Dunsmuir shows potential in new sport – wrestling

Richard McCormack
Jay Rhoades wins a pin at his first tournament match during the Chester Wrestling Invitational Tournament, December 4, 5, 2009. Jay is one of four wrestlers who competed at the invitational tournament.

Starting a new sports team is difficult. Starting a wrestling team from scratch is almost unheard of. A few dedicated volunteers and seven students are doing just that and making Dunsmuir High School history in the process.

Wrestling has not been at the school since the 1960s, and then no one can remember if it ran for more than a year. However, if the start of the season is any indication to how long the sport will be at the school, it looks like wrestling is here to stay.

Participating in their first tournament the four Dunsmuir Tigers who entered displayed stamina and, in the words of coach Robert Wallace, “real heart.”

“I’m very proud of these boys,” said Robert Wallace, who worked the wrestlers to raise the money necessary to buy uniforms through individual sponsorships and a barbecue at Dunsmuir’s Thriftway Foods.

Jay Rhoades, competing in the 189 pound class, won his first match with a pin and advanced to the next level of competition. He lost his next match, then won one more in the consolation bracket before being eliminated in his fourth match.

Joel Schroder (119 pound) wrestled in a heavier weight class than normal and lost both matches.

“Joel showed real courage and persistence when he took a hard throw in his first match,” said Wallace. “He stayed in there and fought to the very end.”

Heavyweight John Flinger lost his first match but won his next in the consolation round.

Justin Shuler (171 pound) lost both of his matches.

Overall, Wallace said, “I thought they wrestled well. They all went out and gave their best.”

Getting the team off the ground took a lot of hard work on the mat and raising funds to have the sport at the school.

“Nick [at Thriftway Foods] was very gracious having a barbecue to help us raise the money needed to buy uniforms,” Wallace said. “Also, I want to thank the coaches at Mount Shasta High for donating a wrestling mat so we can practice.”       

The Tigers will participate in eight tournaments this year including the NorCal Classic in Anderson and the Bruin Challenge in Mount Shasta.

Tiger wrestlers who did not participate in the first tournament are: Zack Bartoo (135 pound), Jeff Rhodes (heavyweight) and Dillon Hampton (189 pound).

Assistant coach Jimmy Palmer and stat keepers BreAnna Wallace and Alina Muthwell round out the team.