Several Brookings-Harbor high school wrestlers are heading to Phoenix high school on Friday, February 21st, to compete in the regional finals.
If they place in the top four of their weight class at the regional event, they will earn a spot to compete in the state finals for a chance to win a state championship.
“They need to focus and they have to have the desire to succeed to win at regionals,” head coach Jef Hatch stated during practice.
“We can’t teach that, it comes from within. They have to want it.”
In their last meet before the regional finals the Bruins faced Sutherlin and South Umpqua in a three-way match.
Senior Tyler Merrington and junior David Hull won both of their matches and looked primed and ready for a run at a regional championship.
Hull scored pins over William Warner of South Umpqua and Sutherlin’s Christian Beauregard.
Merrington, the only senior on the squad and the team captain, pinned Sutherlin’s Lucas Erickson and South Umpqua’s Jacob Kannes in his two matches of the event.
“Tyler has been the captain from the very first day,” Hatch said. “Not because he’s a senior, but because from day one he took on the leadership role.”
For Merrington, the leadership role was a challenge he was more than willing to accept.
“I’ve given everything I’ve had to this team,” Merrington proclaimed during Tuesday’s practice. “I just try to motivate everyone. I’m always at the corner of the mat, cheering everyone on.”
Of the nine wreslters that compete for the Bruins, only Merrington and Hull are upperclassman.
Five freshman are listed on the roster yet for a young team coach Hatch believes his team should perform well at regionals.
“I think if every one of these wrestlers believed in themselves, then I think they can all make it to state finals,” Hatch said.
Looking at their recent matches, that idea doesn’t seem far-fetched. Underclassman Jess Fitzhugh and Isiah Ross both chalked up victories against South Umpqua. Fitzhugh nearly defeated Sutherlin’s David McKinney but lost in a sudden death.
“They’re a bunch of tough kids and they’ve given everything they can,” Merrington stated about his younger teammates.
The improvement of this year’s young Bruin wrestling team has the athletes excited about the prospects for the rgional finals.
“I’m excited and scared honestly,” Merrington openly stated about his thoughts on the regionals.
“I just have to give it everything I have. It’s really exciting.”