Brandon Kaylor and Brenden Chaowanapibool’s preseason All-American honors have put the Bonney Lake High wrestling program in the national spotlight.
With two-time state champion Kaylor moving up a weight class and into the 113-pound division, and Chaowanapibool expecting to wrestle at 106 pounds, there’s a lot of hope that these two Panthers will help Bonney Lake stand at the top of the Class 3A come Mat Classic XXIX.
“Without a doubt, I believe that Chaow will be a state champion this season,” boasted Kaylor, who took home back-to-back 3A state titles in the 106-pound division.
Chaowanapibool finished in sixth place behind Kaylor in the 106 division last February as a freshman.
“With him moving up, it’s my time to start the first of three (titles),” Chaowanapibool said. “This summer was just the start for me.”
It takes an incredible amount of confidence to already stake a claim in the championship round with the state tournament still three months away.
But after the offseason these two Panthers had, they know they can back it up the hype.
“When you have guys who are nationally recognized, or go to these big tournaments and wrestle the best in the country all year round, it elevates the program,” Bonney Lake coach Dan Pitsch said. “It elevates the guys in the weight room and it elevates them in the gym. They bring the whole team up to their level.”
BK aims for 1K milestone
It’s not enough for Kaylor (aka BK to his team) to walk away with four state titles. No, not anymore, even though he already has pocketed two of them over his first two seasons.
I know it will be hard to do, but nothing worth having is easy to obtain. You have to set your goals high.
Kaylor wants to be the best — not at Bonney Lake, not in the area, and definitely not in the 3A SPSL and districts. He wants to be the best there is to come out of the Northwest.
“He motivates me to want to beat him,” Chaowanapibool said. “We are always competing with each other.”
“Why not believe you can be the best wrestler?” Kaylor said. “I know it will be hard to do, but nothing worth having is easy to obtain. You have to set your goals high.”
Kaylor might be onto something as he enters his junior season the No. 4-ranked wrestler in the nation in the 106-pound division after taking third place in the 2016 Super 32 Wrestling in North Carolina in October.
“I want to help make Bonney Lake wrestling a powerhouse. Not just in the state, but a national wrestling powerhouse,” said Kaylor, who is one of four wrestlers ranked in the top ten according the The Open Mat High School Wrestling rankings. “That’s one of my goals.”
Kaylor is nationally ranked with three other boys from the state, including freshman Gregory Diakomihalis (No. 17 in 106) of Hilton, junior Mason Phillips (No. 13 in 132) of Stanwood and sophomore James Rogers (No. 20 in 152) of Battle Ground.
“There’s not a lot of Northwest guys who get looked at or taken seriously by the national guys,” Pitsch said.
The goal is to get to 1,000 take downs for my career.
It’s usually the Midwest kids and the wrestling in the area that takes up a lot of the national spotlight, but Kaylor hopes to change that with one simple goal: become the takedown king.
“The goal is to get to 1,000 takedowns for my career,” said Kaylor about attempting to conquer the ultimate display of dominance in wrestling. “That and getting my name all over that (record) board.”
Kaylor became Bonney Lake wrestling’s all-time takedown artist in year as a freshman when he set the then-single-season record with 238 take downs. He followed it last year with the current record of 248 takedowns, which puts him at 486 total career takedowns, a school record.
“I’m not happy,” he declared. “I’m 14 off my pace, and I’m going to have to make up for it this year. I’m going to get those 14 points back and put myself back on pace for 1K.”
Proving it fivefold
Chaowanapibool proved to the nation that he was an All-American — in fact, in did five times over.
It starts now. The first championship of the three starts this year.
After incredible performances at the Fargo Nationals and Cadet and Junior Duals this past summer, Chaowanapibool was crowned a five-time All-American, beating Kaylor’s three.
The difference from last year? Well, he’s no longer wrestling over his head.
“I’m up to about 110 pounds right now, and I’ll need to drop a few before the season, but the added strength definitely helps,” said Chaowanapibool, who wrestled all last year at 96 pounds, giving up roughly 10 or more pounds to his typical opponent.
Not only has the added strength made Chaowanapibool stronger, but somehow the fleet-footed wrestler became a lightning bolt on the mat, displaying a rare speed not usually seen in the lower divisions.
“He’s so quick. So fast,” Kaylor marveled. “I have the edge on him in strength, but he gets up and off the mat like no one I’ve seen. It makes it hard to keep him down.”
With Kaylor moving up and out of Chaowanapibool’s division, now is the time for the sophomore to leave his stamp and put his name on the record boards.
“It starts now,” he said. “The first championship of the three starts this year.”
Part 1: Kaylor and Chaowanapibool bring Bonney Lake wrestling national status
Part 2: Panthers putting priority on 3A state title, school history