Vashon grapplers show their stuff on the mat

Emily Ellsworth, Vashon senior and first-year wrestler, is all smiles as she waits for the referee to confirm her pin of a Klahowya girl in their JV match Thursday night. - Rik Forschmiedt Photo/
Emily Ellsworth, Vashon senior and first-year wrestler, is all smiles as she waits for the referee to confirm her pin of a Klahowya girl in their JV match Thursday night.
— image credit: Rik Forschmiedt Photo/

Last week Vashon High School wrestlers launched into a week of exceptionally tough, non-league competition against teams from much larger schools.

On Thursday Vashon hosted a double-dual meet with 2A teams from North Mason High School in Belfair and Klahowya Secondary in Silverdale.

Varsity action was lively, with several Vashon grapplers winning grueling matches. Eugene Bergman was in a barn burner of a match that energized the Pirate-partial crowd before he lost 10-11 in the final seconds.

Elliot Ellingsen had the best varsity match of the evening, wrestling a spider from North Mason. It was all thrashing with long legs and long arms until Ellingsen emerged victorious, 9-0.

Shane Armstrong, Louis Jovanovich and Preston Morris all  dominated their opponents as well.

The most exciting wrestling of the evening came from the exhibition matches. Elan Peterson, Jason Kruly and Joe Coller all won their matches by pin.

On Saturday the Pirates competed in the 16-team Bearcat Invitational in Chehalis. The tournament was loaded with teams from large schools, many of them ranked among the top 10 in the state.

Vashon finished the day with Armstrong and Ellingsen in second place, Kevin Thomas in third and Robert Easton in fifth. Thomas lost his first match by pin in the final seconds of the first round, then rallied to pin his next four opponents and take third.

Vashon coaches were pleased with the team’s performance and singled out Coller as a wrestler with major potential. Joey DiFabio had the quickest pin for the team at 21 seconds, and coaches also took note of Cole Devereau’s new haircut.

The Vashon girls wrestling team was also dominant this week. At Thursday’s home meet sophomore Rachael Thomas won two matches by pin (yes, she pinned a boy). Julie Wilson also pinned to win her first match then proceeded to compete in the match of the night with an overtime thriller against another female wrestler from Orting. She lost in overtime, but it was a hard fought-match throughout.

On Saturday the four female grapplers from Vashon traveled to a huge, all-girls tournament in Kelso. There were 32 teams present and many of the participants were past state contenders, some nationally ranked.

Thomas wrestled well, winning her first match by pin. Emily Ellsworth also won her first match.

Gabby Frazier showed improvement in both of her matches, and Wilson had another outstanding day as she finished in the top eight out of more than 20 girls in her weight class. She pinned two of her four opponents, and the matches she lost were tough battles that could have gone either way.

The Pirate grapplers will celebrate senior night at 6 p.m. Thursday at the VHS gym. There will be wrestling action against Cascade Christian, as well as a time to recognize this year’s seniors. On Saturday the team will compete in the Everett Classic.


— Cheryl Pruett is the mother of a middle school wrestler.


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