Bear River wrestling building a winner
The smile was so brilliant, Robert Nebeker didn’t even bother trying to hide it, as he spoke of his Bear River Bruin wrestling team Tuesday night.
His Bruins posted a 69-8 Pioneer Valley League victory Ð their first league win of the young season – on a Mira Loma team that Nebeker says reminds him, in many ways, of his own team.
“They’re building a program, just like us,” said Nebeker, who in his second season at the helm has led the Bruins to a 6-8 overall record, 1-2 in the PVL. A year ago, the program totaled all of 14 wrestlers on the roster in 2003-04.
This year Bear River has 28, including 14 freshmen.
Oddly, Nebeker said, it’s his underclassmen Ð five sophomores and five freshmen were in Tuesday’s starting lineup Ð that are carrying the load as team leaders.
“We had six seniors graduate, and leaders stepping up have been the sophomores, like the Bentley brothers (Garrett and Heath),” Nebeker said. “As they go, we seem to go.”
Garrett Bentley, who pinned down his 160-pound win late in the third period Tuesday, is 6-8 on the season. So is Heath, Nebeker said, after his 9-4 loss to Mira Loma’s Kyle Bridgman.
“I think it was a little unexpected,” said Garrett Bentley, who welcomes the leadership role. “All of us one-year guys, we’ve just been stepping up to the plate.
“By our senior year, we’re going have a lot of experience on this team. I think we’ll be doing really well by then, for league and, I believe, even further.”
Bear River picked up 18 points on forfeits, which put the Bruins ahead 28-0 heading into the 135-pound match.
Nineteen seconds later, it was 34-0.
Glen Wheeler, the Bruins’ 135-pound junior, used a nearside cradle to pin James Fuchs 19 seconds in. It wasn’t the quickest stick of his career, though Ð well, maybe high school.
“In middle school, I did have one that was a 6-second pin,” said Wheeler, who improved to 4-5 on the year. “Six seconds – or something like that.”
Mira Loma might not haven be a PVL powerhouse Ð like defending co-champions Lincoln and Oakmont, each of which Bear River lost to last week Ð but the Bruins did win nine of the 11 matches wrestled Tuesday, including six by pin.
Bruin Brady Lazalier won by pin in 1:28 at 119 pounds. John Kammerer needed all of 57 seconds to score a pin at 145 pounds. Teddy Beeby pinned Mira Loma 152-pounder Michael Monk late in the third period, after the two locked up in perhaps the best match of the night.
In addition to the pins by Wheeler and Bentley, the Bruin big men also won by pin. Jordan Beaver, a junior scored a pin in 1:21 of his 215-pound match. Bear River freshman Chase Duncan closed out the dual with a 37-second pin at 275 pounds.
“We already lost to the two league champions,” Nebeker said of last week’s losses. “But we learned from that and improved from that.We went from scoring four points against Oakmont (last) Tuesday to scoring 24 against Lincoln on (last) Thursday.
“In fact, halfway through the match the score was tied 24-24. So we’re improving. We improved in just two days.”
Nebeker’s Bruins are idle in PVL action until a Jan. 25 home match against rival Colfax. But Bear River will wrestle in the Lincoln Invitational this weekend, followed by a trip the Placer Invite seven days later.
It’s very odd to have your sophomores and freshmen leading your team, instead of juniors or seniors,” Nebeker said. “It’s almost a complete reversal from last year.
“But you wait and see where this team is in a month. And you wait to see where this team will be next year. We’re building a program.”
Pioneer Valley League
Bear River 69, Mira Loma 8
103-Andy Gemignnani (BR) dec. Rayar (ML), 14-1; 4-0.
112-Matt Bevington (BR) win by forfeit; 10-0.
119-Brady Lazalier (BR) pinned Indefonsiv (ML), 1:28; 16-0.
125-Matt Belnap (BR) win by forfeit, 22-0.
130-Johnny Lascoe (BR) win by forfeit, 28-0.
135-Glen Wheeler (BR) pinned Fuchs (ML), :19; 34-0.
140-Joe Perna (BR) tech. fall Colley (ML), 16-1; 39-0.
145-John Kammerer (BR) pinned Volz (ML), :57, 45-0.
152-Teddy Beeby (BR) pinned Monk (ML), 4:55, 51-0.
160-Garrett Bentley (BR) pinned Chmelka (ML), 5:31, 57-0.
171-Kyle Bridgman (ML) dec. Bentley (BR), 9-4, 57-3.
189-Roger Wentrup (ML) dec. Newton (BR), 17-5, 57-8.
215-Jordan Beaver (BR) pinned Koga (ML), 1:21; 63-8.
275-Chase Duncan (BR) pinned Siepert (ML), :37; 69-8
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Grass Valley native Brad Sweet drove past the competition and into victory lane last week, snapping his longest winless streak of the season.