Davis said. “Last year was a disappointment and I think the guys involved this year would probably agree with me.”
A handful of seniors will lead the way for Woodinville, including Isaac Bailey, Eric Erstad, Ionatan Kuperwajs and Trevor Dickey. A pleasing influx of new talent has also joined the club, including a sophomore class that Davis said is the best he’s seen in a decade of coaching.
But for 2014, the onus is on the upperclassmen.
“My seniors have been running captains practices for about three months now,” Davis said. “You can see the camaraderie that they have already. In fact we just ran our big fitness test, which everyone has to pass in order to play in a game, and the amount of support and friendship they were giving each other as they suffered through it together was great. Last year, we had a couple of cliques and a couple people on the team that might not have gotten along with a lot of other people. So this year it seems like we are a group that is more supportive and more cohesive already.”
During the off-season, the affable Davis did some soul searching.
“When it comes to wins and losses, last year was the worst season I’ve had as a coach,” he said. “When that happens you’ve got to sit back and reflect upon the whole season. Not only what the players did and what other teams did, but also what I did as a coach. I went out this year and got another certification — I just got my national diploma. So I’m trying to better myself as a coach. To see if I can pick up on some of my flaws, which I really enjoy doing, and I definitely found some flaws in how I was running things.
“I’ve also done more reading in how to bring a team together. It’s a very short amount of time to bring 20 guys together that may or may not know each other and get them on the same page and supporting each other. Last year I didn’t get that done. My goal this year is that no matter what we’ll have a very tight-knit team atmosphere. So that if the wins don’t come this year, then next year we’ll know that we’ll have the right attitude and can then focus solely on the wins.”
One other addition to this year’s squad is Ryan Christensen, the two-time state champion wrestler for Woodinville.
“He’s now one of my goalies,” Davis said. “He’s been training with his twin brother Paul, who was on the US National team. Ryan came out to tryouts and impressed me so we’ve got an all-state wrestler here to hopefully bring his experience in the post season to our team.
“And if one of our games ends in a tie, I want to settle things with a wrestling match instead of penalty kicks.”