At first glance, Chance Bundy doesn’t seem all that intimidating. Not only does he have a quick smile and friendly disposition, but he is also small in stature. Once he walks onto the wrestling mat; however, there is no doubt that he has complete control of the situation.
Watching Chance wrestle is an absolute adrenaline rush. He loves those moves that involve quick movements and rolling. As a spectator, this is exciting because Chance is actually on his back for a split second before he flips himself and his opponent all the way over landing on top for a quick pin! Speaking of pinning, Chance’s favorite move is an arm bar, also known as a chicken wing. This is a move where he takes the opponent’s arm, puts it behind the opponent’s back, and using the arm for leverage, walks the opponent to their back for the pin.
Chance didn’t start wrestling until eighth grade, but even then, he wasn’t serious about it until his freshman year. With most wrestlers beginning to learn at a younger age, Chance was a little behind at first. He admits, “The very first tournament my freshman year, I got pretty beat up.” Since then, he has learned a lot from coaches and his dad, who also started wrestling in high school. Chance attributes his wrestling success to working hard, watching videos of past matches to see where he needs to improve, and logging many hours on the mat, which helps with fluidity. Chance explains, “Mat time helps a lot. It makes it so that you are smoother with your wrestling, and you know exactly what to do in any moment in time.”
Mat time is what Cam Bundy, Chance’s dad, is always pulling for. While other parents are in the stands hoping for a quick pin, Chance’s dad is expecting the exact opposite. He pushes Chance to get as much mat time as possible each and every match. Instead of a quick pin, Cam would rather Chance “Super Tech” his opponent. In high school wrestling, a “technical fall” happens when one opponent outscores another by 15 points. To “Super Tech,” Chance must pin his opponent in conjunction with earning the last of the 15 points thus allowing him to stay on the mat as long as possible yet still earn points for a pin.
For Chance, the wrestling season doesn’t really ever end because he also competes in Freestyle and Greco-Roman styles. Although both are slightly different forms of wrestling with some rule changes, adding these extra seasons gives Chance even more mat time, but he doesn’t stop there. He comes home from practice and wrestles there too. According to Chance, pretty much the whole family wrestles, even his little sister! Chance has three younger brothers who all began wrestling when he did, so he gets plenty of practice whipping them into shape. Chance’s mom says that “there is a lot of chaos and a lot of wrestling going on in the house.” In fact, they own pink wrestling mats that get pulled out on a daily basis.
Hard work, dedication, and persistence are all qualities required of an exceptional wrestler. Chance certainly has all of these qualities in abundance due in large part to the fact that he grew up working on his family’s ranch. He continues to work on the ranch all year long and every summer driving cattle, putting up fences, digging ditches, feeding horses, mucking out cattle yards, and every other job required to keep a ranch running. Helping on the ranch has given him a work ethic that is hard to beat.
Chance’s work ethic follows him right into the wrestling room. In fact, he hopes that his teammates remember him as the kid who never quits, goes non-stop, and never shuts down and that’s exactly what he is known for. Dalton Petty, a fellow Desert Hills wrestler says, “Chance has a motor. Whether it’s at practice or in a real match, he keeps going and going and never stops.” This was reiterated by Peyton Pace, another teammate who says that Chance is “one of the best wrestlers on our team because he never stops moving and always gives 100%. He’s determined to be the best wrestler that he can be.” Desert Hills head coach, Brian Pace, agrees that Chance “has a superior work ethic which has made him a great student athlete.” Coach Pace is looking forward to watching Chance take a state championship home next year.
With all of these attributes ingrained since childhood, it’s no wonder that Chance Bundy’s fellow team members, opponents, and coaches believe that he is truly “one of the best.” His accolades for wrestling include being voted “Outstanding Wrestler” by coaches at various wrestling tournaments as well as receiving both the “Outstanding Sophomore” and “Ironman Wrestler” from Desert Hills coaches. Chance remembers, “The first tournament this year at Panguitch, I got to the finals and wondered, ‘What am I doing here?’ But, I wrestled my best.” Chance not only won but destroyed his opponent taking first. It was a great way to start an amazing wrestling season that culminated in a 3rd place medal at State and a 2nd place medal at Super State.
Taking 2nd at Super state this year was one of Chance’s biggest accomplishments. Super state is when all the winners from the various levels wrestle to see who can take the actual state championship title. In the finals, he wrestled Tanner Cox from Maple Mountain High School, a 4A high school near Springville, whom Chance has wrestled but never beaten before. The match was a brutal, hard fought battle, and some question whether the outcome should have been different. Even though he didn’t win the match, Chance knows that he can hang with the best of them. “I have been trying to fight this guy for so long, and I could never beat him, but now, I know that I’ve moved to the next level.”
The mind is always an athlete’s worst opponent. Chance believes mastering it has been one of his biggest challenges. As a beginning wrestler, he would “psych himself out before each match.” His head was filled with thoughts of “I’m just going to go out there and lose.” If he knew his opponent was actually tough, he wouldn’t wrestle as well as and would lose because of it. Even with beatable opponents, the mind games would cause him to give up more points than he should have. Finally this year, he feels that he has been able to obtain the confidence he needs to compete and not allow his mind to get in the way of wrestling his absolute best. “I pray before each match. I also think it through in my head so that I can be ready for anything that could happen. I visualize what I would do in each situation.”
Many wonder why an athlete would even choose to wrestle what with the grueling workouts, cutting weight, wearing singlets, and being under the light in front of the whole crowd, but Chance loves it. “The best thing about wrestling is that I get to go out and prove that I’m better than the other guy. I can take him head to head. It’s just me. I don’t have to worry about anybody else. In other sports, like football, you have to worry about everyone else and whether they will do their job. Wrestling is just me. If I do something wrong, it was all my fault.”
In a perfect world, Chance won’t stop wrestling any time soon. He will be a senior next year and hopes to take state. After graduation, he plans to serve an LDS mission then he’d like to get a scholarship and wrestle in college. His dream school…Penn State. No matter what his dreams may be, this determined, hard working athlete is sure to obtain it. In the words of his mom, “He never gives up. He’ll just go to the end. If he’s hurt, he’ll still be out there wrestling just pushing through.” Afterall, as Chance’s favorite quote says, “Pain is weakness leaving the body.” • HSSI