Euphoria and heartbreak at the end
Feb 16, 2011 | 7588 views | 0 0 comments | 144 144 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The Lady Buckaroo basketball team had an impressive regular season run to claim a tie for the top spot in Region 19.  The state tourney begins Wednesday.  Team members include: back row (left to right) Coach Rick Clark, Brittany Keith, Martha Beh, Swayzi Slade, Loren Randall, Allie Anderson, Coach Lee Chadwick. Front: Manager Brenna Mantz, Abbi Chadwick, Treshena Benally, Miranda Martinez, Kaitlyn Clark.  Not pictured: Jamie Keyes, Apree Sheeran. Courtesy photo
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Two more Buckaroos found their place in the storied wrestling annals of Monticello High School last weekend when Brian Robinson and CJ Cordasco became the 74th and 75th state wrestling champions in MHS history.

Robinson triumphed over Robert Thomas of Altamont by pin. Cordasco, repeating his state championship of 2010, outlasted Chris Manzanares of Wayne (who only lost three matches all year, two of which came at the hands of Cordasco), 5-3.

Three of Coach Shane Musselman’s San Juan Bronco wrestlers placed fifth place in the 2A tournament.

Sophomore Dallin Jacobsen at 112 pounds, 25-13 on the season, and seniors Ty Hosler (135, 39-14) and Herschel Todachinnie (285, 15-15) all wrestled their way to a spot on the rostrum.

Wrestling is different than most other sports, a point I have often made. I like the life lessons a young man must face each time he steps on the mat.

Imagine the agony, heartbreak, and colossal disappointment of falling in the last second of a state championship match or the euphoria and liberating sense of accomplishment at realizing that long dreamed of, sought for, illusive state championship.

Regardless of the outcome of every match, a young man must get up off the mat, shake hands with his opponent and walk off the mat, win or lose, exhilarated or devastated, head held high and go on with life, all in full view of everyone.

Thanks again, wrestling, for teaching us a little bit about courage and determination and facing disappointment and growing up.

Ref Whacker
Another aspect of wrestling, one which came into play twice for the Buckaroos in state championship matches, that is totally unique to wrestling, is the, for lack of a real word that I know of, the RefWhacker.

No other sport has the refwhacker, at least that I’m aware of anyway.

You know the refwhacker, the guy or gal who nonchalantly, yet ominously strolls out on the mat near the end of each two minute period to whap the ref somewhere on the backside when the time has expired. (Editor’s note: Technical term is “bopper”.)

When the refwhacker steps on the mat, the tension automatically increases, the crowd gets louder, the cheerleaders pound the mat harder, the neck veins of the coach get bigger the closer the refwhacker sneaks to the ref.

It’s like a teacher sneaking back into the classroom, yardstick in hand, to catch an unsuspecting student doing a dance on the desktop. The suspense is unparalleled in any other sport!

Can you imagine such a position in any other sport? And how do refs feel about the refwhacker? Do they appreciate them? Is there a refwhacking etiquette? I’ve seen some refwhackers take obvious pleasure in whacking a ref with some enjoyment and gusto.

Others seemed somewhat reluctant to whack, and instead, kind of tap tap tap on the shoulder.

Where do you whack the ref? Is one spot better than another? Is there a refwhacking academy? And how do you get such a job? Is there an application process?

“Uh, I got my start in refwhacking way back when I was four and my springer spaniel would bark at the full moon all night. The only thing that would shut ‘im up was whackin’ ‘im over the nose with a rolled up newspaper.”

What a job! Honestly, hasn’t everyone at some time or another wished they could whack a ref with a newspaper? Now, I’m not advocating ref violence, just expressing a fleeting thought surely every parent of an athlete has had at least once.

The refwhacker was conspicuous in two Buckaroo state championship matches.

Brian Robinson, near the end of the second period of his state championship win, pulled a nifty reversal on his opponent and was pressing for the pin as the refwhacker approached.

Tension mounted as Robinson pushed for the win, the Altamont wrestler bridged for his life and the clock ticked on.

It seemed the ref slapped the mat at the same instant as the refwhacker whacked his backside. But Robinson knew he had beaten the whack, which he had in fact done, and raised his hands in humble triumph. Sure enough, the ref, though rubbing his backside, raised Robinson’s hand too. The losing Altamont wrestler knew it too, trotting over to admirably shake hands with the Buckaroo coaches, Ronnie Musselman and Kent Adair.

The Bucks were on the other end of the refwhacking in Senior Coltan (Ronnie’s boy) Musselman’s 135 pound state title match against Tanner Lewis of Duchesne.

Musselman had a two point lead and was on top with 10 seconds left in the match as the refwhacker approached. Suddenly, Musselman found himself reversed and tied and before anyone knew what was happening, had his back exposed by the determined Duchesne wrestler.

The refwhacker’s wand was poised as the ref counted the three seconds needed to get back points.

Almost it seemed, in slow motion, the ref counted 1,2 and then 3 as the whacking occurred, nearly simultaneously, but heartbreakingly just a microsecond after the ref hit three.

The points were awarded, the match won by Lewis of Duchesne. Only in wrestling.

Monticello gals finished in a tie for first place in Region 19 basketball, then won the decisive coin flip with Green River, giving them the number one seed from the region for the state tournament this week in Richfield.

The Bucks open play on Wednesday against the winner of a Panguitch-Salt Lake Lutheran playin game that was held after the press deadline.
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