B-CL-B Wrestling Update
In 1990, Hall of Fame Blackduck wrestling coach Steve Bechtold and Cass Lake's Jerry Cleveland had an idea. Both squads had state championship quality wrestlers, but with budget cuts looming, both were struggling to fill all the weights and be competitive.
Along with Athletic Directors Jerry Sonnek and Ron Milbrandt, they laid the blueprint for successful cooperation between the two schools. A plan to build a powerhouse team. The plan worked early and B-CL-B came within a few matches of winning the state team title a few years later.
Todays B-CL-B Bears coaches Keenan Goodfellow and Jay Reiplinger have a plan of their own and it appears to be paying dividends well earlier than expected.
The Bears ran roughshod over their competition in this year's Wisconsin Northwestern Tournament Friday night. The Bears began the tournament with a decisive 60-24 win over Northwestern, WI. They followed with a 60-18 victory against Northwoods, WI and ended with a 46-24 win against an outmatched Virginia, MN team.
The youth movement is progressing well ahead of plan with eighth graders Andrew Nissen, Kyle Michalek, Trevor Smith, Tanner George and Cooper Jedlicka all going undefeated. Freshman Nate Jablonski, sophomore Brady Gross and Junior captains Craig Broeder and Al Goodwin also won all three matches. Goodwin's win's made him the team's new win leader (18 wins). Team pin leader freshman Daven Staples (15 pins) also returned to action and alternated with senior J.J. Nehl to win a pair of matches. Freshman Mathew Patch also contributed, pinning an opponent.
Walking into the practice room you can feel the energy of this resurgent team, now over .500 for the first time in several years. The schools have combined not just in name, but in spirit, with no distinction between the home school of the wrestlers as they work together to improve and reach a common goal.
Under the keen eye and direction from Goodfellow and Reiplinger these athletes compete with one another not only for varsity positions, but even more-so, for the opportunity to help their team become a state contender again. By all accounts, the plan seems to be ahead of schedule.