Southern Oregon University head wrestling coach Mike Ritchey on Thursday announced the signing of 20 individuals that will wrestle for the Raiders in 2008-09.




The group, ranked as one of the top in the NAIA by , features eight state champions.




"We are excited to bring in such a large group of quality wrestlers," Ritchey said. "This gives us a great chance to be very successful over the next few years."




Roseburg's Mitchell Lofstedt (125 pounds) leads the group of state champions. The three-time Oregon state champ and is nationally ranked.




Other Oregon state champions include Salem's Derek Bartlemay (141), Roseburg's Tony Castro (149), Lowell's Mac Green (174), Springfield's Brett Arand (174) and Grants Pass' Nick Shoesmith (184).




Austin Vanderford (165) is a two-time Alaskan State Champion and Shaun Ceremello is a California State Champion.




Ritchey is also bringing in eight transfers including Arand and Chris Platt (184) from Oregon State, Bartlemay and John Bates (285) from Clackamas CC, Kevin Mitchell (141) from Northern Idaho, Stuart Cole (157) from Palomar JC, Fresno City's Shaun Ceremello (174) and John Harrison (184) from Shasta JC.




The rest of the class features Eagle Point state finalist Robby Mannenbach (165), Crater's Tyler Winner (149), Klamath Falls' Jacob Stutzer (141), Vaneta's Anthony Ough (149), Zach Callas (165) of Nevada, Calif., McKay's Tyler Thomas (165) and LaPine's Anthony Tilman (197).




Lofstedt, Mannenbach, Winner and Platt all had fathers wrestle at Southern.




"It's great to see the loyalty and tradition continue," Ritchey said.




The Southern Oregon wrestling program is one of the best sports programs at the school. The Raiders have run off 38 consecutive winning seasons and have won four NAIA national championships.




Sports editor Joe Zavala can be reached at 482-3456 x 224 or joe.