By Garrett Estrada
Ely Times Staff Writer
After a bumpy couple of weeks, the White Pine High School wrestling team finished its regular season strong with an impressive performance at Indian Hills during the weekend. Nine Bobcat wrestlers competed, with three taking the top seed, after finishing the seven duel day undefeated.
Coach Mike Gamberg said his team regained focus and wrestled the way he knew they could.
“I felt confident that they could do everything we expected of them, and we expect a lot out of them. They wrestled very well,” Gamberg said.
The coach’s son was one of several wrestlers who finished the day unbeaten, including five pins in his seven duels. He showed how much he has improved this season by beating a wrestler that skunked him on points last year.
In what Gamberg called a “dominant” performance in the 138 pound class, Drew Ashby went 7-0. The coach said Ashby has been “on fire” lately, and even put his skills to the test in an uneven match. He was pleased with the results.
“I had him wrestle a kid that was 145 pounds and will probably win our division in that weight class and Drew stuck him,” Gamberg said.
Almost joining the unbeaten was Joe Pauley, who finished the day at 6-1. His sole loss proved to be one of the closest duels of the day.
“He lost in overtime to the division runner-up from last year,” Gamberg said. “It was a great match.”
Gamberg said he had many long talks with his wrestlers leading up to the meet. After bad performances from the team at their previous two meets, he knew he had to right the ship going into Indian Springs.
“We talked about dedication to themselves, making sure they have no regrets,” he said. “For some of them, this is their last chance to wrestle. I didn’t want our seniors looking back and wondering what they could have done differently. We talked about making sure they leave everything out there and they have done that.”
The Bobcats have won four straight division titles. Gamberg said one of their keys to success has been wrestling the biggest and toughest schools that they could over the season. He said he wanted his guys to get “used to a level of competition” higher than what most schools face, so when the time comes, they have the experience to take on anyone.
They will be get their shot for their fifth title in a row, competing in divisions in Primm on Feb. 22.