Sports

Five of eight Pirates who wrestled at state earned medals

Rogen Lopez celebrates his 140-pound state championship. The Vashon senior broke a 2-2 tie with 15 seconds on the clock to take a 4-2 decision. Lopez was 130-pound state champion in 2007 and finished third at 135 pounds in 2008. - Rik Forschmiedt photo
Rogen Lopez celebrates his 140-pound state championship. The Vashon senior broke a 2-2 tie with 15 seconds on the clock to take a 4-2 decision. Lopez was 130-pound state champion in 2007 and finished third at 135 pounds in 2008.
— image credit: Rik Forschmiedt photo

The Tacoma Dome was the last stop for the Vashon High School wrestling team this past weekend.

Tons of sweat had been exuded just to get there. Now was the hour to demonstrate their skills — traditional and funky — to the many fans in attendance, quite a few of whom had ferried from Vashon to witness this spectacle. Twenty-four mats covered the floor of the Dome, a black-and-white striped whistle-blowing biped attempting to prevent two singlet-garbed wrestlers from destroying one another, but allowing just enough mayhem to determine a winner.

During the season coaches Anders and Per-Lars Blomgren, Dave Chapman and BJ Nelson had trained some 22 mercenaries to both administer and withstand what at first blush looks like punishment, while making a game out of those maneuvers.

Not everyone is qualified to play this game, but the female gender is proving that they, too, can play. Sylvie Shiosaki, Madeleine Wolczko and Iris Spring are cases in point. Not only can they play, but they can play it damn well.

Shiosaki, following an elbow to the head from her opponent in the finals, repeated her first-place state championship at 119 pounds in the All-Division Girls’ Tournament.

Wolczko took home the sixth-place medal at 103 pounds, and Iris Spring is getting ready for 2010. See a detail of the girls’ matches below.

Five male warriors from Vashon earned their way into the melee. Rogen Lopez (140 pounds) repeated his state championship, first by destroying his opponents from Granger and Newport high schools, and then hanging on to outnumber a Chelan obstacle in the final.

Slammin’ Sam Chapman (112 pounds) outpointed his first three opponents before dropping a tough decision to his nemesis from Orting High School to take home a very respectable second place. Geran Webb (215 pounds) was 15 seconds away from reaching the semifinals, concluding with a fourth-place finish. Eddie (Blondie) Protzeller (119 pounds) and Timmy Jovanovich (285 pounds) didn’t place, but each won a match, with Jovanovich pinning his first opponent, who went on to take fourth place. Congratulations are due to both Jovanovich and Protzeller for a season well wrestled.

Taking five guys and three girls to state and earning a 10th and 12th place respectively in the total standings is not too shabby, especially when you consider the 47 entrants in the guys’ bracket and 85 in the girls’ bracket.

Frankly, I also think credit for the success of the team must go to all the coaches, but I’m in an awkward position to give them (two of them, anyway) the praise I think they deserve. Let’s just say that I’ve been fortunate to follow their pursuits in the wrestling world. And thanks to you, my dear readers, for following this scrambled prose. Farewell. And thanks to my wonderful editor and typist who has to decipher my mess, who just happens to be my wife, Marcia.

— Carl Blomgren is the father of Pirate wrestling coaches Anders and Per-Lars Blomgren.

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