The Polson High School Little Guy Wrestling program will be hosting the Unit 2 qualifying tournament Saturday morning at Polson High School.
Polson will host Unit-2 at 9 a.m. for novices, 11:30 a.m. for middles, and 2 p.m. for beginners Saturday at Polson High School.
The Pirates, along with Mission-Charlo and Arlee Little Guy wrestling programs, are all having successful seasons. This tournament is not only an opportunity for kids to showcase their skills in front of their respective home crowds, but also possibly qualify for the Little Guy Western Montana Championship.
The Pirate wrestling and the rest of the Mission Valley programs are laying down the foundation to potentially have successful wrestlers coming through their systems that could eventually become Polson Pirate wrestlers, but Polson Little Guy Wrestling coach Ethan Bucarey said the kids get more value than just competing.
“I think the kids are enjoying it because there are currently 41 on our roster and we are still doing well and liking the success,” Bucaray said. “All of these guys have improved quite a bit and are pretty efficient. We’ve had the same returners for the last couple of year and it’s been nice to have the same clientele getting involved, doing the same system and working for the past couple of years.”
Bucarey said he felt the Little Guy Wrestling Program has allowed kids to grow in a number of different ways.
“The growth in the interest of the sport has been pretty awesome,” Bucarey said. “We are seeing where wrestling is and we want to improve the sport. I am really glad that kids are coming out for it. We are enjoying the uniform change that we did last year and it has helped kids enjoy our program. We are looking to build success, camaraderie and understanding the team aspect of the sport as well as the individual for them. We are seeing the success and camaraderie.”
Bucarey said he felt the team aspect was pushed hard for the young Pirates during the Frenchtown Middle School Duals.
“One thing we really try to push in our Little Guy Program is wrestling for your team and a lot of our kids are buying into the team concept at a younger age,” Bucerey said. “Wrestling is a team atmosphere for a larger team instead of doing it better yourself. Individuals are buying into the team element of it and it has worked.”
Bucarey credits the success of the Western Montana Little Guy Wrestling program to the cooperation the coaches have demonstrated.
“All of the coaches have really done a good job of working together,” Bucarey said. “Matt Owen and Brett have really worked well with the support of Bob Owen. Bill Owen and Kevin have been super helpful demonstrating collegial symmetry by working together throughout the program and developing expectations for the younger kids.”
In a physically demanding sport like wrestling, it’s easy to get kids burned out and the coaches in the Mission Valley are conscious of that, Bucarey said.
“One of the worst things that you can do is burn out a kid too young,” Bucarey said. “You really have to find a balance between pushing kids too hard and getting them cutting weight. We really just focus on the competition element and all of our coaches are on the same page. The parent support is super positive for our program.”
Bucarey said he felt he is glad to see the sport of wrestling and youth sports grow in interest because of the history associated with it.
“They are trying to pull the sport out of the Olympics and I felt like that is a huge blow in our wrestling community,” Bucarey said. “It seems like in Montana we are doing pretty well. I know not everyone across the country can say that about youth participation.”