By Bill Tamburrino
Steve Koch is the dean of Ramona High School coaches with 21 years at the helm of the wrestling program. In his tenure his teams have won four CIF championships and have been runners-up six times.
Forty RHS grapplers have won CIF championships. For the last 15 years his teams have finished in the top 10 of the San Diego Section in the Masters Meet and 33 Bulldogs have advanced to the State meet.
Last year Koch had a young team that was picked to finish fourth in the CIF. They won the CIF. This year’s pre-season expectations are a little better. Ramona is ranked third in the CIF behind Brawley and Central.
Koch has a veteran staff. Duayne Guile is the assistant head coach. John Rodriguez is in charge of conditioning and the junior varsity. Tyler McKay is new to the staff and will help with the lower division teams.
Here is the projected lineup for this year’s Bulldog wrestling team that will compete in the Valley League after two seasons in the Palomar League.
106: Koch stated that two freshmen are still competing for the job at this weight.
115: Freshman Logan White is the front runner.
120 and 126: These weights are one of the strengths of the lineup. Vince Adair, a junior letterman and CIF finalist, Martin Dowers, a junior and a medalist in the CIF, and junior Arturo Osorio, last year’s CIF champion, will vie for the two weight classifications.
132: Senior Kevin Conroy, who finished second in the CIF last season, returns for his third varsity campaign.
138: Senior Isaiah Ilich returns for his fourth varsity campaign and is the defending CIF champion.
145: Troy Jordan is only a sophomore but he finished third in the CIF last season. He will vie for this weight class with senior Jake Ohnysty, who missed last season but went to the CIF as a sophomore.
152: Alex Gomez is a junior in his first varsity season.
160: Jake Grybow is a junior who lettered last season.
170: Senior Noe Hernandez returns after a fourth place finish in the CIF last season.
182: Austin Koch is a sophomore in his first varsity season.
195: Josh Allen, a senior, is a two-time CIF medalist.
220: Zach Berg, a senior, will return after placing third in the CIF last season.
285: Junior Trae Rodriguez will vie with sophomore Leo Duron for the heavyweight spot.
The Bulldogs will have three home matches before the winter holiday vacation against perennial wrestling powers. On Dec. 6, the Dawgs will battle Rancho Buena Vista. On Dec. 13, the Dawgs will host Vista, and on Dec. 20, San Marcos will invade the Dawg Pound. All varsity matches are scheduled for 7 p.m.