The wrestlers may have received a rubber chicken for winning, but the performance put on by the East County wrestlers at the Kalama Rubber Chicken tournament Saturday was no laughing matter.
The Montesano High School wrestling team took second place at a tournament, which is known for giving a rubber chicken as a trophy. This was the third time this season that Montesano has come in second at a tournament as a team finishing behind Castle Rock, 232 1/2, with 182 points. Elma finished fourth out of the 12 teams at the tournament with a team score of 144 points.
The Bulldogs had six wrestlers face off in the finals of the competition and returned home with five chickens.
“We had some kids that had to work really hard because they had some overtime matches and they stepped up and won those matches,” Montesano coach Jeff Klinger said. “We’re excited about where we are right now and our kids are buying into the hard work. We want them to continue to work hard because we think good things are down the road for them if they work hard.”
Freshman Tyler Izatt was the first champion for Montesano when he defeated Kaleb Carroll of Castle Rock with a pin late in the first period to take home the title at 106 pounds. The win was a little bit of vindication for Izatt who lost to Carroll earlier this season.
At 113 pounds, Montesano freshman Jacob Ellefson stayed undefeated this season with a dominate performance in the final and a 10-0 win. The freshman was so impressive during his matches that he was named the outstanding wrestler of the tournament for the 106-145 weight classes by the coaches at the meet.
“I think that is really cool to see Jacob being recognized by other coaches,” Klinger said. “It is nice to see a kid that has bought into hard work. His technique is good because he has wrestled a lot. He has put in his time and that is a great example for us to use in the room to show our kids the more that you wrestle, the better you will be and Jacob has shown that.”
Another dominate performance came from Kylar Prante who won the 160 pound title for the Bulldogs by a score of 12-3.
Montesano had two wrestlers earn their way to the final at 170 pounds where senior Ben O’Brien won by default over teammate junior Anthony Louthan.
The only final to feature a matchup between Montesano and Elma was at 195 where Bulldog freshman Taylor Rupe defeated Eagle senior Austin Carrell 3-2.
The Eagles ended the day with two champions.
Senior Tanner Sample earned a major decision over Jacob Posey of Kalama by a score of 11-0 to earn the title at 132 pounds.
The other title for Elma was won by senior Brek McGaughy who earned a pin with 23 seconds left in the final to take home the chicken at 220 pounds.
“Brek McGaughy wrestled, I think, the best tournament I’ve seen him wrestle all year,” Elma coach Jason Dick said. “When Brek is aggressive he is very tough to beat. He was on his game.”
Both Elma and Montesano have continued to show steady improvement throughout the season. The Bulldogs have been able to finish higher at tournaments this season, but the hard work being put in by both sides could make for a fun matchup when the two teams dual on Jan. 30.
“I think that everything is starting to click for the kids,” Dick said. “The training is starting to come together.”