Wrestling sends off seniors in memorable fashion


Joe Boettcher pins his opponent from Centralia on Jan. 13. Photo by Maribeth Eiken

Harsh Singh

Joe Boettcher wrestles his opponent from Centralia on Jan 13.
Joe Boettcher pins his opponent from Centralia on Jan. 13.
Photo by Maribeth Eiken

It is always special in sports when a team becomes the first to accomplish something in its history. For example, the taste of a Super Bowl victory for the Seattle Seahawks was more memorable because it was the first ever in the franchise’s history. The Bruins wrestling team experienced a similar feeling when they did something no other RBHS wrestling team has done; they placed second at the state championship. Sophomore Josiah Kline, a state champion, said it was an incredible feeling to be known as the team who ended the long drought of finishing top three at state.

“When we got second in state, we were really excited because it was the best Rock Bridge Wrestling has done,” Kline said. “It’s still hard to believe achieving something so great, but now it’s all starting to settle in.”
Kline earned the state champion title in the 113 weight class after edging out his opponent 3-2 in the final round. At state last year, Kline suffered from a viral infection which prevented him to perform to his potential, placing fifth in his weight class. He said the setback last year made him more determined to perform better this year.
“For about 340 days, I worked out and wrestled trying to prepare for state,” Kline said. “When wrestling season started, I started to work out about twice a day, so when I won state, just remembering how much hard work I put into this sport and only having the goal to win state made everything even more special.”
While Kline is in the early stages of his career at RBHS, senior Jason Kiehne rounded off his time in high school by placing second in the 138 weight class. Kiehne said it was a great feeling to represent the Bruins on the podium. He also said this season was something quite special.
“This season was more successful than others because instead of just having one good guy, the whole team was solid,” Kiehne said. “The team developed a unique chemistry with each other which allowed everyone to perform at their best level.”
Travis Craig, the wrestling team’s coach, said the team has tireless workers that showed up everyday with a great attitude.
“I believe this is by far the best team in Rock Bridge history. I don’t know what some of the teams in the past did, but I know that second is the best ever state finish,” Craig said. “I doubt there was ever a Rock Bridge team that had four state finalists and six total medalists.”
Along with team’s determination to perform at their best level, Craig said the team also loves training, and that allows them to push themselves extremely hard.
“Our team had tremendous work ethic not only during the season but throughout the whole year,” Craig said. “For our seniors, they’ve been training year round for the four past years. This is something that they love to do  and not something they feel obligated to.” Agreeing with Craig, Kiehne said the team had relentless perseverance at every practice and every meet. Since this was Kiehne’s last season, he said it is a bittersweet feeling to be leaving the team.
“I will miss the practicing and hanging out with the team,” Kiehne said. “But, I couldn’t have asked for a better way to finish off my time with the Bruins.”
Craig said it is always hard to see the seniors leave after an incredible season. However, he said it is great to see them move ahead in their lives.
“I think the biggest thing we’ll miss about our seniors is the attitude and positivity that they brought in with them everyday. They are young men that do the right things on and off the mat,” Craig said. “You replace our seniors, but you can hope that what they were about has a lasting influence on the guys that will come after them.”
By Harsh Singh