Bradley Beaudette almost spent three seasons at Newport Harbor High missing what it felt like to reach the top of a wrestling tournament. He said he had never finished first in anything.
That changed last Saturday. Beaudette can now call himself a champion.
He claimed the Sunset League title as a 189-pound wrestler. When the referee lifted his arm, the 6-foot senior said he felt like all the hard work finally paid off.
Coach Dominic Bulone was proud of how Beaudette took first after he placed second in the tournament last season and fourth two seasons ago. Bulone has been there throughout Beaudette's development.
Seeing Beaudette beat Los Alamitos' Noah Kessenich, 9-3, in the final gave Bulone his second wrestler to finish first at the league finals at Edison High. Two league champions in one season is a first for Bulone, who is in his 12th season as Newport Harbor.
Beaudette is the second Beaudette Bulone has guided in the last four years. The last one, Brian, weighed a lot more than Bradley did, and he pushed his weight around to get to the state's biggest tournament.
Brian, a heavyweight, in 2007 became Bulone's first Newport Harbor wrestler to reach the CIF State Championships.
State is where the next Beaudette plans to go. The road starts on Feb. 18, when the CIF Southern Section Inland Division Individual tournament begins at Roosevelt High in Corona. The preliminaries are on the first day, followed by the finals the next day.
Beaudette must place in the top five to advance to the CIF Southern Section Masters tournament. He has been through the process before. He came close last season to qualifying for Masters.
"Last year, I was one match away from placing," said Beaudette, who has a much bigger goal this time around. "I want to win the whole thing this year."
Bulone said Beaudette has a legit shot to finish first next week.
Beaudette heads into the tournament with a 28-8 record with 13 pins. He is a different wrestler compared to his older brother. While Brian used more power, Beaudette has more moves.
Beaudette has competed at 189 pounds in each of his three varsity seasons. He has learned to adjust, his first season he was underweight.
He has grown since, but never wanting to move up to 215 pounds.
"It was too much weight to gain and I watched my weight through football," said Beaudette, a backup defensive lineman. "I didn't want to get too big like my brother. He was huge."
Beaudette said Brian is not as big as he was during his senior year at Newport Harbor. He said Brian has lost 20-25 pounds, moving him closer to Beaudette's weight.
That does not mean the two siblings can go at each other hard. Brian just gives his younger brother advice.
Beaudette said Brian has back problems. If he did not, Beaudette said Brian would probably kill him.
Beaudette does hold an edge against Brian. He won a league crown, which Brian never did. Beaudette is glad he pulled it off in his last try.
"He is a little jealous," Beaudette said, "but he's also happy for me."
Hometown: Newport Beach
Born: April 20, 1993
Weight: 185 pounds
Coach: Dominic Bulone
Favorite food: Pizza
Favorite movie: "Shutter Island"
Favorite athletic moment: "Getting first in league last week."
Week in review: Beaudette won the Sunset League championship after beating Los Alamitos' Noah Kessenich, 9-3, in the 189-pound division at Edison High. Beaudette qualified for the CIF Southern Section Inland Division Individual tournament at Roosevelt High in Corona on Feb. 18-19.