Bressler avenges regional loss with state title


Associate editor

It ain’t the six minutes. It’s what happens in those six minutes.

That’s the quote from the classic wrestling movie “Vision Quest” that Decatur junior Kyle Bressler watched prior to winning a state championship at 189 pounds Saturday at the Tacoma Dome.

“It inspires you,” Bressler said. “It’s the only movie that is real with wrestling.”

In the movie, the character is facing a seemingly unbeatable opponent for the Washington state wrestling finals.

In real life, Bressler was facing his nemesis in Bothell’s Scott LaBrash. LaBrash pinned Bressler in the first period of the first match in last year’s state tournament, then beat Bressler again for the regional championship last weekend.

Although Bressler’s goal of an undefeated season was derailed by LaBrash at regionals, Bressler turned it into a positive.

“He was in a better situation coming into state hungry rather than trying to protect something,” Decatur coach and Kyle’s dad Mike Bressler said. “The third time’s the charm. Kyle is a competitive kid. When there’s a lot of pressure, he seems to perform.”

In the state finals against LaBrash, Bressler earned a takedown and a three-point near fall 50 seconds into the match to take a 5-0 lead.

In the second period, Bressler escaped to take a 6-0 lead. LaBrash countered with a takedown and had Bressler on his back for a two-point nearfall to bring the score to 6-4.

That’s when Bressler caught LaBrash and took him to his back for a pin with 39 seconds left in the second period.

“It feels awesome,” Bressler said. “It’s kind of been a dream almost, being here in front of all these people.”

Bressler said the key to his match was setting the pace against the unorthodox LaBrash, who had quickly pinned his first three opponents at state.

“I wanted to slow the match down and hit my own stuff,” Bressler said.

Mike Bressler said Kyle and his older brother Jason, a state qualifier last year, always wrestled at home since they were little and that was the reason Kyle was so tough and scrappy.

“Their mom always wanted to stop it, but I knew better,” said Mike, who had Jason coach with him and assistant Sam Hunt during the championship match. “It’s awful nice having your younger son winning and your older son sitting in the chair next to you. It doesn’t get much better than that.

“All these other coaches who are dads told me there’s nothing greater than having your own kid win it. And they’re right.”

Ludovic Mea, sixth place

A successful season seemed to be coming to a quick end at the state tournament for Federal Way junior Ludovic Mea, who ended up placing sixth.

Mea was pinned in his first match of the tournament.

“I didn’t do so good at first,” Mea said. “I was so nervous.”

“It’s a huge venue and he was kind of awestruck when he first got there,” said Federal Way coach Frank Wood. “He wrestled tentatively at first, then turned it on.”

Mea battled through the consolation bracket with three straight wins.

“He just got some confidence and realized he could compete with these guys,” Wood said. “He is a very good wrestler and works extremely hard.

Mea lost 2-1 in a close match for a chance to wrestle for third place. He appeared to have the takedown at the end of the match, but ran out of time as the ref didn’t make the call.

“If you had 10 different refs, they would have called it 10 different ways,” Wood said. “It was very close.”

Mea then lost 5-4 to Gonzaga Prep’s Tim Healy in the match for fifth and sixth.

“He’s an incredibly cool kid with a great attitude,” Wood said. “He loves wrestling and is looking forward to next year.”

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