The Wrestling team does not look formidable on paper; with one only win on the season after 16 meets. However, the team is lead by a strong core of wrestlers having standout seasons and a new head coach, who believes that, with time, the program has the potential to grow into a dynasty.
“We have a talented team this year,” coach Mario Bonito said. “We’re winning a lot of tournaments but we’re struggling” at meets, with only one win on the season after 16 meets.
The team’s problem, according to Bonito, is numbers. Brookfield’s wrestling team currently has 16 members, whereas a healthy team would have between 25 and 30 wrestlers, Bonito said.
“We could win five to eight matches and still lose the meet,” he explained. “We’re winning on the mat but we’re giving up at least five matches every time,” forfeiting for lack of contenders.
While the Bobcats don’t have the numbers to rank as a team, individually the team leaders are on track to qualify for postseason championship meets.
During a dual meet on Saturday at Darien with Wolcott Tech, senior Jack McKeever (152-pound weight class) won both his matches, bringing his perfect season record to 29-0 and notching his 153rd career win. So far this season, McKeever has won the Mid-Hudson and Shoreline Classic tournaments in New York and the Plainville Tournament in Plainville, CT, putting him in prime position for the state championships in February.
At the same meet, fellow senior captain Joel Wamser (182-pound) reached the 100-victory milestone, improving his season record to 24-5, and senior Ryan McManus (160-pound) improved to 19-9.
Junior Blaise Boullianne (132) is also having a strong season, posting a 18-10 record as of Saturday’s meet.
With a strong core, Brookfield’s wrestling program will develop, Bonito said, but it will take “two to three seasons to build that solid foundation.”
That foundation building begins by improving the youth wrestling program in town, the Brookfield Takedown Club, which gives elementary and middle school students a start in the sport.
Bonito said this year they will be expanding the youth program through the spring to give more kids a chance to participate.