The Vashon grapplers put in another stellar performance at the regional tournament last weekend, taking an impressive second place in the contest and qualifying eight Pirates for State as competitors or alternates.
Twelve Pirate wrestlers competed in the WIAA Region II 1A tournament in Castle Rock on Saturday. The eight-man bracketed tourney featured 13 teams from western Washington, with the top four in each weight class moving on to the state competition this weekend.
Of the 12 Vashon wrestlers, six qualified for this weekend’s state tournament and two are eligible as alternates. Vashon put five wrestlers in the finals and emerged with four champions and one second-place winner, senior A.J. Sawyer.
Regional champions were freshman Chase Wickman and juniors Shane Armstrong, Preston Morris and Louie Jovanovich.
Placing third was sophomore Joe Coller, and taking fifth and going as alternates are senior Christian Seymour and freshman Chester Pruett. Sixth place went to freshman Clyde Pruett. Also wrestling for Vashon were freshmen Shane Williams and Logan Nelson and senior Elan Peterson.
There were several amazing matches of note. Wickman continued to amaze audiences with his grit and style, taking down the “beast boy” of Kalama that had beaten him earlier in the year, drubbing him 12-3 in the finals.
Armstrong expended the least amount of energy possible in his first two matches, pinning his opponents early in the first round then winning his championship match, 7-1. Morris, battling sickness, was dominant throughout the day and capped it off by pinning his opponent in the first round of the finals.
Sawyer lost a nailbiter in a contested overtime final round, finishing second.
Jovanovich, wrestling his nemesis from Eatonville, had the most anticipated match of the day. He was up a decisive 11-2, then sent the crowd to its feet with a fall in the third round.
Pirate wrestlers were cheered on at the big regional event by a large, boisterous and supportive contingent of islanders who made the trek to Castle Rock, including some who didn’t even have relatives on the team. The athletes who qualified to go on to state hope to keep the energy going at their final competition of the season this Friday and Saturday at the Tacoma Dome.