A year removed from winning Whatcom County’s only state boys wrestling title, Ferndale senior Ben Broselle admits he got complacent.
Easily the fastest boy on the team, Broselle was only winning sprints in practice by narrow margins and didn’t look like the dominant wrestler from last season.
It took a loss to Brian Pullman of Squalicum at 195 pounds in Class 3A early in the season to light a fire under Broselle.
“After the loss, I said to myself, ‘I have to get my stuff in gear or else the end of the season is not going to go well for me,’ ” Broselle said.
Digital Access for only $0.99
For the most comprehensive local coverage, subscribe today.
The senior started putting in work in the weight room, adding 10 pounds of muscle.
His teammates noticed, and seeing their defending state champion work hard ignited the rest of Ferndale’s wrestling team.
The hard work paid off, as the Golden Eagles captured six regional titles Saturday at Chief Stealth. Eli Croy (132 pounds), Jaden Schwartz (145), Alex Cleary (182), Broselle (195), Nate Slaton (220) and Spencer Crosswhite (285) won titles, while three others – Broc Graves (120), Josh Coballes (126) and Pavel Kolbert (170) – advanced to their regional championship matches.
Ferndale had 13 wrestlers finish among the top four in their weight classes at the regional to advance to the Class 3A State Tournament on Friday and Saturday at the Tacoma Dome.
Broselle’s newfound commitment required early morning practices going against Ferndale coach Caleb Schlack. Schlack, who wrestled at Minnesota State Moorhead, said Broselle tested him more than any other wrestler at Ferndale.
“He’s wrestling like an animal out there,” Schlack said. “I have no doubt he can take home another state title.”
The energy at Ferndale practices this week has been electric, Schlack said, with wrestlers asking to stay later to work on things before state. Schlack said he told his wrestlers to bring a list of five skills to improve. That part of practice was supposed to last 25 minutes – it went for an hour. It’s an attitude the Golden Eagles have brought all year.
Schlack said the athletes and coaches are on the same page when it comes to practice and goals. When wrestlers bring different ideas, the coaches will change practices to accommodate.
Schwartz has been a beacon of hard work. He started the year getting pinned in almost every varsity match and barely made it out of the subregional tournament.
“If you would have told me he would win a regional title at the beginning of the year, I wouldn’t have believed you,” Schlack said. “But he would stay and work after every practice, and he started to see results and it got fun for him.”
And it gives him confidence on the mat.
“I go into every match knowing that I put in more work than the guy across from me,” Schwartz said.
Ferndale finished ninth in the state as a team last year. After winning the Morin Invitational in December, Schlack said his team could finish in the top five this year.
Whatcom County state qualifiers
106: Brayden Charlette (Squalicum)
113: Jase Coopers (Squalicum), Jaiden Bundy (Squalicum)
120: Broc Graves (Ferndale)
126: Josh Coballes (Ferndale)
132: Eli Croy (Ferndale), Ryan Slaughter (Ferndale)
138: Carson Trolinder (Ferndale)
145: Jaden Schwartz (Ferndale)
152: Noah Saenz (Ferndale)
160: Jordan Cristelli (Ferndale)
170: Pavel Kolbert (Ferndale)
182: Alex Cleary (Ferndale)
195: Ben Broselle (Ferndale), Brian Pullman (Squalicum)
220: Nate Slaton (Ferndale), Justin McAuley (Squalicum)
285: Spencer Crosswite (Ferndale), Dominick Mack (Squalicum), Dan Angel (Squalicum)
106: Indiana Casas (Bellingham)
113: Elijah Marquez (Sehome)
120: Pablo Martinez (Lynden)
132: Colton Economy (Blaine)
138: Derreck Camba (Blaine)
145: Matt Macauley (Blaine), Aidan Button (Blaine)
152: Jonathan Lara (Lynden)
160: Joseph Jefferson (Bellingham)
170: Riley Fritsch (Blaine)
182: Julian Gonzalez (Blaine)
195: Brody Weinheimer (Lynden)
220: Saul Magallon (Blaine), Porter Schmidt (Blaine)
126: Valentin Villalobos (Nooksack Valley)
132: Skyler Isaacson (Mount Baker)
138: Jake Cheney (Meridian)
145: Jonathan Sanchez (Mount Baker)
160: Manny Sabalza (Meridian)
195: Oscar Madrigal (Meridian)
220: Braxton Shannon (Mount Baker), Luke Winter (Nooksack Valley)
285: Tyson Mergel (Nooksack Valley), Ethan Valum (Mount Baker)
110: Gabriella Mata (Mount Baker)
115: Michelle Mata (Mount Baker), Teagan Manzo (Mount Baker)
120: Korbyn Cadle (Mount Baker), Julie De La Cruz (Meridian)
125: Lynette Samano (Nooksack Valley)
130: Sydney Cone (Sehome)
135: Emma Bruntil (Mount Baker), Karina Martinez (Lynden)
145: Kali Spady (Lynden)
155: Elizabeth Estavez (Lynden), Becca Averys (Nooksack Valley)
170: Jada Tarvin (Mount Baker), Emily Parson (Nooksack Valley), Laticia Garcia (Nooksack Valley)
190: Grace Himango (Nooksack Valley)