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Island grapplers measure up at state
The Vashon High School wrestling team put the cap on another successful season last weekend when eight pirate grapplers represented the Island at the state championships at the Tacoma Dome. Every match was hard fought, with many Pirates having more trouble battling the clock than their opponents.
Sophomore Preston Morris, wrestling at 182 pounds, placed fourth and junior Robert Easton, at 220 pounds, finished sixth, one place better than he fared last year. Both Morris and Easton won both their matches Friday to advance to the winners’ bracket and Saturday’s medal round.
Morris dominated his matches, winning 9-2 and 4-2. His match for third place against Anthony Heller from Elma was an exercise in brute force. It came down to the final buzzer, when Morris lost 3-4 with just seconds to go.
Easton manhandled Fri-day’s opponents, winning both matches by pin. His Saturday losses all occurred in the final seconds, and he lost against John White of Ridgefield, 3-4, in the last 10 seconds. His match for fifth place also went down to the wire. He came up just short, 8-10, in the final eight seconds.
Senior Julie Wilson, the lone female wrestler representing Vashon, faced stiff opposition in her first match and fell by pin in the first round. Like her male teammates, Wilson’s second match also came down to the final seconds. She led 5-2 deep into the third round, but lost a heartbreaker at the buzzer.
Elliot Ellingsen and Shane Armstrong both competed in the 170-pound bracket. Ellingson lost his first match against a wrestler from Chattaroy as the buzzer sounded 0-2. His second match ended with a pin with a half-second left on the clock. Armstrong lost a first-match squeaker, 4-6, against his opponent from Cashmere. He bounced back with a strong victory, pinning a wrestler from Cle Elum, before losing his last match to one from Kennewick.
Junior A.J. Sawyer, freshman Joe Coller and sophomore Louis Jovanovich all made their first state appearances. Jovanovich lost by pin in his first match, then turned it around to dominate an opponent from Castlerock, 10-0, before losing his third match by pin with two seconds left in the first round.
Sawyer, wrestling in the same bracket as Easton, was pinned in his first match, then pinned his next opponent from Omak. Joe Coller, wrestling at 195 pounds, held his own. He lost a good match, 1-8, against a grappler from LaCenter. His second match loss saw him out of the tournament.
This year’s young team made great strides and has much potential for next year, according to coaches. The Pirate coaches say they are looking forward to intense off-season workouts and are already planning next year’s assault on the Tacoma Dome.
— Cheryl Pruett is the mother of a middle school wrestler.