Headed into Thursday night's four-way dual meet at South Umpqua High School, the Brookings-Harbor High School wrestling team was in contention for the Far West League dual-meet title. There were only two challenges facing them: South Umpqua and Douglas high schools.
The Bruins faced the Lancers of South Umpqua in their first match and needed as many points from pins and technical falls as possible while giving up as few points as they could.
The first wrestler to take the floor was 106-pounder Conrad Dethlefsen and he faced a competent and skilled wrestler in Derrick Hargraves.
Hargraves dominated the match and yet when it ended after three periods with a score of 4-17, the Bruins leapt to their feet cheering. Dethlefsen had lasted a full match without getting pinned or beaten by 15 points thus keeping the Lancers from scoring the maximum team points possible.
"He did his job," Head Coach Dave Freeman shouted to his team. "Now everyone else needs to do the same."
The Bruins seemed to build on the loss as six of the next seven Bruins wrestlers won their matches by pin.
"That was a good dual," Freeman said. "That was good wrestling."
Freeman explained that the Bruins had great practices the entire week prior to the dual meet which helped propel the team to victory.
"This week's practice was a big factor," he said. "It also helped that the semester was over and the kids were able to focus on wrestling instead of finals."
Adan Brambila, wrestling at 132-pounds, was the only Bruins' loss against South Umpqua when he lost by pin in the first period to senior Wyatt Tarditi.
Bubba Spencer, 132-pounds, Cole Hannan, 145-pounds, Brandon Holteen, 152-pounds, C.J. Paxton, 182-pounds, and Johnny Feuerborn, 195-pounds, all won by pin as the Bruins' aggressive wrestling style overwhelmed their opponents.
Senior Ethan Williams was dominating his opponent when his teammates started calling for a cradle.
The cradle, where the head of the wrestler is brought to the knee as an opponent wraps under a leg and over the head withtheir arms and rolls them to their back, is a very difficult move from which to escape and Williams seems to have mastered the move.
"Use the cradle," Williams' teammates screamed as the opportunity presented itself.
"Cradle king, cradle king," the shouts escalated as Williams wrapped up Dorian Hall and rolled him to his back. "Pin him, pin him!"
Williams got the pin and retained his title of Cradle King for another night.
With the win over South Umpqua under their belts, the Bruins moved on to face the next obstacle standing between them and a title: the Trojans of Douglas.
The match was an extremely short one with the two teams not having wrestlers in enough similar weight classes to have more than four matches wrestled.
Freshman Jess Fitzhugh lost to Eli Garrard after being knocked out by some head-to-head contact with his opponent..
Fitzhugh was revived, but could not continue due to the possibility of a concussion.
Tyler Marrington and Ethan Williams also lost their matches.
Eddie Yeager was the lone Bruin victor after he pinned his opponent, Chance Poe.
The Bruins had fewer forfeits though, and won the team battle to claim an unfettered FWL dual-meet title.
"It feels awesome," senior Cole Hannan said. "Before the season started I wasn't sure how we would do but everyone has come so far this season. Now we just have to work on getting ready for districts and regionals."
"Dual meet champs is really big," he said. "I don't know if we've ever done that since I've been coaching here."
According to Freeman the dual-meet title doesn't mean as much as a district title.
"What really matters is the district title," he explained. "Our season has been up and down, and we really have to work to be better next week than we were last week."
The Bruins will travel to North Bend next Saturday for the district tournament to try and qualify for the regional tournament the following weekend.