Wrestling often becomes a family affair. Find a wrestler with a younger sibling and you often will find another wrestler.
This year’s Monte Bulldog wrestling team is probably a shining example of brotherly grappling as there are five sets of siblings.
This Saturday, all ten brothers will, with the rest of their teammates, compete at the subregional Evergreen Class A League Championships at Forks High School.
Ty Ekerson, a junior currently rated atop the state Class A ranks at 145 pounds, will be accompanied by his brother, Cole, a freshman ranked fourth in Class A at 120 pounds.
Lucas Salstrom, a junior, is seeded second at 138 pounds at Forks, and brother Jacob, a sophomore, is seeded first at 106. Both Salstrom brothers competed at state last season.
Senior Brent Hollatz, also a state competitor, is seeded No. 1 at Forks at 182, while his brother Jesse, a freshman, is the No. 3 seed at 113.
At 170 pounds, sophomore Nathan Ryker is seeded as fourth, and brother Sean, a freshman, is second at 106.
The Bulldogs’ only set of twins, the Pierce brothers, will be entered in different classes at Forks. Just sophomores, Isaac is a No. 2 seed at 152 pounds, and Isaiah is second seed at 160 pounds.
As a group, the five sets of brothers comprise 40% of the Bulldogs’ entrants at Sub-Regionals and, during the 2019-20 season, they have amassed an impressive 200 wins to 57 losses.
Their seedings indicate all ten brothers are expected to advance to the regional tournament Feb. 15 in Hoquiam.
Montesano will have eight top seeded grapplers in this weekend’s match: Jacob Salstrom at 106 pounds; Konnor Odekirk, 113; Aaron Lano, 120; Cooper Johansson, 126; Ty Ekerson, 145; Brandon Kroeger, 160; Brent Hollatz, 182; and Kenny Koonrad, 285.
Other second seeds for Monte are Mateo Sanchez at 182 pounds, Alex Delgado at 195 and Steven Rademacher 220.
Montesano Coach Jeff Klinger is excited about his team’s prospects and is hopeful that the Bulldog’s depth will propel them to new heights in the post season.
“Our team goal is to win the subregional and regional tournaments and to place in the top four at state. We are entering 25 kids in the 14 weight classes at Forks,” he said. “It’s the first time this season that we will have had our entire varsity team on the mat at the same time. They are most likely the deepest wrestling team in Monte history. We are excited to see how the next three weekends play out.”