Sports

Decatur pins SPSL wrestling title

"While the Decatur wrestling team clinched the South Puget Sound League, South Division championship on Wednesday with a win over Rogers, the Gators didn't celebrate until after Thursday night's 53-12 beating of Puyallup. It was the final league match of the season, and the last home match Decatur will wrestle without an SPSL league championship banner hanging in its gym. It's the first time in the school's existence that it has won an SPSL wrestling title. This is a dream come true, said Decatur senior Benson Henderson, who won his match 9-4. It's unbelievable. I seriously don't believe it.Henderson has reason to be amazed. Decatur didn't win a match in the 1998-99 season. Last year the team was 2-5 in the SPSL. This year the Gators went a perfect 14-0, including an 8-0 SPSL league record. The difference is coach Bressler, Henderson said. He brought the kids here, he showed us what it takes. It's a tribute to him.While Bressler, in his third year as head coach, is the primary reason for the turnaround, the wrestlers did the work in the practice room and on the mat. The main difference is attitude - they want to win, Bressler said. They tasted it last year and won it this year. You don't coach it. You experience a little success and it builds a fire. You could see that in the close matches tonight.Jon Joseph, Anthony Cossano, Aaron Ross and J.C. Ronnfeldt earned pins for the Gators. Henderson, Ryan Trotter, Dalles Harwood, Nick McCluskey, Jason Bressler, Marco Boccato won their matches on points. Brandon Bell won by forfeit. We can wrestle with anybody, Ross said. We're solid all the way through. I think we can take regionals. The sub-regional wrestling tournament is on Feb. 2-3 at Puyallup. We have a lot more wrestling to do, Bressler said. The kids get an opportunity to make it to the big show. This is a highlight and I'm happy, but we still have a lot of work to do. There's two different seasons in wrestling - the league season and the tournament season. The kids haven't even begun. The team gets a few days off from practice to rest up and enjoy the moment and then it's on to regionals. Ever since we were in junior high we talked about changing it when we got here, said Jason Bressler.We've been getting a lot of support from the fans. I don't think I'd ever seen so many fans in our gym until this year.Finally we get a wrestling banner, Henderson said. We believe in ourselves. "

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