PREP WRESTLING: Bear River set for PVL tourney |

PREP WRESTLING: Bear River set for PVL tourney

Bear River's Reid Johnson takes down his Placer opponent during a match earlier this season.
Photo by Brian O’Brien |

Know & Go

What: Bruins wrestling, PVL tournament

When: 10 a.m., today

Where: Placer High School

Win or go home.

The time has come for the Bruins’ wrestlers to unleash their A-game and lay it all out on the line to see how far each individual can go in the postseason.

At 10 a.m. today, the Bruins look to crank up the intensity as they begin the journey with the Pioneer Valley League Tournament at Placer High School.

“I pray the right team shows up with the right mental mindset,” said Bear River head coach Kevin Figueroa, who is confident his all guys can earn a top four finish to keep their season going. “I’m pretty sure my entire team is going to make it through. The tougher mentally you get the better you perform. Physically, they’re all there.”

Today’s tournament features all six PVL teams (Bear River, Center, Colfax, Foothill, Lincoln, Placer) and an eight-man double-elimination bracket for each weight class. From here on out every match is equally important and not looking beyond the opponent at hand is vital.

“If I wrestle my hardest I can hopefully pull it off and move on to the next weekend and see what happens from there,” said Bruins senior Engberson.

Coming off a second place finish in the PVL, runner-up to Lincoln, the Bruins have demonstrated tremendous improvement and still boast plenty of potential. Yet, there’s lots of fine tuning at practice in these final weeks.

“I’ll be working on getting my shots down and getting my cardio up so I can last longer in matches,” said senior Jon Good.

Last season the squad had six of its wrestlers survive the PVL tourney and advance to Sections, including graduating seniors Engberson, Good and Reid Johnson. This year the guys look to pick up where they left off and push themselves even further.

“Everyone has been working pretty hard,” added Figueroa. “Getting nervous, whoever doesn’t win goes home. It’s a cold way of continuing. This is their (Engberson, Johnson, Good) last chance in four years. I tell them, ‘Don’t make it bigger than it is. Take it one match at a time.’ There is no easy road.”

Junior Noah Danieli is also seeking some redemption after being forced to the sidelines with an injury last year in his pursuit for Masters. When opportunities knock everyone most certainly knows to make the most of the situation. The team will be without junior Nate Ariaza whose season ended to a broken collarbone after snowboarding, according to Figueroa.

Those who finish in the top four of their respective weight class advance to Sections, Feb. 19-20, at Central Valley High School in Ceres.

Brian Shepard is a freelance sports writer who contributes to The Union regularly.

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