It is often said that practice makes perfect. For the Elma High School wrestling team that saying may be changed to practice partners make perfect.
At the Vashon Island Invitational on Saturday, practice partners senior Brek McGaughy and senior Austin Carrell faced off for the championship at 220 pounds. McGaughy scored two take downs and Carrell had three escapes to make the score 4-3 and with just seconds left Carrell shot for McGaughy’s leg. McGaughy held Carrell off for the win, but the match said more about how the pair has pushed each other in the wrestling room.
“The kids wrestle to find out who is better and this week Brek was better,” coach Jason Dick said. “We always reiterate to the kids that it is your practice partner that determines how you succeed in tournaments. It is your practice partner who makes you. Having them both in the finals puts a stamp on that statement.”
The Eagles had five wrestlers place in the top three at the tournament. Dick said he has been going to the tournament for several years and it always is filled with good competition and this year was no different. Among the competitors were several wrestlers who are ranked in the top 10 in the state.
“The competition this year was ten steps up from last year,” Dick said. “It is really an elite level tournament.”
Practice partners senior Tyson Dick and senior Austin Cristelli showed that they are both elite wrestlers in the state. Tyson Dick placed second at 145 with a loss in the championship to the wrestler who is currently ranked second in the state in his weight class. Cristelli won his match for third place at 152 pounds by a score of 2-1.
Senior Tanner Sample, who often works with Tyson Dick and Cristelli in the wrestling room, placed second at the tournament at 132 pounds, losing in the championship by a score of 10-0 to Kelso’s Tyler Wicken who placed second in 3A at the Mat Classic last season.
While he was proud of the effort that the five placers gave, Jason Dick said he was disappointed that more Eagle wrestlers weren’t able to finish in the top five.
The losses for all of the Elma wrestlers will become fuel to help drive them to become better as they work hard over the holiday break. Jason Dick said he goes over every match with each of the wrestlers as soon as they come off the mat. Some of the older wrestlers will even tell their coach what mistakes they made before he can point them out, but no matter how they learn their mistakes, both coach and wrestler want to make sure they don’t make those mistakes again.
“They take the losses hard because they want to succeed,” Jason Dick said. “You have to lose to learn how to win. They look at every loss they have, every close match, they see it as an opportunity to get better in the practice room. Learn from those mistakes, don’t make they habits. Over Christmas break is our training time. We really work our tails off over this break. They make each other better every week.”