By Tony Blasi, Sports Editor
FARMINGTON — Jagger Bullen could flaunt his work ethic with 100 career victories under his belt, but the soft-spoken junior never struts.
It is just another sign of his maturity.
The Mt. Blue junior wrestler was delighted and relieved after collecting his 100th career victory in a three-team wrestling meet Wednesday night.
The pressure had been building for days for the agile wrestler, whose goal was to cop 100 victories the day he stepped onto a wrestling mat.
“I missed weight,” Bullen said. “I am only 106. That’s what I wrestle — 106.”
Jagger competed in the 126-pound class in both matches to collect his 99th and 100th victories.
“I didn’t want to take their spot because I missed weight, so I bumped up,” Bullen said. “I felt pretty confident but the second one, if I wasn’t up on points, I would have been really worried because I couldn’t seem to pin him, but I got up on points and I felt pretty confident.”
Bullen took on Mt. Ararat’s Sam Foye and the Mt. Blue junior pinned Foye in 1:26 for his 99th win.
Bullen’s 100th victory came against Cony’s Momo Halwah, a tenacious and strong wrestler who gave Bullen a hard time. But Bullen prevailed, winning with another pin.
Bullen can now rest easy and focus on the rest of the season.
“Really relieved,” Bullen said. “It’s like a big weight lifted off my shoulder. I’ve know this has been coming. This is my high school goal. All four years, this is what I wanted.
“My coach said I would have to work really hard to get it.”
Mt. Blue coach Justin Nile was overjoyed at Bullen’s milestone .
“Fantastic!” Nile said with a wide grin. “He wrestled amazingly. He did an awesome job. He wrestled really hard and did what he was supposed to do.
“The last (match) was a little tougher because Halwah was strong, but Jagger wrestled him smart and did what he had to do.”
Wrestling with success
Bullen no longer plays baseball and football, choosing to devote all his time to wrestling — and it has been paying off for the junior, who is fast on his feet.
His mid-size, sturdy frame is deceiving. He moves quick, but he also has the strength of a grizzly bear when he is involved a tussle on the mat.
Bullen started wrestling as an eighth grader. His friends recommended that he give the sport a whirl in high school. He wrestles in weight classes between 106 and 120.
“I just showed up to a practice and just liked it and never really stopped,” Bullen said matter-of-factly. “I will do some summer wrestling, but nothing really serious.”
Bullen enjoys the individuality of wrestling where he alone has to prove himself each match.
“It is not a team thing,” Bullen said. “So like the team didn’t lose, you lost. You can improve yourself to make yourself better. You can’t really do that as a team.”
But now he has 100 victories under his belt and he is only a junior with one and half seasons to go.
“That was my goal in high school,” Bullen said. “When I came in, coach sat us all down, telling our goal. That was my goal and I got it early.
“I kind of just wanna get the 100 and keep going to maybe 150.”
Bullen is hoping to major in the healthcare field and perhaps one day becoming a physical education teacher.
Bullen said the sport makes you aware of weight management and work ethic. His favorite pin is the head-and-arm maneuver.
“It is pretty simple, but it works for me,” he added.
He pointed to the Mt. Blue coaching staff, his mother, dad and grandmother for standing by him. He also said the feeder programs has helped grow the program.
“I have a lot of supportive people that really helped me get to his point,” Bullen said.
One of coach’s pride and joy
Nile couldn’t be prouder of Bullen, who has flourished this season.
“It used to be very rare for a senior to get 100 wins, but now it’s pretty common,” Nile said. “But still it is five or six kids who get it their junior year.”
Nile said Bullen’s speed is what makes him an outstanding wrestler.
“He’s lightning fast and he is strong,” Nile said. “He knows the moves and he just counters a lot of the moves…He uses his speed and strength and wins a lot of his matches.”
“The best move he does is running legs. He runs his legs really well.”
“Even in eighth-grade year, he was pretty much unstoppable. The first time he wrestled was his eighth-grade year. I knew he had a lot potential then and it is nice to see him accomplish that.”
Nile said Bullen’s maturity gives the wrestler extra leverage on the mat.
“He’s more mature now and he wants to do good,” Nile said. “Other than he is a good kid, he’s working hard this year.”
And it certainly paid for the junior wrestler.
All good sports
A shout-out to life-skills student Tristan Bouchard and Mt. Blue wrestler John Howard for putting on quite a show in their opening exhibition match. The pair demonstrated sportsmanship on the mat, with the thrilling victory going to Bouchard. Howard is a true gentleman and a good sport….Besides Bullen, a number Mt. Blue wrestlers won their matches against Cony and Mt. Ararat high school including: Tucker Gallagher, Hayden Nile, Adam Loewen, Tucker Nicholas, Jimmy Archer, John Howard, and Christina Scott.