Highlights from Bermudian Springs' 44-24 dual meet win over Delone Catholic Thursday. Bermudian clinched the Division III title with the victory. Matt Allibone
The Eagles won their seventh straight division title Thursday night
The Bermudian Springs wrestling team enters each regular season with two main goals.
No. 1: Have a winning season. No. 2: Win a division title.
Those goals haven't been much of a struggle for Bermudian in recent years, as the Eagles entered 2016-17 having won six straight YAIAA division titles. The Eagles made it seven in a row on Thursday, beating Delone Catholic, 44-24, on the road to clinch the Division III crown.
While the accomplishment has become so common for his team in recent years, Bermudian head coach Dave McCollum doesn't take it for granted.
"With the program we have, we expect to wrestle for a championship year in and year out," McCollum said. "But it takes a lot of hard work and a lot of dedication. Our kids believe in the system and they work extremely hard all season long."
But Bermudian (17-1, 6-0) still has team goals left to accomplish. After losing in the District 3 semifinals last year, the Eagles have their sights set on winning the Class 2A title this time around. Bermudian is currently ranked No. 1 in its classification in the district.
Wrapping up the top seed — and giving themselves home matches in the first two rounds — is the Eagles next goal. To do that, they'll have to survive two tough dual meets against Big Spring on the road this Saturday and Boiling Springs at home a week after that. Big Spring is currently ranked eighth in Class 3A and Boiling Springs is fifth in 2A.
While that may seem like a brutal way to end a regular season, it will be pretty standard for the Eagles. McCollum said the team's schedule this season has been "probably the best we've put together since I've been at Bermudian in terms of competition." McCollum is in his 39th year as the team's head coach.
"We have two big matches coming up...Big Spring is going to be a barn-burner and then Boiling Springs is going to be another barn-burner," McCollum said. "We've got to treat these matches like they are (playoff matches). There's no time to sit back and celebrate. We won a league title and we're excited but we've got other goals."
Although McCollum is glad the team has been challenged throughout the season, he's hoping the team is able to remain fresh and healthy the rest of the way. After dealing with a number of injuries last season, the Eagles have kept their lineup intact so far this campaign.
"Knock on wood, we need to stay healthy," the head coach said. "That's huge because one kid can make a difference in the lineup."
Delone Catholic may not have been able to dethrone Bermudian as division champs, but the Squires still have a good shot to make the District 3 Class 2A tournament. The Squires are currently in the eighth and final spot.
"The loss today hurts...but I don't think anybody below us can jump us," Delone coach Frank Sneeringer said. "We might be able to jump (seventh seeded) Newport depending on how many matches they have left. So we feel good. We've got a lot left of the season and we're excited."