Pirates wrestle to success at two tourneys

Preston Morris starts the takedown for a 6-4 overtime decision over Cascade Christian’s Tommy Kennedy in their 215-pound match. - Rik Forschmiedt Photo
Preston Morris starts the takedown for a 6-4 overtime decision over Cascade Christian’s Tommy Kennedy in their 215-pound match.
— image credit: Rik Forschmiedt Photo

Vashon Wrestling had another successful week starting with a 42-25 win last Wednesday in its dual meet against Cascade Christian High School. Then on Saturday, the boys celebrated a champion and five placers from the Rainier Sgt. Justin Norton Memorial Tournament, held at Rainier High School, while the girls equaled with their own champion and four placers from the Lady Grizzlies Tournament held at Hoquiam High School.

To prepare for the dual meet against Cascade Christian, the Vashon coaches scrutinized the Pirate line-up and asked some wrestlers to move up in weight classes to ensure the best match-ups and best results for the team.

For example, the coaches wanted freshman Preston Morris to wrestle up two weight classes, from 171 to 215 pounds. Undeterred by the challenge, Morris beat his senior opponent in the first sudden victory period.

“Preston used his conditioning and got a takedown early in overtime to win,” head coach Anders Blomgren said.

The coaches also moved Maximo Mandl up to 160 pounds, one weight class above his normal 152 pounds, to stage a rematch against an adversary who beat Mandl last season. This time, Mandl displayed his ferocious competitiveness and his arsenal of new skills to win 12-10, Blomgren said.

Cole Devereau, Dominik Stemer and Kevin Thomas contributed pins on the way to the Pirate team victory. So far this season, the Pirates are 6-1 in dual meets.

The Rainier Tournament featured 14 of the best 1A teams in the state, and set up some likely state tournament match-ups, Blomgren said.

Stemer came away as the 140-pound champion by crushing the opposition and allowing only a handful of points to be scored against him. His 8-2 finals victory vindicated a loss that he had suffered earlier this season at the hands of the same Tenino grappler.

Mandl took third place with a pin (1:45) and an 11-3 major decision. Two pins propelled both Sjors Steneker (0:55, 1:17) and Robert Easton (2:34, 2:15) into fifth place. Vince Jovanovich and Louie Jovanovich also claimed fifth.

The team is becoming more confident and beginning to peak at the right time, Blomgren said. But the coaches also saw things to work on.

“At the tournament, we saw some different, old-school techniques that we need to be able to defend against,” he said.

Throughout the girls’ Lady Grizzlies Tourney, coach Dave Chapman fielded comments from the other coaches about the remarkable wrestling of Madeleine Wolzcko. Wolzcko won first place by pinning each of her three opponents before the end of the second period (1:17, 3:59, 3:50). She currently is ranked by Washington Wrestling Report as the third best all-class, 119-pound girl wrestler in the state.

Iris Spring used two pins (1:07, 3:38) to earn fourth-place at 125 pounds. On her way to win fourth place, Julia Zaglin, 112 pounds, was trailing in the third period when she pinned her opponent. Rachel Thomas won third-place at 103 pounds and Julie Wilson, 130 pounds, finished in fifth place.

Overall, the Pirate girls’ team came in fifth out of the 17 teams at the tournament and surpassed many schools that are ranked above it.

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