Watch out for the Wolverine Wrestlers

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Alex Bonadies, Staff Writer

The wrestling program at Wellington High School has always been somewhat under the radar. This season the wrestlers have made an everlasting impression for their school, their coaches, and themselves.
Just recently, the outstanding Wolverine Wrestlers won the County Championship as a team. This was Wellington’s second County win in school history and the first County win in twelve years. Only the top four wrestlers place in the County Championship, so this is an outstanding accomplishment for them. Both Nik Bonadies and Briar Macfarlane took home first place, helping their team rise to victory. That next weekend, the wrestlers swept the District tournament and won that as well. The Wolverine win at Districts was a first in Wellington Wrestling history. All fourteen wrestlers placed in the top four, qualifying for the Regional tournament on February 8, which was a first in Wellington history. Seven out of the fourteen wrestlers (including all three senior captains) took home first place medals.
On February 7 and 8, The Wellington Wrestlers competed in the 3A Regional tournament. 7 of the wrestlers placed in Regionals and are moving on the State tournament in Lakeland, Florida. The wrestlers who qualified include: Colton Macfarlane (3rd Place), Andrew Mitchell (4th place), Briar Macfarlane (Champion), Nik Bonadies (Champion), Marcus Morin (4th place), Brandon Paz (2nd place), and Devin Gillotte (4th place). All three senior captains placed in the top two and are moving on to the State tournament. The team placed 2nd o St. Thomas Aquinas.
The captains of the Wolverine Wrestlers are seniors Nik Bonadies, Briar Macfarlane, and Brandon Paz. Bonadies has been a varsity letterman for all four years of his high school wrestling career.
“I placed sixth in states as a junior in the 132lb weight class and this year I plan to win it,”Bonadies, senior, said.
Three year varsity letterman Briar Macfarlane also placed sixth in states as a junior, but in the 126lb weight class. Macfarlane was recently awarded Palm Beach County’s Athlete of the Week by news channel CBS 12.
“I’m really passionate about the sport and I feel accomplished already and the season isn’t even over,” Macfarlane claimed.
Another three year varsity letterman and senior co-captain, Brandon Paz, is thrilled for his final wrestling season in high school. He didn’t make it past Regionals last year, but that pushes him further to qualify for states this season.
“As a senior I definitely want to make it to states,” Paz said. Paz wrestles in the 145lb weight class.
The Wolverine Wrestlers consider themselves “one big, crazy family”. Before the season officially begins, it is tradition to have a picnic for all the wrestlers and their families. They take that day to bond and to get to know one another more. “We all feel comfortable around each other and can joke around like a family,” AJ Lopez, junior, said.
The wrestlers face many struggles throughout their seasons, whether it be on or off the mat. All of the Wellington Wrestlers agree that afterschool practices are a huge struggle during the season.
“The morning runs at 6AM and hard practices right after school are the toughest part of the season,” Adam Pendleton, senior, said. Another struggle during season is keeping up with school. Most wrestling matches occur on the weekend, which gives the wrestlers a disadvantage when it comes to study time.
Most of the Wellington Wrestlers don’t want to further their wrestling careers after high school. Many of the wrestlers feel this way mainly because of the harsh dieting they have to go through to make weight. Other reasons include a desire to broaden their education.
“I don’t want to wrestle in college because I want to focus mainly on my education,” Matt Wunderlich, senior, said. No matter what each Wellington Wrestler decides to do after this season, they all strive to shatter more school records and make history at States this season in mid-February.