Friday Harbor’s Bad Draw Wrestling Team is off to a winning season already this year with all of its wrestlers bringing home medals at last week’s Western Washington Kids Wrestling League Skagit Valley Yellowjacket novice tournament at Burlington High School.
Christopher Simonds and Carter Staton, both second-graders, took first place gold medals winning all three of their matches. Dexter Strickland (first-grade) and Wade Oldwyn (second-grade) won two matches and walked away with second place medals. Penelope Staton, a first-grader, took third place at her first tournament, winning her third match 13-3.
Fourth-grader Boaz Moses wrestled in Auburn at the Washington State Wrestling Association Trojan War tournament, also on Sunday, Nov. 24, wrestling hard in multiple exhibition matches.
After helping found the initial Bad Draw Wrestling club in Snohomish, Washington, islander Bison, along with Shane Bison, Greg Moses and Todd Nicholson started a Friday Harbor chapter in 2017. Bad Draw is sanctioned and governed by USA Wrestling and is an Olympic Development Program.
“Bad Draw Wrestling is dedicated to making quality athletes,” said head coach Bison. “Wrestling helps athletes with all sports and elevating his or her overall athletic ability.”
The team focuses not just on teaching its members the sport of wrestling but about dedication to excellence, strong work ethics, a healthy diet and how to be part of a team, according to Bison.
This season the team has almost thirty wrestlers on the mat ranging in age from five years old to 13, including six girls who hold their own right alongside the boys. Wrestlers as young as four years old are allowed to join the team on an approval basis in order to learn the basics of wrestling and how to listen and take direction at a young age. The team’s youngest member is 4-year-old Poppy Lawrence-Pederson.
Bison, along with help from assistant head coach Nicholson, who wrestled for West Point Military Academy during college, team director Moses and assistant coaches Travis Berwald and Johnathon Triguero have high hopes for their wrestlers this year.
“Most important to Bad Draw is helping make quality people and citizens in the community,” said Bison.
The team’s next tournament is Bad Draw’s home tournament in Mount Vernon on Dec. 8.