Over the past 20 years, the combined Port Townsend and Chimacum wrestling team averaged two wrestlers per year from Chimacum High School, but this year saw a significant shift …
Over the past 20 years, the combined Port Townsend and Chimacum wrestling team averaged two wrestlers per year from Chimacum High School, but this year saw a significant shift in that balance, as the current lineup boasts 22 CHS students on the East Jefferson Rivals’ team.
The afternoon of Thursday, Nov. 30, saw the Rivals kick off their competition schedule with a “jamboree” event in Port Angeles, as East Jefferson put forth 31 wrestlers on the mats to engage in competition with not only Port Angeles, but also Forks and Sequim.
The jamboree format allows each wrestler to complete a pair of three-minute matches, half the length of regular six-minute matches, and most of the East Jefferson wrestlers were able to get two matches each, while a handful of Rivals wrestled only once at the event.
The East Jefferson Rivals wrestled a total of 57 matches, and finished the night with a 36-21 record, including 20 victories by pin, as Rylen Kruse, Aiden Kraft and Carver Williamson-Roberts all pinned both of their respective opponents.
"The extremely high energy in the room, from these kids getting their first taste of the season of live competition, was contagious," Coach Joe Banks said. "It was great to see so many Rivals compete tonight, and the immense outpouring of support they showed for one another after their matches. Every time these athletes step on the mat to compete is a very intense experience. Watching them learn that their teammates have their backs makes all of us proud."
And on Saturday, Dec. 2, 24 young men and women from East Jefferson traveled with three coaches to Forks for the annual Forks tournament, the first event of the year during which the Rivals wrestled full six-minute regulation matches.
The Rivals wrestled 69 matches that day, finishing with a 33-36 record, which included two boys’ championships, with sophomores Grady White and Manaseh Lanphear Ramirez winning the 144- and 150-pound weight classes, respectively.
The girls' side of the tournament included some smaller brackets, with freshman Gracee Liskee and sophomore Zinnia Berg both winning their brackets.
Chimacum sophomore Phoenyx "Moose" DeAngelis likewise won his three-man bracket in the 215-pound weight class.
"Moose broke his leg last year in our final practice before the jamboree,” Assistant Coach Ryan White said. “It was wonderful to see him make a full recovery, and finally get a chance to compete in this sport. Moose wrestled his heart out that Saturday, and we can't wait to see him wrestle again in the weeks that follow."
After the tournament, East Jefferson Rivals Coach Jim Wilcox described the team in one word: “Young. These kids want to learn, and are asking the right questions. I couldn't be happier."
Coach Steve Grimm added, "These kids keep showing up and working hard. There is no quit in them. They just keep coming."
The East Jefferson Rivals’ wrestling team faces three home meets in the coming week: against Bainbridge at 6 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 7; at Port Townsend High School for an eight-team tournament at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Dec. 9; and against Cascade Christian for a dual meet at 6 p.m. next Wednesday, Dec. 13.