Brand New Building for Tahoma High School- Same Old Tough Bears

The Tahoma Bears are coming off a strong 2017 postseason performance and a great summer.  The returning 4A State Champions are eager to kickoff the 2017 -2018 wrestling season. The Bears are looking for some big performances this season from their lighter weight underclassmen. There is going to be a bit of a dog fight for the starting spot at 106 and 113 and the coaching staff is excited to see which wrestlers step up and take the spot. Freshman Parker Boynton made an impact for the team this past summer at several of the tournaments on the Bear’s Summer tour and looks to challenge retuning 106 starter Brayden Swank for the spot this year. Both Brayden and P{arker made huge improvements this offseason and will make a nice one-two punch at the fly weight for the Bears. At 113 pounds, another spot up for grabs in the Bears lineup with  Devan Martin and Adrian Enciso will be battling it out. Freshman Steele Starren will most likely hold down the 120 pound slot for the Bears and has set high goals for himself and the team this season. Though only a freshman, Steele is a veteran of the mat and used to big time competition hoping to be in the mix for a state title this year. At 126 pounds, the Bears return two-time placer and returning state finalist Austin Michalski. Austin is coming of a 2nd place finish last year and took 3rd place as a freshman. Austin is explosive on his feet and tough on top; he will look to continue to improve in the postseason and wants to move over one step up on the podium as he makes a run at his first state title. Another veteran for the Bears, Cameron Hansen will be at 132 pounds.  His goal as a senior will be to  look to improve from his 7th place finish in 2017. Cameron is one of the most aggressive and well conditioned Bears on the squad and he looks to take his “grind em out” attitude to a top finish this season. The middle weights will be filled with an experienced returning group. At 138, junior Jacob “Butters” Vanderwaal will look to step into the varsity lineup as a consistent starter this year after being the bears utility middleweight last year. Jacob was a regional participant last season and looks to be an impacting contributor coming into his junior season. At 145-152 pounds the Bears have three seniors all with state experience. Reid Carlton is tough on his feet and even tougher on top. Reid and several of the other Bears have joined the cross country team this fall and  are looking to an even faster start to the wrestling season than usual. Both Gunner Starren and Ethan Vaughan will be battling it out for the starting slot at 152 pounds this year and will push each other to be at their best come post season. At 160, junior Spencer Bergsma will look to lock down the 160 pound varsity role for the Bears this year season. Spencer has been wrestling for the since he was an elementary aged student with the Maple Valley Junior Wrestling program and has tools and experience to be an impact contributor this year. At 170 pounds, the Bears have returning state participant Jake Bir. Jake has been in the varsity line up since his freshman year and is poised to have a breakout season for the bears come this postseason. At 182 pounds, the Bears look to have junior Max Repenn lead the charge. Max was a starter for the Bears as a freshman but missed his sophomore season due to a season ending football injury. Healthy, strong and explosive as ever, Max has pinning potential at any point in the match and his aggressive style makes for exciting wrestling to watch. The three heavy slots are anchored by some experienced big boys. Junior Gage Dress-Moran looks to improve on his regional championship and state finish last year. At 6-4, Gage is a difficult match up at times for others and has an arsenal of high flying throws that make his matches fun for the crowd to watch. At 220, Senior and returning State Champion Kione Gill returns in pursuit of his second state title. Gill is slick on his feet for a big man and punishing on top, pinning his way through the postseason last year. The heavyweight spot is filled by big man Noah Sturgill. Noah is coming of a solid 2017 season as the Bears heavyweight. Noah is one of the Bears hardest workers and looks to finish out his senior year as one of the top heavyweights in the state this year.


Notable bears to watch: Andrew Enciso, Michael Gasper, Michael Palandri


106 Brayden Swank 10th / Parker Boynton 9th

113 Devan Martin 10th / Adrian Enciso 9th

120 Steele Starren 9th

126 Austin Michalski 11th 2nd state

132 Cameron Hansen 12th 7th state

138 Jacob Vanderwal 11th

145 Reid Carlton 12th state participant

152 Gunner Starren 12th state participant /  Ethan Vaughan 12th state participant

160 Spencer Bergsma 11th

170 Jake Bir 12th state participant

182 Maximus Repenn 11th

195 Gage Dress-Moran 11th state participant

220 Kione Gill 12th state champion

285 Noah Sturgill 12th


Chris Feist
Bears win at OSU Team Camp

The Tahoma Bears traveled to Oregon State University last weekend to compete in the OSU Northwest Duals. Teams from Washington, Oregon and Idaho all competed in multiple duals, as well as a takedown and individual tournament. The Bears won the tournament going 9-1 overall. The Bears walked through defending 3A State Champions, Bonney Lake. The Bears were expecting more of a fight, but our conditioning and technique was too much for the Panthers this time around. Another big win for the Bears was over University of Spokane. Tahoma won every close match with two overtime victories sealing the win for the Bears. Tahoma's only loss of the tournament came from Crook County, Oregon, a very solid well coached team who have won multiple state championships in Oregon. We were able to avenge the loss after moving out of pools into a bracketed team tournament. 

We love what the OSU Team Camp does for our team. It allows our team to work hand-and-hand with Division 1 Athletes and Coaches. Each night, or team holds a "Champions Practice." We hold the practice late into the night and were lucky enough to have multiple members of Oregon State's wrestling team join us for the practice as well as past OSU All-American Michael Mangrum.

