Three state wrestling champions, including one first-ever Vashon girls champ: that’s the outcome of Vashon Island High School’s competition in the state tournament last weekend.
They were Sylvie Shiosaki, who defeated Sam Beckwith of Riverview in the 112 pound class; Sam Chapman, who overcame Lakeside’s Mike Baumgarden in the 103 pound class; and Adam Thalhofer, who beat Angel Ledezma of Royal in the 152 pound class.
And not to be sneezed at is the fact that Vashon sent 10 athletes to the competition in Tacoma at the Dome and grabbed nine medals.
On top of that, the boys ran up a new school record in points scored, 121.5, enough to place fourth in the ranks of 48 schools in play, and the girls placed sixth out of more than 70 schools competing.
Coach Anders Blomgren claimed, according to inside source Carl Blomgren, that this team exceeded Anders’ high expectations. They brought an exciting Vashon style of wrestling to every match. They’re young and will be very good next year.
Carl Blomgren reports that when the season began, the Blomgren coaches speculated that their young team would do well to place in the top 10 of the 48 teams entered in the 1A State Mat Classic XX Championships.
Little did they hope to score 121.5 points, Carl Blomgren said, but when the 285-pounder competitors trudged off the mats on Saturday evening, only Lakeside, Orting and Royal high schools had scored more team points than had the Pirates.
Each of the 10 Vashon wrestlers had to win two out of a possible three matches on Friday to advance to the final round on Saturday.
All but one — and he, Timmy Jovanovich, won a match by pinning his opponent — qualified to continue on Saturday.
Both Chapman and Thalhofer won their remaining matches to become state champs. Rogen Lopez and Alex Stemer placed third; Eddie Protzeller and Quinn Patrick placed sixth; and Geran Webb placed eighth.
In the girls’ tournament, Shiosake won the championship while Madeleine Wolczko placed fifth. Both were coached by BJ Nelson.
Carl Blomgren summed up coach Per-Lars Blomgren’s take on the team. Per-Lars, said Blomgren, claimed that this team improved more than any VHS team he and Anders have coached.
Chapman’s last two matches were wrestled close to perfection. Thalhofer proved he could destroy his opponent in both wrestling and judo; a large part of his success comes in knowing how to shake his opponent like a ragdoll. Stemer came back from a loss in the second round to demolish his next three foes to take a well-deserved third place, as did Rogen Lopez. Eddie Protzeller had a great tournament in perhaps the toughest of all the weight classes. Quinn Patrick and Geran Webb won huge matches on Friday and together with Timmy Jovanovich improved tremendously during the course of the season.
During the season, both Shiosake and Wolczko showed they could wrestle with the guys, giving them a great advantage when they competed in the girls’ tournament.
— This article was compiled and edited by sports editor Eric Horsting from information supplied by Carl Blomgren, a wrestling aficionado and father of two coaches.