As the days continue to shorten, fall sports give way to their winter cousins, and practices are underway for Vashon Island wrestling.
Coming off second place overall in both league and district competitions last year, the team — coached by brothers Anders and Per Lars Blomgren for 19 years now — heads into this season with three members (Lewis Kanagy, Nico Nuxoll and Richard Rivas) who placed at State last year and two (Payton Bonaventura and Moses Kilpatrick) who have placed in previous years.
“We are super excited for our team this year,” Anders Blomgren said in an email to The Beachcomber. “We have great energy, enthusiasm, and a group of guys who like to be around each other, push each other, and have fun.”
He added that three members of the team (Ryan Nelson, Kanagy and Kilpatrick) competed at Western Regionals in Las Vegas last spring, and 15 of this wrestling band of brothers camped and trained with teams from Lake Stevens and Freeman High Schools over the summer.
Describing last year’s team as the youngest he and his brother have coached, Anders Blomgren said that while the team is still young, this year’s roughly 25 athletes are “ready to compete.”
In Vashon wrestling alumni news, islander Logan Nelson, a former Blomgren protegé, continues to hone his grappling skills at Simon Fraser University in Burnaby, British Columbia, winning one of his most recent tournaments there. The university, a Division II school, is the only Canadian school that is part of the NCAA. And while Nelson just missed qualifying for the Div. II National Tournament last year, Anders Blomgren reports that his coaches love him for his work ethic and accountability, both in the classroom as well as on the mat.
“He’s such an amazing and kind young man,” he said. “We’re super proud of him.”
The Vashon Island Wrestling team has started practicing and is looking forward to its first home match of the season on Friday against Lake Stevens.