This is Andrew Harris’s time to learn.
A sophomore, Harris is holding down Mount Si’s heavyweight class, often against older, more experienced and physically bulkier opponents.
In the ring against Bellevue on Thursday, Jan. 16, he was neck and neck for points, before finally succumbing to a pin in the final seconds.
“He had a lot of weight on me, and I had to fight it out,” said Harris. “It was a pretty close match in the end.”
Now, Harris will work harder and condition himself during practices. He and other Mount Si wrestlers will take their losses and learn from them.
All told, Mount Si is having a good season this year, but will face tough teams on the road to regionals and state.
That makes practice and preparation very important.
“They beat us in conditioning,” Mount Si coach Tony Schlotfeldt said of the Bellevue match. “They wanted it more.”
Due to some absences, Mount Si had to shuffle some wrestlers around Thursday. That happens, and “they’ve got to be able to deal, come in confident,” said Schlotfeldt. “You’ve got to bring it in practice.
“Hat goes off to Andrew,” the coach added. “He’s one of the kids who grinds it out in practice every week. He’s made some leaps and bounds from the beginning of the season.”
Harris went up against a decidedly heavier heavyweight—the Wolverine probably had 25 pounds on him—and by the end, “carrying that guy’s extra weight on him definitely gassed him,” Schlotfeldt said. Still, the two wrestlers were neck and neck in terms of points for much of the match.
“Every once in a while, you can peek up at the scoreboard, see where you’re at,” Harris said. A lot of it is feel. “If he’s controlling you, you can pick it up a notch and wrestle harder.”
The heavyweight has been a wrestler since fifth grade, and does it for the workout. He’ll likely come back to the heavyweight spot as his high school career progresses. Look for him to bulk up as he grows in experience.
Junior Gunnar Harrison faced a wrestler of similar size and build, and did his best to maintain a handle on the match and his opponent. He employed the skills he’s been drilling all week and throughout the season.
“I did my best not to gas,” said Harrison—gassing is a wrestling term for running out of breath—“but started gassing toward the end.” Still, he kept control.
When it comes to Bellevue competition, “they’re really good. I was expecting (us) to be a little bit better.”
When Wildcats lose, “we move on,” Harrison said. “We kind of pay for it at practice.”
Harrison is dropping into a lower weight class, and doing his best to get to state this year.
He watched as several underclassmen wrestled their first or second time on varsity, “and really came through. They may not have won, but they did their best and made the other wrestlers proud.”
Mount Si’s Cameron McLain beat his man at 195.
“He was tough to pin,” the junior said. Still, McLain felt like he had control most of the match.
He glanced up a couple times to check the points, but otherwise, his attention was on his foe. “You try not to think about” the score, he said. “I try to relax. For me, it’s a mental thing.”
He can tell who’s the better wrestler, condition-wise, from momentum. McLain is always sensing for weaknesses, openings, ways to pin—“anything that comes up.”
McLain is another who’s made a lot of improvement this year. A wrestler since fifth grade, he made it to regionals as an alternate in 2013, and would like to make it to that event in an official capacity this year.
Two exhibition matches followed Thursday, involving wrestlers Isaac Flower and Kyle Haynie.
Flower, a Mount Si junior varsity wrestler, took on Bellevue’s varsity man in the 126 weight class, and put up a good fight.
“I was proud of myself, but in the end, he won,” Flower said. “Failing is a new chance to start more intelligently next time. I learn from everything I get beat by.”
You can follow Mount Si Wrestling here.
Andrew Harris, hand fighting, left.
Mount Si sophomore Andrew Harris battles for position with his opponent.
Gunnar Harrison stays on top against his Bellevue opponent.
Gunnar Harrison, with Bellevue opponent.
Kyle Haynie, doing hand work in the exhibition match
Isaac Flower, grappling with some hand work
Flower works to escape a hold
Ryley Absher fights some tough competition.
Absher battling to escape a Wolverine grip
Mason Marenco deploys a hold over his Wolverine foe.
Justin Edens, competing vs Bellevue.
Quinn Oster shakes hands with his opponent.
Oster locks up with his Wolverine foe.
Quinn Oster puts a hold on his foe.
Cameron McLain sizes up his Wolverine opponent.
McLain prepares to pin his foe.
McLain folds up his opponent
McLain wears a fierce grimace as he pins his opponent.