KINGSTON — The shiny, clean shaven head of new Cavaliers’ assistant wrestling coach Bobby Reece may not be the only buzz-cut sported by the Kingston coaching staff come the end of the season.
“I told the guys that if we’re league champions, I’ll even shave my head,â€ said veteran head coach Chris Gilbreath.
But one thing that Reece is bringing to the team that stands all on its own is a farm program to help give experience to grapplers before they ever hit the mats as Cavaliers.
Reece, who replaced Kingston’s new athletic director Bob Good as assistant coach, recently founded the Big Dawgs Wrestling Club in Kingston. The program has already recruited about 30 kids. And though he’s only been a Kingston Cavs coach for a few weeks, his experience combined with the Pee Wee program he’s created could pay off for years to come.
“When you see Fairview and Ridgetop (junior high schools) with 70 kids, it’s hard to compete,â€ said Reece, who wrestled for KJH in its first year of existence and is a 1994 North Kitsap High School graduate. “We’re going to start feeding this program and that’s my overall game plan.â€
Aside from the future, Reece’s experience will also be extremely helpful for the current Kingston grapplers, who finished with a 4-4 record last season, Gilbreath commented.
“Having Bobby here will really be beneficial,â€ Gilbreath said. “It’s one of the biggest things I’m looking forward to this year.â€
The Cavaliers’ program’s numbers are consistent from last year to this year, with about 35 total wrestlers. But the team will reap the benefits of having a more diverse group of weight classes, Gilbreath said.
A year ago, the program had both too many wrestlers in certain classes and not enough in others. Except at the 210 lbs. class, which the team will have trouble filling, the weights should be distributed evenly, Gilbreath explained.
“We were a good tournament team (last year), but we gave up a lot of forfeits because we had so many wrestlers in the same weight class,â€ Gilbreath said.
He added that the team, like the school, had been experiencing a flu bug prior to its first week of competition. That has become the veteran coach’s first priority.
“Right now, we’re just working on getting guys healthy,â€ he said.