Yes, it’s summer, but the Bonney Lake High wrestling program is already embracing a championship mentality.
An offseason after the Panthers finished in third place in Class 3A at Mat Classic XXVIII after sending a school-record 12 wrestlers to the Dome, Bonney Lake is already in a win-now mode.
It’s time for the program to hoist its first 3A state wrestling championship.
“That’s what everyone’s working hard accomplish,” Keegan Dorsey said. “We’re all focused on winning (our own) state titles and the team title next year.”
That quest started this summer.
I really believe that each one of these guys can win a state title in each of their weight classes. They’re going to come up big for us in order for to compete for a state title, but if these guys, and several of our other wrestlers advance enough, I believe we can have it (the state title) locked up by the end of day one (at Mat Classic VXXIV).
Bonney Lake coach Dan Pitsch
And the quest appears to be in good shape after four Panther wrestlers attended the ASICS/Vaughan Cadet and Junior Nationals last month in Fargo, North Dakota. Two-time state champion Brandon Kaylor (fifth place at 106 pounds) and Brendan Chaowanabipool (second place at 100 pounds) were each named All-Americans at the tournament.
“It’s a great feeling to call myself an All-American, but I have to give it to Chewy for being a three-time All-American at the tournament,” Kaylor said. “We’re focused and (have) been training hard to go out to win the state championship. It’s all about the team title.”
“It’s a great feeling to have that success. It makes you excited (and impatient) for the season to start,” Chaowanabipool said.
Zach Koeller (152 pounds) and Keegan Dorsey (170) joined Kaylor and Chaowanabipool at the tournament.
They will all be a part of a Bonney Lake wrestling team that returns eight wrestlers who reached the Mat Classic in February, giving Coach Dan Pitsch his most veteran-savvy team to date.
“I really believe that each one of these guys can win a state title in each of their weight classes,” Pitsch said. “They’re going to come up big for us in order for to compete for a state title, but if these guys, and several of our other wrestlers advance enough, I believe we can have (the state title) locked up by the end of day one (at Mat Classic VXXIV).”
That confidence stems from the growth of the program since Pitsch arrived at Bonney Lake, combined with the largest amount of returning wrestlers in the program’s history who have reached the Dome. Yes, there’s reason for confidence as Bonney Lake enters the new 3A Pacific Coast League.
If we can bring back guys like (heavyweight) Caleb Davis or convince more people to come out, I think we should be able to challenge for the top spot in state.
“If we can bring back guys like (heavyweight) Caleb Davis or convince more people to come out, I think we should be able to challenge for the top spot in state,” Kaylor said.
Now with the Junior National Championships behind them, it’s a long road for the Panthers to the start of the season. There are no more tournaments, no more practices or team meets. It all comes down to how this team uses these next few months to prepare and train.
The clock is ticking on whether Bonney Lake can meet the hype. Now’s the time for the Panthers to prove that last year was just a glimpse of things to come.
“We’re just going to spend time in the weight room and work out together to get better before the season,” Koeller said. “We’re going to prove we’re the best team in state.”
There’s still a lot of time left for the Panthers to prove themselves right, and as these guys have stated, the clock has already started.