By Anthony Williams
For senior Drew Pedersen, the end of his high school wrestling career marks the end of another chapter in the Pedersen family legacy at Bordentown. With a season record of 15-11, and a career record of 68-49, Drew improved his family’s win total to 214, combined with his father B.J.’s (57) and brother Brett’s (89) wins.
But the end of Drew’s career does not mark the end of the Pedersen family’s run at Bordentown—younger brother Sean is 10. Rather, it highlights the end of a 6-year stretch with at least one Pederson in the varsity lineup. It’s a stretch that produced three District 26 placers and three Region 7 appearances, before the 2012 versions of those meets had even taken place. The Pedersen family tradition began in 1977 when B.J. was a 7th grader at MacFarland Junior High School. B.J. moved up to the high school in 1979 and joined the varsity ranks a year later. Under the tutelage of Bordentown’s first ever wrestling coach, Larry Kipp, B.J. compiled a 57-14-1 career record and developed his love for the sport. It would take 15 years before he had the chance to rekindle his love with wrestling and pass the torch onto his kin. When B.J.’s first two sons were old enough, he looked for a place where they could begin to develop their talents on the mat. Ironically, the Pedersens landed at their crosstown rival’s doorstep, Northern Burlington, where a youth wrestling program had been founded three years earlier. Eight seasons later, B.J. Pedersen helped start a feeder program for his alma mater. After one year as assistant coach, he took over the reins of the Bordentown Youth Wrestling Program in 2006 and has grown the team from 25 wrestlers in its first year to more than 50 in 2012. Brett, the eldest of three boys, never got to wrestle for his father in a Bordentown uniform, but managed to eclipse his dad’s career win total, amassing an 89-24 record. Wins weren’t Brett’s only accomplishment, though. As a junior and senior, he qualified for the Region 7 championships, placing third and second in District 26, respectively. The legacy is now being turned over to little brother Sean as he completes his fifth season with the Bordentown Youth Wrestling Program. In the program, he receives plenty of coaching from his dad and older brothers. The Pedersen tradition is rubbing off nicely on Sean, as he has won the Grapevine League Tournament in two out of his first four years and had a season record of 8-3 as a midget-level wrestler, as of Feb. 10. If the trend continues, Bordentown should be looking forward to another solid wrestler in 2017. “As a father, I’m proud of my sons for wanting to stick with a sport that is so tough and for wanting to share their knowledge and experience with other kids,” B.J. said. “Working with them, and the next generation of Bordentown wrestlers, is very important to me because it ensures that our school programs will continue their tradition of success.” The elder Pedersen boys share a lot of their father’s feelings. “I definitely enjoy working with my dad,” Drew said. “He works with me at home and shows me some tricks of the trade. I’m really thankful for the time he has given me and my brothers.” There is no doubt the Pedersen men have influenced the Bordentown Wrestling program, and helped to groom an era of wrestlers. If B.J.’s wish comes true, that will continue for years. “Hopefully there will be Pedersens coaching for generations to come,” he said.