Back on the mat

Joshua Schumacher attempts to pin Chris Mawauuna during practice. - Photo by Charles Melton
Joshua Schumacher attempts to pin Chris Mawauuna during practice.
— image credit: Photo by Charles Melton

Bremerton wrestling coach Jeff Barton sees potential in his squad. What he doesn’t see is numbers. Numbers could be the difference between winning or losing dual matches.

The Knights will co-host a dual meet with Gig Harbor at Bremerton High School on Tuesday at 5 p.m.

“We’re a pretty young inexperienced team,” Barton said. “We’ve got a handful of totally committed wrestlers and a handful who lack commitment.”

Having wrestlers to fill all 14 weight classes during dual meets is one of those things on Barton’s wish list before classes are dismissed for the holiday break.

“I would be real excited if we could fill all 14 weight classes,” he said. “Not having bodies to fill weight classes puts us at a definite disadvantage.”

The main challenge for the coaching staff is maintaining the team’s current level of commitment, he said.

“One of the things we tell our kids is that we’re only as good as our weakest wrestler,” he said.

The Knights’ strength is in the lower weight classes, led by senior Buddy Bennett, who will wrestle at either 145 or 152. The team also has a few solid young heavyweights.

“Buddy’s done a great job and should do well throughout the season,” he said.

Bennett has matured as a wrestler throughout his four years at Bremerton and has clearly established himself as a team leader, Barton said.

“We have some young sophomores who are really just learning how to wrestle,” he said. “We need some kids to step up.”

The coaching staff’s goal is to make wrestling automatic so the young wrestlers will know what to do without thinking, he said.

In tournaments, the Knights will have some strong individual showings, but the lack of numbers will be noticed most in dual meets, he said.

“When we don’t fill a weight class, we automatically give up six points to the other team,” he said.

Barton said he is expecting solid performances from juniors Daniel Sawyers, Daniel Guzman and Wes Wilson. Senior Art Torralba also is expected to be a big contributor.

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