By David Pan/Lynnwood Today editor
Meadowdale’s Ciaran Ball doesn’t have far to look for inspiration as he takes aim at a state wrestling title.
Last saw Ball watched as training partner and teammate Morgan Smith won a 3A championship at Mat Classic XXIV in the Tacoma Dome.
Ball would like nothing more than to follow in his teammate’s footsteps.
“From last year being his partner, I just really saw firsthand basically what it’s like to work for that state championship,” Ball said. “I’m just going to try to replicate it in my own way and doing the stuff that makes me a better wrestler.”
Ball (195 pounds) finished fourth last year and was fifth two years ago at the state tournament. The Meadowdale senior came into this season ranked No. 1 by the Washington Wrestling Report. The three wrestlers who finished ahead of him were all seniors last season.
In the offseason, Ball attending different camps and was constantly working on his conditioning and training. He also focused on his takedowns.
“I want to improve on that from last year,” Ball said.
Meadowdale coach Brian Boardman said that Ball has worked hard in preparation for his senior season.
He’s not the only one.
Junior Tim Smith, Morgan’s younger brother, looks to be one of the state’s top 220-pounders. Smith is ranked seventh in the Washington Wrestling Report’s preseason rankings.
“He’s someone to look at,” Boardman said. “He did really well at our tough regionals.”
Colton Davis (160) is another top prospect, who has spent a lot of time in the offseason improving and preparing for the 2013-14 season, Boardman said. “He should do pretty well.”
Meadowdale has some solid newcomers and individuals who are coming back to the sport after taking a break.
“I’m hoping for some surprises,” Boardman said. “The young kids are working pretty hard. The wrestlers who are coming back hopefully can do some good stuff.”
Two promising newcomers include freshman DeeDee Free, who won the eighth grade girls championship, and Ball’s younger brother, Liam (145), also a freshman.
Free is tough and strong, Boardman said. “I think she’s very capable, especially when it comes to the girls tournament. … She knows her moves.”
Liam joined older brother Ciarian for much of his offseason training.
“I expect him to do good things” Ciarian said. “He’s been putting a lot of work in. … It’s nice to have your brother on the team.”