Junior high wrestlers wrap up season in style

Montesano Junior High’s wrestling team concluded another successful season Tuesday evening, Dec. 17, with the Bullpups traveling to Tumwater for a meet with their hosts plus Bush, Reeves, Jefferson, Washington and Marshall middle schools.

Montesano’s boys won 20 matches, 15 by pin, and lost 10, pushing their totals well beyond their team goals of 200 wins and 165 pins. The final season total for the wrestlers was 207 wins and 178 pins. Individuals on the team lost a total of just 79 matches.

Some the more exciting matches at Tumwater included a victory by seventh-grader Toryn White, a sudden death overtime win by seventh-grader Caleb Bruland and a wild melee between eighth-grader Gabe Bodwell and Hayden Blanton of Washington that ended with Bodwell up 14-9.

The lanky Bodwell has quickly adapted to wrestling and finished his first season with an outstanding record of 16 wins and only 1 loss. Pins accounted for 14 of Bodwell’s wins.

Two other wrestlers, seventh-grader Thomas Flink and eighth-grader Willy Busche also finished their first season with a single defeat.

“It is a bit unusual for three first year kids to finish with a single loss during their initial wrestling experience, but all three are naturally inclined toward the attributes that combine to make a great wrestler,” coach Darrel White said.

Only one member of the team finished the junior high season undefeated, eighth grade co-captain Enrique Mendoza. Mendoza’s final record was 17 wins and no losses with 15 pins.

“Enrique will definitely find success at the high school level,” coach Eric Pyhala said. “He works hard and did a great job, especially considering the fact that this was only his second year of wrestling.”

Although he has a losing season record, White was one of the heroes during the Bullpups final outing. A team favorite because of his gregarious personality, his coaches say that White has struggled to gain the experience and technique necessary for success in wrestling, but that he has surged forward in the past few weeks, picking up three victories. In his final match of the season White turned the tables on Gavin Frood of Washington Middle School by pinning Frood in the first period. Just a month earlier, Frood had pinned White in the first round.

“Toryn is a great example of what hard work, perseverance and a positive attitude can accomplish in wrestling,” White said. “We are all very proud of him.”

Bruland also had a terrific season, but illness attributed to several of his losses. Despite another recent bout with sickness, Bruland surged from behind in a tough match with Eddie Winkley of Bush Middle School to knot the score at 2-2 at the end of regulation. Despite both wrestlers being physically spent as a result of the tightly contested match, Bruland persevered and scored the winning takedown in sudden death overtime.

“Caleb is probably one of the best technicians on our team,” assistant coach Jacci Ryker said. “He is a good athlete who learns quickly, and this victory shows that he has a lot of competitive spirit as well.”


As a result of his effort in the competition at Tumwater, White was named seventh grade Wrestler of the Week.

Selected as eighth grade Wrestler of the Week was James Busche. Busche, a first year wrestler, had an excellent season with 12 wins and 4 losses and, according to his coaches, is a great example of the type of sportsmanship they like to see exemplified by their wrestlers.

“Win or lose, James is always quick to congratulate his opponent and show good sportsmanship,” White said. “He has the kind of attitude we like to see.”

The wrestling team will conclude its season with a at 7 p.m. Awards Banquet on Monday, Jan. 6, in the high school commons.