James Forbes was looking to get his wrestlers some valuable experience at the recent Irish Fair Wrestling Tournament at Chaminade Madonna High School in Hollywood.
Forbes, who along with Bob Burns has coached the Deerfield Beach BSO-PAL wrestling team for the past 11 years, brought four grapplers to the tournament and came away pleased.
“The biggest thing was to get them mat time and more experienced,” said Forbes, who won the tournament as a heavyweight in 1970 when he was a kid. “The more they wrestle, the more accomplished they are. We also wanted to keep the tradition going.”
Forbes wrestled then for tournament director Ron Schulz. There are currently 21 wrestlers in the PAL wrestling program, ranging from seventh grader to 12th graders.
“He had the only wrestling club in the county back then, and he was the head coach at BCC (Broward Community College),” Forbes said. “What I like about this tournament is that it levels the playing field.”
“It is really nice because they can gauge how they are doing against kids who are relatively the same experience,” Forbes added. “We have a kid who was academically ineligible for the high school season, so he only got in four matches last year. Now, he gets some more.”
Deerfield Beach’s Andrew Torres, 16, fell in the 220-lb. final to Seahorse Wrestling Club’s Carlos Osterling, a sophomore at Cypress Bay High School. It was a solid performance for Torres, who has been wrestling for two years.
“It is not like any other sport,” Torres said. “It’s just different. It requires a lot more of you and the payoff is a lot better than most sports. People think you are not on the mat that long because it is only six minutes, but it is the hardest six minutes you will ever have in your life … This is six minutes straight, nonstop. This is my first time wrestling this tournament so I was happy with how I did.”
Deerfield Beach’s Ryan Sills, 16, lost his semifinal match to Seahorse Wrestling Club’s Grant Bussenbarrick, a junior at Cypress Bay; however, he was happy with the experience.
“It was my first tournament since regionals and I fell short of state,” said Sills, a sophomore at Deerfield Beach High School. “My success has been quantified at a level that I don’t think could have been reached without Coach James Forbes and Coach Bob Burns. You get what you put in and I have gotten out a lot. I am definitely qualifying for state next year in high school. It is not even a goal … It’s a necessity.”
For more information on the program, contact BSO Deputy Butch Santy at 954- 778-0174.