The Bears will next compete this coming weekend in Illwaco, Washington. There will be more great teams and opportunity to improve. Our hope is to get our wrestlers upward of 40 matches this month. Thanks to our booster club for their support of these camps and for everything they do for us. #GoBears   

Doug Burnham
Bears Hit The Weightroom

One of our team’s main goals this off season was to identify and initiate an effective strength training program. We have decided to partner with Volt Athletics and have registered our team for the wrestling specific strength training program. Our athletes are now able to access their off season workouts via a smart phone or computer. All of our athletes have received an invitation for the online training platform via their school email and several of our wrestlers have already maxed out and begun accessing their workouts. The goal of the program is to get three strength workouts per week. One of bonus features to this program is that the team can workout anywhere they want and still follow each other online to see what gains their teammates are making. We are looking forward to seeing the gains that our boys make over the summer. Tahoma Wrestlers, make sure to check your Go Tahoma email and log-in to the Volt training program.

The weight room at Tahoma High School is open Monday thru Thursday form 3-5pm until school is out. Wrestlers that need to record their 3-rep max numbers need to contact Coach Burnham or Coach Feist to set up at time. 

Doug Burnham
Congrats to Jordan Martinez

Congrats to senior State Champion Jordan Martinez who signed today with Campbellsville University, in Campbellsville, Kentucky. The Campbellsville wrestling team finished 3rd in NAIA this season. We want to thank Jordan for his leadership in our room and we can't wait to see you on the mats as a Tiger. #GoBears #GoTigers


Doug Burnham
Support Highline Wrestling

With the recent elimination of Boise State's wrestling program, there is no better time to help support our last NJCAA team in Washington State. Highline College Wrestling needs our local fan financial and fan support going into the coming season. Many Tahoma Bears have wrestled for Highline College, most recently Coach and Tahoma State Placer, Edwin Torres, Tahoma State Placer Justin Weiding and State Placer Zack Novak. However there has been a long line of Bears competing for Highline including former State Champion Jens Pulver. 

Highline gets just $6,000 a year to recruit and help pay for tuition of the wrestlers on the team. This is not enough to field a high quality competitiveteam and they need our help.

Bear Claw and Toro Wrestling clubs are working together to try and help Highline fundraise for the coming season. There is an anonymous donor that is willing to match the money dollar for dollar raised up to $12,000. This could mean $24,000 to help the Highline program with recruiting. We have currently raised $1764, but have a ways to go in order to reach our goal. 

If you are interested in keeping wrestling alive and helping it grow in Washington State, this is a great way to give your support. Every little bit helps and your money is basically doubled if you're willing to donate because of the donors matching dollars. Please use the link below if you would like to contribute. If you are unable to contribute financially, find a way to get to a dual next season to support our local wrestlers. #TeamWA

Doug Burnham
Congrats to Cooper Thomas!

Congratulations to former Tahoma Wrestling State Placer, Cooper Thomas. Cooper, a 2014 Tahoma graduate recently signed with the Grandview University wrestling program, after spending two years at Northern Idaho College. Grandview Wrestling recently won their 6th straight NAIA title! We are proud of your hard work and dedication Cooper! #GoBears #GoVikings #GoCoop!  


Doug Burnham
5 Bears Qualify For Nationals

Last Saturday, in Centrailia at the Northwest Regional Tournament, 5 Bears qualified for the National Tournament held yearly in Fargo, North Dakota. The team was led by Tahoma State Champion Jordan Martinez. Jordan is a nationally accomplished greco wrestler, won both freestyle and greco this past weekend. A former National finalist, Jordan is looking to add National Champion to his resume this season.  Other Bears earning their way to Fargo were Seniors, Ryden Fu and Dagen Kramer, Junior Gunner Starren and 8th grader, Steele Starren. 



Doug Burnham
Congrats Ryden Fu

Congratulations to Ryden Fu on signing his Letter of Intent to compete for the Montana State University-Northern Lights next year. MSUN competes in the NAIA. We look forward to following your college career and are proud of what you have accomplished! #GoBears #GoLights

Doug Burnham
Bears Win 4A State Title

For the fourth time, the Tahoma Bears are State Wrestling Champions. This year, 16 Bear wrestlers entered the state tournament held annually at the Tacoma Dome. Nine of the wrestlers were able to place in the top 8. The Bears had four wrestlers make it to the finals and two of the four were able to come away as state champions. Both Kione Gill and Jordan Martinez were the best in their weight class. Kione not only won his weight, but scored 30 points of the team pinning his way through the tournament. This was Jordans second state title, he earned his first in Colorado as a junior. Both Austin Michalski and Dagen Kramer ended the tournament in second place in very close matches. Two senior wrestlers, Nick Whitehead and Justin Sipila ended their Tahoma Wrestling careers as four-time state placers. This is no easy task as only two other Tahoma wrestlers have ever achieved this before, Ricky Christian (1989-1992) and Tyler Lamb (2007-2010). Others placing in the tournament were Ryden Fu (4th), Joe Novak (5th) and Cameron Hanson (7th). The Bears other state championships were won in 2012, 1996 and 1991. We want to thank our parents and fans for their on going support of our team and wrestling in Maple Valley. We can't wait to get that trophy up in our new high school trophy case! #GoBears

2017 State Champion - Jordan Martinez

2017 State Champion - Jordan Martinez

2017 State Champion - Kione Gill 

2017 State Champion - Kione Gill 

2017 4A State Champion Team

2017 4A State Champion Team

Doug Burnham
Bears Get A Big Surprise

After 43 years, we held our final team practice in the wrestling room at the current Tahoma High School. As Coaches, we wanted to reward and surprise our hard working kids with something special. That special reward, was a visit and clinic from 4-Time College National Champion Kyle Dake. Only 4 wrestlers have ever accomplished four championships and Kyle is the only one that has done it at four different weight classes. Below are some photos from the clinic with Kyle. We look forward to watching him make his run at the next Olympics. 

Doug Burnham