Panther wrestlers tally first winning season in school’s young history

Sean O’Riley works over his Franklin Pierce opponent as the season draws to a close.

By registering a pair of South Puget Sound League 3A victories last week, the Bonney Lake High wrestling squad did just what it set out to do – record the first winning league record in school history by finishing the regular campaign 5-3 in dual-match action.

“We have this inspirational saying that is printed on the back of our warm-up jackets, ‘Acta Non Verba,’ which literally translated from Latin means ‘Deeds Not Words,’” said Anthony Clarke, the only wrestling coach the Panthers have ever had.

After beating Franklin Pierce 41-28 Jan. 28, “we were really excited when we traveled to Peninsula the next day, because we knew a win we would transcend mediocrity and consequently earn some respectability around the school,” Clarke said. “That was really important to this hard-working group of kids. You could tell by how pumped up they were to accomplish what we have been talking about all year.”

After senior Josh Peart recorded a four-point major decision and the Panthers’ 145-pounder lost a narrow 4-3 decision, Bonney Lake went on a roll.

Senior standout Addison Tracy (30-0) did what a good team captain should do, stomping on the motivational accelerator. In his 152-pound challenge, Tracy took care of business, pinning his foe 38 seconds into the match.

Bonney Lake then left Peninsula in its rear view mirror, claiming four of the next five bouts, including pins by an improving David Vance (171), the very active Sam Mebarki (189) and a dominating Jared Dorsey at 215 pounds, who pinned his opponent’s shoulders to the cushion in 58 seconds.

Team points also came from Robbie Slick (1:03 fall at 119 pounds), big decisions by senior Pat Bendon and Gordi St. Peter and junior Nick Bendon pinning his 135 pound challenger with one second left in the first round.

“It was important for us to put one on Peninsula, not only to finish the season with a winning record, but they beat us out by five points (190-185) to take first in our Panther Invitational in early December and we wanted to let them to know that we had gained a bit of ground since then,” Clake said.

The Panthers will be taking a bus load of anxious grapplers to the subdistrict tournament Friday and Saturday at Auburn Mountainview High School. Wrestling action will begin at 4 p.m. Friday starting with the 103-pounders. Several BLHS grapplers are expected to be seeded high, including Tracy, who is currently ranked the No. 1 152-pounder in the state and will be rewarded with the first seed in his weight classification at subdistricts.

The seeding meeting that will send wrestlers into the subdistrict tournament takes place today, Wednesday.