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Pirate grapplers display pinning prowess at tournaments
Last week, Vashon wrestlers dominated their opponents with 28 pins. This pinning prowess allowed the Pirates to crown a girls’ champion, showcase four varsity and six JV placers in tournaments and win dual meets against Montesano High School and Bellevue Christian High School.
Vashon lost a dual meet 47-27 to a strong Elma High School team.
Madeleine Wolczko was the outstanding Pirate wrestler of the week. On Saturday, she pinned her first two opponents at the Emerald Ridge Girls Jaguar Invite (4:38, 2:48) to set up a finals match against a tough Kentwood grappler who also is highly ranked.
Both girls saw their finals bout as a preview of a possible second meeting at the state tournament. Wolczko used her outstanding technique to control the match and won 6-3 to bring her season record against girls to 15-1, coach Dave Chapman said.
The girls team placed 14th out of 16 teams at the tournament, a significant standing considering that only two Vashon girls competed at the event.
The WIAA/Seattle Times recently named Wolczko as 1A girls’ Athlete of the Week for her three pins leading to her championship in the Hoquiam Tournament on Jan. 15.
At the 11-team boys’ Jaguar Invitational Tournament at Emerald Ridge High School, head coach Anders Blomgren praised the Pirates for wrestling strong against stiff competition. The boys placed seventh at the event.
Alex Sohl encountered formidable grapplers and pinned the first two of them (3:19, 1:18). Sohl then was pinned by a third-ranked 3A Decatur wrestler in the 160-pound finals for a second-place finish.
Vince Jovanovich, 285 pounds, pinned his Kentwood foe (1:35) after a bye in the first round to reach the finals. Jovanovich faced a Decatur wrestler who is ranked seventh in the weight class and lost 10-0 also to earn second.
On his way to taking fourth place, Cole Devereau found himself on his back, but fought back, got a reversal and pinned his 135-pound Emerald Ridge adversary.
Similarly, Sjors Steneker was almost pinned by his Emerald Ridge opponent, but hung on to force the match into overtime. Steneker got a single leg takedown to win the 145-pound match 9-7, and eventually won fourth.
In the JV Tournament, the Pirate placers were Shane Armstrong, first place; Preston Morris, second place; Aaron Bomber and Codi Williams, third place; Ryan O’Grady and Elliot Ellingsen, fifth place.
Wednesday’s dual meet against Elma was a perfect picture of the talented Pirate team that is hungry for success, Blomgren said. That same night against Montesano, Vashon Wrestling stepped up its intensity and lived up to the coaches’ high expectations, he added.
Jovanovich had a rematch against the same 285-pound Elma grappler who had pinned him earlier this season. This time, however, through sheer determination, Jovanovich pulled out an 8-6 win in the last seconds of the match.
Kevin Thomas provided an important, momentum-shifting victory at 140 pounds against Montesano. While trailing 6-7 in the second period, Thomas secured the pin to win the match.
Robert Easton and his Montesano counterpart are both ranked in the top eight of the 1A 189-pound weight class and had split their two previous meetings. This time, with the score tied 1-1 late in the third period, Easton got a last-second escape for a 2-1 win.
In a week filled with Pirate pins, the fastest pin of the week was Sohl’s 19-second fall against Bellevue Christian on Thursday. Both Sohl and Maximo Mandl achieved pins against all three of their dual meet opponents. Zach Stackhouse joined the pin-fest with the fastest JV pin at 31 seconds against Bellevue Christian.
— Marian Easton is the mother of two Vashon wrestlers.