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Wrestlers roll through sub-regionals
By CHERYL PRUETT
The Vashon Pirate grapplers made an impressive statement, winning their sub-regional tournament by more than 100 points last Saturday at Bellevue Christian High School.
The team sent 18 wrestlers into the first weekend of post-season playoffs, qualifying 15 for next weekend’s regional tournament in Castle Rock. Taking on all schools in the Nisqually League, the Pirates steamrolled their way past Eatonville, Bellevue Christian, Cascade Christian, Port Townsend and Chimacum.
Eight Vashon wrestlers made it to the finals, with six crowned champions. Sophomore Chase Wickman had no competition for the day, thereby winning by default. Sophomore Shane Williams won his bout and took first place. Senior Trevor Figgins took first in the 138-pound weight class. Senior Shane Armstrong returned to action with the handicap of a heavily bandaged hand and still took first place. Senior Preston Morris’ opponent failed to wrestle in the final, so Morris took the championship by default. Senior Louis Jovanovich muscled his way through to a championship medal.
Making the finals and taking second place were sophomore Clyde Pruett and senior Codi Williams.
In this tournament, the top three in each bracket move on. If players lose the match for third and fourth place, their season is done. Coaches Anders and Per Lars Blomgren predicted a good outcome for the third- and fourth-place battles, noting that the Vashon squad has a history of performing well in that round. Indeed, each of the seven who were facing elimination all made it through.
Taking third place and moving on were sophomores Chester Pruett, Logan Nelson and Franklin Easton. Freshmen Bryce Hoisington and Cori Williams, junior Joe Coller and senior Ian McWhirter also took third in their weight classifications. Competing for Vashon and finishing fifth were Marquis Stendahl and Andrew Wittwer. Sophomore Hunter Stanley won a match in the tough 145-pound weight class and finished just out of the medals.
Match of the day belonged to Chester Pruett, who faced his nemesis from Bellevue Christian in the brawl for third and fourth place. It was a nail-biting scrabble for the entire five minutes with several lead changes and a tight score throughout. The last time these two evenly-matched wrestlers faced each other, Pruett lost in overtime. The Pirate grapplers were lining the mat jumping up and down, and the Vashon crowd roared as Pruett got the win, 10-8, and punched his ticket for regionals. His mother got two new gray hairs.
The coaches were exceptionally pleased with the team’s performance.
“Embracing the battle and resiliency have been focal points for us all season,” said coach Anders Blomgren. “This showed today. But we’ve got to keep piling our dirt to make that mountain. Celebrate today. Then back to dig dirt, carry the bucket next week.”
That’s the team’s mantra for this year: Dig dirt, carry the bucket. First-year wrestler McWhirter summed the day up best when he came up to his mom, flush with victory, dripping with sweat and grinning like the devil,
“Mom, I’m going to regionals,” he said.
— Cheryl Pruett is the mother of two Vashon wrestlers.