Bruins wrestlers show progress at Placer Duals
AUBURN – Unlike last year, when the Bear River wrestling team emerged as team champion, there were some tough times Saturday at the Placer Duals.
On paper, the Bruins wound up with a 2-3 record. One of those losses was decided by two points, but more significantly, coach Robert Nebeker saw some good progress on the mat during the 10-team tournament.
“I was actually happy,” Nebeker said. “To go 2-3 was not what I wanted. But right now, team record doesn’t matter. What matters to me is the growth.
“We’re very young and we’re wrestling well to a point, then it seems like they start to show their inexperience at key points. I always say how mat time is so important. That’s why I like to schedule tournaments like this, where the kids get more matches and get the mat time they need to improve.”
Bear River opened with losses against Golden Valley of Merced and Placer during the pool competition in Placer’s Earl Crabbe Gym. In the cross-bracket matches, the Bruins lost to Calaveras, then beat Esparto and picked up a win by default from Capital Christian to close out the day. Golden Valley wound up unbeaten, capped by a win against Oak Ridge in the championship round. Calaveras finished third and Placer finished fifth.
“Last year we won that tournament with an even younger team, but the competition this year was a lot stronger,” Nebeker said. “And that’s good. The stronger competition is only going to make us better ourselves.”
The Bruins had their individual highlights. Among those was junior Garrett Bentley, who won all three of his matches in the 162 and 173-pound weight classes and improved his season record to 15-2. All three of Bentley’s wins came by fall, including the fastest pin of Bear River’s dual against Placer (35 seconds) and another where he moved up to 173 pounds and pinned his Golden Valley opponent.
“No matter where I ask him to wrestle, he never complains. He just nods his head and goes out and does the job,” Nebeker said. “And he’s in such great shape, he wears people down.”
Heavyweight Chase Duncan, a 6-foot-4, 265-pound sophomore, logged impressive pins against Golden Valley and Calaveras to improve his season record to 19-3.
“Chase Duncan is really coming into his own,” Nebeker said. “He pinned a very good kid from Calaveras (Matt Harvey). Chase got thrown around a little and he responded well. He pinned that kid with a real nice lateral drop.”
Another positive for the Bruins was the return of senior 173-pounder Jordan Beaver – out since Dec. 11 due to an ankle injury – who picked up wins in his matches against Golden Valley and Calaveras. Beaver and Corbin Shakely are the two seniors in Bear River’s lineup.
Sophomore standout 112-pounder Addy Gemignani compiled a 2-2 record during the day (now 13-6 for the season record). Sophomore 135-pounder Johnny Lascoe was also 2-2 on the day (12-5 for the season) with a win by fall against Calaveras.
Derek Julian and Nolan Gail logged pins, in 3:54 and 1:05 respectively, to give Bear River an early 12-0 lead against Placer. The Bruins had their opportunities against Placer, but gave up pins in four matches they led – they led one of those 8-1 and nearly had a pin in another. Placer went on to win, 40-38.
“I’ve got to give Placer a ton of credit for wrestling hard,” Nebeker said. “They wanted it more. That’s the way we need to be.”
The Bruins face a tough week coming up with dual meets at Colfax on Wednesday and at West Campus on Friday.
“We’ll be challenged by Colfax Wednesday, and West Campus is no gimme,” Nebeker said. “This week will show us what we have.”
To contact sports editor Dave Price, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 477-4240.
Golden Valley 52, Bear River 18
Placer 40, Bear River 38
Calaveras 45, Bear River 30
Bear River 48, Esparto 36
Bear River forfeit from Capital Christian
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