The Friday Harbor Wolverines wrestling team nearly doubled itself between last year and this year by recruiting a total of nine girls to the mat.
“We’re pretty excited about the team,” head coach Tad Bremer.
Bremer explained that team captain, junior Bristol Halvorson, made it a personal goal to bring more girls to the team this year. She, along with fellow captains, seniors Keegan Bailey, Jordan Lawson and Weston Swirtz, brought the team from 11 last year to 19 this year.
“I’m excited, we have a great leadership core on the team this year,” Bremer said. “They’re all looking really good and we expect good things out of them.”
Joining Bremer in his second year of coaching Wolverine wrestling is returning assistant coach Neil MacDiarmid and new assistant coach Todd Nicholson. Bremer noted that it’s all about the wrestlers, however.
“Unlike other sports, wrestling focuses on the individual. It helps build their character, their work ethic, their confidence, their self-worth,” Bremer said. “If they set all of these mini-goals — weekly goals — then it sets them up for a more productive future.”
Bremer explained that each wrestler is responsible for their own success and learn from each mistake to become a better player. It differs from most team sports because you cannot hide a weak player, Bremer explained.
“If [if a coach has] a weak line, he can hide that with a strong quarterback. If he’s got a slow person, I can hide them with other fast people, but in wrestling, you can’t do that,” Bremer said. “Once a weakness has been exposed it’ll be exploited until you fix it.”
On the mat, wrestling is a sport of one-on-one action. Off the mat is where the teamwork comes out. Bremer explained the team works together to train, provide motivation and support.
Looking toward the season, Bremer is most excited about the Lynden “Pride of Lady Lions” Tournament on Friday, Dec. 20. Last year, there were 450 competitors at that event and Bremer is happy to be able to bring a full team this year.
“They had an amazing time and it was a great bonding experience for them,” Bremer said of the two girls who attended last year’s tournament.
He’s also looking forward to the Rainier tournament in January, adding that both teams had fun at least year as it is a really competitive event with constant moving. It also allows the teams to face off against wrestlers outside of their district.
The team’s first tournament of the season is Iron Sharpens Iron at Bellevue Christian on Saturday, Dec. 14.