After coaching wrestling for 11 years as an assistant and then two years as head coach at Kamiak High School, Trace Regan decided to step away from the sport two years ago.
Last summer Regan was out fishing when he got a call from a friend, Brian Alfi, the head wrestling coach at Edmonds-Woodway High School. Alfi asked him if he wanted to coach at Lynnwood.
Regan initially said no but then Alfi told him that the Royals had a good team with one guy who likely would be ranked No. 1 in his weight class. Regan then started thinking about it a little more and checked things out with his job at Boeing.
“Everything kind of fell into place,” said Regan, who was officially hired as Lynnwood’s head coach in October.
“It’s been fun,” he added. “The kids are great. They’re working really hard.”
What’s also been impressive to Regan is the alumni who have returned to help out. One of those former wrestlers is two-time state champion Joel Mittelman, who is coming in three or four days a week to work with the team.
“There are a lot of ex-Lynnwood wrestlers who take a lot of pride in their school and the wrestling program,” Regan said. “We’ve got other wrestlers coming in and helping whenever work allows them to.”
One of the current Royals who is drawing attention is senior Hunter Lord (170 pounds). Lord comes into the season ranked No. 1 in his weight class, according to the statewide Washington Wrestling Report.
Lord finished fourth at 160 last year and everyone that placed above him graduated.
“He’s got a great work ethic,” Regan said. “He’s busting his tail. Warming up, sprints, he’s always first and he’s a really strong, well-conditioned athlete.”
Another state returner is senior Manual Vasquez (220), who is ranked seventh in the Washington Wrestling Report poll.
“He was injured most of the year,” Regan said. “He finally got healthy and turned it on. He’s really been dedicated in the offseason.”
Joining Lord and Vasquez as co-captain is senior Matthew Calkins (138), who Regan also thinks could do well in the postseason.
“We’re hoping to get him on the podium,” Regan said. “Matthew has been wrestling for a long, long time. He’s a hard worker. He’s dedicated to the sport and is trying to get better.”
With only a roster of 24, Lynnwood isn’t a large team but Regan likes the talent.
“They are a solid group of guys,” he said. “They’ve been picking up my language and moves. Guys are doing quite well in practice. I’m looking forward to seeing them in live action.”
Lynnwood travels to Meadowdale High School for a double dual meet with the Mavericks and Jackson at 5:45 p.m., Friday, Dec. 6.