Montesano’s Junior High wrestlers returned to the mats with unmatched ferocity and success this past week after the Thanksgiving break.
The Bullpup grapplers steamrolled their opponents winning 51 times and losing only nine matches this week in meets with wrestlers from Tumwater, Rainier, North Beach, Ocosta, Raymond, Rochester Toledo, Napavine and Adna. In their 51 victories, the Monte boys scored 43 pins.
“We figure that the four day break just gave the kids a chance to rest and relax a little,” coach Darrel White said. “It also looks like they spent some time reflecting upon the technical aspects of their wrestling. We displayed more new and advanced techniques on the mat this week than we have all season long.”
White and assistant coaches Eric Pyhala and Jacci Ryker pointed to the frequency with which their wrestlers successfully utilized cradles, inverts and cheap tilts to score on their opponents.
“We designate certain techniques as ‘moves of the meet’ when we compete,” Pyhala said. This week we were focusing on cradles, inverts and scoring techniques like the cheap tilt that begin with a wrist ride.”
Thanks to their coaches’ instruction and encouragement and incentive coupons provided by local businesses (Crow’s Nest, Monte Square, Gene’s Stop & Go and Pub Monte), the Bullpups scored numerous victories utilizing the moves of the meet.
In several cases, Monte’s wrestlers used an invert, a technique that involves hooking a leg and wrist and rolling an opponent to his back, to come off the bottom for unexpected wins. Both James Busche and Caleb Bruland used an invert to score a pin. Busche was trailing Xander Turner of North Beach 8-2 when he hit an edge of the mat invert for an exciting fall. Team co-captain Jaxson Wilson also won a tough match using an invert.
Two close matches highlighted the action for the Bullpups in the meet at Tumwater.
Ryker showered praise upon Ben Howard for his exciting come-from-behind victory against a tough Tumwater opponent.
“Ben just simply would not give up,” she said. “It was his intensity, conditioning and desire that led him to victory.”
Another wrestler who received high praise from coaches was eighth-grader Reid Pace. In a tough seesaw match with North Beach’s Wyland Lomedico, Pace was leading 6-5 as the third period ended. The official ruled, however, that Pace had lost control on the buzzer and awarded an escape point to Lomedico. With the score tied at 6-6, the match moved into sudden-death overtime where Pace simply would not be denied, scoring a match ending takedown for an exciting, hard-fought win.
White praised Pace for his courage in the face of adversity.
“Reid could easily have been discouraged by the last moment call by the ref, but instead, he simply decided that he was not going to lose in overtime and went out and took the match.”
Next week fans will have only one opportunity to watch the Bullpups as they travel to Aberdeen to compete with Miller, Centralia and North Beach.
WRESTLERS OF THE WEEK
Howard, who is a seventh-grader, and three eighth-graders — Connor Fargo, Gabe Bodwell and Camden Taylor — have been named Wrestlers of the Week by their coaches.
All four boys are first year wrestlers, but they have been improving rapidly, and, between the four of them, they have accumulated 31 wins and just 6 losses.
Howard pinned opponents from Tumwater and North Beach this week, beating both Kale Donovick of Ocosta and Michael Cary of Tumwater by decision. In the match with Cary, Howard, who fell behind early and trailed the entire match, scored a last moment reversal in the third period and held on to emerge with an exciting 8-7 victory.
“Ben has a great attitude and is a hard worker. He is really starting to figure things out, and he has a great future in wrestling,” White said.
The eighth-graders honored this week have captured their coaches’ attention with their rapid improvement. Fargo, who wrestles at 103 pounds, is a scrappy competitor who has accumulated an 8-4 record that includes 5 pins.
“Connor has won his last 5 matches in a row. He is showing a high level of intensity and is fun to watch,” his coaches said.
Bodwell and Taylor both wrestle in the 150-160 pound range and often field the same opponents. Bodwell’s season record has a single blemish at 12-1 and he leads the team in pins with 11 (along with James Busche and Enrique Mendoza). He beat four opponents from Ocosta and Toledo this past week and pinned each in less than 90 seconds!
Not to be outdone, Taylor did exactly the same thing. Taylor ’s record stands at 9-2 and all of his wins have come by fall. Both boys’ athleticism, strength and coachability point to a bright future for them in wrestling.