Sports

Twice is nice for Bressler

By CASEY OLSON

Sports editor

The celebration was minimal compared to some inside the Tacoma Dome. The only thing Decatur senior Kyle Bressler did after winning the 189-pound state wrestling championship was hold two fingers high above his head.

Other state title winners were seen throughout the Dome back-flipping, heel-clicking and crying their eyes out. Bressler’s reaction was more of a long, hard sigh of relief after beating Emerald Ridge’s Brynsen Brown for the fourth time this season Saturday, 11-3, at the Mat Classic.

Sure, Bressler was overjoyed about winning his second straight 189-pound state championship and ending his high school wrestling career with an unbelievable 111-6 career record, including 40-0 this year and 71-1 the last two. But the victory over Brown culminated a season in which Bressler had a target planted firmly on his chest, inviting everybody he got into the circle against to give him everything they had.

“I think (the state championship) last year was a little more satisfying,” Bressler said from the floor of the Tacoma Dome Saturday night. “This one is more of a relief. There was a lot of pressure on me all season long. But it’s very satisfying.”

Bressler admits to not wrestling his best during the early rounds of this years Mat Classic. The senior downed Gonzaga Prep’s John Schmitz 13-3 in his opening-round match, struggled against Sumner’s T.C. Toler, 8-5, in the quarterfinals and got by North Central’s Jess Kerr in the semifinals, 8-3, to set up his match with Brown.

Mike Bressler, the Decatur coach and also Kyle’s dad, saw the lethargic wrestling and let Kyle know about it — like any coach would do.

“He told me how it was,” Kyle said. “He told me to let it go and be myself. I was wrestling not to lose. Maybe the hype got to me. But this was my last high school match.”

Mike Bressler knows what it is like to have that bull’s eye on you. Just like his son, Mike won the 190-pound wrestling state title as a junior at Evergreen High School in White Center and entered his senior year with the pressure to repeat — which he did.

“It’s tough to repeat,” Mike Bressler said. “There is just so much pressure. So I just told Kyle to relax and wrestle your match and he did.”

Helping Kyle relax during the championship was the fact that the coaching bench not only included his father, but also Kyle’s older brother, Jason, who is currently a defender on the Seattle University men’s soccer team and a former Mat Classic participant, and his uncle, Bill.

“My boys are close,” Mike Bressler said. “Jason has made Kyle what he is. Jason is also a heck of an athlete. He just didn’t get the breaks in wrestling like Kyle.”

Kyle seemed to get a break in the championship match Saturday night. Brown, a junior at Emerald Ridge, was a surprise finalist to most inside the Tacoma Dome after entering the Mat Classic with a 21-7 record, including a 16-4 loss to Bressler in the regional championship.

But the Bresslers weren’t buying into the hype.

“I knew after regionals that no one would beat him,” Kyle said. “He is a big, strong kid.”

“After I saw him wrestle last year, I told my wife that the kid will be in the state final,” Mike Bressler said.

Now, Kyle’s attention turns to the spring sports season — his third of the high school year. During the fall, he rushed for over 1,000 yards and led Decatur to the postseason for the first time in school history and was named all-state as a middle linebacker and he returns as an All-SPSL goalkeeper for the Gators’ soccer team, which won the state championship in 2001 and ‘02.

Sports editor Casey Olson: 925-5565, sports@fedwaymirror.com

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