Brookings-Harbor High School sophomore Adan Brambilla controls Illinois Valley’s Brady Ketchum during Thursday night’s JV match. Brambilla was being dominated through two rounds before he reversed Ketchum and pinned him with a head-and-arm hold. The Pilot/Jef Hatch
The Brookings-Harbor High School wrestling team looked like a moonless sky in the dead of winter with just a few twinkling stars shining through.
The team faced the Cougars of Illinois Valley in a pre-season matchup that doesn’t affect their Far West League standings.
The night began with Adan Brambilla facing Brady Ketchum in a JV matchup at 126 pounds that resembled a classic “underdog overcomes all” Disney movie.
Brambilla was dominated through the first two rounds, behind 10-2 before he was able to reverse Ketchum and catch him in a head-and-arm for the pin, and the win.
The crowd erupted in cheers as the wrestling team rose to congratulate Brambilla on his win.
Unfortunately for Head Coach Dave Freeman and the Bruin team, Brambilla’s victory was one of only a few bright spots in an otherwise dreary night.
Freshman Patrick Holmes lost in the only other JV match on the night at 138 pounds, getting pinned early in the first round.
The Bruins forfeited three matches at 106, 113, and 195 pounds because wrestlers were out due to injury, ineligibility and failure to make weight.
“We’re learning,” Freeman said. “Some kids didn’t make weight, some are out with injury and some are ineligible.
“We’re young,” he added.
The varsity matches began at 120 pounds when freshman Matt Sanders lost by pin to Danny Hill.
Sanders looked promising as he scored a quick two-point takedown before being reversed and pinned early in the match.
At the 126-pound weight class, Bruin senior Pete Peterson controlled the match from the opening whistle until time ran out in the third round and won 6-3.
Peterson’s opponent, Chase Weir, only scored on escapes that came as new holds were tried and small mistakes were made.
Sophomore Levi Williams lost in the 132-pound division, 9-11, in a match with Brandon Parker that was back and forth from the beginning.
Williams tied the match late in the third round but got reversed as the pair went out of bounds. The call was so close it brought Freeman out of his ringside chair to talk to the referee about it.
With only 15 seconds remaining after the reversal, Parker stalled out on top and Williams was unable to escape or reverse and lost.
138-pounder Justin Schultz was pinned early in the first round by IV’s Gabe Miller. Miller was runner-up at the OSAA 3A state championship last season and won quickly.
The Bruins lost the next three matches by pin in the 145, 152 and 160 pound weight classes. First year Bruin wrestler, senior John Joyce, junior Sean Graham and freshman Anthony Peterson all lost in their respective weight classes.
Senior Ethan Williams shined in the 170-pound weight class, scoring four quick points on Hugo Ocha with a takedown and back points before pinning him in the first round.
C.J. Paxton added to the Bruins win column with a pin victory over Ricky Keith in the 182-pound weight bracket. Paxton dominated the match before pinning Keith in the second round.
“I was nervous before the match started because I haven’t wrestled since last year,” Paxton said. “But once I got out there, it all came back to me.
“Being on the mat felt like home again.”
Dylan Taylor lost 0-6 in the 220-pound weight class to Julian Northrup.
Taylor ran out of energy midway through the second round and was ineffectual for the remainder of the match.
“I haven’t been conditioning enough,” Taylor said. “It put lots of perspective on how hard I need to work, and I know it’s not too late for me to do good this year.”
In the final match of the evening, Isaac Sanders pinned Cody Kinney to end the night on a solid note for the Bruins but it wasn’t enough for a team victory as the Bruins went down 27-54.
The Bruins travel to Crescent City today (Dec. 3) for the Del Norte Invitational wrestling tournament. Matches are set to begin at 9 a.m.