By CARL BLOMGREN
It is an enigma when a wrestling team shows up with six wrestlers to grapple in a dual match that consists of 14 weight classes.
Yet that’s just what happened last Thursday in the high school gym to the consternation of some 5,000 fans (plus or minus 4,800) when the Foster High School Bulldogs brought their decimated ranks to the Island.
Why all the forfeits (8) fell under the 152# weight class leads one to wonder if the Bulldog bus carrying the lightweights ran out of gas or lost its way en route.
Perhaps — I said perhaps — Foster has an entrance requirement of 152 pounds or more. Whatever the case, Vashon’s 152 pound wrestler Alex Stemer pinned the first Bulldog in purple and white singlet to appear on the mat.
Alex is no newcomer to the sport, having placed fourth at state last year.
He began his wrestling career as a McMurray Mustang in seventh grade. He was not particularly fond of the sport until he discovered he was good at it, i.e., he learned how to win.
His strength, balance and agility put him in good stead for winning.
As you might expect, like most wrestlers, he is a risk-taker.
Last summer, he joined a program, National Outdoor Leadership School, similar to Outward Bound, spending a month in the North Cascades hiking, camping, climbing with his comrades. He also enjoyed the experience of belaying his comrades out of crevices and glissading down steep slopes.
Scores for the rest of the Vashon-Foster match follow:
Forfeits were awarded to Madeleine Wolczko, Sam Chapman, Eddie Protzeller, Sylvie Shiosaki, Graeme Britz, Quinn Patrick, Rogen Lopez, Noah Crozier (weight classes 103-145 pounds). Adam Thalhofer at 160 pounds and Kyle York at 171 pounds both won by pins. Kyle Martin (189 pounds) won 7-6; Geran Webb (215 pounds) lost 5-8 and Timmy Jovanovich (275 pounds) was pinned.
Final score was Vashon 69, Foster 9.
Fans: If you are reading this article before 7 p.m. today, Wednesday, Jan. 9, you had better drop everything and head to the high school gym.
Because the antithesis of Foster is coming to town: the Orting Cardinals came in second at State last year when our Vashon Pirates came in fourth. Orting is returning two champs, a runner-up and a third placer while Vashon has three returning placers: Rogen Lopez (Champ), Alex Steamboat Stemer (fourth place) and Slammin’ Sam Chapman (seventh place).
Both teams are 3-0 in the Nisqually League, so this match will most likely decide the league championship. If that’s not enough, let me recommend psychotherapy or counseling for you.
Coaches Anders and Per-Lars believe Orting just might be the strongest wrestling team to have wrestled on the Island. Let’s see what those Pirates can do as underdogs. Junior varsity begins at 6 p.m., varsity at 7 p.m.
See ya’ there.