Posted: Friday, March 4, 2011 3:48 pm
Views from the booth
The Hermiston Bulldog wrestling team got home from winning their fifth-consecutive state championship at Portland?s Memorial Coliseum last weekend about 2 a.m. last Sunday.
You might expect Sunday was a day of rest and relaxation, especially after two days of 6:15 a.m. weigh-ins and long days on the mat. Nobody would have blamed any of the nine Bulldog wrestlers who placed in this year?s 5A State Championships for sleeping in until lunch.
For those wrestlers who have spent weeks being sure to eat just right so they wouldn?t miss weight, once they woke up at lunch, who would have disapproved for one of the guys eating a couple large pizzas or maybe a pint of ice cream?
These Bulldogs, just like the five other championship teams over the past decade earned the right to relax, eat and do just about anything but go into the Hermiston High wrestling room and beat on each other.
However, these Bulldogs were back in the wrestling room Sunday morning before the network cartoons were over, beating on each other all over again.
Sure, not every guy in the program was working early Sunday morning, but that doesn?t diminish the fact that hours after earning another wrestling state championship, the Hermiston High program had guys back in the room who have put the ?Drive for Five? behind them and are now on a search for six (I have no doubt somebody in the program will come up with a much better phrase than that).
The guys there Sunday morning are the ones who live and breathe wrestling. They dream about a two-point reversal turning into a three-point near falls and eventually a pin. It was guys like junior Joey Delgado, fresh off an undefeated season and a third state title, who were up Sunday morning.
He?s got summer tournaments to prepare for, and in almost exactly one year, he hopes to join the elite group of Oregon High School wrestlers who win four state titles. He would be the first in Hermiston?s storied history to pull it off.
Freshman Tyler Berger, who was almost as dominant as Delgado at the state championships on his way to a first high school state title, was there Sunday.
He?s got to keep pace with everybody because in his bio for the state championship broadcasters he wrote he wants to win four state titles, four national titles and win at the 2020 Olympics.
He probably has some loftier goals he didn?t write about in that bio, like eventually take his sparring partner Delgado more often than Delgado takes him down in practice.
Even senior Curtis Berger was there Sunday. He had capped his Bulldog career the night before by winning a third state championship bout, his second in a row at 189 pounds. Berger will spend plenty of time the next four years in the North Dakota State University wrestling rooms, but he was there too because the season never ends when wrestling is your life.
A couple years ago, after Hermiston demolished the Bend schools in a IMC dual at The Dawg House, Curt Berger was asked about the margin of victory. He gave one of my favorite and one of the most honest answers I?ve ever heard from a coach.
?They had 365 days to get ready for us?? Berger said.
There was more to the quote, but the crux of the argument is there. They?ve developed a dynasty in the Hermiston wrestling room because they never stop working. Hermiston has made the past few of these state titles look easy. It?s not easy to win a state championship; Berger?s Bulldogs make it look easy by working so hard. If Dallas High School, this year?s second place team in 5A, wants to be first place next year they?ve got 365 days to get ready.
Erick is the news/sports director at KOHU/KQFM. He is also the play-by-play voice of Hermiston High School athletics. Complain to him at firstname.lastname@example.org.