The Bainbridge High varsity wrestlers celebrated their last home meet of the season, and senior night, not with speeches and ceremonies but instead with solid athletic performances and a speedy victory over Ingraham late last week.
The final score was 36-30 Bainbridge.
“I told them [the team] before we started that this was an opportunity to grow up,” said Spartan Head Coach Dan Pippinger.
“There’s things that we’ve done that are old habits that we have to grow out of, and we really need to focus on what we talked about in practice,” he said. “Practice has to translate into what happens on the mat.”
If what happened on the mat against Ingraham is any indication, the Spartans’ abilities lost nothing in the translation to competition.
The match began with double forfeits in the 106-pound and 113-pound classes.
The Rams took the first match as Justin Kyle (120-pound class) of Ingraham pinned Myron Butler of Bainbridge in 5:54.
In the 126-pound class, Jonathan Gallivan of BHS quickly dispatched Jack Langwell with a pin in 53 seconds.
Ingraham won the next two battles, with Liam Kinkead (132-pound class) claiming victory with a pin of Chaney Weaver of BHS in 1:34, and the Rams winning by forfeit in the 138 class.
The Spartans took the next five matches.
Jack Miller (145) pinned Antoine Combs in 1:47.
Dylan Read (152) stopped Richard Hill of Ingraham with a pin at the 3:16 mark.
Joaquin Gurza (160) pinned the Rams’ Michael Reyes in 1:26.
Liam Topham claimed a Bainbridge win by forfeit in the 170-pound class.
In the final contest of the night, Mike Grant (182) pinned Kaine Wofford of Ingraham in 1:59.
The Rams closed out the night with forfeit wins by Zander Valterra and Cameron Wild (Ingraham) in the in the 195- and 220-pound classes, respectively.
The teams double forfeited in the 285-pound class.
The Spartan seniors recognized were Read and Gurza, two obvious team leaders and athletic role models.
“They both have kind of taken their own paths,” Pippinger said of the seniors.
“They’re both really originals. As seniors, they really stepped up to take responsibility for their teammates,” the coach said. “Once they got going, they decided to turn it on and work on being the best.”
Looking ahead to the start of the post season, Pippinger said the challenge ahead will be staying focused despite a less intense schedule.
“The next biggest hurdle is making sure we stay consistent through the rest of the season,” he said. “We’ve got a lot less competition, a lot more practice, and sometimes it’s more difficult when you start grinding into practice to really stay focused on getting better. It’s hard not to lose sight of getting better every day when you’re grinding every day and instead of getting in there to accomplish something you’re just trying to get through it.”
The team wrestles again on the road Saturday, Jan. 18 against Steilacoom High.
“We’ve still got several weeks left before we get to postseason,” Pippinger said. “We’re not peaking yet. We’re still moving in a direction that’s about getting better.”