Sports

Bucs grapplers find a home on the mat

With seconds left in the match Buccaneer JV heavy weight wrestler Jack Welker, pinned his final opponent on Saturday, earning second place in the five-school Kingston Kickoff Invitational for JV wrestlers. On Monday evening during the varsity contest against Chief Leschi Welker won his division by forfeit.  - Tara Lemm/Staff Photo
With seconds left in the match Buccaneer JV heavy weight wrestler Jack Welker, pinned his final opponent on Saturday, earning second place in the five-school Kingston Kickoff Invitational for JV wrestlers. On Monday evening during the varsity contest against Chief Leschi Welker won his division by forfeit.
— image credit: Tara Lemm/Staff Photo

KINGSTON — The Buccaneers wrestling team has the work ethic fundamentals for success.

The team of 27 is made up of quality, multiple-sport athletes who work hard in practice and give “max effort” during competition, said head coach Bobby Reece.

“These kids work hard day in and day out,” he said. “Most of my team, if not all, are multiple-sport athletes.”

An example of the Bucs’ wrestling dedication can easily be seen in their motivation to practice beyond expectations.

They sweat it out on the mats five days a week for a minimum of three hours each day — 2:30 - 5:30 p.m. — and it’s not out of the ordinary for them to arrive a few hours before sunrise for 6 a.m. sessions.

Reece highlights the teams’ willingness to put in the time as its No. 1 strength.

“I don’t believe that other teams work harder than us,” he said.

The balance of Kingston’s strong points is they’re a young team. Reece knows young wrestlers make “fundamental” mistakes and those mistakes can cost the match.

Reece said the squad of 27 has one “true” wrestler in junior Alex Lambert. Lambert was regional champion last year at the 112 weight class. This year he’s at 119, and Reece said Lambert has the ability to be a state champion.

“The kids look to Alex as that lead wrestler, they feed off of him,” Reece said. “In the practice room I look for him to set the tone.”

The team leadership is fleshed out by senior captains Ian Brown, 215, and Alan Weber, 160. Reece depends on the two seniors to lead by example and teach the youngsters Kingston athletics’ hard work ethic.

“I think those two both have it,” Reece said.

Although the Bucs season is in its infancy, the JV wrestlers hit the mats for the first time on Saturday at the Kingston Kickoff Invitational and the varsity squad opened its season Monday night against Chief Leschi, their performances show promise.

The JV wrestlers nabbed four firsts, three seconds, four thirds and two fourths.

“I am pleased with our effort,” Reece said of the JV showing. “I expect them to give max effort and not quit and when you do that good things happen.”

On Monday it was more of the same for the varsity squad. Although Chief Leschi only brought five wrestlers, Kingston’s competitors were fierce, quick and aggressive, winning four of the five matches.

Kiana Witt, who wrestled at 119 on Monday won by pin with 1:25 left in the second period, after leading 11-0. Sam English at 140 fought the entire six minutes, securing a reversal with less than 5 seconds in the match to win by an 8-7 decision.

As the cheerleaders chanted, “Wrestle, wrestle, tie him in a pretzel,” Alfredo Ramirez at 145 did just that. As soon as the whistle blew Alfredo got the take down and a near fall. At one point he picked his opponent up by his feet and drug him back to the middle of the mat and got the pin with 32.6 seconds left in the first period.

Brown at 215 battled the full three periods to pull off an 11-3 decision. As time wound down in third Reece paced the mats hollering at Brown, who started down, to stand up and explode. Brown did twice, to earn four additional reversal points and ultimately the match.

“They all did outstanding,” Reece said. “They took the mat with confidence and wrestled with max effort and that’s what I expect of them.”

On Tuesday the Bucs hosted Bainbridge, results of the match weren’t available at press time. On Thursday the Bucs travel to North Mason for a double dual with Olympic and Bainbridge.

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