Bothell's Davidson gunning for state wrestling gold

Junior captain Brandon Davidson (top) of Bothell High works on wrestling moves with teammate Dustin Rhode at a recent practice in the school
Junior captain Brandon Davidson (top) of Bothell High works on wrestling moves with teammate Dustin Rhode at a recent practice in the school's mat room. Davidson placed fifth last year at the state meet and hopes to advance to the title match this year.
— image credit: Tim Watanabe, Bothell Reporter

Although the Bothell High wrestling team is a little short on numbers this year, the team happens to possess one of the state’s top wrestlers.

The 160-pounder’s name is Brandon Davidson, last year’s fifth-place finisher in the 145-pound class as a sophomore surprise, and according to head coach Scott LaBrash, it just may be the junior’s year.

“Brandon is one of those kids who always works hard, he’s just a tough kid,” he said, adding that Davidson has a “great” shot to better his fifth from last year. “He’s been wrestling pretty much his whole life, he’s knowledgeable, athletic, physical and aggressive. He has a lot of characteristics you see in a state champ.”

In addition to Brandon, the Cougars have Kyle Hanson, a promising 132-pound junior, and senior Dustin Rhode, who looks to make his first state berth, wrestling at 152.

“He’s kinda come out of nowhere and is wrestling really well,” said LaBrash of Hanson. “He’s put together a lot of good matches.”

The third-year coach admitted that as a team, the Cougars are hurt by not filling all the weights, as many Kingco teams are, but hopes that his athletes’ work ethic will help make up for the lack of numbers.

“We have great intensity in the room and we work hard,” LaBrash noted. “We’re constantly getting better week in and week out, and as far as the team looks, on the individual level we look great. As a team, we have a lot of holes. We can’t fill up every weight class, so we’re not great as a team.”

Still, the Cougars managed to go toe-to-toe against one of the league’s tougher teams, rival Inglemoor, earlier this month, nearly coming away with an upset victory.

“I think there were nine total matches, and we won four,” LaBrash recalled. “We lost the match count which was really disappointing, but we wrestled really well. We’re grinding, we’re a tough team.”

With Davidson a shoo-in to return to state and a handful of other hopefuls, LaBrash, who himself was a three-time state participant from 2002-04 for the Cougars, said that he would be happy with taking a quartet of wrestlers to Tacoma.

“I expect us to get four out of regionals and on to state,” he said. “I expect everyone to place at Kingco, to tell the truth. That could just be the coach in me.”

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