By Josh Bronson

Pilot staff writer

On somewhat of an off-day for the Brookings-Harbor High School wrestling team, the Bruin grapplers took ninth place at the North Valley Holiday Tournament.

andquot;We lost some matches we shouldn't have,andquot; Coach Dave Freeman. andquot;And it was a little frustrating losing to teams we should have been beating. It's just one of those deals. Better this tournament than at district.andquot;

The Bruins continued to struggle with injury and illness and once again were unable to have all of their varsity wrestlers ready to go at the same time.

Key varsity wrestlers missing for the Bruins at the North Valley tournament were Mike Schabeck (135), Cody Miller (152), Evan Peterson (160) and Mike Althof (215).

andquot;We didn't have anybody make the finals, but I'm proud of the kids and I appreciate their effort,andquot; Freeman said. andquot;Everybody has a bad day once in a while.andquot;

Brackets for the holiday tournament were laid out in an unusual way.

If a wrestler lost their first match, then they had no way of placing on the day.

Wrestlers could not redeem themselves and make their way back to the third place match if they lost.

The only guys who could wrestle for third place were the wrestlers who lost in the semifinal match.

andquot;The brackets were unforgiving and the seeding was crucial,andquot; Freeman said.

andquot;We didn't have anybody make the finals,andquot; Freeman said. andquot;But I'm proud of the kids and I appreciate their effort. Everybody has a bad day.andquot;

Junior Ray Mazyck and senior Willie Bennett were the most successful Bruins as they both took third place in their respective weight classes.

At 119 pounds, Mazyck used a 13-5 decision over John Dees of Crater to reach the semifinals where he lost a 10-9 battle to Grant Ivison of Del Norte.

In his final match of the day, Mazyck rebounded from his loss by pinning Zach Anderson of Illinois Valley in 5:55 to take third place overall.

Bennett pinned Tim Marshall of Hidden Valley in 1:03 and then won a 12-6 decision over Jake Scarminach of Ashland to reach the semis.

In the semifinals, Bennett lost a narrow 7-4 decision to Eric Stewart of Grants Pass.

To take third place, Bennett pinned Jerald McCurdy of Glendale in 4:55 of the consolation finals.

The only other Bruin to make the semifinals was senior Joel Mitts at 189 pounds, who took fourth place in the division.

Mitts took care of his first two opponents in a timely fashion, pinning Brad Davis of Phoenix in 1:00 and Titan Marval of Grants Pass in :44.

In his semifinal match, Mitts lost a tight 11-9 decision to Josh Pettengill of Riddle and then got pinned in 3:50 of the third place match by Brooks Logan, the top-seeded wrestler in the division who fell in the semis.

A pair of Bruins lost their quarterfinal matches, but then won their remaining matches to take fifth place.

Freshman Aaron Miller had his best showing of the year at 112 pounds with his fifth place finish.

After pinning Kimmy Prowell of Hidden Valley in a mere :45, Miller lost to eventual champion Rhino Prince of Illinois Valley by pin in 3:15.

Miller then went on to defeat Zach Paterson of Grants Pass 4-0 and Dan Hill of Crater with a pin in 1:23.

At 171 pounds, the Bruins' Denny Davis lost to top-seeded Noah Berman of Phoenix in his quarterfinal contest and then beat Eric Ogden of North Valley (9-4) and Kai Lemrise of Del Norte (17-8) for a fifth place finish.

Brock Bristow (130), Ron Hunt (152) and Cody Brooks (215) all finished sixth place in their respective divisions.

Bristow beat Derrick Hudd of Hidden Valley with an 11-6 decision in his only win of the day.

Hunt beat a pair of Illinois Valley wrestlers in his two wins, beating Matt Nolan 15-1 and Matt Cortez 10-8.

In the 215-pound division, Brooks used wins over Kyle Winslow of Grants pass (pin 1:18) and Nick Belter of Cascade Christian (8-1) to reach the fifth place match.

Illinois Valley won the team title with 220 points, followed by Phoenix in second with 211.5 and Grants Pass in third with 127. The Bruins were ninth overall with 88 points.

The Bruins now have a full week off to recover from any more injuries or illnesses before kicking off league action on Thursday, Jan. 3

The Far West League four-way meet will begin at 6 p.m. at will be the final home meet for the Bruins on the year.