Bruin wrestlers drop season opener against Cougars
The Illinois Valley Cougars quickly dispatched the matmen of Brookings-Harbor High School, soundly defeating the Bruins in their first dual meet of the season 66-12.
The numerically small Bruins squad saw seven of its wrestlers pinned during the first round, with most losing in less than a minute.
Head coach Jef Hatch, who is also in his first year leading the Bruins, attributed the drubbing to a young and inexperienced team.
"We have a really young team. We have six or seven freshmen and only one senior," Hatch said. "There is not a lot of wrestling experience on this team."
While Brookings-Harbor forfeited five of its matches, Hatch said the lack of depth did not concern him.
"I'd rather have 12 champions going into the state tournament than a team of 50 who aren't dedicated and committed," Hatch said.
One of two Bruin victories came when Hunter Niedens pinned Brandon Perez in the waning seconds of the first round of the 126 pound weight match.
Niedens put Perez into a head and arm beginning in the match after reversing from a takedown. The two scrambled, reversing twice more until Niedens put his opponent into another head and arm to pin him.
The second win was at the 145 pound weight class, where the Bruin's Jess Fitzhugh recovered from a near fall in the first round to find himself reversed in the second, only to drive Illinois Valley's Jacob Rubenstein's shoulders into the mat 50 seconds into the second round.
The Brookings-Harbor Bruins wrestle again in Coos Bay Dec. 7 in a beginning-of-the-season district tournament.