Sports

Wrestling: Bremerton’s Richardson ready to repeat

Bremerton’s Lauren Richardson won a state wrestling championship in the girls 103-pound weight class in February. She hopes to repeat that feat as the 2009-10 season gets underway. - File photo 2009
Bremerton’s Lauren Richardson won a state wrestling championship in the girls 103-pound weight class in February. She hopes to repeat that feat as the 2009-10 season gets underway.
— image credit: File photo 2009

A year older and a little stronger, Lauren Richardson’s goal is unchanged: win a state title.

Richardson, the defending state wrestling champion in the girls 103-pound weight class, is thinking repeat — and for good reason.

The Bremerton junior is more experienced, more confident and as motivated as ever to prove she’s the best 103-pound female wrestler in the state.

“I know she’s excited, but now she’s starting to show it. She’s ready to show she deserves to be No. 1,” coach Jeff Barton said. “I told her, though, and she knows this, ‘You’re gonna make their (the opponents’) season if they knock you off. When you step on that mat every single time, you have to be ready to wrestle.’”

But Richardson, the younger sister of former BHS grappling star Billy Richardson, is up to the challenge. Asked what her mentality is going into the 2009-10 season, she responded by citing history.

“No one, really, in Kitsap County has won three state titles consecutively, or at least not in a long time,” she said. “It’s been a long time, or never, and I think it would be pretty cool to do it.”

To bolster those chances, Barton plans to enter Richardson into as many all-girls tournaments he can throughout the regular season. There also are four other female wrestlers on BHS’ team, including a 103-pound freshman with whom Richardson can practice.

And while Richardson gladly accepts the challenge of wrestling boys, the postseason is not mixed-gender, meaning she needs reps against female wrestlers.

Last year, she was 26-7 overall and was never pinned by a girl.

“I just gotta work hard everyday at practice and at tournaments and go other places to get good information from other people,” Richardson said.

With a state title under her belt and some female wrestlers joining the team, Richardson also is stepping into a leadership role. Soft-spoken like her brother, she prefers to lead by example.

“The girls on the team, I take them aside a little bit and help them out,” she said. “And it’s the same with the guys; if I see them doing something wrong, I take them to the side and try to fix it.”

On the boys side, Barton is concerned with the team’s depth. Despite having about 50 wrestlers attend the preseason meeting, the team is down to about 20 wrestlers.

That will become an issue when the Knights begin dual meets because they will be forced to forfeit the weight classes in which they have no representation. Right now, those classes include 189 and 215.

Ryan Anderson (130), Grant Clarridge (145), John North (heavyweight) and Nick Thomas (160) are primed for successful seasons.

But Tommy Hanberg and Nico Garcia, both of whom lettered last season, are out for the year with injury. Additionally, four returning lettermen didn’t turn out and others are academically ineligible.

“Unfortunately the big ‘C’ isn’t working for them, and that’s ‘commitment,’” Barton said of losing wrestlers for various reasons. “It’s not fair to the kids who are hear busting their butts.”

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