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Grapplers big and small dominate the mat
From the largest to the smallest grapplers, it was another successful week for the Pirate wrestling team, which won a match against Cascade Christian and put up a fair showing at a prestigious weekend tournament.
The largest Pirate wrestler, Louis Jovanovich, tips the scales at an agile and nimble 275 pounds. The lightest is Chase Wickman — his maximum weight on a good day, while soaking wet, is 95 pounds. Oddly enough, these two wrestlers often follow each other on the mat. One minute you are watching two leviathans roll, throw and shake the gym, and the next thing you know, you’re watching two gerbils having a cage fight in a roller ball. This theme continued last week, with both Jovanovich and Wickman putting forward stellar performances.
The Pirates saw their first Nisqually League dual meet action on Thursday, when they beat the Cascade Christian squad. After accounting for forfeits, Pirates won seven of 11 varsity matches on their way to a 51-20 win.
Notching wins for Vashon were Wickman, Jovanovich, Chester Pruett, Max Frederickson, Shane Armstrong, Preston Morris and Anthony Sawyer.
Competing in junior varsity action, freshman Clyde Pruett and junior Andrew Wittwer also came away with wins.
In a preview of the competition that will be seen at this season’s regional and state championships, nine varsity Pirates competed at the Rainier High School annual tournament on Saturday. The event featured 15 of Washington’s premier wrestling teams from 1A schools — a tough group of grapplers. With predominantly upperclassmen competing, this tournament is attended by a who’s who of state competitors.
Senior Elan Peterson had a good day on the mat, finishing one bout shy of fifth place. Finishing in the medals were Sawyer, who placed second; Wickman, third; Armstrong, third; and Jovanovich, third.
Freshmen Clyde Pruett, Chester Pruett and Logan Nelson, as well as junior Trevor Figgins, all won a match in the second round before getting knocked out in the third.
Wickman, who had a match against a returning state champion and a beast of a boy from Kalamaon on Saturday, is this week’s wrestler of note. In a bout where the winner would move on to the finals and the loser would wrestle for third, Wickman was shorter by a full head and lighter by 10 pounds. Still, Wickman put a scare into his opponent, almost pulling out the win. It was clear from his opponent’s demeanor that he wasn’t expecting much of a fight, but as the match progressed, he was clearly getting worried.
Wickman noted afterward, “Yes, I was scared. Just look at him.”
This week finds the wrestling team at Eatonville on Thursday and at the Emerald Ridge Tournament in Puyallup on Saturday. The next and last home action will be Thursday and Friday, Jan. 24 and 25.
— Cheryl Pruett is a mother of two Pirate wrestlers.