By Mathew Brock

Coming off of a 40-12 win in a match against the Illinois Valley Cougars earlier in the week, the Brookings-Harbor Bruins gave a solid effort at the Battle at the Border wrestling tournament held last Saturday by Del Norte High School.

The Bruins varsity team placed 11th out of 32 teams from 14 schools with 52 total team points. The majority of the team’s individual members placed in their respective weight class with two players placing in the top three of their weight class.

“All of our guys worked hard. We had over half the team place,” said Head Coach John Christopher. “They weren’t all high placements, but the majority of the team placing doesn’t happen in a lot of tournaments.”

Tanner Wyatt placed second in the 145-weight bracket while Nick Dodson placed third in the 220-weight bracket. Since Wyatt was entered as the Bruins JV wrestler, his score ultimately counted towards the overall score of the Bruins junior varsity team, which came in 18th at 23 points.

Wyattsaid he felt good about his performance and is mainly focused on getting back into the flow of wrestling season.

“It was our first tournament of the year, so it was nice just getting back into the routine,” said Wyatt, who has been wrestling for 11 years.

Competing in his first tournament, Dodson was pinned in his first match but turned around and pinned his opponent in the next, taking third place.

“For my first tournament ever, I think I did pretty good,” said Dodson.

Christopher was most impressed by his team’s resolve during their matches.

“Our guys were fighting hard the whole time,” said Christopher. “In the past I’ve seen guys just give up… but not one of our kids did this year. Not one said ‘this is too much,’ or I give up. Not one of them wanted to be pinned.”

Moving forward, Christopher plans to keep drilling the basic fundamentals of wrestling into the Bruins wrestlers and getting as much time on the mat as possible to get the young team more experience.

“How to do your double leg, how to escape, just the basics,” said Christopher. “That’s all we teach, over and over. Because that’s all they do at the universities: how to be more fluid at the basics.”

Other than nailing the fundamentals, Christopher stresses the importance of maintaining one’s grades and being a good citizen as vital elements of being a successful athlete. Making sure his wrestlers put as much time into their academics and community as they do their sport is one of his guiding principles.

“Making sure we improve grades and do what we can to be a good citizens are some things we are working very hard on and can be just as much of a challenge as what we do on the mat,” said Christopher.

The Bruins fight next in the Coast Classic tournament at North Bend High School on Friday and Saturday.