The Yelm High School boys wrestling team had their toughest practice last Monday, according to head coach Gaylord Strand. It’s an appropriate way to celebrate for a team that has surpassed expectation more than once so far this season.

“You got to have someone push them. You’ve got to take them to the edge, sometimes beyond the edge. Cause they think they’ve done everything and they don’t know what’s left,” Strand said. “So, that’s my job to make sure they know what they can do.”

The cause for celebration? A complete shutout Thursday, Dec. 13 at home against Capital High School, 75-0, Spanaway Lake High School, 77-0, and an impressive show collectively at the Pat Alexander Invite at Tumwater High School. 

“I can’t believe it,” Strand said. “The rate of what our kids wrested at home, picking it up like they did, I was very impressed.” 

Strand said he expected their matchup against Spanaway Lake to be a competitive one, looking at distribution of established wrestlers, but didn’t expect the fierce turnout he got from his wrestlers. 

Derrick Platt (195) won his bout 14-4 against a Spanaway Lake wrestler usually in the 220 weight class. Braden Hill (182) held strong with an impressive 24 second pin. Jeffery Myers (106), Gage Nelson (120), Ryan Davis (126) and Reise Eide (132) all brought in pins for Yelm.

Freshman Dylan Conklin (138) showed a great bout and won a pin in the third round in what is usually a very difficult weight class, Strand said. 

Steven Reyes (145) picked up a 13-1 major decision win. Eli Osso (152) and Chayton Miller (160) brought home six points of forfeitures for Yelm. 

Cameron Dubose (220) took one of his first pins this year. Alejandro Escobedo (285) brought home a pin at 4:47, with a 4-2 lead before the pin. 

“He’s got to wrestle real smart and use his strength to the best of his ability when he’s wrestling all that weight,” Strand said. “You get underneath someone big, it’s hard to get back out again.”

The Tornados didn’t stray from shining at the Pat Alexander Invite earlier that day in Tumwater. The team collectively took first place and dominated the mat with consistently high placing. 

Hill dominated his weight class, taking pins in every one of his bouts. Myers, Davis, Eide, Reyes, Hill and Platt all took home first place in their weight class. Platt received the “Outstanding Wrestler” title for the invite. 

Yelm won first with 275.5 at the invite. A.G. West Black Hills High School and Olympia High School brought home second and third, respectively, with 169 and 163 points. 

After the boys’ short break, all eyes will be on the 2019 Gut Check Tournament Jan. 4 and 5 at the ShoWare Center in Kent. 

Strand said the team’s goal is to place within the top 10 at the tournament. A Yelm athlete would have to place in each bracket in order for the team to fulfill this goal, he said.

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